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The best of the best fine dining options in Washington, D.C., aren’t only about seafood and Southern cuisine anymore. Inventive chefs and spotlighted politicians have brought more fanfare to the city’s culinary scene, and rightfully so. Here’s a list of the five best food experiences in D.C.:
1. Komi. Chef Johnny Monis turns out course after course of simple, well-executed Mediterranean cooking at his unassuming Logan Circle eatery, Komi. Since the Obamas dined there in May 2010, reservations for the tiny one-room restaurant have been particularly hard get — you’ll have to call a month in advance. But it’s worth the wait: Diners are treated to a $135 tasting menu that features a series of playful one-bite mezzethakia, followed by family-style pasta and meat courses, and capped off by cheese and dessert.
2. Minibar. What happens when you mix science and food? Minibar, chef José Andrés’ six-seat experimental roller coaster inside America Eats Tavern. With just two seatings per night, it’s one of the hardest reservations to get in the city. Diners are treated to a gastronomical show as chefs-turned-scientists create 25 to 30 seemingly impossible dishes right in front of them. It’ll cost you $150 (not including wine) to take part in the experiments at this culinary laboratory.
3. The Source. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck made his Washington debut in 2007 at the Source, an Asian-fusion restaurant tucked inside the Newseum. The space features a casual, lively lounge downstairs and a more upscale dining room upstairs. The place feels more Hollywood than D.C. — modern, fashionable, lively — which is fitting, considering that Puck calls Los Angeles home. His protégé, Scott Drewno, helms the restaurant and serves delicious Asian-inspired creations, such as fluffy pork belly-stuffed dumplings.
4. Palena. Former White House chef Frank Ruta helms the French and Italian dining room Palena, a Four-Star restaurant, and its more casual counterpart Palena Cafe. The restaurants are housed in the same space in D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood, but the no-reservations-needed café is à la carte, while the main dining room is tasting-menu only. Ruta gained fame for his truffled cheeseburger, which comes with a seasonal pickle.
The five best food experiences in Washington D.C., are Minibar, Komi, Rasika, Citronelle and Zaytinya.