Cesco Osteria

4.1
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1048 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Cesco osteria combines unparalleled Tuscan-inspired cuisine from multi-award winning Chef Francesco Ricchi with a sensory experience that includes live music, breathtaking lighting, and artisan cocktails in its contemporary Co2 lounge. CESCO osteria offers casual and white tablecloth dining options as well as lounge-style seating, plus the spectacular Terrazzo CESCO for unique al fresco dining and libations.
For over 20 years Chef Ricchi has been dazzling guests with his Italian cuisine. He's earned dozens of awards including Best New Restaurant in the US; Top Twenty-Five Restaurants in North America; Best Italian Restaurant and Zagat Distinction.

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What 1048 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.1based on recent ratings
4.1
Food
4.1
Service
4.2
Ambience
3.9
Value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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J
Washington DC
104 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

Excellent food and service. Would have liked more time between the appetizers and main course, however.

PA
Washington DC
49 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall2Food2Service2Ambience1

Wasn't a good visit. The restaurant clearly had an event the following day and had half the restaurant all setup so they packed all evening diners into one area which was a bit uncomfortable. The service was very slow, our meals were just ok, and there was a trio of mice running around which is never awesome. This is definitely not our typical experience here so we'll likely be back at some point, but if this had been our first visit, there probably wouldn't be a second.

J
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Fantastic food, a wide menu with fantastic presentations, a user-friendly wine list, and a great staff to help out.

s
Charleston
20 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Our family enjoyed our daughter's birthday celebration in a cozy enclosed table. Tje food was excellent. Our favorites were the oso bucco, seafood linguini and short ribs.

OT
Washington DC
30 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5Food5Service4Ambience5

2nd time dining at Cesco for Valentines Day celebration. We enjoyed selections from the special menu (halibut and lamb chops). A little pricey for every day dining but worth the splurge for a special occasion. Will definitely go again.

M
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall3Food2Service3Ambience5

I have been to Cesco many times but this time was a disappointment. My main course of short ribs was terrible, very fatty, the vegetables were tasteless and tough, not crisp but hard to cut, salad and dessert was fine.
One of the gentlemen in the party incorrectly placed his coat on the empty chair at the table next to us. Shortly thereafter a party was seated at that table. Whoever was seating them lifted the coat and gave it to me saying "hold this for a little while". What???
Our table made a request for butter. When we did not receive it after a reasonable time I too asked the waiter for butter. He said they were very busy and he was doing his best.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5Food4Service4Ambience5

Valentine’s Day

MJ
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall1Food1Service1Ambience2

We have gone before and had the regular menu and had good food and a lovely time. This was Valentines and both the food and service were awful. We may not go back.

AK
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall2Food2Service1Ambience1

set menu, it wasnt advertised as that when I made the reservation 1 week prior, that being said the food was served barely warm by a waiter who seemed like he was just running food out to the tables. Tables were extremely close to one another, barely room to walk between them and no problem hearing your neighbors conversation, very uncomfortable. All together disappointing evening.

a
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience5

Valentine’s Day pre fixe menu, but still had many choices.

OT
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall2Food1Service2Ambience4

It was the worst overpriced meal I’ve ever had. The setting is very nice, and you can hear yourselves talk, but the food was atrocious.

LS
Pittsburgh
16 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

They did a beautiful job with a group of 6. Everything was delicious and the surprise appetizer was especially nice.

OT
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall2Food3Service2Ambience2

Sadly, the service team was overwhelmed Saturday evening. Our 7:15 reservation took 35min to be seated. The front of the house had no-one attending the waiting guests. According to our waiter, either the owner or the manager assigned number of the staff to wait on a private party offsite. The surroundings look a bit tired, still in a time capsule in the 90's. Clearly, the owner has limited concern for his/her staff or the establishment. I should have cancelled this reservation as soon as we arrived seeing a large bar room empty, but one patron and no working bartender --- on a Saturday? Open table provides user the ability to mark establishments as a favorite; they need to consider the option to mark an establishment as one to avoid. This is one to avoid.

DC
Washington DC
161 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall3Food3Service4Ambience4

Cesco Osteria is a nice place to meet for dinner with friends. The room is lovely, the service very good and the noise level allows for conversation. The menu offers a good selection and the food is perfectly fine.

v
Washington DC
45 reviews
Dined on January 29, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

The wild boar pasta dish is always excellent. Love that Cesco allows me and my friend to split it as an appetizer.
Carlos is a GREAT waiter. Cesco is lucky to have him. He ALWAYS makes us feel at home, relaxed and always gets our order right.

w
Washington DC
74 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

Repeat visit with friends to a reliable restaurant; good food, good wine and good service. More crowded than usual but the noise level was okay and the service remained prompt. Great local spot for us.

s
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2020
Overall2Food1Service2Ambience2

Terrible food and service. Manager was great and try to’s best but he could only work with what he had.

J
Washington DC
51 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2020
Overall3Food3Service5Ambience5

The service is great. The ribolitta was wonderful!

AB
Charlotte
7 reviews
Dined on January 22, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

Had a work dinner with colleague. Food was excellent, I had a veal ravioli in a Bolognese sauce. It was very tasty. The bottle of wine was good - and reasonably priced. My colleague had a seafood linguini and enjoyed his meal.

