Located above the Spy Museum, Zola flies a little under the radar compared to some of the other notable destinations in Penn Quarter. That said, not having a to deal with the an overcrowded bar scene in a little more sophisticated than usual setting is part of the draw for some. I don’t want to take the previous two sentences too far because the restaurant sees more than it’s fair share of rushes, especially when there is a game, concert or show taking place at one of the nearby venues. A cool thing about Zola is that the restaurant is at an above ground level which makes for a great view and an interesting perspective when the masses pour out of the Verizon Center after events. The view coupled with the upscale’ish but hip atmosphere make this a great place to entertain guests that don’t get to the city that often.
Cost – $$$
Service – A
The service at Zola has always been consistently attentive and friendly. As with most Penn Quarter establishments, the restaurant and bar get really busy on certain nights which can result in a little longer wait for food and drinks – but that’s to be expected.
Food – B
The innovative American cuisine may not fit everyone’s taste but I do applaud the restaurant for constantly trying new dishes and keeping things fresh. The wine list is eclectic but in a good way and a couple of the desserts on the menu are very good. If you find yourself unsatisfied with the offerings at some of the nearby restarurants, you want want to pay your check and head over to Zola’s lounge for the finish. Also, I don’t recommend doing this on a busy night but do try the Blue Sting cocktail at some point. It’s like a bluberry mojito and one of the best drinks around.
Decor – A-
The dark wood and rich reds used throughout the restaurant makes for an attractive palette that strikes that balance of contemporary and classical. Adding in spy-themed decor seems as if it would be odd but Zola’s translation is very well done. Not all of it is obvious which is the whole point, right?
Feel – B+
The low lights and close seating of the bar/lounge area makes for more of an intimate feel but the sound level of the music keep things a little more on the upbeat side. The dining area, on the other hand, is sectioned off by partial-walls with each space having it’s own wine station/banquette in the center. All this which results in more of a private experience which contrasts to the more open and lofty style of restaurant.
Zola is located at 800 F St. NW. They can be reached at (202) 654-0999.
What’s the Buzz:
January 18, 2008 – Zola (DC Eats) – Okay so it’s one of my favorite weeks of the year!!! RESTAURANT WEEK! Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to ravish it like I would like BUT I did get to try out Zola’s for lunch. So my co-worker made reservations at Zola on OpenTable for lunch. We left work and headed on over there. We got there and the atmosphere was really nice. The bar was to the right and I wouldn’t have minded taking a seat over there and grabbing some drinks if the table wasn’t ready. Its an inviting and has a very upscale feel. Full article…