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minibar by José Andrés

minibar by José Andrés - Luxe Date Ideas in Washington, DC

Guide to Dining at Award-Winning Restaurants in Washington, DC

Indulge in the most travel-worthy culinary experiences at these renowned restaurants throughout DC.

Step into a world of culinary excellence at these accolade-accruing eateries in the nation’s capital. For roving gastronomes and traveling foodies, it’s time to reserve a table in Washington, DC to experience exquisite flavors, masterful craftsmanship and innovative techniques.

Albi

Chef Michael Rafidi pours his heart into his Navy Yard restaurant. That’s no joke, either; Albi literally means “heart” in Arabic, a nod to the chef’s Levantine roots that matches his signature mix of mezze plates and mashawi, dishes cooked over an open flame. Savor Mediterranean staples with a twist, like a saccharine fattoush with pear and cucumber or the sumac bok choy with honey, whipped feta and smoked peanut harissa. Entrees bend the mind, such as the lump crab tabouli bolstering the barbecued black bass, or the fire-kissed loin and smoked belly lamb kebabs.

As if you needed more convincing, Chef Rafidi was honored with the 2024 Outstanding Chef Award from the James Beard Foundation.

Perry's Restaurant

Perry’s in Adams Morgan has long been a fan-favorite for its community-minded drag brunches, its idyllic yet low-key rooftop and its killer Japanese menu. Yet, in 2022, Chef Masako Morishita began authoring an exciting new chapter in the restaurant’s forty-year story. The first Japanese woman to helm the kitchen, Morishita has refreshed the menu to reflect her adventurous brand of “modern comfort food," including parmesan-topped edamame dumplings, shrimp katsu burgers on potato buns (held together by pink flamingo cocktail picks), udon carbonara and a special Japanese breakfast service. 

Morishita's vision was recognized on a new level when she was awarded one of the most prestigious endorsements a culinary up-and-comer can receive: the 2024 James Beard Award for Emerging Chef.

minibar by José Andrés

Take a multi-course journey through the world of molecular gastronomy from renowned chef José Andrés. Located in Penn Quarter, this restaurant is regularly booked months in advance. 

Jônt

Chef Ryan Ratino has gathered a lineup of inspired chefs and creatives to bring Jônt to DC. The restaurant offers a tasting menu that is a voyage through dynamic flavors, showcasing a playful technique that leads to dishes you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Think Dungeness crab with donabe rice, truffle and maitake, or sea urchin with custard and English peas. The robust beverage menu means you’re also likely to find the perfect drink to pair with your meal.

Pineapple and Pearls

Chef Aaron Silverman’s tasting menu is the stuff of perfection. Venture into Barracks Row on Capitol Hill for a night filled with meticulously crafted courses – each paired with a drink. Tip: You can belly up to the bar for the same tasting menu sans drinks and save $100.

Causa

Led by Chef Carlos Delgado, Causa provides a Peruvian culinary journey that highlights the coastline and Andes mountains. The $125 six-course menu features the nation's abundant ingredients and fresh fish. Enhance your experience with wine pairings or explore Peru’s national spirit with North America's largest Pisco Library. Reservations are made available two months in advance.

Rania

Rania translates to “queen” in Hindi and Sanskrit so it’s no surprise that this Penn Quarter hot spot is a royal delight. Chef Chetan Shetty exceeds expectations of a traditional Indian restaurant with a captivating menu of three courses for $75 or four for $90, featuring inventive dishes like beef short rib with saffron nihari and charred maitake mushroom.

Imperfecto: The Chef’s Table

Chef Enrique Limardo embraces the idea that we can’t achieve perfection despite our best efforts. It’s that constant pursuit that fortifies the entire dining experience at this West End restaurant, which draws on Greek influences and Limardo’s Latin American cooking chops. For the full experience, book the Chef’s Table (as opposed to eating a la carte), featuring 10 dizzying dishes, including options like the kampachi sea tartare, caramelized king crab with caviar and strawberry-mushroom duck breast.

Oyster Oyster

Billing itself as a "plant forward restaurant," Oyster Oyster takes sustainable dining to the next level. Seasonal menus feature ingredients from local farms who share the restaurant's ethos, as well as environmentally beneficial oysters from the Chesapeake Bay. Even the mushrooms are locally foraged. You can find this gem in the Shaw neighborhood.

Reverie

Like something out of a daydream, Reverie in Georgetown will delight your senses with a dining experience featuring ingredients from all over the world. The intimate restaurant is guided by award-winning Chef Johnny Spero, whose playful menu draws from the local daily catch to create a historic evening for you and your guests, an appropriate tribute to the restaurant's idyllic neighborhood.

Elcielo D.C.

Dive into the flavors of Colombia at Elcielo D.C., located inside La Cosecha and helmed by chef Juan Manuel Barrientos, who mixes the avant-garde with traditional Colombian cuisine to create a flavor-packed adventure that incorporates all five senses. Choose from four tasting menus to be enjoyed in a reserved room next to the open kitchen. The a la carte menu, served in the great hall, features signature dishes like The Tree of Life, which offers oven-baked Yucca bread on a bonsai tree, representing the Amazon rainforest.

