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. 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

  • 2. Osteria Morini

    $$$ | Southeast | Italian

    The stylish design and superlative pastas of this take on cuisine from northern Italy's Emilia-Romagna region might seem like an unexpected...Read More

  • 3. Rasika

    $$ | Penn Quarter | Indian

    Adventurous wine lists, stellar service, inventive presentations that don't scrimp on the spice—this Indian kitchen is a local legend. A sceney...Read More

  • 4. Room 11

    $ | U Street | Wine Bar

    You're invited to the coolest house party in the city, where deft hands in a tiny kitchen turn out urbane plates that go down like a designer...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Bistrot Lepic & Wine Bar

    $$$ | Georgetown | French

    Relaxed and upbeat, this neighborhood bistro serves twists on old classics such as potato-crusted salmon served with cherry and Pernod sauce...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Cafe Milano

    $$$$ | Georgetown | Italian

    Expect authentic, sophisticated Italian cooking and a pricey wine list at this upscale Georgetown hot spot that has been around for over 25...Read More

  • 11. Centrolina

    $$$ | Chinatown | Italian

    This bright, airy Italian osteria has an adjoining market and a daily changing menu that is all about locally sourced meats and produce, as...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House

    $$$$ | Chinatown | Steakhouse

    Del Frisco's is yet another upscale steak house in a city bursting with them. Like many others, the cuts of meat are tasty, generous, and pricey...Read More

  • 14. Fiola

    $$$$ | Penn Quarter | Italian

    Chef Fabio Trabocchi's flights of fancy—such as oysters with granita and caviar or Nova Scotia lobster ravioli—delight many area foodies but...Read More

  • 15. Fiola Mare

    $$$$ | Georgetown | Italian

    The harborside setting for Fabio Trabocchi's ode to Italian-style seafood is one of the most sought-after spots in town. Dine alfresco, and...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. 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

  • 18. 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

  • 19. Mintwood Place

    $$$ | Adams Morgan | French

    At this saloon-inspired venue, European and American flavors come together with seasonal ingredients. The menu changes weekly, with dishes like...Read More

  • 20. 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

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