Mari Vanna, the newest addition to DC’s dining scene, recently opened just blocks away from the White House. At 6,500 square feet, the restaurant is the largest of the Ginza Project’s smaller, sister locations in New York, London, and Moscow, and features traditional Russian cuisine including blinis, caviar, and pirozhok (a stuffed bun) along with classic entrees like beef stroganoff and chicken kotletki.
The three-level eatery is styled in homage to its namesake—according to Slavic folklore, Mari Vanna was a fairytale grandmother who welcomed hungry travelers under her roof—with an open-air kitchen and traditional décor that includes antique-styled china cabinets and armchairs, lace doilies, and vintage photographs. But don’t let the grandmotherly feel fool you—the lively bar puts a twist on Russian tradition by offering 70 house-infused vodkas that can be added to various signature cocktails. (The Klubnichka, a refreshing strawberry spritzer, and the Pomidorchik, a Bloody Mary-like drink, are must-haves.)
The new restaurant marked its place as a culinary hotspot during inauguration weekend when it hosted The Creative Coalition’s “Night Before Dinner” on January 20. The event welcomed guests to town ahead of The Creative Coalition’s Inaugural Ball, which was held on January 21 at the Harman Center for the Arts. Celebrity dinner guests included coalition president Tim Daly, Paula Abdul, Matt Bomer, Taraji P. Henson, John Leguizamo, and Marlon Wayans. 1141 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-783-7777