Restaurants in Washington DC
The city's many politicians and their expense accounts ensure that Washington DC has some fantastic dining options to suit every budget and taste. From glamorous upmarket restaurants dripping with style, to roadside stalls and eateries, this city offers many kinds of cuisine for many different budgets.
Fresh seafood, crab, oysters and rock fish are among the most popular choices on restaurant menus, with special emphasis on dishes made with locally-caught crabs, such as crab cakes, blue crabs, crab legs, crab soup and even Crab Chips, a brand of potato chip unique to Washington DC. A popular spice is Old Bay, which is locally made and used to season just about everything from peaches to popcorn.
Most restaurants are centred around the Midtown, downtown and Penn Quarter areas with the very upmarket eateries close to Capitol Hill and frequented by businessmen and businesswomen. Dupont Circle and the West End are also great areas for restaurants. A tip of about 15 percent is expected in restaurants and it is customary to make reservations before dining out.
Located in an 18th-century federal townhouse, 1789 is divided into five themed dining rooms with fireplaces and period furniture, and the setting combines with the food to make this a premiere dining experience presided over by chef Nathan Beauchamp. His 'keep it simple' approach is enhanced by the best quality ingredients, and complemented by excellent wine pairings. Fish and meat dishes are followed by a list of decadent desserts. There is also a good-value pre-theatre menu available, as well as an 'after hours' menu catering to those who prefer a post-performance dinner. Reservations essential. Open for dinner nightly.
Address: 1226 36th Street NW
Telephone: (202) 965 1789
The sweet Vidalia onion is a speciality in season at this charming, lively restaurant below street level. The regional Southern cuisine features such specialities as crab cakes, shrimp on yellow grits and the renowned lemon chess pie; homemade corn bread is served with every meal. Reservations recommended. Open for lunch and dinner, but no lunch on weekends.
Address: 1990 M Street NW, Dupont Circle (Downtown)
Telephone: (202) 659 1990
Zaytinya is one of Washington DC's top restaurants, Greek or otherwise. Travellers with adventurous palates can dig into mezze delicacies like goat flatbread, crispy veal sweetbreads and grilled octopus, while vegetarians will find plenty to choose from. There is a reduced-price lunch menu offering sandwiches, salads and shawarmas, and even a brunch menu available until 2.30pm.
Address: 701 Ninth Street NW, Edison Place
Telephone: (202) 638-0800
For Belgian cuisine at its very best, look no further than Belga Café. This stylish eatery with tasteful décor is a favourite in Washington DC with locals and out-of-towners alike. With unforgettable dishes, you won't soon forget this trendy restaurant. There is also a large selection of Belgian beers and wines to complement your meal. Sample the four kazen korketten, two croquettes of 'four cheeses' with a frisee-bacon salad and balsamic dressing - delicious! The Lotte mit Jenever, bacon-wrapped monkfish fillet with Jenever beurre blanc, yellow potatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli on a bed of red onion confit, is also excellent. Open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner. Saturday and Sunday brunch and dinner only.
Address: 514, 8th Street, SE
Telephone: 202 544 0100
By far the smartest Indian restaurant in town, the ambience created by the ceiling fans, wicker furniture and potted palms is straight from the British colonial era. Bombay Club is known for its setting, as well as for its gourmet regional Indian cuisine and personalised service, and was a favourite spot for the Clintons when occupying the White House across the road. Delicious naan flatbread complements dishes ranging from fiery green chilli chicken and tandoori dishes, to rogan josh, biryanis, dhals and lobster malabar. The Sunday champagne brunch is popular. Lunch Monday to Friday, dinner daily. Reservations essential.
Address: 815 Connecticut Avenue NW (Downtown)
Telephone: (202) 659 3727
If you're in the mood for a steak, there's no better place to go in Washington DC than the aptly-named Capital Grille. The elegant mahogany-panelled dining room creates the perfect backdrop for the restaurant's famous dry-aged steaks and fresh seafood, accompanied by an extensive wine list with thousands of choices.
Address: 601 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Telephone: (202) 737-6200
Fogo de Chao
Carnivores will be in heaven at Fogo de Chao, Washington DC's top Brazilian restaurant. Skewers of meat are paraded around as you eat all you can stand and the churrascarias beef is something special. Vegetarians will have to content themselves with the salad bar and vegetable sides.
Address: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Telephone: (202) 347-4668
Birch and Barley
Serving the best American food in the most American city in the world, Birch and Barley is popular with locals and tourists alike for its delicious comfort food like pan-seared rainbow trout, honey-glazed duck breast, and their special bratwurst burger. The brunch menu is equally tasty with offerings that include waffles, French toast, sticky buns and even grits, but the real star of the menu is the draft beer list, which stretches to an amazing 555 varieties!
Address: 1337 14th Street NW
Telephone: (202) 567-2576
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