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. Rose's Luxury

    $$ | Eastern Market | Modern American

    A darling of both diners and the media, Rose's Luxury lives up to the hype as one of the city's most welcoming and groundbreaking dining destinations...Read More

  • 2. Blue Duck Tavern

    $$$$ | Modern American

    With an open kitchen firmly committed to artistically crafted American cuisine, this high-end neighborhood tavern, located in the Park Hyatt...Read More

  • 3. Founding Farmers DC

    $$ | Foggy Bottom | Modern American

    Inside this ultramodern take on the old-school farmhouse, affordable eco-chic is the mantra—though the sheer number of offerings can be a tad...Read More

  • 4. RIS

    $$$ | West End | Modern American

    The brainchild of veteran chef Ris Lacoste, RIS serves elevated but comforting seasonal new American fare in an earthy-chic, light-filled space...Read More

  • 5. The Partisan

    $$$ | Penn Quarter | Modern American

    Charcuterie is more than just salami at this wood-paneled homage to all parts of the pig. Sample servings of meat under headings like rich ...Read More

  • 6. Westend Bistro

    $$$ | Modern American

    The culinary team focuses on Americanized versions of bistro classics created from regional ingredients in this modern-style West End restaurant...Read More

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