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. 2 Amys

    $$ | Upper Northwest | Pizza

    Call it the Brando of D.C. pizzerias, because this Neapolitan sensation has played godfather to a number of throne-stealing wood ovens elsewhere...Read More

  • 2. Farmers Fishers Bakers

    $$ | Georgetown | American

    This restaurant near the Washington Harbour, on the banks of the Potomac River, is owned by a collective of farmers and emphasizes sustainable...Read More

  • 3. Hank's Oyster Bar Dupont Circle

    $$ | Dupont Circle | Seafood

    The watchword is simplicity at this chic take on the shellfish shacks of New England. Daily offerings include a half-dozen varieties of oyster...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 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 du Coin

    $$ | Dupont Circle | French

    A well-established local favorite, this cozy bistro has a monumental zinc bar and a menu of moderately priced French classics, including onion...Read More

  • 9. BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant

    $$$ | Upper Northwest | Seafood

    Just beyond Georgetown in the residential neighborhood of Palisades, BlackSalt is part fish market, part gossipy neighborhood hangout, part...Read More

  • 10. Bombay Club

    $$ | Downtown | Indian

    One block from the White House, the beautiful Bombay Club tries to re-create the refined aura of British private clubs in colonial India. On...Read More

  • 11. Brasserie Beck

    $$$ | Downtown | Belgian

    Give in to sensory overload at this homage to the railway dining rooms that catered to the prewar European elite. The food is just as rich as...Read More

  • 12. Cafe of India

    $$ | Tenleytown | Indian

    The menu at this traditional Indian restaurant features a few surprises, including an inventive shrimp and coconut masala, a local favorite...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. DCity Smokehouse

    $ | Bloomingdale | American

    DCity Smokehouse continues to be a beloved neighborhood barbecue spot. Located in residential Bloomingdale, the restaurant serves a variety...Read More

  • 15. 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

  • 16. 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

  • 17. Glen's Garden Market

    $ | Dupont Circle | American

    Tucked away on picturesque S Street NW, Glen's Garden Market is a hybrid grocery store and coffee shop–café. With a focus on locally sourced...Read More

  • 18. Izakaya Seki

    $$ | U Street | Japanese

    The only crowd-pleasing flourishes here are the freshness of the scallop carpaccio and the perfect sear on the grilled yellowtail jaw, and that...Read More

  • 19. Kaz Sushi Bistro

    $$ | Downtown | Japanese

    Traditional Japanese cooking is combined with often inspired improvisations ("freestyle Japanese cuisine," in the words of chef-owner Kaz Okochi...Read More

  • 20. Mezè

    $$ | Adams Morgan | Turkish

    A fixture in the neighborhood dining scene, this authentic Turkish restaurant and wine bar with a patio serves dishes such as doner kebabs...Read More

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