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. Blue Duck Tavern

    $$$$ | Foggy Bottom | American

    Many chefs are fond of artisanal and local ingredients. Chef Ryan LaRoche is so committed to the cause that fixings are often strewn across...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 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. Rasika

    $$ | Chinatown | Indian

    Adventurous wine lists, stellar service, inventive presentations that don't scrimp on the spice—this Indian kitchen would have been a local...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. Belga Café

    $$$ | Capitol Hill | European

    You can go traditional with mussels and the crispiest of french fries or dabble in what the chef calls Euro-fusion at this sleek café done up...Read More

  • 7. Bistrot Lepic

    $$$ | Glover Park | French

    Relaxed and upbeat, with bright yellow walls and colorful paintings, this small, crowded neighborhood bistro is French in every regard—starting...Read More

  • 8. China Chilcano

    $$ | Fusion

    The José Andrés formula is pleasantly familiar to D.C. diners who have thronged his ever-growing empire of endlessly kicky ethnic small plates...Read More

  • 9. Mintwood Place

    $$$ | Adams Morgan | French

    Visitors to D.C. from more cosmopolitan confines tend to scoff at the city's high-minded cultural aspirations, but only in a smaller urban center...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Ripple

    $$ | American

    Eat, drink, gather" is the motto of this warm and inventive neighborhood favorite for date nights at any age. Known for its attentive service...Read More

  • 14. Room 11

    $$ | Chinatown | 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

  • 15. 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

  • 16. 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

  • 17. 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

  • 18. Locanda

    $$ | Capitol Hill | Italian

    Political combatants of all stripes lay down their arms at day's end for a welcoming meal at this new standby, minutes from the House of...Read More

  • 19. Mie n Yu

    $$$ | Georgetown | Asian

    Exotic romance abounds at this palatial retreat inspired by the Europe-to-Asia journey of explorer Marco Polo. The menu matches Polo's route...Read More

  • 20. Teatro Goldoni

    $$$ | Downtown | Italian

    Named for an 18th-century Venetian playwright, this restaurant with a colorful interior is a showcase for chef Fabrizio Aielli's modern-meets...Read More

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