The 25 Best Restaurants in DC

You don't need us to tell you: DC's food scene is major. We've just released new ratings and reviews of DC restaurants, based on the opinions of diners like you, and here we present the 25 city restaurants with the highest Food score. They represent everything from high-end destinations from big-name chefs to a casual British spot serving a killer burger. Click on each name to read reviews, get recommendations for must-try dishes and learn insider tips, and be sure to check out the Top 5 for Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs as well! — March 17, 2015

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Ratings are out of 30. Key to ratings

Zagat calculates ratings on a 30-point scale based on periodic consumer surveys

26–30Extraordinary to perfection
21–25Very good to excellent
16–20Good to very good
11–15Fair to good
0–10Poor to fair

Numerical cost estimates are for the price of dinner with one drink and tip.

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  • RasikaRasika#1

    Rasika

     Indian • Penn Quarter/Chinatown

    • 4.8
    • 4.5
    • 4.5
    • $52
    • Share:

    These “phenomenal” Indian destinations take a centuries-old cuisine to a “whole new level” with “innovative” interpretations like crispy spinach “unlike anything you’ve ever had” served in “beautiful”, “modern” settings that rank among DC’s “swankiest”; “friendly, unobtrusive” servers put novices at ease, while an “accessible” price point (for high-end dining) means one must “plan ahead” for prime-time reservations. Read more about Rasika on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Palak chaat (pictured)
    • Black cod
    • Tandoori lamb chops

    Behind the Scores: For the best chance of grabbing a last-minute table, call around 4:30 PM, which is when the staff wraps up its confirmation calls and finalizes the evening's schedule.

     Map of Rasika

    Food photo by Michael J. Colella

    Restaurant photo by Michael J. Colella

    www.rasikarestaurant.com

  • FiolaFiola#2

    Fiola

     Italian • Penn Quarter/Chinatown

    • 4.8
    • 4.7
    • 4.7
    • $89
    • Share:

    This “beautiful flagship” of chef Fabio Trabocchi's “growing empire” (Casa Luca, Fiola Mare) offers “elegance and sophistication” in a “modern” Penn Quarter setting, matched with “sumptuous” Italian cuisine that “delivers flavor in every bite”; service is so “impeccable” that any meal here is a “special occasion”, and though the experience is decidedly “not cheap”, it’s “certainly worth what you pay”; P.S. the lunchtime prix fixe is a bit more “light on the wallet.” Read more about Fiola on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Creazione tasting menu
    • Maine lobster ravioli (pictured)
    • Proscuitto-wrapped veal chop

    Behind the Scores: The lighter Maria Menu, a longtime staple of the lunch menu, is now also available for dinner.

     Map of Fiola

    Food photo by Greg Powers

    www.fioladc.com

  • CorduroyCorduroy#3

    Corduroy

     New American • Mount Vernon Square

    • 4.8
    • 4.5
    • 4.6
    • $89
    • Share:

    A “restaurant for grown-ups”, chef Tom Power’s Convention Center New American is a “refined” boîte where there’s “no loud music and no flashing lights”, but rather a “peaceful, perfectly executed” dining experience with “personalized service” and a “well-thought-out” menu “designed to show off the food, not the chef”, abetted by a “pricey, high-quality wine list”; P.S. fans say the three-course tasting menu in the upstairs bar is one of the “best deals in town.” Read more about Corduroy on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Red snapper bisque
    • Lobster carpaccio
    • Tuna with hijiki (pictured)

    Behind the Scores: Head to the upstairs bar for a less formal $30 three-course dinner option.

     Map of Corduroy

    Food photo by Rina Rapuano

    Restaurant photo by Rina Rapuano

    www.corduroydc.com

  • Minibar by José AndrésMinibar by José Andrés#4

    Minibar by José Andrés

     Eclectic • Penn Quarter/Chinatown

    • 4.7
    • 4.7
    • 4.7
    • $217
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    Dining as “theater” is presented by José Andrés at this avant-garde Penn Quarter Eclectic where “expert, impassioned” staffers demonstrate what “magic chemistry can do to food”; the “delicious”, if “ridiculously expensive”, multicourse menu can be rather “weird at times” and reservations are tough, but if you can snag one of the 12 seats, it’s still a “remarkable” show. Read more about Minibar by José Andrés on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Tasting menu

    Behind the Scores: If you want a Valentine’s Day reservation, your only chance is to send an e-mail at 12:01 AM December 1 — or plan to hit cocktail den Barmini next door, instead.

