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The best Washington, DC restaurants

Our expert food critics pick the finest Washington, DC restaurants, from five-star dinners to famous diners

Adams Morgan bistro Mintwood Place

In case you hadn’t heard, DC is no longer a city of overcooked steaks and wilted salads. The capital’s formerly stodgy dining scene has evolved into a foodie paradise. Inventive new Washington, DC restaurants have taken root across the city, from posh Dupont Circle to industrial-chic Navy Yard. The wide range of eateries offers everything from luxurious tasting menus in some of DC’s best American restaurants to chic small plates and swimmingly fresh sushi. Eat your way through the bounty with our list of the best Washington, DC restaurants.

Best DC restaurants by cuisine

Restaurants

The full list of best Washington, DC restaurants

In case you hadn’t heard, DC is no longer a city of overcooked steaks and wilted salads. The capital’s formerly stodgy dining scene has evolved into a foodie paradise. Inventive new Washington, DC restaurants have taken root across the city, from posh Dupont Circle to industrial-chic Navy Yard. The wide range of eateries offers everything from luxurious tasting menus in some of DC’s best American restaurants to chic small plates and swimmingly fresh sushi. Eat your way through the bounty with our list of the best Washington, DC restaurants.

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The best food trucks in Washington, DC

DC’s mobile food vendors keep on truckin’, serving ever-more creative fare. Here are 10 food trucks worth following.

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The best ice cream shops in Washington, DC

Here’s the scoop on the city’s best ice-cream shops, dishing flavors that go far beyond chocolate and vanilla

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Bakery guide to Washington, DC

Sugar fiends have never had it so good. With so many pedigreed dough-punchers setting up shop in our fair city, bakeries are on the rise. For the city’s best croissants, bread and other irresistible treats, consult our bakery guide. Pick up a snack mid-shopping spree or settle in and pair your pastries with a strong cup of joe.

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Restaurants

The best American restaurants in DC

It’s only appropriate that the nation’s capital has an excellent array of American restaurants. From Capitol Hill power-broker canteens like Ted’s Bulletin to chic Georgetown steakhouses like Bourbon Steak, we round up the essential spots.

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Restaurants

The best pizza in Washington, DC

From dollar slices to gourmet versions in the finest Washington DC restaurants, pizza is ubiquitous, but which places really stand out? When the craving strikes, see below for the best pizza Washington, DC has to offer. If you’re still craving more, consult our picks of the best Italian restaurants in DC.

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The best Italian restaurants in DC

The best Italian restaurants in DC range from chef-focused trattorias to the city’s top spots for pizza. For more European flavors, check out our list of the 40 best Washington, DC restaurants.

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The best brunch in DC

Maybe your weekend plans involve shopping, taking your pick from the huge array of Washington, DC museums, or even making a long, lingering brunch the main event of the day. Whatever, you’ll want to check out our picks for the best brunch in DC. While bottomless mimosas abound, there are also make-your-own Bloody Mary bars and creative brunch cocktails. Some spots offer unlimited food along with the booze, and a few even amp up the morning festivities with live music, drag shows and burlesque.

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The best seafood restaurants in DC

Desperately seeking seafood restaurants in DC? Peruse our list of the capital’s best restaurants specializing in oysters, crabs and fish. Since cocktails and oysters are a natural match, some of them double as standout bars. And let’s not forget the best spots for sushi.

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Restaurants

The best Thai food in Washington, DC

The capital’s best Thai food goes beyond standard takeout fare. If you’re on the hunt for superior pad Thai, fiery curries or other authentic dishes, we’ve selected the best Washington, DC restaurants for regional Southeast Asian cuisine.

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Restaurants

The best sushi in Washington, DC

Looking for top-notch sushi? Washington, DC has several places that fit the bill. Peruse our list of the best Washington, DC restaurants serving elaborate specialty rolls, super-fresh maki and sashimi. Also check out our list of the city's best Japanese restaurants.

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Restaurants

The best Indian food in Washington, DC

Authentic Indian food is a cuisine that tends to divide diners. Some are committed to the hunt for the best Washington DC restaurants serving dal, fiery chutneys, chat and thali, while others are content to munch dense samosas and neutered chicken tikka. Here are our picks for the best of the bunch.

