DC is filled with amazing places to eat. The choices are endless, but here I will give you a few of my favorite places for each of the main areas of the city to get you started. I recommend you almost always have a reservation in DC (or Old Town). Most establishments use Open Table which makes reservations (and cancelations) quick and easy.
Old Ebbitt Grill tops every list. It is my favorite place to go. I love the ambiance. I love the history. I love the food.
GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar is a great place for both adults and kids!
Founding Farmers is a farm to table restaurant that has a great menu. However, not only is it always packed, it feels packed. It has great food and is a fantastic place to go if you are new in town but I hesitated to put it on this list because I rarely go there anymore.
The Greenhouse at the Jefferson on the other hand has a wonderful brunch and never feels busy. Georgia Browns also has a famous weekend Jazz Brunch.
Round Robin, Off the Record and Vue are all great places to go for a drink before or after dinner.
Gallery Place / China Town area:
Matchbox is one of my favorites. It is just pizza and salads but I love it. There are also locations in Pentagon City and Eastern Market.
Rasika is an upscale Indian restaurant. My husband compares every other spinach dish in the world to theirs. It is a favorite place to go with friends.
Capital Grille is great for a special occasion. White table clothes, steaks and cocktails. Their stoli doli pineapple infused vodka drink may be the best cocktail in town.
Jaleo is great for tapas and they have outside seating in the summer.
Oyamel Cocina Mexicana for some of the best Mexican food in the area.
Eastern Market: This used to be my favorite place in DC to walk around and eat. Many of my go-to places have closed when I was away and due to COVID. The two I’ve listed are fantastic but you won’t go wrong with anything in the area.
Ambar is famous for their Balkan food and a is favorite for locals.
Lavagne is a small Italian place with a great menu and an amazing chef. I haven’t been back in a while, I should make a plan.
U Street: This area has a ton of great places to eat. But I am stuck in a rut and go back to the same two places every time.
Jiyna Ramen is as good as anything I ever had in Japan.
Ted’s Bulletin is one of my favorite places to go for breakfast before spending the day in the city!
Old Town: Old Town has so many great places to eat!
Mia’s has great Italian food and homemade pasta. Their pasta carbonara is one of the best I’ve ever had.
Vintage Feed and Grain has a great outdoor seating area and a menu. I love their fried green tomatoes and salad. My mom has not stopped talking about their lamb chops!
Ada’s by the River is the perfect place to go on a beautiful day. It is right on the river. Has great outdoor seating. Has a great menu.
Sonoma Cellar is my Old Town go to for a good meal and drinks with friends. They have a small interior patio so you don’t get the noise that you get at some of the other places on King Street.
Gadsby’s Tavern. I don’t go here often but if you are a history buff it is worth the visit. It has been around since the 1770s. Early dinners include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. They also have a great menu and it is an especially cozy location in the winter.