Fine dining may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Washington, DC, but the capital city boasts many great restaurants for the serious foodie. One just needs to look a little further than the usual tourist attractions like Georgetown Cupcake. While Georgetown Cupcake draws in a bevy of easy-to-please tourists, you won’t find many locals cuing up to get their fix. If only our wide-eyed visitors knew that, with much less hassle, they can easily find excellent restaurants treasured by the natives. As a local myself, allow me to make a few suggestions.
1813 Columbia Rd NW
Located in the hip Adams Morgan neighborhood, this restaurant is both sophisticated and homey. The restaurant serves traditional food with an innovative touch—such as their cast-iron Amish chicken—and is a hot spot for brunching Washingtonians. The décor is almost as great as the food, with cozy booths, café chairs, and industrial lighting providing a cool rustic elegance.
3715 Macomb St NW
Casual and affordable, 2 Amys is the go-to pizza joint for DC locals. The owners boast their membership with the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association, adhering to a strict definition of how to make authentic Italian pizza. This means that the restaurant uses only the best and freshest ingredients to preserve the integrity and quality of the food they serve. Be sure to try something from the extensive anti-pasti menu. And of course, don’t forget the cannolis. Come hungry!
1511 17th St NW
Located in the heart of Dupont Circle, this trendy Thai restaurant is known for its quirks; for one, it doesn't have a phone, doesn't accept reservations, serves only parties of four and fewer, and shamelessly refuses to stray from the menu, which changes every week. What may seem like inconveniences to some, only add to the character of this restaurant. The sea green walls, vintage-dressed staff, and a basement location give the restaurant a hipster vibe. For $45 per person, patrons receive seven small, delicious courses, making this new restaurant a worthwhile visit for both the food and experience.
Fiola Da Fabio Trabocchi
601 Pennsylvania Ave NW
If you’re looking for something closer to Capitol Hill, try Fiola, an upscale restaurant popular among lobbyists. Fresh ingredients and delicious handmade pasta, such as the Tortellini of Cotechino Sausage and the goat-cheese Ravioli are customer favorites, while seafood dishes are also highly praised. Indoor patrons will find the décor sophisticated but comfortable, while those who prefer the outdoor seating on Pennsylvania Avenue can experience Washington’s buzzing sidewalks and might even catch sight of a presidential motorcade.
BlackSalt Fish Market and Restaurant
4883 MacArthur Blvd NW
If you’re looking for something a little more high-priced for that special occasion, this one might be for you. Located in the treelined Palisades neighborhood of DC, this restaurant is upscale yet casual and offers some of the best seafood Washington has to offer. BlackSalt’s take on the area’s local specialty, the crab cake, is a highlight of the lunch menu. Among their other unique offerings, BlackSalt even offers a car service for patrons, an added touch of hospitality. For a splurge-worthy occasion try their 5- or 7-course tasting menu.