Masala Art DC (Tenleytown)

4.4
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1047 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary Indian

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Good Vegetarian Options
'Too much is so good, you can't stop eating it. The tandoor-baked breads are not mere swabs for sauce but could be eaten, and enjoyed, on their own; the naan with cilantro and rock salt is terrific, as is the kulcha richly stuffed with minced lamb. Masala Art offers combinations you don't see often around here, but even its more familiar dishes can be revelations. Consider its samosas. They're flakier than a lot of the competition, and their filling of peas, potatoes and sweet raisins tastes fresher, too. A burst of cardamom in every bite helps. In the same vein, soft logs of minced lamb pulse with heat from jalapeno peppers, a shock offset with breezy mint. Pureed spinach is a vibrant green, flecked with corn and rich with garlic...' - WashingtonPost.com
What 1047 People Are Saying
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Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.1
service
4.2
ambience
4.4
value
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95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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CS
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall3food4service1ambience3

I think we were unlucky with the table and the waiter. There was an older gentleman who chewed loudly and burped often and since the restaurant was almost empty (there were only a total of 3 tables with customers) we asked to move after a while but before we even ordered. The waiter seemed to have a problem with that. Also the waiter took a long long time before he got our order, never asked whether we needed more hot water for our tea. All in all, very poor service but good food. I have eaten there before, this is the first time that I was disappointed.

t
Baltimore
11 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We two couples wanted good food that we don't cook at home, attentive service, a fair and reasonable price and we wanted to be able to hear each other on a Saturday night. Masala Art at Tenleytown hit a home run. Two of us had different versions of chicken, one had a vegetarian large bowl of rice and chickpeas, and one had the extra large grilled shrimp. Delicious. We talked and talked and enjoyed ourselves.

RF
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 30 November 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Family gathering

K
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on 17 November 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience4

I dropped the overall rating by a star only because service was so slow on our last visit, probably due to understaffing. The food, however, was as good as it's ever been since this restaurant's opening. Probably because in recent years we've been ordering via their delivery service more than dining at the restaurant, we were actually surprised by how delicious and fresh-tasting everything was--both the old favorites and some new dishes we tried. We've always appreciated that Masala Art didn't pull its punches on the spicier dishes, and it still doesn't--not, unless, you ask them to. It remains Tenleytown's best restaurant by far, and in my opinion one of the best Indian restaurants in the larger metro area.

OT
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on 16 November 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

All the food was delicious, attractive, and served hot. The only problem was that we waited nearly an hour after we ordered to be served.

PS
Washington DC
19 reviews
Dined on 29 October 2019
Overall4food5service2ambience4

Excellent and innovative dishes. Indifferent service.

o
Palm Springs
49 reviews
Dined on 19 October 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Consistently good food in a dining room where you don’t have to yell at your dinner companions.

s
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 12 October 2019
Overall5food5service2ambience4

The place was very full and although we had a reservation and were seated upon arrival, we did not our food for 50 minutes. I have been there several times and this is the first time i have to wait that long but it would have been good for them to at least offer a couple of samosas if you have to wait one hour to get any food!

OT
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on 11 October 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience3

Be careful and check your bill when you eat here. I had ordered a half order of dal, but was charged for a full order. Every time I walk out of here, I feel like I’ve paid too much, even though the food is great.

DC
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on 11 September 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This restaurant is consistently our favorite Indian restaurant in DC. The lamb vindaloo is spicy, with very high quality ingredients. The eggplant dishes are exceptional. The wine list is fairly priced and the selections pair nicely with the menu. We highly recommend this unassuming restaurant with great ambiance and exceptional service.

D
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 28 August 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Wonderful food, gracious service, we will be back!

B
Washington DC
38 reviews
Dined on 20 August 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Just before our reservation there was a tremendous wind and rain storm, which plunged Masala’s neighborhood into darkness. Blackout. Always a terrific place, but on this night Mother Nature has other plans.

S
Washington DC
120 reviews
Dined on 18 August 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent food and service. The best Indian restaurant in the DC area.

c
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on 11 August 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience3

We love this place. Great food and convenient location. But it was sweltering on Sunday night. No AC? In DC? Not so wonderful when you’re eating spicy food.

T
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on 3 August 2019
Overall3food4service4ambience3

food and service were good, unfortunate that the Air conditioning was not working

GW
Denver
5 reviews
Dined on 31 July 2019
Overall5food2service5ambience5

Usually love the food, get the same dishes. Didn't like the flavor of mine AT ALL but we had brought a guest and didn't want to complain in front of him. Turns out it was the same for my husband; on our way home he told me how yuks his was. Will take this off the rotation

G
Washington DC
110 reviews
Dined on 17 July 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

The buffet at Masala Art is the best sit down lunch value in Washington, DC, hands down. I'm not sure my bill even came to $40. The buffet is imaginative - it's not just butter chicken and saag paneer. The service wasn't great this time - it took a long time to get our bread and I had to go searching for the server to get our check. Other times I've eaten there that hasn't been the case.