     Map of Minibar by José Andrés

    Restaurant photo by Ken Wyner

    www.minibarbyjoseandres.com

  • Prime RibPrime Rib#5

    Prime Rib

     Steakhouse • White House/World Bank

    • 4.7
    • 4.5
    • 4.7
    • $90
    • Share:

    At this “very old-school” K Street steakhouse, a “polished staff” ferries “well-prepared” standards including the “can’t-be-beaten” namesake dish in “classy” surrounds “reminiscent of the Victorian era”; it may be DC’s “last bastion of dressing for dinner” (jackets are required) and such a prime experience is certainly “expensive”, but those who “half expect Sinatra to walk in” say it’s a natural for “celebratory” dining. Read more about Prime Rib on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Potato skins
    • Crab cakes
    • Prime rib (pictured)

    Behind the Scores: The beloved steakhouse still feels like a dressy affair, but the "jackets required" policy has been 86ed.

  • Red HenRed Hen#6

    Red Hen

     Italian • Bloomingdale

    • 4.7
    • 4.5
    • 4.4
    • $50
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    This “true neighborhood gem” draws foodies to burgeoning Bloomingdale for “phenomenal” housemade pastas and other Italian comfort food delivered by “accommodating” servers in a “cozy” rustic room; what may be the “city's most interesting” wine list exemplifies the “attention to quality without pretense” that creates its distinctive “ambiance” and makes reserving “difficult.” Read more about Red Hen on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Whipped ricotta crostini
    • Rigatoni with sausage (pictured)
    • Wood-grilled chicken

    Behind the Scores: The wine list features a growing list of about a dozen orange wines curated by well-known sommelier Sebastian Zutant.

     Map of Red Hen

    Food photo by Scott Suchman

    Restaurant photo by Mark Silva

    www.theredhendc.com

  • ZaytinyaZaytinya#7

    Zaytinya

     Mediterranean • Penn Quarter/Chinatown

    • 4.7
    • 4.4
    • 4.3
    • $40
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    José Andrés’ “one-of-a-kind” Penn Quarter Med hot spot, featuring “exceptional, not overly expensive” small plates, is a “go-to” choice for everything from dining with out-of-towners to “impressing” a first date; its light, “airy” space and “sunny service” supply the “warm” backdrop for its “magic” mix of traditional and “inventive” meze, and the “bar scene is a hoot”, though it can be a “little too loud.” Read more about Zaytinya on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Crispy Brussels sprouts
    • Octopus Santorini (pictured)
    • Yogurt with apricots

    Behind the Scores: Desserts come in half and full portions, and vegetarians would be hard-pressed to find an omnivorous restaurant with more delightful veggie choices.

  • Fogo de Chão Brazilian SteakhouseFogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse#8

    Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse

     Steakhouse • Downtown

    • 4.7
    • 4.4
    • 4.4
    • $66
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    Chão hounds satisfy their “meat cravings” via an “endless parade” of all-you-can-eat grilled items presented on skewers by “first-rate” servers at this Penn Quarter branch of the Brazilian steakhouse chain; its jumbo, bi-level dining room also boasts a “salad bar that’s a meal in itself”, ensuring that patrons “roll out the door” – no wonder it’s “rather expensive.” Read more about Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse on Zagat.

    What to order

    • All-you-can-eat churrascaria menu

    Behind the Scores: Vegetarians need not worry: The huge, unlimited salad bar is loaded with meat-free options.

  • The Bombay ClubThe Bombay Club#9

    The Bombay Club

     Indian • White House/World Bank

    • 4.7
    • 4.6
    • 4.5
    • $54
    • Share:

    At this “luxurious oasis” close by the White House, “refined” Indian cooking, “romantic” piano music, “gracious” turbaned waiters and “fabulous” raj-era decor provide the backdrop for “memorable” social occasions as well as “mover-and-shaker” business meetings at its “well-spaced” tables; what’s more, it’s “worth getting out of bed” for the Sunday buffet brunch deal with bottomless champagne. Read more about The Bombay Club on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Tandoori salmon, which is off-menu but always available (pictured)
    • Green chicken masala
    • Cobra coffee

    Behind the Scores: To receive a complimentary appetizer during the weekday happy hour (4-6:30 PM), just mention it when you order your drinks.

