Ice House Cafe

4.4
417 reviews
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$30 and under
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Seafood
Every now and then you run across a truely memorable restaurant that delights all of your senses. The food is imaginative, the atmosphere charming, the wine list extensive, the entertainment enjoyable, and the staff make you feel so comfortable that you want to come back again and again. Nestled in historic Herndon, the Ice House Cafe has been cooking up an unforgettable dining experience since 1979. From the ceiling fans blowing a cool breeze through the cozy surroundings, to the photos lining the walls of a bygone era when life was less hectic and more relaxed, to the woodwork and brass fixtures that call attention to detail- you'll find yourself easing into a deeply satisfying evening.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Seafood, American
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Hours of operation
Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:30pm; Dinner: Monday - Thurday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday and Saturday: 5:00pm - 12:00am
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Phone number
(703) 437-4500
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Payment options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Neighborhood
What 417 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.4
service
4.2
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
100% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A wonderful dining and music experience. So sad that they are closing their doors at the end of the year after more than 40 years of service

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OT
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sorry to hear that it is closing :( Delicious food!

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MC
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As we arrived I was thinking how great it is that a fun restaurant with a unique interior and live music has survived the latest surge in redevelopment. we had a great meal - DUCK (I've been disappointed so many times, but they do a very good duck) and shrimp and grits. the band was fun and of course the walrus, bear, deer looked on. at the end of the meal, the waiter told us that they were closing the end of the year - as the rent had doubled .... SO anyone who wants to check out this really unique and fun place with live music and good food and choices of beer - instead of a chain restaurant, please go !! also if anyone knows somebody really rich who can buy out the owner and keep them there it would be a great service to Herndon.

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T
Washington DC
23 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Have been here many times and it's always great food.

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H
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I always enjoy Ice House Cafe, particular to celebrate special occasions. I was saddened recently to hear after 4 decades the owners will be closing this Town of Herndon gem at the end of 2018.

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TL
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The seafood was delicious, and cooked to perfection. We’ve lived nearby for years and only recently discovered this gem. Will definitely be back for another date night!

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AD
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

They either didn’t have enough servers or cooks therefore it took some time to get our food. Live band very good. Quality of food okay but I would give it another try.

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N
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Was in town for a business trip and I always try to find local places to dine (as opposed to chain restaurants).
Ice House came up in my search and the menu and reviews caught my attention.
Our meals were delicious and fresh. We ordered the raw oysters and they are great.
The decor was interesting. It made me feel like I was in the Mid West instead of Virginia.
The only negative/disappointment was that my cocktail drink was in a small glass and pretty diluted from all the ice for the price they charged (I ordered the very old fashion).
If in Herndon again I would go back.

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EG
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Food was delicious and not overly priced. The music added to the atmosphere of the dinner.

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KL
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Excellent meal! Friendly service and wonderful ambience. Jazz combo was terrific! Kitchen was a little overloaded on this busy night, slowing down service a bit, but it was nice to see such a fine local eatery doing so well.

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H
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good food and music. Dinner service was unusually slow this time probably due to possible shortstaffing in the kitchen. One cold evening(like last Friday), it would be best to switch off the fan in the main room.

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S
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

It was fine

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NV
Washington DC
74 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

Dinner out with friends to celebrate a birthday. Tuesday night so it was quiet in the restaurant but why does that sometimes lead to a bad experience? Does the staff get lazy because they don’t have enough to go? Service was great but food was subpar. My seafood salad was supposed to be on wilted lettuce - it was raw, untouched a cooktop lettuce. My friends salad was also average. Other friend said her chicken dish was so-so and over cooked. Disappointing overall.

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M
Washington DC
19 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 4

Not our best experience this time. 3 guests ordered the Halibut special and after 15 minutes we were told only 1 was available. The one that got it was delivered rainbow trout. And, lastly we were overcharged $75 on our bill, which included 3 halibut meals we never got and an extra glass of wine.

Noticed there was no maitre d at the restaurant. We’ve been there many times and brought 4 friends with us this time to celebrate a birthday. Unfortunately, the experience was Not Up to Par.

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s
Washington DC
34 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great neighborhood historic vibe with great music and service. Food was tasty and tried to be sexy but missed the mark a little on presentation but all and all decent.

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HC
Washington DC
47 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Ice House is an awesome place. The food was delicious (rockfish special) and I love the atmosphere. The band that played was just so good. We had a terrific waiter (Will) and we loved everything about the evening. I am anxious to go back again soon.

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GM
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on August 18, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

My wife and I were down in the Chantilly area visiting our daughter and treated her, her boyfriend and his parents to dinner here based on restaurants reviews and that it has existed forever. Reservations were set for 6:30 pm and we were seated immediately upon arrival toward the back of the restaurant on my request because there is live music on Saturday nights and its a small place. The music was great but as other reviews mention quite loud so keep that in mind if you go.
The food was very good, well prepared and presented though the crab on the halibut was slightly salty. Outside of that everyone was super impressed and it has now been added to there list of go to restaurants. Oh, I can't forget to mention that the fresh raw oysters from the bay were phenomenal, simply the best I have ever had. They were firm, perfectly chilled and clean in flavor, a must if you like raw oysters.

