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. Rasika

    $$ | Chinatown | Indian

    Adventurous wine lists, stellar service, inventive presentations that don't scrimp on the spice—this Indian kitchen would have been a local...Read More

  • 2. Zaytinya

    $$ | Chinatown | Middle Eastern

    This sophisticated urban dining room with soaring ceilings is a local favorite for meeting friends or dining with a group. Zaytinya, which means...Read More

  • 3. China Chilcano

    $$ | Fusion

    The José Andrés formula is pleasantly familiar to D.C. diners who have thronged his ever-growing empire of endlessly kicky ethnic small plates...Read More

  • 4. Full Kee

    $ | Chinatown | Chinese

    Many locals swear by this standout from the slew of mediocre Chinese joints in the area. The style-free interior can be off-putting to some...Read More

  • 5. Graffiato

    $$ | Chinatown | Italian

    Manhattan-trained Mike Isabella brought a rock-star cool to his stint on Top Chef, and his venture down I–95 gave the same instant pizzazz...Read More

  • 6. Hill Country

    $$ | Chinatown | Barbecue

    Barbecue partisans, put down your forks! Few who stop by this bustling hive of smoky brisket and gooey ribs can deny that it does Texas meat...Read More

  • 7. Jaleo

    $$ | Chinatown | Spanish

    You are encouraged to make a meal of the long list of tapas at this lively Spanish bistro, although the five types of handcrafted paella are...Read More

  • 8. Oyamel

    $$ | Chinatown | Mexican

    The specialty at this Mexican stunner is antojitos, literally translated as "little dishes from the streets." But the high ceilings, gracious...Read More

  • 9. Poste Moderne Brasserie

    $$$ | Chinatown | American

    Inside trendy Hotel Monaco, Poste woos diners with a towering skylighted space that until 1901 was the General Post Office. Homing in on Modern...Read More

  • 10. The Partisan

    $$$ | American

    Did you know that charcuterie can be as diverse as wine? It's more than just salami at this wood-paneled homage to all parts of the pig, bathed...Read More

  • 11. America Eats Tavern

    $$$ | Chinatown | American

    Hard economic times have sparked a boomlet in New Deal nostalgia around the capital, and nothing epitomizes financial-crisis chic like this...Read More

  • 12. Caf Atlntico

    $$$$ | Chinatown | Latin American

    The menu is always exciting at this nuevo Latino restaurant with friendly service. Conch fritters come with tiny avocado ravioli, and scallops...Read More

  • 13. Indebleu

    $$$ | Chinatown | Eclectic

    Visual drama and culinary fun are the twin concepts at this restaurant where French technique meets American foodstuffs and Indian spices. Quaff...Read More

  • 14. PS 7's

    $$$ | Chinatown | American

    This restaurant manages to be at once swanky yet youthful, and its bar scene is hip but low-key, with inventive cocktails and nibbles like miniature...Read More

  • 15. Zola

    $$$ | Chinatown | American

    Swanky and chic, Zola channels a 1940s vibe with its snug banquettes, oval bar carts, and dramatic red flourishes. Food is fun without being...Read More

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