The Best Restaurants in Washington, D.C.
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
A boom of new restaurants, especially along 14th Street, has made eating in D.C. more satisfying the ever. Case in point: Ryan Ratino’s Bresca, which shakes off any notions of capital city stodginess with its thrillingly unusual flavor combinations. Among the Michelin stars and celebrity chefs, you’ll find a global culinary perspective, from Ethiopian to Western Thai to Greek. D.C. also continues to champion local seafood and maintain tradition at its taverns.
717 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA
Chef/owner Aaron Silverman's farmhouse restaurant, in the heart of Barracks Row, serves creative (and Michelin-starred) cooking inspired by his travels and culinary training in the American South, Mexico, the Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia....
1601 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Le Diplomate brings France’s chic bistro culture to D.C.’s trendy U Street Corridor. Upon entering through its bright blue door frame, the high ceilings, antique decor, and bread-cart centerpiece will have you checking for your...
1906 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Chef Ryan Ratino opened his first solo restaurant at age 27, riding a wave of momentum from stints at D.C.’s Ripple and New York’s Dovetail and WD-50. He’s made a big splash, racking up accolades including best new restaurant...
3226 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20010, USA
Rain or shine, the line outside Bad Saint starts forming two hours before it opens, when the first 25 diners get seated inside this tiny, no-reservations Filipino hot spot in Columbia Heights. The familial staff extend a warm welcome, while the...
1822 1st St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Nestled in charming Bloomingdale, the rustic Red Hen is a golden egg of D.C.’s dining scene. Chef/owner Michael Friedman (also of All Purpose Pizza) has created an inviting home for culinary pleasures like the cool taste of soft, bulbous...
480 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
Acclaimed chef José Andrés brings his love of tapas to the D.C. area with Jaleo. The warm and spacious restaurant in Crystal City serves an impressive assortment of traditional small dishes and wines from Spain that include many vegetarian and...
2021 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Busboys and Poets is an iconic D.C. fixture, a hybrid bookstore, event venue, and restaurant. If you show up hungry, find a table and take your pick among the extensive Mediterranean-influenced menu of salads, sandwiches, burgers, and small...
675 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA
This iconic Washington restaurant and bar has moved several times since it began as a boarding house/tavern in 1856, but its present location, a block from the White House, speaks to its history. Presidents Grant, Johnson, Cleveland, McKinley,...
301 Water St SE Ste 115, Washington, DC 20003, USA
The bounty of the Chesapeake Bay is one of D.C.’s culinary treasures, and there’s arguably no better setting to enjoy its salty gems than waterside at Whaley’s in the Navy Yards district. The seasonal plates play tricks on the...
4822 MacArthur Blvd NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
“The menu at this authentic Japanese restaurant changes constantly. This place is legit authentic Japanese, they even make you take off your shoes and wear their slippers … Men have to wear a button-down collared shirt, so be ready. You can order...
122 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Follow the red brick through Blagden Alley to The Dabney, the cozy Michelin-starred restaurant where Chef Jeremiah Longhorne is putting Mid-Atlantic cuisine on the map. Inside, the fire blazes high from the wood-burning hearth in the open kitchen,...
633 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
Rasika means "flavors" in Sanskrit, and its modern Indian cuisine has been spicing up the Penn Quarter for more than a decade (a West End location followed in 2012). The sophisticated lounge is accented by the bold aromas and flavors of timeless...
701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
In the heart of D.C.'s Penn Quarter, Zaytinya serves up a variety of tapas inspired by traditional dishes from Greece, Lebanon, and Turkey. It also has a selection of wines from such Eastern Mediterranean countries and seasonally serves a hot tea...
608 T St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
The largest Ethiopian community outside of Ethiopia is located along U and 9th streets NW, in the historic 19th-century U Street and Shaw neighborhood—and it counts many of the greater D.C. area's 45 Ethiopian restaurants. Among them is a...
800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA
Up a few steps from the Hay-Adams’s lobby is the hotel’s elegant restaurant, the Lafayette, a windowed dining room dressed to the nines with gleaming silverware and crystal chandeliers, fresh flowers, and crisp white tablecloths. The...
1827 Adams Mill Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
With subtle, sea-inspired decor, low lighting, warm service, and perfectly paced plates, Tail Up Goat’s Zen-like dining experience will have you doing downward dogs. A palate-cleansing shrub shot starts the ritual before the poetic menu...
1351 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA
Inspired by vibrant Southeast Asian night markets, D.C. chef Erik Bruner-Yang (of Toki Underground fame) and D.C. streetwear mogul Will Sharp created a sleek, two-story indoor/outdoor space that's part menswear store, part café and...
1610 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
This industrial-rustic style Italian gastropub is perhaps home to the most coveted dining seats in the city. It is first-come, first-serve at the six elevated front-marble countertop stools where not only can you savor Tuscan-inspired hand-made...
1511 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Little Serow’s northern Thai dining experience is a sensory adventure. The minimalist, cavernous room is a blank canvas for James Beard Award–winning chef Johnny Monis to paint palates with the bitter, funky, spicy, and salty...
2800 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
“No visit to DC is complete without a visit to Bourbon Steak. There will always be a special place in my heart for this bar as I helped open and train the bar staff here. They consistently turn out amazing cocktails and I couldn’t be...
1346 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Open that teal door down an alleyway in D.C.’s bustling 14th and U Street neighborhood and like in Alice In Wonderland, you’ll be transported to another world. Just inside the door, Maydan's cooks fan and stoke the flames of a firepit....
828 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011, USA
The white-brick facade and minimalist design of Himitsu prepares your senses to focus on the flavorful experience that lies ahead. This intimate Japanese-inspired restaurant manages the balance of herbs, acidity, and freshness so that every sip...
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