Washington, D.C. Restaurants

Washington has long benefited from a constant infusion of different cultures, making it a stellar culinary host for visitors and transplants from around the world, but recent years have made the fifth or sixth banana of American haute cuisine into a foodie town in its own right. You can find almost any cuisine here, from Salvado
Washington has long benefited from a constant infusion of different cultures, making it a stellar culinary host for visitors and transplants from around the world, but recent years have made the fifth or sixth banana of American haute cuisine into a foodie town in its o
Washington has long benefited from a constant infusion of different cultures, making it a stellar culinary host for visi

Washington has long benefited from a constant infusion of different cultures, making it a stellar culinary host for visitors and transplants from around the world, but recent years have made the fifth or sixth banana of American haute cuisine into a foodie town in its own right. You can find almost any cuisine here, from Salvadoran to Ethiopian, despite D.C.'s lack of true ethnic neighborhoods. But now you can also sample cooking from some of the country’s hottest new chefs and sip craft cocktails that could be mistaken for Manhattan’s. Just follow your nose.

Although most neighborhoods lack a unified culinary flavor, make no mistake: D.C. is a city of distinctive areas, each with its own style. Chinatown, for example, is known for chic small plates of various origins. You'll find Japanese noodle shops next to Mexican taquerias and Indian bistros. These spots wax and wane on the popularity scale with each passing season; it's worth taking a stroll down the street to see what's new. Downtown, you'll find many of the city's blue-chip law firms and deluxe, expense-account restaurants, as well as stylish lounges, brewpubs, and upscale eateries that have sprung up to serve the crowds that attend games at the Verizon Center.

Wherever you venture forth in the city, there are a few trends worth noting: artisanal cocktails, charcuterie-and-cheese plates, and back-to-basics New American cuisine are in vogue. You'll find tapas-style portions pervasive, whether you're at a Greek, Asian, or American restaurant. High-end restaurants in town also have begun to add bar menus with smaller plates that are much less expensive than their entrées, but created with the same finesse.

Though Italian, French, and fusion spots continue to open at a ferocious pace, Washingtonians are always hungry to try something new, whether it's Chinese smoked lobster, fiery Indian curry, or crunchy and addictive Vietnamese spring rolls.

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  • 1. Rose's Luxury

    $$$ | American

    The neon sign above one of the two interior bars at what its chef calls the city's "most exclusively unexclusive" kitchen reads "awesome"—the...Read More

  • 2. Art and Soul

    $$$ | Capitol Hill | American

    Best known as Oprah's longtime personal chef, Art Smith is now serving the Washingtonian crowd at this funky Southern-fried spot, located in...Read More

  • 3. Belga Café

    $$$ | Capitol Hill | European

    You can go traditional with mussels and the crispiest of french fries or dabble in what the chef calls Euro-fusion at this sleek café done up...Read More

  • 4. Bistro Bis

    $$$ | Capitol Hill | French

    A zinc bar, spacious brown-leather booths, and a glass-front display kitchen create great expectations at Bistro Bis, the second restaurant...Read More

  • 5. Cava Mezze

    $$ | Capitol Hill | Mediterranean

    This modern mecca for mezes (small plates for sharing) delivers delicious and chic Mediterranean without the whiz-bang conceits of its pricier...Read More

  • 6. Ethiopic

    $ | Capitol Hill | Ethiopian

    The spongy rolls of sourdough injera bread (ubiquitous on Ethiopian plates) used in place of utensils can make traditional Ethiopian feel...Read More

  • 7. Good Stuff Eatery

    $ | Capitol Hill | American

    Fans of Bravo's Top Chef will first visit this brightly colored burgers-and-shakes shack hoping to spy charismatic TV chef Spike Mendelsohn...Read More

  • 8. Granville Moore's Brickyard

    $$ | Capitol Hill | Belgian

    This Belgian beer hall with a gourmet soul is worth a visit despite its location in D.C.'s Atlas District, an area that can be seedy after dark...Read More

  • 9. Jimmy T's Place

    $ | Capitol Hill | American

    This D.C. institution is tucked in the first floor of an old row house only five blocks from the Capitol. Sassy waiters, talkative regulars...Read More

  • 10. Library of Congress's Madison Building Cafeteria

    $ | Capitol Hill

    Steps from the Capitol, this eatery gets raves for its varied breakfast and lunch, and panoramic views of Washington. ...Read More

  • 11. Seventh Hill

    $ | Capitol Hill | Pizza

    When this hand-tossed-pizza spot first opened, it seemed like a risky bet given the high bar set by capital favorites such as Matchbox and 2...Read More

  • 12. Sonoma

    $$ | Capitol Hill | Wine Bar

    This chic multilevel wine bar has pours aplenty (in both tasting portions and full glasses) along with well-thought-out charcuterie boards piled...Read More

  • 13. Sticky Rice

    $ | Capitol Hill | Asian

    The capital's hip young things usually begin their nights out with cocktails, not high-concept food, but this kitschy den of sushi and karaoke...Read More

  • 14. Ted's Bulletin

    $ | Capitol Hill | American

    This cheeky homage to mid-20th-century diners is styled after a newspaper office, with menus printed in broadsheet format and specials mounted...Read More

  • 15. The Market Lunch

    $ | Capitol Hill | American

    For a perfect Saturday morning or afternoon on the Hill, take a walk around the Capitol, a stroll through Eastern Market, and then dig in to...Read More

  • 16. Union Station

    $ | Eclectic

    No matter the time of day or dining moods of your group, you'll find everything from bagels, barbeque, and burgers to sushi, salads, and smoothies....Read More

  • 17. We, the Pizza

    $ | Capitol Hill

    Top Chef 's Spike Mendelsohn flips specialty pies with creative ingredients. Eat in or take out. ...Read More

  • 18. Johnny's Half Shell

    $$$ | Capitol Hill | Seafood

    On the Senate side of the Capitol, this eatery's Southern-tinged mid-Atlantic fare—pristine Kumamoto oysters, flavorful seafood stews, fried...Read More

  • 19. Locanda

    $$ | Capitol Hill | Italian

    Political combatants of all stripes lay down their arms at day's end for a welcoming meal at this new standby, minutes from the House of...Read More

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