Feature

10 Amazing Tasting Menus Around DC

By Rina Rapuano | June 23, 2014 By Rina Rapuano  |  June 23, 2014
Photo by: Scott Suchman

Once the bastion of the fanciest restaurants, tasting menus now fall on the dining spectrum anywhere from thrifty to special-occasion splurge. Here, we present a range of old favorites and new options, meaty and vegetarian choices, expensive and reasonably priced tasting menus that offer something for everyone. 

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  • Photo by: 1789

    1789 Restaurant

    At this grand dame of Georgetown, those in the know can ask for a special three-course, $45 tasting menu available each night except Saturdays through Labor Day. Diners can choose an appetizer, such as a chilled cucumber gazpacho with lump blue crab, an entree like the excellent rockfish with lobster farro and a dessert that might include summer pudding with blueberry yogurt panna cotta, basil white cake, berries and jam.

    1226 36th St. NW; 202-965-1789

  • Aggio

    As Bryan Voltaggio and his team prepare to open the Baltimore Aggio this Saturday, you can try the Chevy Chase original and tell your Charm City friends what to expect. This Italian restaurant within Range offers a six-course tasting menu for $95, with optional wine pairings for $65 more. Dishes might include salt-crusted beets dressed with a tonnato sauce, lamb ragout with whole wheat lumache or Wagyu short-rib with farro (pictured).

    5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-803-8020

  • Photo by: Scott Suchman

    Brabo by Robert Wiedmaier

    Chef de cuisine Harper McClure offers two tasting menus: one five-course version for $75 available during dinner hours and a three-course, $55 chef's tasting menu available from 5:30-7 PM. The menus change daily, but you might get a dish like tempura-battered soft-shell crab with white gazpacho, watermelon radish and micro-celery. Wine pairings range from $25-$120, depending on how many courses you opt for and whether you're feeling like springing for the "cellar pairing."

    1600 King St., Alexandria; 703-894-3440

  • CityZen

    This Mandarin Oriental dining room presided over by chef Eric Ziebold has held on to its status as the gold standard for luxurious fine dining in the city for years. You can order a six-course tasting menu for $120 or a veggie version for $110, with wine pairings ranging from $85-$135. But what many people don't know is that you can sample some of Ziebold's precise, ultraseasonal cooking at the bar as a three-course, $50 tasting menu with a $25 wine-pairing option. 

    1330 Maryland Ave. SW; 202-787-6148

  • Equinox Restaurant

    Chef-owner Todd Gray is perhaps the only chef in town that offers a vegan tasting menu alongside his regular tasting menu on a nightly basis. The traditional five-course menu costs $70 ($115 with wine pairings) and might include sautéed wild Alaskan halibut and ricotta agnolotti with short-rib Bolognese, while the veg version ($65; $110 with wine pairing) could feature slow-cooked wild rice with salt-roasted grapes, toasted pine nuts, grilled apricots and haricots verts.

    818 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-331-8118

  • Photo by: Greg Powers

    G by Mike Isabella

    This one-time Top Chef contender also offers tasting menus at Kapnos next door and Graffiato in Penn Quarter, but the $40 tasting menu that pops up in his sandwich shop when 5 PM rolls around is the least expensive. That incredible price will get you an appetizer, pasta course, meat or fish course and a dessert. Wine pairings can be added for $29 per person, and vegetarian options can be accommodated by request. 

    2201 14th St. NW; 202-234-5015

  • Komi/Little Serow

    One amazing chef is behind two of the most transcendent dining experiences in the city — a fine-dining, seasonal, $135 multicourse extravaganza that ends with a lusty, family-style goat or pig platter upstairs, and an exclusive, no reservations, $45 parade of spicy Northern Thai dishes in the downstairs of this eastern Dupont rowhouse. No matter which way you go with chef-owner Johnny Monis' cooking, you're winning. 

    Komi, 1509 17th St. NW, 202-332-9200; Little Serow, 1511 17th St. NW

  • Photo by: Scott Suchman

    Marcel's

    For those who appreciate a formal affair, this is fine dining at its finest. Four- to seven-course menu options are available for $86-$145 per person and might include dishes like a beet and goat cheese trio, Belgian mussels and Chimay gratinée, Chesapeake rockfish with pineapple pico de gallo and the restaurant's classic boudin blanc with black mushroom-truffle purée. Vegetarian menus are available as well, and those who feel adventurous can ask the kitchen to choose for them. If you opt for the $65, three-course pre-theater menu available until 6:30 PM, an executive car service to the Kennedy Center is included in the meal price.

    2401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-296-1166

  • Photo by: Michael J. Colella

    Rasika Penn Quarter

    Considering the fact that chef Vikram Sunderam just won a James Beard Award for best chef mid-Atlantic, you should make it a priority to get here, if you haven't already, and taste your way through his inviting menu. Palak chaat, black cod and other longtime favorites grace the four-course ($58) and six-course ($75) tasting menus. Vegetarian options are available for $50 and $60, and wine pairings run $35-$45 extra. Cocktail pairings can be subbed for wine upon request.

    633 D St. NW; 202-637-1222

  • The Pig

    This Logan Circle spot takes farm to table to a whole other level by owning its own farm, EatWell Natural Farm in La Plata, MD. To showcase the amazing ingredients coming out of it, chef Michael Bonk creates a fresh menu each Friday and Saturday night around the produce for his farm tasting menu. It's an excellent deal at $35 for five courses that includes an amuse-bouche, three savory courses and a dessert, with an optional $12 beer pairing or $20 wine pairing. Check here for updates on the tasting menu each week.

    1320 14th St. NW; 202-290-2821

Places Mentioned

1789 Restaurant

AmericanGeorgetown
Food25 Decor25 Service26 Cost$69

Brabo

BelgianAlexandria
Food26 Decor23 Service23 Cost$64

Aggio

ItalianFriendship Heights
Food24 Decor22 Service21 Cost$89

G by Mike Isabella

Sandwich ShopU Street Corridor
Food25 Decor20 Service22 Cost$30

Equinox

Fine DiningWhite House/World Bank
Food25 Decor21 Service24 Cost$69

Kapnos

GreekU Street Corridor
Food24 Decor22 Service21 Cost$52

Graffiato

ItalianPenn Quarter/Chinatown
Food23 Decor20 Service20 Cost$36

Komi

GreekDupont Circle
Food26 Decor22 Service26 Cost$176

Little Serow

ThaiDupont Circle
Food26 Decor20 Service24 Cost$68
Food27 Decor26 Service26 Cost$103

the pig

American14th Street Corridor
Food23 Decor20 Service22 Cost$33

Rasika

IndianPenn Quarter/Chinatown
Food28 Decor25 Service25 Cost$52

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