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D
Washington DC
56 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely evening on a quiet Monday night. Ahi tuna and sides were nicely done. The special, monk fish stuffed with crab was amazing! Great service by Dave as well!!

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JB
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Great place! Enjoyed the live music and atmosphere. Food is great.

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O
Washington DC
62 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 3

The service was outstanding, but the food was not in the same category. My crabcakes were OK, my friend's shrimp was OK. OK is not good enough to justify a return visit.

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WH
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great value with no cover for live Jazz/Blues on Friday/Saturday and good food for dinner at reasonable prices. Surprised more people do not know about Ice House Cafe.

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G
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

They have traditional jazz combos on Friday and Saturday night which increases the noise level, The noise level is not high on weekdays. It was still possible to converse.

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SM
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and service, perfect for special occasions.

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EM
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The meals were both unique and outstanding. The chef has a real knack for mixing flavors to bring cuisine sensation to the table. The service was immaculate, contributing to the dining experience. personally I could do without then stuffed animal heads...they did not enhance the ambiance!

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K
Washington DC
58 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Ice House Café is a great local place to listen to jazz music. The food was excellent and the music was fantastic. I had their special which was a halibut dish and my husband had the jambalaya. Both were very good. We will definitely be back.

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OT
Nashville
8 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent attentive service and great food - highly recommend this casual, welcoming eatery.

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F
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The restaurant serves good food but the decor needs updating. The dining rooms are a tad dark and the furnishings are sparse.

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IM
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 30, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 1

Palace looked very dated and tired looking

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DK
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a great business meal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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B
Miami
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful restaurant! The food is unique and delicious!!
I love the speakeasy feel and the graciousness of the staff.
Never disappoints!

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TM
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We went to Ice House Cafe to celebrate a birthday and listen to some live jazz. We had a lovely evening! We sat in the back room, away from the bar and the band, and that was the perfect location for both hearing the music and being able to converse. It's a very small place, so the music would have been overpowering further up toward the stage. We had the seafood special that night, monkfish with crab meat, and it was delicious. The server was attentive and friendly, and made a very good wine recommendation that worked with the fish very well. We enjoyed our visit and hope to be back soon.

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G
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Henry was our server and explained everything very well. The food was good. There was a small bone in my duck salad. I mentioned this and received an apology. We were celebrating our anniversary and came here because this was the location of our first date 34 years ago; however, nothing was offered to us for our anniversary. This was a little disappointing.

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JG
1 review
Dined on May 29, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 1

Pretty basic place. Food was okay. It was a quiet evening - not busy. Smelled like cigarette smoke.

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TD
Washington DC
37 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Overall surprisingly good experience. Bartender was well above average. Made great Vodka Tonics. Food was really really good.

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B
Las Vegas
8 reviews
Dined on May 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

And unexpected pleasure

I had never heard of the restaurant but was very pleased a friend invited me to meet for a business lunch. The atmosphere is very relaxed and comfortable for a business lunch. It’s easy to get to and parking was easy. I work in Tysons corner and this was about 20 minutes away.

I had the clam chowder and the pan sautéed salmon special.The chowder was excellent and I was impressed with the salmon. It was sautéed in real butter and when I say real butter I mean lots of it and although it was more calories than I should have a business lunch it is one of the tastiest lunches I’ve had in a while.

I think I’ll try for dinner

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BR
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 3

My wife selected this restaurant for Mother's Day since the menu looked great and we hadn't been here before. We had a 6 PM reservation so we didn't expect that three of the dishes on the menu would not be available (duck, chicken and another). So I ordered the pork chop, which showed up seared on the outside and fully purple on the inside (uncooked). My wife's bourbon prawns were actually large (not jumbo) shrimp with the same super spicy sauce from the Thai beef skewers dumped on top. Not sure what was "bourbon" about the dish. She passed that to me to eat since she couldn't eat it. Oh, and 3 of the shrimp were barely cooked. My daughter's chicken strip things could barely be chewed threw with teeth, pretty gross. My son's jambalaya, excellent. The Thai beef skewers, very good. Clearly they were understaffed (2 servers) and they appeared to be pretty worn down from the day. The bus boy was very nice and apologetic for the poor food and he brought my wife a rose, which was an appreciated exit to the dinner. I'm sure, based on other reviews, this was just a way off experience we had and we may possibly consider giving it another chance in the future. We picked up wings on the way home and watched the Caps game....better end to the day.

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TJ
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Mother’s Day

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a change of plans and got reservations 2 days before for Mother’s Day Brunch for 7 people. It was just perfect. The table was in a room with only one other party, service was great, and the food was delicious. We had mimosas, Eggs Benedict with crabmeat and Cajun hollandaise, omelet with shrimp, and French toast with bacon. They even gave my mom and I each a rose.

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

The food was wonderful but we waited a very long time to get our main meals

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BB
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on April 29, 2018
Overall 1food 5service 5ambience 1

The Ice House is a great place to get away and I love the owners and the food. The music on Saturday night was unbearable. It was so loud that you could not speak with the person sitting next to you, and we were in the back room. I understand the weekend music, but there is no reason for the music to be so loud in such a small place. I may stay away for dinner from now on and just stick to lunch and nights when there is no music.

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