Dolce Vita

4.5
563 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Top tags:
  • Neighbourhood Gem
  • Authentic
  • Casual
Our restaurant and wine bar have been serving authentic Italian cuisine in the City of Fairfax for over twenty years. It all starts with our unique brick oven, one of the first wood-fired ovens in NOVA, and our fresh pastas made in-house every day. The scents of garlic, tomatoes, and herbs follow you through the restaurant as you see the hand-painted murals covering our walls. These personal touches provide a cozy setting that takes you away to Italy and is perfect for any occasion. Our menu has a range of dishes, from traditional Italian offerings to unique personal selections. We are dedicated to using fresh ingredients from our own garden and sourced from other local farms. Dolce Vita always strives to be on the forefront of being creative and offering excellent food and service. All of us here welcome you with open arms and can’t wait to spend more memorable years with you!
What 563 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.4
service
4.1
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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RO
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding Italian food! From the antipasto to the pasta, the food was off the charts. We had great service from the greeters to the servers.

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LB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Another very nice evening. Place empty but got seated near front of restaurant. Not sure why. Tried some new entries and a wonderful bottle of featured wine. Look forward to next time!

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K
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our local favorite!! Food is excellent and the service is fantastic!!

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JS
Atlanta
14 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wow! I came across this restaurant by happenstance and boy was I glad. Super great food and reasonable prices. The service was super. Nice environment. There was a large table celebrating a birthday - but even with them it was not too noisy in the restaurant. I am visiting the area, but if I come back I will find this place again!

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M
Hawaii
15 reviews
Dined on 6 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was amazing as well as the service.

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S
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on 29 June 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Four of us met for dinner. One couple used the free valet parking service, which is a nice plus. The food was mostly delicious (not the calamari, though), and the service was excellent. Overall, we enjoyed our meal and will return.

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P
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined on 23 June 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Good Italian food
Service was excellent
Noisy
Large portions

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a
1 review
Dined on 21 June 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 3

Very noisy! two of us had the rockfish with swiss chard. The swiss chard was too tough and not suitable with the rockfish. Otherwise, very good.

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PS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on 21 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The couple in my group had a middling experience years ago but was open to trying it again. Friendly hostess, attentive service, decent portions. We regrettably didn’t have leftovers but not because there wasn’t enough food, just that it was quite good - excellent texture to the house-made fresh pasta, they added grilled chicken to my son’s fettuccine Alfredo per his request, two of us had the papardelle with boar ragu. Having a beef intolerance, it was fantastic to finally be able to eat a ragu and both my son’s and our pasta dishes were excellent. They were generous with the freshly grated Parmesan. Our 4th person ordered the pollo rosmarino and she also finished every last bite. We ordered their featured Pinot Noir which was excellent and we brought the bottle home which had another glass and a half remaining. I live in Va Beach but my son and I will be back to try more of their dishes when I visit him at Mason. Highly recommended!! Come early as it does get loud with more patrons.

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m
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on 18 June 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Overall the experience was good. However, I purposely mentioned when making the reservation that it was for a birthday. Nobody at the restaurant mentioned it to us. They obviously do or did not get the memo. They brought the check and that was it. Very disappointing.

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F
Washington DC
217 reviews
Dined on 18 June 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Always good but service variable. Pasta and risotto are always dependable.

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KE
Richmond
8 reviews
Dined on 17 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and curated Italian wine list. Service is attentive. One of our favorite places to eat. Can get a bit noisy and some of the decorations are a little dusty I recommend that the restaurant look into removing the extraneous dried flower Decor over some of the tables or else keep them cleaner

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EM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 16 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Quaint and splendid! Will be a life-long customer!!!

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GL
Oklahoma City
3 reviews
Dined on 14 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was excellent. If I had just one thing I had to complain about was the bread they brought out was cold. Honestly the ONLY thing I could say negatively about it. The rest of the meal was excellent and I couldn’t have been happier with all the courses. Friendly and comfortable.

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LG
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on 11 June 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

My biggest issue was the "forced" & "complimentary" valet parking where the attendant was quite forceful in stating they work off tips. He went so far as to come into the restaurant to let me know he was leaving..handed me the key and expected a tip right there at the table! There is absolutely no need for valet as the spots are just against the building. The valet is a disservice and annoyance when the attendant interrupts your meal to expect a tip after handing the key over b/c he is leaving his shift.

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TA
Baltimore
4 reviews
Dined on 11 June 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

Food is not top quality. It used to be but something changed. Too bad, was a nice place.

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JR
1 review
Dined on 10 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

They were able to accommodate 11 of us for lunch on very short notice. Staff was friendly and efficient, great food, as always.

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D
Washington DC
30 reviews
Dined on 8 June 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Our party of five was seated in the middle of the front room between the bar area and anther wall booth. This made it a bit louder than comfortable for conversation except with the person directly beside you. The food was delicious as usual and the waiter was pleasant and knowledgeable about the menu. As it got more busy in the restaurant, he did have some difficulty following through on occasion. Overall I would rate the night 4 stars as we all enjoyed our meals very much and each other’s company.

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S
Washington DC
74 reviews
Dined on 7 June 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

We eat here alot and love it however at times it is just so noisy and hard to hear that that may soon curtail our going. The walls and ceilings just bounce the noise around - especially if you have and 'energetic' table of people next to you.
it would be nice if there were some way to add curtains or a ceiling treatment to soften the noise.
we love the food and the staff, many of whom have been around for years, are attentive, know the menu, and willing to make small modifications.
Wish they could do more about the noise level.

