Washington Restaurants

Eat with native Washingtonians; our list of the best places to eat in Washington. Our top picks: Matchbox Chinatown, CityZen and Komi.
  • The best restaurant in Washington: Matchbox Chinatown

    Matchbox Chinatown

    713 H St NW
    M-Th 11AM-10:30PM, F 11AM-11:30PM, Sa 10AM-11:30PM, Su 10AM-10:30PM; closing times listed indicate time of last seating. $10-30. Matchbox looks like a tourist trap. It's in the right neighborhood, has gimmicky (if really cool) decor with an insane variety and quantity of matchboxes decorating the tables, and is enormous but still packed with people all times of the day. But some of the food here is actually really good: charcoaled sliders and wood-fired NYC-style pizza. (The rest of the menu, however, would befit a bonafide tourist trap.) It's also a good place to go for a drink, especially when the weather is warm and they open up their outdoor seating.
    Downtown
  • CityZen

    CityZen

    Mandarin Oriental1330 Maryland Ave SW
    Three-course: $80, Six-course: $110. Here is the Waterfront's one stand-out restaurant. The dining room is modern and attractive, and the international menu is world-class, one of the very best in the city, prepared by acclaimed chef Eric Ziebold. It's no surprise, really, that the Southwest's one great restaurant is located in the ritzy Mandarin Oriental hotel.
    South West
  • Komi

    Komi

    1509 17th St NW
    Tu-Th 5:30PM-9:30PM; Fr-Sa 5:30PM-10PM. Dinner: $90, tasting menu: $125, wine pairings: 3 for $48, 5 for $62. "Universal acclaim" is often claimed, but rarely factual in a strict sense. But Komi seemingly has yet to generate a negative critical review anywhere—not even a quip. Declared by serious foodies one of the best restaurants in the country, this is a place for a special occasion (or simply is a special occasion), as it's both super expensive and very memorable. Mediterranean/New American cuisine. It is indeed harder to get reservations here than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, so be ready to try a few times a full month in advance, calling first thing in the morning.
    Dupont Circle
  • 9:30 Club

    9:30 Club

    815 V St NW
    doors open: 6PM-11:30PM. cover: $10-60. The capital's flagship music venue. Check the calendar first, but know that the acts will be big. It's very small by big-name concert venues, but big by D.C. standards, boasts top-notch lighting and sound systems, and expensive booze. The place is small enough where you are going to have a great view no matter where you are standing.
    Columbia Heights
  • Jaleo

    Jaleo

    480 7th St NW
    Su-M 11:30AM-10PM, Tu-Th 11:30AM-11PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-midnight; brunch Sa-Su until 3PM. $20-40. Many credit this loud, happy restaurant in the Penn Quarter for the current boom in Spanish tapas bars. Serves tasty tapas and wonderful sangria, as well as a fantastic selection of ports and sherry. This is Jose Andrés' first restaurant, and one of the best options in the area. Expect to wait on a crowded F-Sa night.
    Downtown
  • The Birchmere

    The Birchmere

    3701 Mount Vernon Ave
    A locally famous musical hall which has had a spectrum of artists from country acts such as Charles Daniels to classic rockers like George Thorogood.
    Potomac West
  • Poste

    Poste

    555 8th St NW
    Breakfast: M-F 7AM-10AM; brunch: Sa-Su 8AM-3PM; lunch: M-F 11:30AM-3:30PM; dinner: M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-10:30PM, Su 5PM-9PM. $30-70. The standard menu, while top-notch contemporary American, may not leave a truly lasting impression as would some of the more unique restaurants in this area, but the setting is gorgeous. Set in the historic 1842 neo-classical General Post Office building, modeled after the Roman Temple of Jupiter, Poste has arguably the flashiest and prettiest dining room in the city. The courtyard occupying the center of the block is a favorite Washingtonian spot in the summer for outdoor dining and drinks—craft beers and truffle fries are a happy hour staple of the trendier crowd downtown. There are a couple memorable special-occasion items on (or off) the menu, though: if you have a big group, you can get one of the government-named seafood towers, or even make special reservations for a "Poste Roast," involving private dining and a whole roasted lamb, pig, or goat.
    Downtown
  • B Smith's