Xiquet

Chef Danny Lledó has built a menu that reflects the climate, agriculture and sea bounty of Valencia at Xiquet. Featuring a stunning wood-fired kitchen enclosed in glass, the Embassy Row restaurant offers both tasting and a la carte experiences that are sure to leave you breathless. Standout dishes have included the Red Prawn of Denia and either of the two paellas, including a vegetarian version with artichoke, asparagus, lima beans and eggplant, or the seafood version with lobster, red prawn, scallop and cuttlefish (caviar optional).

Rooster & Owl

After honing his skills at renowned kitchens around New York City, chef Yuan Tang teamed up with wife Carey Tang to open Rooster & Owl in DC. The couple’s 14th Street NW restaurant serves contemporary American fare, offering diners a four-course, prix-fixe menu where seasonal ingredients and vegetarian dishes shine. Diners can expect something unique from the jump with takes like the Carolina-style barbecue carrots with a cornbread ice cream, meatless larb made with lime-kissed shiitake mushrooms, and grilled cobia fish served with broccoli mole and turnips dressed in fish sauce vinaigrette.

Gravitas

Chef Matt Baker has turned a former tomato cannery in Ivy City into Gravitas, a farm-to-table restaurant highlighting the delicious bounty of the Chesapeake in a modern space with plenty of exposed brick. You can choose your own culinary adventure with the flexible three-, four- or six-course tasting menu options, allowing you to sample a range of Baker’s popular dishes (think yellowfin sashimi and an exceptional chocolate ganache that snakes across your plate). Green thumbs can get their kicks sipping on cocktails upstairs at the Conservatory, which includes a greenhouse and garden alive with flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Sushi Nakazawa

If a menu-less, 20-course dining experience suits your taste, look no further than Sushi Nakazawa. This New York import that turns eating into an adventure comes from chef Daisuke Nakazawa. The restaurant serves fresh-caught fruits of the sea in the style of omakase, a Japanese phrase that roughly translates to “I'll leave it up to you.”

Maydan

At Rose Previte's Maydan, everything from the fiery flavors to the eclectic decor tells the story of the restaurant team’s travels across the Middle East and North Africa. Set in the back alley of a 19th century brick building just off 14th Street and marked only by a heavy wooden door, diners are greeted by the sizzling of turmeric-spiced whole chicken, lamb shoulder dressed in Syrian seven spice and chermoula sauce-marinated sardines roasting over the crackling oak-fired hearth. The two-story Maydan, which means “town square,” provides a unique communal dining experience, with some tables shared between multiple parties. 

Little Pearl

Little Pearl allows you to enjoy Aaron Silverman’s award-winning culinary creations without waiting in line at Rose’s Luxury or shelling out for Pineapple and Pearls. This Capitol Hill cafe-by-day and wine-bar-by-night has taken over as the casual spot in Silverman’s dining empire. Choose from gourmet java, potato donuts and a delightfully crispy fried chicken sandwich (served fried or Japanese-style) during a daytime visit. You can also wash down one of the inventive snacks with a glass of vino from an extensive by-the-glass list or choose the affordable prix-fixe dinner menu.

Bresca

At chef Ryan Ratino’s Bresca, an inventive menu melds tantalizing flavors and the chef’s one-of-a-kind vision: pastrami beets are served with whipped feta and dill on rye, foie gras is made into a “PB&J” and sea urchin linguini with truffles and chili delivers a deliciously rich umami bomb. To top it off, many of the herbs and floral garnishes for dishes are grown on the restaurant’s rooftop garden.

Kinship

After cutting his teeth at The French Laundry, chef Eric Ziebold moved to DC and came into his own when he opened Kinship to rave reviews. The menu features dishes that focus on technique, history, ingredient or communal preparations. It’s a special place, and perfect for a celebratory meal.

Métier

Located beneath Kinship, an even more indulgent experience awaits at Métier, chef Eric Ziebold's ambitious 36-seat restaurant with a $200 six-course tasting menu. The French-themed restaurant is has become a city favorite, and diners take note: advanced reservations are recommended and jackets are required for gentlemen.

Masseria

Located near the foodie wonderland of Union Market, Nicholas Stefanelli’s restaurant harkens back to his rustic Italian roots. Savor coastal cuisine cooked to perfection, aided by a well-manicured wine list.

The Dabney

Chef Jeremiah Langhorne added to the Shaw neighborhood's transformation into one of the city’s hottest dining neighborhoods with his Blagden Alley venture. Come here to discover what his signature Mid-Atlantic fare is all about.

Fiola

Chef Fabio Trabocchi’s Penn Quarter outpost sates wine and negroni lovers, as well as connoisseurs of house-made pastas and Italian-inspired seafood. Head to his other spots, including downtown DC pasta house Sfoglina, for an array of delectable dining experiences.

Rose's Luxury

Neighborhood dining doesn't get any better than this Barracks Row establishment, once named the best new restaurant in America by Bon Appétit. Eaters line up hours in advance to get a table, but now you can score same-day reservations as well.

Tail Up Goat

Mediterranean flavors permeate the menu at Tail Up Goat, an Adams Morgan darling since its opening in 2016. Enjoy everything from goat lasagna and house-baked breads to hearty veggie-friendly fare.

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