The following review appears in The Washington Post’s 2017 Spring Dining Guide.
Natalina Koropoulos will be the first to tell you that her Italian restaurant isn’t as busy as it used to be, nor is Dupont Circle the dining destination it once was. La Tomate, she says, is “old news.” Koropoulos has a point: A lot of the action has moved east, to 14th Street NW and Shaw. Even so, La Tomate, poised to turn 30 in August, retains two valuable assets: visibility and consistency. The wedge-shaped restaurant juts out on a peninsula separating busy Connecticut Avenue from 20th Street, with windows capturing human traffic on both sides, and one of the best outdoor patios around. For its part, the small kitchen puts out satisfying plates of unfussy food: a punchy Caesar salad, golden chicken Milanese that needs but a squeeze of lemon to enliven it, linguine with clams, tender squid and a light wash of tomato sauce. (The oomph in the last dish comes courtesy of grappa and shrimp stock in the moistener.) There probably isn’t anything on the menu you haven’t seen before. But it’s all served with brisk efficiency at a fair price and the strong chance you’ll see someone you recognize from your perch in this room with a view.
1701 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-667-5505. latomatebistro.com.
Open: Lunch Monday through Friday, dinner daily, brunch weekends.
Prices: Lunch mains $13 to $20, dinner mains $14 to $25, brunch $9 to $20.
Sound check: 81 decibels / Extremely loud.