I’m like directory assistance for where to eat in DC. Ya’ll know I sniff out restaurants in every city I’ve lived in. You won’t find me at a chain restaurant (even if its dinner with the kids), a steak house, Italian restaurant (I’m half Italian and I think my meatballs + sauce and my mom’s fettuccini can’t be beat) or that super romantic “anniversary” spot. Nope, I want funky food, chic decor, great music and innovative strong cocktails. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Five Guys burger and Starbucks is my predictable spot for food when I’m working and just need low carb food to fill my belly.
Let’s dish on DC
My all time favs- I mean, I’m comparing to the best restaurants I’ve EVER eaten at and I can still recall exactly what I ordered. I’ll blog on Seattle and Charleston too.
These places book 30 days in advance. I’m crazy and will stay up till midnight to book these restaurants. So when our foodie friends are told be there at 5:30pm they know that was the best I could get and its going to be worth it.
~ The Dabney (bonus- great small bar called The Columbia Room next door with about 16 seats for a night cap)
~ Hazel- don’t pass on the Lazy Susan Supper called Ducked Up with fire panda sauce.
~ Kinship- I had to control myself to not eat very single mini Parker House roll. The Branzino and Moulard duck didn’t disappoint.
~ Komi- We ate here in 2005. Its a tasting menu at $150pp that blew my socks off.
~ Pineapple & Pearls (super duper expensive. Hello, its Michelin rated). Can’t stomach $250pp? Go to their coffee shop and order the chicken sandwich….I’m salivating thinking about it. There is no seating but on a nice day you can sit outside at Rose’s Luxury next door because they aren’t open till the evening. Go ahead and order one of each dessert while you are at it. The To-Go packaging is just adorable too. The tile and fixtures in this space are a designer’s dream. I photographed the floor for goodness sake. Psssst, the chef also owns Rose’s Luxury. Awarded Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants in America in 2017.
Worth the Wait
I’ve been known to stand in line at 3:30 pm and wait for 2 hours to get the first seating. Okay, I’ll confess that I sent my hubby and his friend to wait in line once because we wanted to second seating at little later in the evening. They basically drank at the bar next door for 2 hours and I Uber’d over when it was time to grab out table. If you think I’m nuts for standing in line and no food is worth this wait, guess what? you aren’t a foodie. Bye Felicia! Roll on down to Pei Wei or Chipotle.
Bad Saint– my cousin and I stood inline in the dead of summer and we got the last 2 seats! We felt like we won the golden ticket securing the two last seats (#23 & #24) at the window. We ordered half the menu and had 2 bottles of wine. I would say it was a win. Bring a book or if you have a group of 4 people, bring Cards Against Humanity to pass the time. We learned from this trip that some people are waiting in line near the front only to hop out of line and come back in the line at spot #25. This basically gets them in around 7:30 pm and the hostess/owner will text you when your time is approaching. Named one of Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants in 2016.
Rose’s Luxury– superb even years after they were named Bon Appetit’s Hot 10 in 2014. The decor, ambiance and severs are fantastic. The plates are small but the food hits every note like Francis Scott Key. If you are 1 of 50, you’ll get in when they open. If not, it takes about 10 minutes to get your name on the list to come back later.
Little Serow– spin off from the Komi folks but Asian verses Greek.
Compass Rose– We lucked out and walked in for an early bird seating at 5:30pm on a Sunday. The cocktails are awesome too. This might be the best Moscow Mule I’ve ever had. The food takes you on a trip around the world.
Restaurants I Adore
So you want to have a great time an great food but not deal with the fuss of my previously suggested restaurants. Check out this list of my “go-to” restaurants that I can easily book on Open Table
DBGB, Doi Moi, MXDC, Founding Farmers, Table, Maketto, Momofuku, Tail Up Goat, Fainting Goat, Woodward Table, Kapnos, Diakaya Izakaya, Oyamel, Chile Chicano, Sakerum, Farmers & Distellers
Large Client Dinners/Birthday Parties
Teddy & The Bully Bar (however, I prefer this place for brunch since they have a DJ on the weekends and all you can eat with bottomless champs)
Fig & Olive
Rasika (I’ll eat here anytime from a quick lunch to restaurant week and private dining for client dinners)
STK (this is the spot if you want to dance in your seat to an awesome DJ over dinner before heading to Heist or Living Room for the after party)
Farmers, Fishers & Bakers (Georgetown- great for lunch or dinner)
RPM Italian (Giuliana Ranic’s place)
Order + Go Lunch Spots
Taylor Gourmet, CAVA, Sweet Green, Mezah, Devon & Blakely, DCGC, Wicked Waffles, GRK and Pret a Manger, The Well Dressed Burrito. In Alexandria, VA I also love Society Fair and Rustico
Now that I have kids with a busy schedule I don’t brunch nearly as much as I did in my twenties. It was a hobby or should I say a sport back then. If you can’t stay out till the wee hours of the night, check out the club scene during the day at La Boum brunch. Book online and pay in advance. No refunds but reservations are transferable. They sell out quickly and its wild.
Ambar- $39. The food is great. 2 hour limit for eating/drinking. One is on 8th St near Barracks Row. The other is in Clarendon
Taqueria del Barrio Drag Brunch– need I say more?!
Pennsylvania 6 DC– Unlimited Champagne & Bloody Mary Bar
Teddy & The Bully Bar– Every Sunday from 10:30-3:00 pm order as much food as you want and endless champagne with a DJ for $45
District Commons– $10 entres and $16 for bottomless champs
We love a good game of Cards Against Humanity (my mom doesn’t feel the same way about this game but it was pretty funny to play with my dad). Amazon has additional card packs like the World Wide Web pack, Jew pack, Geek pack and Fantasy pack?
Bon Appétit my fellow foodies!