OT
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Wonderful, comfortable place with great food

PL
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Great Dining experience! We love eating here! The menu has great mix of Seafood, Meat and Pasta options. Everything was delicious and topped off with a great dessert!

MP
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience4

Went on a Saturday night before a movie. Lovely, quiet place with great service and solid Italian offerings. Huge wine list. Only complaint was a nasty smell that pervaded the space—cleaning solution maybe? Other than that it was first-rate.

G
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience5

Service was attentive, though the main course was delivered while I was still eating my appetizer; the server did not offer the option of returning the main courses until I finished the appetizer. I didn't press the point. The food was quite good and well prepared. The cost is a little high but understandable given the location. If Cesco had remained on the other side of town, they might have been able to keep the prices more reasonable. Overall, our meal was a nice experience.

A
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall1Food1Service1Ambience2

7:00 p.m. New Years Eve res. Had to wait 45 minutes for small so-called antipasto. Pasta was just okay. My branzino was just okay. The accompanying scalloped(?) potatoes was a welded mess. The accompanying micro greens were dry and could have used a drizzle of olive oil. My husband’s veal was tasteless. The service was slow. What a contrast to last New Years eve when we were served lavish and tasty complimentary appetizers, very good and authentic Italian pasta and entrees and had great service. This restaurant has really gone down hill.

DK
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience3

Good food at reasonable prices. Service was good and noise level made it easy to hear each othet

MS
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Great to see Trio Caliente again 👏👏. Loved the dinne👍👍

e
Washington DC
49 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2019
Overall5Food4Service5Ambience4

We were meeting cousins visiting from Florida. We suggested several places to eat & they asked if we could return to Cesco ( where we had taken them on their last visit to MD). They remembered having a great meal & this dinner was equally delicious.

N
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall1Food2Service1Ambience3

The food is less than average. Quite disappointing. I got the Mediterranean Sea Bass and swapped the side of peas (strange voice) for sautéed spinach (which is frozen and not fresh) with roasted potatoes. The tiramisu was pretty decent and the coffee was good. Lavazza...its what you expect. There is love music on Friday nights, which was enjoyable. The problem is not only the boring food preparation but the service is clumsy and inattentive. The waiter who was de-boning my sea bass clumsily spilled a lemon/butter sauce all over my white coat and inside of my purse which is cloth. He was somewhat apologetic as he instructed the young female waitress to get club soda and lemon and assured me they would pay for the cleaning service. All good...as long as they keep their word, but still inconvenient for me. He didn’t pay attention to what he was doing and at no time did her look to wipe up all of the oil he left on the table, on the silverware, in the chair on my purse..nothing. The waiters also don’t clean the tables and no one even asked to replace my food or at least warm it up after I cleaned the mess and took photos to capture the issue for reference. So, the food was cold. Did they comp’ it...no? Just a poor experience all the way around and really disappointed since I was very excited to find a place that plays pretty good live music in Bethesda.

AE
Los Angeles
10 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall4Food3Service5Ambience3

Food is decent at a fair price. Calamari appetizer was by far the best thing we ordered. Avoid the vegetarian lasagna. It was terrible.

DG
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

I dined here for the first time last evening. It was absolutely delightful. The ambiance was perfect for conversation. The service was exemplary and the fare was perfectly prepared. Guillermo was our server. He was attentive but not intrusive. I look forward to MANY more visits in the future.

OT
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall4Food5Service4Ambience5

Very good Italian food. They brought an interesting frittata appetizer to the table (gratis) that was very good. I had the vegetable soup (which is more like a stew) and the veal scallopini with mozzarella and mushrooms. Both delicious. My wife had the salmon which she enjoyed very much.

The service was a little slow and the tables a little too close together for my comfort, but all in all a good dining experience. We’ll go back.

OT
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2019
Overall3Food5Service4Ambience5

We. Had notified open table that it was our anniversary but that was not acknowledged bythe restaurant

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

Overall very good. The only minor issue was our table was close to the revolving exit door and it was a bit cold.

SR
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2019
Overall4Food5Service2Ambience4

Cesco has nicely set up tables with white lined, etc. Not too casual, which is good.
The food was very good. Portions could be a bit smaller, especially if patrons are having appetizers.
The service did not quite match the décor; it was a bit too casual. Not bad, but could benefit from a bit more training on etiquette. Not trying to be snobby, but if you are trying to create a particular atmosphere, you need to be consistent.

JA
Tucson
26 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Cesco is our favorite Italian restaurant in Bethesda and one of our favorites overall. And they have a terrific happy hour menu in the lounge as well. The pastas are superb, the menu has enough variety to appeal to anyone's taste, and the ambiance is classy and relaxing.

K
Washington DC
19 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Our party of 8 enjoyed a fabulous meal this past Saturday night. The food was amazing and the service exemplary. Our waiter helped us with the extensive wine menu and our cocktails were spot on. We all shared the risotto which was prepared perfectly and also enjoyed the calamari. The fennel salad was exactly what I was looking for. My rockfish was delicious and so was my husband’s sea bass. Although we were all full, we had to sample some desserts and they did not disappoint! Great spot for any celebration or just a really good dinner out! Oh, and we also loved the big round table which facilitated great conversation amongst our group. Parking was easy right next door ... all in all, it would be hard to find fault with Cesco’s!

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

A wonderful find. Staff could not have been more accommodating. Every dish was first rate.

TP
Baltimore
1 review