What are the best restaurants in Washington D.C.?

Answers from Our Experts (4)

There’s a lot to love about Washington D.C., including its powerful list of star-rated restaurants. Head to Alain Ducasse’s Four-Star Adour, positioned inside The St. Regis Washington, D.C. for a French culinary journey. The elegant dining space boasts hand-blown glass spheres and crisp white furniture, and house-made macarons are the perfect end to a meal. The Four-Star Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. houses Four-Star CityZen. Nosh on tasty bites such as juniper poached Moulard duck foie gras or Rhode Island monkfish bourguignon while seated underneath dramatic vaulted ceilings and surrounded by cozy candlelight. Named after a small town in Italy, Four-Star Palena provides a quiet respite from D.C.’s popular Connecticut Avenue. Choose from two-, three- and four-course seasonal prix fixe menus with items such as sheep’s milk ricotta ravioli, North Carolina tilefish or Gilson Martin Ranch Pennsylvania raised lamb. For a classic experience, reserve a meal at Five-Star Plume, situated inside The Jefferson, Washington, D.C. Paying homage to former President Thomas Jefferson’s penchant for wine, you’ll find a slew of choices for the tasty drink onsite, as well as an up-to-date online list if you like to plan ahead.

We’ve recently redone the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner, where the restaurant Härth has developed the largest following from the locals — you can’t even get in there. It’s really well done. And the chef is really amazing. He’s got an organic garden on the roof and selects special stuff from it. He’s got martinis that he made from the peppers that grow on the roof.

Graffiato by Mike Isabella. I like The Source from chef Scott [Drewno]. I love Bourbon Steak. I love Toki Underground on H Street.

McLean Robbins

In recent years, Washington has become a town for food lovers. Celebrity chefs and newcomers alike have flocked to the Nation's Capital to bring modern takes on classic cuisines as well as innovative takes on casual fare alike. Some of the city's best restaurants include: 

Palena.Tucked into a sleepy strip mall in Cleveland Park, one might not expect great things when looking at Palena from the outside. But diners return again and again to this Four-Star restaurant for a to-die-for fry plate, a delectable burger and a roasted chicken so tender, you'll wish you could recreate it at home.

Plume. Historic traditions are treated to modern interpretations at this Five-Star restaurant. Take, for instance, the restaurant's location inside the Jefferson Hotel, named for former President Thomas Jefferson. It's a known fact that the former President was fond of wine, so the restaurant does him right by offering a vast array of bottles from all over the world. Even the cuisine blends modern and traditional with French favorites and colonial American flavors that you've grown to know and love.

CityZen. The "zen" aesthetic is certainly part of the appeal of dining at this Four-Star restaurant. Details like vaulted ceilings, a relaxed and quiet atmosphere and dramatic lighting is a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of busy D.C. life. Unwinding with a memorable meal here is all too enjoyable, with a menu that rotates seasonally to highlight the best local flavors.

Adour. There's something inherently amorous about a meal at Adour. Perhaps it's the expertly-assembled list of 400 wines, complimentary house-made truffles and macaroons, delicate hand-blown glass spheres dangling from the ceiling or modern décor touches. Or, perhaps it's the contemporary French menu, exquisite service and surprisingly relaxed dress code. (Actually, the correct answer is probably closer to "all of the above.")

Inn at Little Washington. If it's good enough for Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, it's certainly good enough for the wandering foodie. This Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star inn and restaurant has long been one of the area's most acclaimed dining destinations. An hour outside of the city proper, many combine the multi-course tasting menu with an overnight ... a must if you've sampled the wine pairings.

Komi. Chef Johnny Monis may avoid the spotlight, but his food has generated enough acclaim on its own to make Komi one of the city's most talked about tables since its opening nearly five years ago. The tasting menu is pricey, but the restaurant fills its tables every night. Those looking for a less expensive option and who have a love for spice should try his Thai outpost, Little Serow. 

FiolaWashington's newest Italian hotspot has drawn nearly every celebrity guest to the city since its opening in 2012. Chef Fabio Trabocchi crafts modern takes on traditional Italian fare in this white tablecloth restaurant in Penn Quarter. 

Rasika. Indian is big in DC, and it's no secret that Rasika is the city's most coveted table. Diners like Hilary Clinton flock to both the downtown location and the new West End outpost. 

The best restaurants in Washington, D.C. are ever changing but we can’t help but love this recent list from The Washington Post of 40 dishes you should try. The annual list highlights some of our favorites, ranging from budget eats (macaroons at The Sweet Lobby) to high-end sides (Duck fat fries at Bourbon Steak; Brussels sprouts at Graffiato).  We’d suggest a full perusal of the list, here.

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