I’ve been to Dino several times over the years. It’s got great atmosphere, décor, food, wine, and it’s just an overall fun place to spend your evening.

Let me start with what makes Dino so great….their wine list! They have an enormous wine list and tons of great bottles in the $40 range. They also have awesome wine deals. On Sunday/Monday, all wines over $50 are 33% off. And on any night, they have free corkage if you buy one of their wines. Their wine list includes a lot of wines from the Montalcino region of Tuscany, which was where I fell in love with Brunello. Get the owner talking about wine…Dean is very friendly, knowledgeable and loves to share what he knows.

You won't find the typical italian fare here. Their focus is on Tuscan cuisine, so you’ll see crostinis, wild boar, polenta etc. They have a lot of seasonal offerings as well that can be seen in their crostini assortments and entrees. I actually do consider Dino to be on my “favorites” list, but ever since they got a new chef, the food isn’t quite as I remember. I’m still on the fence. I was obsessed with their original wild boar pasta and the béchamel lasagna w/ pork and veal. I recently tried both under the new chef, and both were still really tasty, but just a little different. Maybe I just don’t adjust well to change, and it will take me a while to get use to the new slant. The food is still really good, so I will continue to go back. They still have a lot of “small” plates, so I like getting a bunch of those to share. Last time I went, we got the crostini assortment, braised meatballs, mushroom polenta, potato/prosciutto fritters, and the burrata to start with. All were delish. The burrata is to die for, and I will continue to go back for that alone. This freshly flown in buffalo milk mozzarella is so creamy, smooth, and just perfect.

The owners are always on sight and super friendly. They check up on the tables quite often, which is a nice touch. Likewise, the service has always been excellent. They are very friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable. I had my birthday party of 15 people there in 2006, and the service could not have been better. We even took a few of our bottles that we bought from Tuscany, and they were corked for free. Neil even organized his grad school dinner here, for a group of 30, and it also worked out w/out a hitch.

Dino gets really packed on the wkds, so the wait times can be long, sometimes even with a reservation. I once waited over 30 minutes with a reservation. But, we were given free prosecco during the wait, and that more than salvaged it :)

Btw, if you are planning a trip out to Italy, you must check out Dean’s suggestions on the website. Actually, it would be even better to just go there for dinner and get Dean talking. He’s great!

I recommend going to Dino with a group, so you can get a good assortment of the small plates. There’s a lot to choose from! Prices are very reasonable, especially with a group. The downstairs can get really noisy, so request upstairs seating.

3435 Connecticut Avenue NW
Cleveland Park, Washington DC 20008

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