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 Salvadoran to Ethiopian, despite the lack of true ethnic neighborhoods in the city. You can now also sample cooking from some of the country’s hottest new chefs, find already established celebrity chefs who have just made their D.C debuts, and sip craft cocktails on par with some of the world's best.

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. Komi

    $$$$ | Dupont Circle | Mediterranean

    Young, energetic chef-owner Johnny Monis offers one of the city's most adventurous dining experiences in this tiny space. The multicourse, prix...Read More

  • 2. Le Chat Noir

    $$$ | Tenleytown | French

    This unpretentious but intimate and stylish bistro recalls a Parisian café, with dark woods, white table cloths, and cozy tables—not to mention...Read More

  • 3. Napoli Pasta Bar

    $$ | Columbia Heights | Italian

    Located on a residential street, this restaurant offers an authentic Italian dining experience. Chef and owner Antonio Ferraro brings the flavors...Read More

  • 4. Siroc Restaurant

    $$ | Downtown | Italian

    This wonderfully intimate, Italian-Mediterranean restaurant sits in the heart of Downtown D.C. Family owned and run, a rarity in this neighborhood...Read More

  • 5. 1789 Restaurant

    $$$$ | Georgetown | American

    This dining room with early American paintings and a fireplace could easily be a room in the White House. But all the gentility of this 19th...Read More

  • 6. Annabelle

    $$$ | American

    The latest creation by famed D.C. restaurateur Ashok Bajaj is located where the legendary Restaurant Nora used to sit. This modern American...Read More

  • 7. Calabash Tea & Tonic

    $ | Shaw | Café

    This award-winning teahouse, named Yelp’s “Most Loved Business in D.C.” in 2019, features over 80 teas, tonics, and body products based on founder...Read More

  • 8. Compass Rose

    $$ | U Street | Fusion

    Take a trip around the world at Compass Rose, a restaurant celebrating global cuisine. Inspired by her travels, owner Rose Previte features...Read More

  • 9. IMM Thai on H

    $$ | Capitol Hill | Thai

    IMM" in Thai means “pleasantly full,” and this tiny newcomer at the eastern edge of the H Street corridor will get you there happily. The spicy...Read More

  • 10. Le Grenier

    $$ | Capitol Hill | French

    Le Grenier’s slogan is “the French on H,” and it's no joke: this cozy spot near Union Station has every bit the feel of a Parisian neighborhood...Read More

  • 11. Marcel's by Robert Wiedmaier

    $$$$ | French

    Served in a warmly lit, elegant setting, the award-winning, Flemish-inspired French menu at Marcel's—the flagship restaurant of acclaimed chef...Read More

  • 12. Maydan

    $$$$ | U Street | Middle Eastern

    Michelin-starred Maydan is an idyllic culinary journey of the Middle East with an intricate entrance, wood fire taking center stage, and a colorful...Read More

  • 13. Nazca Mochica

    $$ | Dupont Circle | Peruvian

    Many people think of seviche when they hear "Peruvian cuisine," but diners at Nazca Mochica will lose out if they don't look beyond that. The...Read More

  • 14. Obelisk

    $$$$ | Dupont Circle | Italian

    Despite its tiny dining room, this Italian stalwart, under the helm of veteran chef Esther Lee, has maintained a pull on special-occasion diners...Read More

  • 15. Proof

    $$$ | Chinatown | Wine Bar

    Chef Haidar Karoum grew up traveling throughout Europe, acquiring a Continental polyglot's sensibility that serves him perfectly wearing the...Read More

  • 16. Sushiko Chevy Chase

    $$ | Japanese

    At the city's self-touted first raw-fish restaurant, the cuts are always ocean fresh, the cocktails fruity, and the presentations classic. Think...Read More

  • 17. Nora

    $$$$ | Dupont Circle | American

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

  • 18. Bibiana Osteria and Enoteca

    $$ | Downtown | Italian

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

  • 19. Cashion's Eat Place

    $$$ | Adams Morgan | American

    Walls are hung with family photos, and tables are jammed with regulars feasting on home-style cooking that stays impressively modern in the...Read More

  • 20. Coppi's Organic Restaurant

    $$ | U Street | Italian

    An Italian bicycling motif permeates this restaurant, from the posters, photographs, and gear hanging on the walls to the monogrammed racing...Read More

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