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The best French restaurants in Washington, DC

French restaurants in the capital range from casual bistros to white-tablecloth temples of gastronomy, and serve everything from authentic classics to Gallic-accented American cuisine. For more European flavors, check out our list of the 40 best Washington, DC restaurants.

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The best Middle Eastern restaurants in DC

Smoky eggplant, sweet dates, lemon-splashed lamb—these are just some of the flavors on display at the best DC restaurants specializing in the cuisine of the Middle East. Whether you’re willing to travel for life-changing baba ghanoush, or you’d rather stick closer to home, we’ve found the best Middle Eastern restaurants in DC.

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The best Japanese food in Washington, DC

DC's Japanese food scene continues to grow, with ramen dens, Far East gastropubs and pristine sushi temples popping up around town. Whether you're craving raw-fish delicacies from sushi bosses or inventive twists on classic dishes, we’ve got you covered. 

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Washington, DC’s best diners and burger joints

Brunch, burgers and more—get ready to bust a gut with our guide to Washington, DC diners and burger joints

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Full list of best DC restaurants

Restaurants Book online

Fiola

When chef Fabio Trabocchi opened Fiola in 2011, he quickly established his new trattoria as the place to go in Washington for exquisite, sumptuous Italian. Pastas, naturally, are the stars of the menu, especially the tender pappardelle with bolognese ragu. But seafood plays a strong supporting role, and the bar offers a serious cocktail menu, including six different variations on the negroni. An order of bomboloni—Sardinian-style ricotta donuts—is a fitting end to a decadent evening.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Izakaya Seki

A brisk walk from the main drag of restaurants and bars near U and 14th streets, NW, Izakaya Seki is tucked into an unassuming and narrow, two-floor row house. Choose to eat upstairs in the dining room or downstairs at the chef’s bar. Either choice is equally no-frill; coat hooks are just about the only décor. Once seated, you’ll be hard-pressed not to salivate, either over plates arriving at neighboring tables or by what the robata cooks behind the bar are turning over a low flame. When it comes time to choose what to drink, brace yourself for page after page of sake selections. Your server is your best ally here. Another great ally: the list of specials handwritten on a piece of scrap paper, usually accompanied by a quirky doodle or two. The chef’s rotating sashimi selection is explosively rich (note: the wasabi here is fresh), and the seasonal miso soup (recently served with assorted roasted mushrooms) is not to be missed. From the main menu, order the slow-grilled octopus. The salmon roe hand roll—with its barely warm rice and fresh roe—will put you in a state of nirvana. In short: Izakaya Seki deserves a deep bow of respect.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Komi

Johnny Monis is gathering quite a following for himself in his tiny Dupont Circle restaurant. Komi’s low-key dining room, a straight shot from front window to kitchen window, is home to some of the most adventurous eating in the city; the youthful chef is essaying New American cuisine with nods to his Mediterranean heritage and whatever else strikes his fancy. But neither he nor his staff of personable, fashionable servers is lacking in discipline; just as his talent is for showcasing unusual ingredients without showboating, theirs is for putting guests at ease with the ever-changing menu. Foodies will be talking about Monis’s suckling pig for years. See also Power Points.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Le Diplomate

Fourteenth Street’s transformation is never more apparent than when you walk into Le Diplomate. From the globe lights overhead and the wood floors underfoot, to the woven bistro chairs and the curieux that adorn the walls—most everything you can touch or see or even hear in restaurateur-impresario Stephen Starr’s brasserie is literally imported from France itself. Even the name, Le Diplomate, is taken from a Parisian bistro Starr once visited. While some patrons have likened their experience to a trip to Epcot, that hasn’t stopped the 265-seat restaurant from filling up nearly every night since it opened last April —and not just because political royalty such as Michelle Obama and the Biden family have dined here. In other words, word has gotten out that Le Diplomate’s Frenchy fare is fantastic. Even with so many great raw bars around town, les fruits de mer are not to be missed. Nor is the steak tartare de parc, which features a tender, sweet filet chopped fine and topped with salty capers and a velvety quail egg. For entrees, the grilled loup de mer is lightly seasoned and served overtop a rich, buttery tapenade and hearty, oversized white beans. If its simple bistro fare you cherchez, the steak frites is a wise choice. Note that your inner-Francophile may have to wait one month for a weekend reservation. In the meantime, hit up Le Diplomate’s brunch, when seats are less in demand, but the food is just as good. C’est bon.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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