The 20 Best Restaurants in Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital draws more than 20 million visitors each year. While icons like the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian museums, and the White House are often the main attractions, the city’s monumental restaurant scene is also enticing epicureans from around the world. This list should help you as you eat your way around D.C., from chic downtown dining rooms to quirky neighborhood hangs. 

01 of 20

Bad Saint

Meal at Bad Saint
Photo courtesy of Farrah Skeiky for Bad Saint
Address
3226 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20010, USA

This tiny Filipino restaurant attracted the attention of national media soon after its debut, and as a result, a line of eager diners usually forms on the sidewalk before the doors open. Once you get a table, share several flavor-packed plates from an ever-changing menu of curries, fried seafood, artful salads, and more. 

02 of 20

Bourbon Steak

Ahi Tuna Tartare at Bourbon Steak in Washington D.C.
Photo courtesy of Bourbon Steak 
Address
2800 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
Phone
+1 202-944-2026

D.C. has evolved beyond a steakhouse town, but there are still plenty of spots to indulge in a great piece of beef. Bourbon Steak is dripping with sophistication, from the encyclopedia-like cocktail, spirits, and cigar menu to the top dollar steak selection featuring a wagyu trio and a grass-fed tomahawk rib eye. 

03 of 20

Bresca

Meal being plated at bresca
Photo courtesy of Bresca 
Address
1906 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Phone
+1 202-518-7926

With a newly minted Michelin star, this boundary-pushing restaurant is only going to become more popular. They define their style of dining as modern bistronomy, which combines a relaxed bistro atmosphere with experimental cuisine. Their sea urchin linguine, dry-aged meats, and old-fashioned duck press are standouts.   

04 of 20

Centrolina

Squid ink pasta at Centrolina
Photo courtesy of Centrolina
Address
974 Palmer Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Phone
+1 202-898-2426

Half market, half restaurant, Centrolina is the place for authentic Italian cuisine any time of day. Grab a quick breakfast sandwich on the go, enjoy a plate of fresh pasta for lunch, or linger over wood-roasted porchetta for dinner. Plus, you can stock up on Italian cheeses, salumi, sauces, meats, and more to whip up a meal in your own kitchen. 

Continue to 5 of 20 below.
05 of 20

CHIKO

Meal at CHIKO
Photo courtesy of CHIKO 
Address
423 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA
Phone
+1 202-558-9934

CHIKO is blazing a trail in a unique style of dining. They serve up innovative Chinese-Korean small plates at lightning speeds and reasonable prices for dine-in or takeout. Don’t miss the fried rice with blue catfish, the half-a-cado salad, orange-ish chicken, or chopped brisket with a soy-brined soft egg over rice with furikake butter. To try them all, book a seat at the kitchen counter. 

06 of 20

Federalist Pig

Ribs at Federalist Pig
Photo courtesy of Federalist Pig 
Address
1654 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009-3602, USA

One of D.C.’s top pitmasters mans the smoker at this compact, no-frills barbecue joint. Choose from a variety of smoked meats like brisket, pork shoulder, pork spare ribs, or chicken, and prepare for meat sweats and a mess. For a tidier meal, wrap your hands around a signature sandwich like the Carolina On My Mind. Don’t forget about the sides, like crispy Brussels sprouts and smoked mac & cheese.

07 of 20

Fiola

fish at Fiola in Washington DC
Photo courtesy of Fiola 
Address
(entrance on Indiana Ave), 601 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20004, USA
Phone
+1 202-525-1402

The Trabocchis are a household name in D.C., and for good reason. Their flagship Italian restaurant earned them a Michelin star and launched their culinary empire, which now includes the seafood-focused Fiola Mare, a homey pasta house with two locations dubbed Sfoglina, and the glitzy Del Mar devoted to coastal Spanish fare. Visit the one that started it all for impeccable service and refined classics. 

08 of 20

Himitsu

Kobe Beef tri-tip, rice and white kimchi at Himitsu
 Photo courtesy of Himitsu
Address
828 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011-5837, USA

When two first-time restaurateurs opened this petite no-reservations eatery, they began accruing accolades in no time. Diners and critics fell hard for the Japanese-inspired crudo, karaage, and agedashi tofu paired with unusual wines and cocktails featuring sherry and other Spanish ingredients. While it’s tough to get a seat on the weekends, you can secure a table in advance for the Monday night supper club.

Continue to 9 of 20 below.
09 of 20

Iron Gate

Scallops at Iron Gate in Washington DC
 Photo courtesy of Iron Gate
Address
1734 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Phone
+1 202-524-5202

Iron Gate is steeped in history, from the carriageway barroom to the patio draped in wisteria. The building was built in the 1800s and was the oldest continuously running restaurant in D.C. before closing in 2010. A few years later, Neighborhood Restaurant Group revived it as a Mediterranean concept, with bright mezze plates and meats and seafood pulled from the wood-burning hearth. You can order a la carte or enjoy a family-style meal or chef’s tasting menu.

10 of 20

Komi

Address
1509 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Phone
+1 202-332-9200

An institution of fine dining in D.C., Komi still hasn’t lost its touch or its laser focus on quality. Their Mediterranean-leaning tasting menu consists of about 12 dishes, each one as intricately thought out and meticulously crafted as the last. The small dining room is simple yet inviting. Their wine list focuses mostly on Old World wines, and they serve beers, but no cocktails. 