    B Smith's

    50 Massachusetts Ave NE
    M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 11AM-9PM. $25-60. Some of D.C.'s best upscale soul food and Creole cuisine is served here, in a beautiful, dining room, which was once the presidential waiting room at the station. B. Smith's is rather famous with visiting celebrities, as well as national politicians. They'll probably get a private room, but you might nonetheless see some famous fellow diners. Best for brunch/lunch.
    Capitol Hill
  • Jaleo

    Jaleo

    7271 Woodmont Ave
    Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-midnight. $20-40. José Andrés' excursion to Bethesda brings the same excellent modern takes on Spanish tapas and the same excellent sherry and port lists. While extremely popular, this location is big enough where you can get a table without reservations.
  • Willow

    Willow

    4301 Fairfax Dr
    Weekdays 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5:30PM-10PM; Sa 5PM-5:30PM, 6PM-10:30PM. American food. Great experience, great food, great atmosphere
    Ashton Heights
  • Bastille

    Bastille

    1201 N Royal St
    Lunch: Tu-F 11:30AM-2PM, Sa noon-2:30PM; brunch: Su 11:30AM-2:30PM; dinner: Tu-Th 6PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 6PM-10PM, Su 5PM-8PM. Tasting menu: $55/five course, $45/four course, $35/three course; a la carte also available. Country-style French cuisine with all organic, local ingredients, served in a romantic atmosphere are good reasons to wander a little north of Old Town. The cassoulet and the pastries are some of the kitchen's particular specialties.
    Old Town North
  • Dr. Granville Moore's

    Dr. Granville Moore's

    1238 H St NE
    Su-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM. $15-25 (Belgian beers $8+). The gastropub fare here is great (seafood, salads, sandwiches), but the showstopper is the Belgian mussels and fries, and even more so the 50 Belgian beers chalked in on the board. Considered the gold standard for Belgian food in a city that loves the stuff.
    Capitol Hill
  • Fogo de Chao

    Fogo de Chao

    1101 Pennsylvania Ave NW
    Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM; dinner: M-Th 5PM-10PM, F 5PM-10:30PM, Sa 4:30PM-10:30PM, Su 4PM-9:30PM. Lunch: $32.50; dinner:49.50. This national (not international) chain has spread to most major U.S. cities, and is a big downtown hit everywhere it is. Brazilian cuisine can actually be a bit of a let down, with one exception—meat. This is basically an all-you-can-eat meat experience, and the meats are good (there are sides too, of course). Flip your green card up, and the chefs come with meat; flip it to red, and the chefs let you eat. Recognizing a certain weakness in the model, the restaurant also has a really nice salad bar, for a considerably lower price than the meat menu.
    Downtown
  • Hank's Oyster Bar

    Hank's Oyster Bar

    1624 Q St NW
    Su-Tu 5:30PM-10PM; W-Sa 5:30PM-11PM, Sa-Su 11AM-3PM. $12-25. Small, cozy restaurant, with a popular oyster bar, along with fried clams, lobster rolls, and other seafood. This is also a good place to enjoy a beer and martinis.
    Dupont Circle
  • The new entrant at the Jefferson Hotel is already a clear destination restaurant, with classic French cuisine served in a traditional American, and frankly gorgeous, interior. The food is competitive with the best the city has to offer, and the service is perhaps a step above, with details covered down to the string-bound parchment you receive on your way out, upon which your servers have listed the wines you sampled.
    Downtown
  • Whitlow's on Wilson

    Whitlow's on Wilson

    2854 Wilson Blvd
    Casual neighborhood bar offering great specials during the week and a popular brunch on the weekends.
    Clarendon-Courthouse
  • Al Tiramisu

