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Tivoli Restaurant
By Phyllis C. Richman
Washington Post Restaurant Critic
From The Washington Post Dining Guide, November 1996

| 1700 N. Moore St., Arlington, Va.
(703) 524-8900

Hours of Operation and Prices
Lunch: M-F 11:30-2:30; Entrees: $8.50-$12
Dinner: M-Sat 5:30-10; Entrees: $13.50-$26
Pre-Theater: M-Sat 5:30-6:30, $16
Closed: Sun

Other Information
• Credit Cards: All major
• Reservations: Recommended
• Dress: Casual
• Parking: Complimentary garage
• Nearest Metro: Rosslyn
• Handicapped accessible

Downtown it's rare to find a moderately priced restaurant where you can talk without clashing with your neighbor's conversation. But Tivoli, two floors above the Rosslyn Metro in Arlington, has all the quiet and comfort of a country inn.

The convenience and comfort certainly account for the abundance of business dining on weekdays, but Tivoli looks romantic enough for weekends as well. In the paneled and mirrored dining room, pink napkin fans and silver bud vases decorate the tables, rose carpeting muffles noise and a large, glass-enclosed wine cellar in the middle of the room fairly sparkles in the soft but not dim lighting. Sofas and deeply cushioned banquettes suggest you are expected to stay for the evening, unlike the hot new restaurants that schedule rigid, two-hour seatings. The staff takes its job seriously, seating you with a little bow, explaining the menu with enthusiasm, keeping watch over glasses and bread basket. And meeting modern expectations, the bread basket offers herbed focaccia and bread sticks along with the usual slices.

Tivoli's menu is Italian - but not insistently so. Like the continental menus of old, it spreads from risotto to an Italian-named steak with peppercorns, cognac and cream (sounds like good old steak au poivre to me). Cream and butter eclipse olive oil here, and this may be the last place in town to serve veal Oscar, that dear, old-fashioned veal tenderloin topped with crab meat and hollandaise.

Tivoli isn't going to win stars, but it wins friends with nice cooking, a little on the heavy side but clearly from scratch. The pasta may be a little limp, the sauces may taste oversalted and the desserts may look like assembly-line products, but it doesn't seem to matter much. The cooking is far from the main attraction at Tivoli.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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