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HV
1 review
Dined on 7 June 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The bread and Caesar salad were okay, but the calamri and entres were phenomenal. The portions where huge, the price great. It was fairly noisy during the lunch rush, but happy noisy. Like being at your Italian grandma's house for a large family gathering.

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OT
Richmond
7 reviews
Dined on 4 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and service

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MI
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 1 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The fettuccini alfredo was delicious! I love this place

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EP
Baltimore
5 reviews
Dined on 31 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I come here a few times a month. We love Dolce Vita! Everything is always amazing. Fabio was our server this past visit with family and gave us a fabulous experience! Thank you!

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OT
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on 31 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Always delicious!

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OT
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on 24 May 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Very good Italian dinner. Price was in line with other good Italian restaurants in the area. We look forward to going again

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CN
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 19 May 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

We had a very enjoyable dinner. The food and service were very good. It's such a nice spot in Fairfax! We would recommend it and will definitely be going back.

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NP
1 review
Dined on 18 May 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food, great service, but very loud. Tough to carry on a conversation without shouting.

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A
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on 17 May 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 2

This restaurant was a large disappointment. I took my family out after graduation. We were crammed in a center aisle, even though there were better choices for a group of 9 to sit (open table reservations well in advance) and our server, who had been there some time, was abysmal. We spent $600 before tip and he never - not one time ever - asked if our food was good, if we wanted anything else, etc. Drinks went unreplenished and condiments were missing. The restaurant is just not that large that he could avoid us, but he studiously walked around us every time. We wanted more drinks! We wanted to spend more, but we could not.

The noise level was atrocious. SO SO loud. We could barely hear our immediate neighbor. All this might have been tolerable if the food was good, but it was, at best, fair. No big complaints, but it was bland and uninteresting.

Do yourself a favor and avoid this place. They should be good to whomever they serve, but when you have a large party you have crowded in between tables, and you know that they are going to spend a lot of money, it is surprising that you're not interested in making them happy.

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OT
1 review
Dined on 17 May 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 1

I have always enjoyed the restaurant, but this experience was very unsatisfactory. There were many (5+) toddlers/young children in the restaurant that were extremely loud. We were seated next to a large group with two small toddlers who were extremely disruptive the entire meal (walking around the tables, kicking us, touching us and our belongings, etc.). It’s not the restaurant’s fault that these children weren’t properly managed, but it was very poor service to seat a small, quiet party of 2 next to such a disruptive group. We couldn’t hear each other (or even our waiter) during the entire meal. Very disappointing. We’ll think twice before coming back.

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SN
1 review
Dined on 15 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic service and food. They never disappoint.

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OT
Washington DC
116 reviews
Dined on 15 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I met a friend at the restaurant for lunch. As always, the food was great. I had the shellfish soup. It was delicious.

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n
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on 12 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Celebrated Mother's Day here. The food was great and I especially loved that it wasn't a limited menu (like so many places on Mother's Day).

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KM
1 review
Dined on 12 May 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great service and ambience. Good wine selection and Italian dishes. Avoid the rack of lamb. Expensive dish for very little meat.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 12 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dolce Vita is AMAZING! The staff is so friendly and informative. The food is fantastic! I couldn’t have asked for a better Mother’s Day dining choice.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 12 May 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 2

The restaurant did not have any record of our reservation from Open Table. They were very lackadaisical about the issue and said they same thing had happen with a number of other customers. They still seated us within 10 minutes of arrival, but it was obvious they were overwhelmed. There was no clean silverware and no one came to our table for 15 more minutes.

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JB
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 12 May 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Dolce Vita was an excellent find for us. We took my wife for dinner on Mother's Day. Though it may not seem like much when you drive up to the location, there is a lot of goodness inside. Excellent mom and pop atmosphere at this place. The quality of the food and service was amazing! Though it was a tight fit for two adults and three kids, the quality of the food and service made up for it. Everyone enjoyed their meals. The pasta is fresh and homemade! My wife and I had the seafood pasta, and the kids had lasagna and pizza. All meals were a hit. Make sure to make room for dessert. I don't recommend the Lava Cake, however, the Tirmisu and Crème Brûlée is to die for. Enjoy!!!

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GW
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on 12 May 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always wonderful. Has never disappointed. It's the fresh made pasta that gets me!

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DD
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on 12 May 2019
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 3

We love Dolce Vita and visit quite often, especially for special occasions. We went for Mother's Day brunch. I ordered a mimosa first and it came in a warm champagne glass. Bummer! I ordered the crab cakes benedict that said it came on foccacia bread. It came on a hard biscuit that I could not eat. Other than that, it tasted fine. My son ordered fettucine alfredo and thought it was bland. The other 2 in our party were happy with their meals (pork chop and octopus). I am almost always satisfied when we leave Dolce Vita, so I'm not sure if Mother's Day brunch was something new, something they had not tried before, but everything was a little under par to what we are used to from DV. Will definitely be back, but my honest review from an almost regular. Thank you.

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B
Washington DC
30 reviews
Dined on 12 May 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Outstanding risottos. Authentic and thoughtfully prepared!

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OT
1 review
Dined on 11 May 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great food. Pasta was the best. Veal however was a little tough. We be back and just forgo the veal, to bad.

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