    Al Tiramisu

    2014 P St NW
    M-F noon-2:30PM; 5:30PM-10:30PM; Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM; Su 5PM-9:30PM. $25-50. Very tasty Italian cuisine with a nice wine list served in this small restaurant. The one stumble is the noise level, but the restaurant remains quite the good deal. Reservations required for dinner. Guess which one of the desserts is especially popular.
    Dupont Circle
  • The Hay-Adams Hotel

    The Hay-Adams Hotel

    800 16th St NW
    Su-Th 11:30AM-midnight, F-Sa 11:30AM-12:30AM. Recognized by Forbes.com as one of the world’s best hotel bars, Off the Record is known as Washington’s premiere "power bar" (right across the park from the White House), and a place to be seen and not heard.
    Downtown
  • Georgetown Cupcake

    Georgetown Cupcake

    3301 M St NW
    Georgetown Cupcake is a cupcakery, located in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Sisters Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne opened the shop in February 2008.
    Georgetown
  • Franklin's

    Franklin's

    5123 Baltimore Ave
    A great little brewpub that has become a local institution.
  • Proof Restaurant

    Proof Restaurant

    775 G St NW
    Lunch: Tu-F 11:30AM-2PM; dinner: M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-11PM, Su 5PM-9:30PM. $35-60. The coziest fine dining establishment downtown, Proof is a choice date spot, with a "wine-centric" ethos—hosts want nothing better than to help you discover better and better wines, so be sure to ask recommendations for pairings (and cheeses—the charcuterie platters here are the best in town). Doubling as a dedicated wine bar, Wine comes by the taste, glass, or bottle. The cocktails are also pretty fabulous. Food is contemporary American, with a vague Mediterranean bent. Lunch deals are excellent, including wine, if you don't mind an early start to your drinking!
    Downtown
  • Marcel's

    Marcel's

    2401 Pennsylvania Ave NW
    M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-11PM, Su 5:30PM-9:30PM. pre-theatre: $52; prix fixe: four-course $75, five-course $90, seven-course $125. Self described French cuisine with Flemish flair. Quiet, elegant atmosphere. They will wow you with the service, with extra touches everywhere, from occasional free cocktails to the limo service to the Kennedy Center included in the pre-theatre dining. Jacket required.
    Foggy Bottom
  • Cocova

    Cocova

    1904 18th St NW
    Tu-Sa Noon-8PM; Su Noon-5PM. This shop, tucked away on a lower level, carries a wide selection of chocolates, and has small art gallery.
    Adams Morgan
  • Founding Farmers

    Founding Farmers

    1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW
    American True Food & Drink from the greenest full-service, upscale-casual eateries in Washington, D.C., and Potomac, Md.
    Foggy Bottom
  • Cafe 8

    Cafe 8

    424 8th St SE
    Su-Th 11AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM. $9-20. Some argue that Cafe 8 is being outshined by newer flashy Mediterranean cooking on the Hill (like Cava Mezze), but this remains a reliable, established place for a good dinner on Barracks Row. The head chef hails from Cafe Divan in the Northwest, and the best items on the menu are accordingly skewed towards Turkish cuisine. As with Divan, the mezzes oddly enough are overshadowed by the great kabobs (especially the Iskender, and good Iskender is hard to find outside of Turkey). The Turkish very thin take on pizza—pides, are also a hit, and a cheaper option.
    Anacostia
  • Equinox

    Equinox

    818 Connecticut Ave NW
    M-Th 11:30AM-2PM,5:30PM-10PM, F 11:30AM-2PM,5:30PM-10PM, Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM, Su 5:30PM-9PM. $45-60; tasting menus: $75-90. Celebrity chef Todd Gray's D.C. restaurant, serving fine seasonal American cuisine. Offers a tasting menu, with pasta, fish, and cheese courses. Vegetarian options also available.
    Downtown
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EDIT THIS ITINERARY Our list of restaurants in Washington uses some content from Wikipedia and Wikivoyage.