kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

703.203.9463

Vinifera

Last week I had the chance to go out and try Reston's answer to all the new DC wine bars that have cropped up over the last year or so. Vinifera is located in the Westin hotel in Restin Heights. Catering to locals as well as travelers, Vinifera's look is sleek yet approachable (think dark wood, muted tones and comfy seating.) The menu boasts 25 options by the glass or half glass, with an additional 250 selections available by the bottle. (Although Vinifera doesn't yet offer flights, that's one of their future plans, along with wine dinners and classes in the sumptuous private dining room that overlooks the patio).

Speaking of the patio, I can't think of a better spot for a summer evening--the Dulles Toll Road is close by, but you would never know it by sitting outside--you can't see it and you can barely hear it. Hardwood furniture gives it an upscale al fresco look--a perfect spot for sipping a glass of bubbly or crisp Albarino.

The menu focuses on tastings, or small plates. Highlights include chicken lollipops, tiger prawn potstickers and Margarita flat bread. If you crave more substantial fare, an entree menu is available at nearby tables. Service is friendly and knowledgeable, and the servers I encountered moonlight at area wine stores--so they know their stuff and are passionate about it.

I've been told the website(www.viniferabistro.com) should be up, but I haven't had any luck getting to it. Better to search using Westin's website. Oh, and I forgot to mention the FREE valet parking available out front. Just try to find that at a DC wine bar.