T
Washington DC
311 reviews
Dined on 10 July 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Such a great place to enjoy when visitors are in town. The food is always amazing and it's usually quiet enough to have a conversation. We also enjoyed the leftovers that made the trip home with us.

p
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on 4 July 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Authentic food, quick service and peaceful environment.
Pain poori was really good.

JS
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on 18 June 2019
Overall2food1service3ambience1

I have long been a fan of Masala Art, but I was stunned at the poor quality of the food we were served on a night when we were more or less the only table that was occupied in the restaurant. Things were bland, some dishes were cold or not very fresh. Only the naan was at the level of quality I had known in the past. I'm not sure I will be back unless I hear a good report.

DC
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on 4 May 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

We had a spectacular meal. Every dish was wonderful.

CB
New England
9 reviews
Dined on 26 April 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

This is one of my favorite (top 5) DC-area restaurants. The food is delicious and perfectly prepared, and they do not skimp on the portions. I always leave stuffed and happy.

JS
1 review
Dined on 4 April 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and service. Loved the waiter’s recommendations. Nice neighborhood atmosphere.

C
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined on 4 April 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It consistently serves dishes of quality taste and authenticity.

LM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 31 March 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

We went to Masala Art DC on a Sunday evening. After letting the waitress know three times that we were ready to order and watching her nod her head and then go do something else, we got fed up and walked out. Really poor customer service.

DD
Washington DC
33 reviews
Dined on 28 March 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Terrific service for a group of us meeting for a special occasion dinner. Nice ambience and very good food. It's worth a repeat visit for sure!

MH
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on 23 March 2019
Overall4food5service2ambience2

Food was outstanding...garlic naan was crisp and fresh. The cauliflower appetizer was crunchy, light and flavorful. Our chicken was spicy and just the right amount of heat, and the lamb with mint/cliantro sauce was the highlight of the meal. Great Moscow Mules, too. Our server was slammed with three tables seated simultaneously PLUS a big group in the front, but to his credit, made sure he served each of our tables in order, as quickly as possible. It was loud up front due to the large group, and probably quieter towards the back. The ambiance is mediocre but comfy, but in this case, it was all about the food!

KK
Miami
4 reviews
Dined on 23 March 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Delicious food and different than most Indian restaurants.

J
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on 19 March 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Great food and excellent service.

DS
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 17 March 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Masala Art is our go-to joint after a concert at National Cathedral. Fast service, excellent food. By excellent I mean Masala Art does not suffer in comparison to Rasika. (We ate at Rasika 4 days previous.)

IM
Washington DC
23 reviews
Dined on 15 March 2019
Overall2food3service1ambience2

The food was fine but the service was atrocious. Won't go back except for carry out.

T
Washington DC
311 reviews
Dined on 6 March 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

An early dinner with friends prior to an event was perfect. Neither of our friends had been to Masala Art before and they were as impressed as we anticipated. What is there not to love about chicken biryani, saag paneer, perfectly good lentils and more?

LP
Washington DC
241 reviews
Dined on 2 March 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

After a bit of a lull, Masala Art is back better than ever! Every element of our dinner was delicious.

BA
Washington DC
49 reviews
Dined on 23 February 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

A great neighborhood Indian restaurant with very friendly staff and a diverse menu with choices for every taste

WH
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on 14 February 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Crowded conditions expected on Valentine’s Day. Nevertheless, there were mistakes on the bill

EK
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on 9 February 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience2

Great neighbor restaurant, but steps away from metro.

S
Washington DC
29 reviews
Dined on 17 January 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Dining at Masala Art in Tenleytown is an unexpectedly upscale experience in an otherwise unimpressive neighborhood. The food is absolutely scrumptious and the restaurant itself is sumptuously decorated. My dining companion and I shared three dishes: Kastoori Paneer Tikka, Lamb Neelgiri Korma, and Baingan Mirch ka Salan. All were mouth wateringly delicious.

Although the service was professional and efficient, the staff seemed . . . I don't know, unhappy to be there? I did overhear one of them discussing the fact that their business had taken a hit due to the gov't shutdown; so maybe that explains it. Also, the bathrooms (at least the one I used--which has two toilets facing one another. Weird) are not heated, so it's pretty darned nippy in there!

Bottom-line: I would (and will) revisit Masala Art again in a heartbeat, chilly bathroom notwithstanding.

i
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on 11 January 2019
Overall5food5service2ambience1

Service was not good, slow but overall everything was very good!

A
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on 2 January 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Great experience; everything was just right: service was attentive, ambiance was relaxed and conducive to talking; and the food was delicious, as usual.

OT
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on 2 January 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Came here for a quiet dinner with my husband. Great food and a comfortable, cozy atmosphere. Conveniently located close to the Tenleytown/AU Metro. Will definitely return.

(Weird toilet situation, but I won't tell you and ruin the surprise. Haha.)

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