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. Fiola

    $$$$ | Penn Quarter | Italian

    Washington foodies wept when Fabio Trabocchi took his Italian talents to the beloved Fiamma in New York City, but he soon returned to the District...Read More

  • 2. Beau Thai

    $ | Shaw | Thai

    This dream of a local haunt was founded by an experienced Thai chef and two American entrepreneurs inspired by her flair for spice. The drunken...Read More

  • 3. Bibiana Osteria and Enoteca

    $$ | Downtown | Italian

    You might call this the Italian version of the überpopular Indian spot Rasika, and you'd be correctly noting the modernist fingerprints of local...Read More

  • 4. Bombay Club

    $$ | Downtown | Indian

    One block from the White House, the beautiful Bombay Club tries to re-create the refined aura of British private clubs in colonial India. Potted...Read More

  • 5. Brasserie Beck

    $$$ | Downtown | Belgian

    Give in to sensory overload at this homage to the railway dining rooms that catered to the prewar European elite. Every detail of Beck's interior...Read More

  • 6. Full Kee

    $ | Chinese

    This popular Chinese restaurant is known for its excellent shrimp dumplings in noodle soup, but the rest of the menu is equally good. A $7 lunch...Read More

  • 7. Kaz Sushi Bistro

    $$ | Downtown | Japanese

    Traditional Japanese cooking is combined with often inspired improvisations ("freestyle Japanese cuisine," in the words of chef-owner Kaz Okochi...Read More

  • 8. Old Ebbitt Grill

    $$ | Downtown | American

    People flock here to drink at the several bars, which seem to go on for miles, and to enjoy well-prepared buffalo wings, hamburgers, and hearty...Read More

  • 9. Osteria Morini

    $$$$ | Italian

    This stylish design and superlative pastas of this take on regional Emilia-Romagna fare (think crostini, rich ragus, and wood-grilled meat)...Read More

  • 10. Paul

    $ | Downtown | French

    This chic, quick café is the Parisian equivalent of Starbucks, but that doesn't mean Americans of all walks of life won't be blown away by the...Read More

  • 11. Red Apron Butcher

    $ | Penn Quarter | Café

    As its name implies, you can get a very meaty sandwich here, but there are excellent choices for non–meat eaters as well. The breakfast and...Read More

  • 12. Teaism

    $ | Downtown | Asian

    This informal teahouse stocks more than 50 imported teas (black, white, and green), but it also serves healthful and delicious Japanese, Indian...Read More

  • 13. The Arsenal at Bluejacket

    $$ | D.C. Waterfront | American

    Most restaurants pair beers with food. Here you'll find the opposite: refined but hearty new American–Hawaiian fusion fare designed to complement...Read More

  • 14. The Hamilton

    $$ | Downtown | Eclectic

    Words don't do justice to the remodeling of a former warehouselike Borders bookstore into this classy cavalcade of culinary hits bolstered by...Read More

  • 15. Wolfgang Puck's The Source

    $$$$ | Downtown | Asian

    Iconic chef Puck's first foray into Washington, D.C., provides diners with two alternate experiences. The downstairs area is home to an intimate...Read More

  • 16. Burma

    $ | Downtown | Asian

    Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, is bordered by India, Thailand, and China, which gives a good indication of the cuisine at this...Read More

  • 17. Café MoZU

    $$$$ | Downtown | Asian

    amp;lt;QUERY> Should this property remain omitted? Yes – it is still closed, not sure when the expected reopening will be final yet ...Read More

  • 18. Ceiba

    $$ | Downtown | Latin American

    At this popular pan-Latin restaurant you'll probably want to start with a mojito or a pisco sour cocktail, then taste the tuna tartare taquitos...Read More

  • 19. CityZen

    $$$$ | Downtown | American

    The Mandarin Oriental Hotel's rarefied dining room has fast become a destination for those serious about food. In a glowing space with soaring...Read More

  • 20. G Street Food

    $ | Downtown | Eclectic

    Like Washington, D.C.'s layout and architecture, this upscale cafeteria takes a cue from Europe. The cosmopolitan menu echoes the best of the...Read More

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