11 of 20

Maydan

Lamb skewers at Maydan
 Photo courtesy of Maydan
Address
1346 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Phone
+1 202-370-3696

Named for a word meaning town square, Maydan aims to be a place where people can gather to find common ground over a shared meal. Their cuisine pulls from cities scattered along the ancient Silk Road, like Tangier, Beirut, and Tehran. The center of the two-story restaurant is a copper hearth housing flames that bring warmth to the space and add char to the vegetables, seafood, and kebabs. The grilled dishes are paired with spice-infused spreads and fresh bread from the clay ovens.

12 of 20

Minibar

Dinner at Minibar
Photo courtesy of Minibar 
Address
855 E St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
Phone
+1 202-393-0812

José Andrés’ two-Michelin-starred restaurant is a playground for culinary innovation. The tasting menu features dishes that defy expectations and delight the palette with cutting edge techniques. Six guests can sit at the communal table and experience a theatrical meal that often includes clouds of liquid nitrogen, flavors that quite literally burst in your mouth and other feats of science.

Continue to 13 of 20 below.
13 of 20

Rasika

food courtesy of Rasika
Photo courtesy of Rasika
Address
633 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
Phone
+1 202-637-1222

Powerhouse restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s Rasika sets the bar for Indian fine dining with elegant, modern cuisine. Explore cuisine prepared in several styles, from tawa dishes like asparagus uttapam to tandoori grilled proteins like lamb chops. Vegetarians are in good hands here thanks to crave-worthy dishes like crispy spinach, artichoke mushroom korma, and more.  

14 of 20

Rose’s Luxury

stuffed gnocchi at Rose’s Luxury
Photo courtesy of Rose’s Luxury 
Address
717 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA
Phone
+1 202-580-8889

While Aaron Silverman’s original Michelin-starred restaurant still draws lines down the block before opening each day, you can now score same day reservations Monday through Thursday to make your life a little easier. Don’t miss the fan-favorites like lychee salad, oysters and granita, and house made pastas. You also can’t go wrong with the rotating new items and specials. For an even more luxe experience, book a seat at Rose’s two-Michelin-starred sister restaurant, Pineapple & Pearls.

15 of 20

Sushi Taro

Bento boxes at Sushi Taro
 Photo courtesy of Sushi Taro
Address
1503 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Phone
+1 202-462-8999

Sushi Taro is one of the finest examples of Japanese cuisine in the city, and they have a Michelin star to prove it. The restaurant is great for any occasion, whether you’re looking for affordable rolls during happy hour, a quick bowl of udon soup for lunch, or a deluxe tasting menu or omakase experience.  

16 of 20

Tail Up Goat

Tail Up Goat meal
 Photo courtesy of Tail Up Goat
Address
1827 Adams Mill Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Phone
+1 202-986-9600

The name of this Michelin-starred Mediterranean-inspired restaurant is quite the talking point—it’s a phrase used to differentiate between goats and sheep in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where one of the co-owners grew up. The menu stars housemade pastas and creative small plates, as well as a bread course than holds its own among other dishes (think farro sourdough with eggplant puree, yogurt, grilled radicchio, hazelnut picada, and farro miso).

Continue to 17 of 20 below.
17 of 20

The Dabney

Chef plating dishes at The Dabney
Photo courtesy of The Dabney 
Address
122 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Phone
+1 202-450-1015

This Michelin-starred restaurant truly deserves the moniker farm-to-table, as it is helmed by one of the original champions of Mid-Atlantic cuisine. The ingredients come exclusively from the region, so you won’t find any exotic items on the menu. Small plates like charred lettuce and bacon-wrapped chicken ballotine are cooked over the embers of the from the wood-burning hearth that serves as the centerpiece of the open kitchen.

18 of 20

The Line Hotel

Tea Service at The LINE DC hotel
Photo courtesy of The Line Hotel 
Address
1770 Euclid St NW, Washington, DC 20009-2836, USA
Phone
+1 202-588-0525

The D.C. location of the Line Hotel is a hub for culinary destinations. Start the day with coffee and whole-grain pastries from The Cup We All Race 4. Enjoy an over-the-top afternoon tea service or share knife-cut noodles and an uni tray at Brothers and Sisters. Have snacks and cocktails at the Tachinomiya-style, standing room only Spoken English. Explore the bounty of the Mid-Atlantic at the hyperlocal A Rake’s Progress.  

19 of 20

Thip Khao

Thip Khao washington DC
Photo courtesy of Thip Khao 
Address
3462 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010, USA
Phone
+1 202-387-5426

Thip Khao is the place to expand your taste buds with family-style Lao cuisine. Dishes like spicy green papaya bring the heat, while unusual proteins like sour pork and minced alligator add a sense of adventure. Between small plates, salads, noodles, soups, stews, steamed fish, fried rice, and grilled skewers, there’s a little something for everyone. 

20 of 20

Timber Pizza Company

Pizza in oven a Timber Pizza Company
Photo courtesy of Timber Pizza Company
Address
809 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011-5836, USA
Phone
+1 202-853-9746

What started as a traveling operation slinging pies at farmers markets is now a brick-and-mortar pizza place that is serious about dough. There’s no lack of variety, with baked empanadas, generous salads, plus red, white and green (pesto) pizzas. The toppings change seasonally, but you can’t go wrong with any of the curated pies. 

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Where You Should Eat in Washington, D.C.