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. Hank's Oyster Bar

    $$ | Dupont Circle | Seafood

    The watchword is simplicity at this chic take on the shellfish shacks of New England. A half-dozen oyster varieties are available daily on the...Read More

  • 2. Komi

    $$$$ | Dupont Circle | American

    Johnny Monis, the young, energetic chef-owner of this small, personal restaurant, offers one of the most adventurous dining experiences in the...Read More

  • 3. Nora

    $$$$ | Dupont Circle | American

    Chef and founder Nora Pouillon helped pioneer the sustainable-food revolution with the first certified organic restaurant in the country, and...Read More

  • 4. Sweetgreen

    $ | Dupont Circle | Eclectic

    When three Georgetown University graduates carved out a closet-size niche to sell freshly made salads and tart frozen yogurt almost a decade...Read More

  • 5. Bistrot du Coin

    $$ | Dupont Circle | French

    An instant hit in its Dupont Circle neighborhood, this moderately priced French bistro with a monumental zinc bar is noisy, crowded, and fun...Read More

  • 6. DGS Delicatessen

    $$ | Dupont Circle | Deli

    Your favorite Jewish grandma might be thrown for a loop by this precocious reboot of her staple dishes—what, regular Reubens were too boring...Read More

  • 7. Estadio

    $$$ | Logan Circle | Spanish

    The name of this polished palace means "stadium," and its gorgeously baroque interior, which surrounds a high-wire open kitchen, makes a perfect...Read More

  • 8. Kramerbooks & Afterwords

    $$ | Dupont Circle | Café

    This popular bookstore-cum-café is a favorite neighborhood breakfast spot. It's also a late-night haunt on Friday and Saturday, when it's open...Read More

  • 9. Kramerbooks & Afterwords

    $$ | Dupont Circle

    Relax at this bookstore-café over a light meal or a drink after browsing. Wednesday through Saturday, live music ensues. ...Read More

  • 10. Little Serow

    $$$$ | Dupont Circle | Thai

    Remember the last time a quirky new musical group or movie seemed to take over the world, racking up fans despite being more than a little,...Read More

  • 11. Obelisk

    $$$$ | Dupont Circle | Italian

    You won't find the menu online or much buzz among locals, but this Italian stalwart has maintained a pull on special-occasion diners for nearly...Read More

  • 12. Tabard Inn

    $$$ | Dupont Circle | American

    Fading portraits and overstuffed furniture make the lobby lounge look like an antiques store, but this hotel restaurant's culinary sensibilities...Read More

  • 13. Teaism

    $ | Dupont Circle

    This spot offers numerous varieties of tea, and a selection of seafood, chicken, beef, and vegetarian entrées in bento boxes. ...Read More

  • 14. Malaysia Kopitiam

    $ | Dupont Circle | Malaysian

    The style of this subterranean hideaway may be Gilligan's Island meets Kon-Tiki, but the voluminous menu has Malaysian treasures to spare. Though...Read More

  • 15. Skewers–Café Luna

    $ | Dupont Circle | Middle Eastern

    As the name implies, the focus at Skewers is on kebabs, here served with almond-flaked rice or pasta. Lamb with eggplant and chicken with roasted...Read More

  • 16. Vidalia

    $$$$ | Dupont Circle | American

    There's a lot more to chef Jeffrey Buben's distinguished restaurant than the sweet Vidalia onion, which is a specialty in season. Inspired by...Read More

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