     Map of The Bombay Club

    Food photo by Michael J. Colella

    Restaurant photo by Powers and Crewe Photography

    www.bombayclubdc.com

  • Marcel's by Robert WiedmaierMarcel's by Robert Wiedmaier#10

    Marcel's by Robert Wiedmaier

     New American • West End

    • 4.7
    • 4.6
    • 4.6
    • $103
    • Share:

    Chef-owner Robert Wiedmaier upholds “haute-cuisine” traditions at his West End flagship offering “exceptional” French-Belgian “classics with a twist” served with “panache” in an “elegant but not pretentious” atmosphere; a recent redo enhanced the “luxurious” contemporary space, and while its expense-account pricing leads some to reserve it as a “special treat”, there’s an “excellent” pre-theater deal that includes transport to and from Kennedy Center. Read more about Marcel's by Robert Wiedmaier on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Tasting menu
    • Boudin blanc (pictured)
    • Truffled Brillat-Savarin

    Behind the Scores: Sommelier Moez Ben Achour presides over an award-winning wine program that begs for exploration.

     Map of Marcel's by Robert Wiedmaier

    Food photo by Scott Suchman

    Restaurant photo by Scott Suchman

    www.marcelsdc.com

  • Rose's LuxuryRose's Luxury#11

    Rose's Luxury

     New American • Capitol Hill

    • 4.7
    • 4.6
    • 4.6
    • $64
    • Share:

    A “happy dining experience” awaits at this Capitol Hill New American that wins accolades for an “over-the-top delicious” menu that’s small plates–centric and “not afraid of bold flavors and some heat”; from its “hip, farmhouse style” to the “sweet” servers that steer the table in “all the right directions”, it’s no wonder that most find it “worth the wait” – no reservations are accepted. Read more about Rose's Luxury on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Pork-lychee salad (pictured)
    • Fried oysters
    • Smoked brisket

    Behind the Scores: The all-you-can-eat roof garden dinner is worth every penny of the $125 per person (excluding tax, tip and drinks).

     Map of Rose's Luxury

    Food photo by Elizabeth Parker

    Restaurant photo by Laura Hayes

    www.rosesluxury.com

  • ToscaTosca#12

    Tosca

     Italian • Downtown

    • 4.7
    • 4.4
    • 4.6
    • $71
    • Share:

    This “high-end”, recently refurbished Penn Quarter Italian “continues to power along” with “bigwig lobbyists, politicians” and the “expense-account crowd” dining on its “outstanding” pastas and “excellent” fish while “rubbing elbows” with the regulars at its “great” bar; “gracious, old-school” servers enhance the “refined” mood that’s perfect for “client entertaining” or a “fancy date night.” Read more about Tosca on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Manzo
    • Lobster risotto (pictured)
    • Spigola del Chile

    Behind the Scores: This Downtown mainstay has a new chef who has busied himself with making his own mark on the menu, meaning now is a great time to revisit if you haven't been in a while.

  • SEISEI#13

    SEI

     Japanese • Penn Quarter/Chinatown

    • 4.6
    • 4.6
    • 4.2
    • $41
    • Share:

    “Bright-white” decor makes for a “sexy atmosphere” at this “beautiful” Penn Quarter Asian-fusion specialist where “delicious” small plates and “inventive” sushi are perfect for either “date night or cocktails with the girls”; “great” service and “good happy-hour specials” make it a natural before a show at the nearby Shakespeare Theatre or Woolly Mammoth. Read more about SEI on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Wasabi guacamole
    • Fish 'n' chips roll (pictured)
    • Snow White roll

    Behind the Scores: A special omakase menu is offered on Thursdays.

  • Acqua Al 2Acqua Al 2#14

    Acqua Al 2

     Italian • Capitol Hill

    • 4.6
    • 4.3
    • 4.3
    • $59
    • Share:

    This “dark”, brick-walled Florentine outpost on Capitol Hill exudes “warm energy” enhanced by its “authentic” Tuscan pastas (served al dente with “unique” sauces) and steaks (especially the “mind-blowing” blueberry sauced filet); the menu also offers “try-out” samplers of popular dishes, and if dinner is a “bit expensive”, the $20 three-course lunch is a good way to try it on a budget. Read more about Acqua Al 2 on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Strozzapreti al radicchio rosso
    • Filetto al mirtillo (pictured)
    • Cannelloni

    Behind the Scores: Make a reserveation for a pre- or post-dinner trip upstairs to Harold Black, the speakeasy run by the Acqua al 2 folks.

  • Sushi TaroSushi Taro#15

    Sushi Taro

     Japanese • Dupont Circle

    • 4.6
    • 4.2
    • 4.4
    • $90
    • Share:

    Experience “authentic” Japanese dining at this DuPont Circle East chef’s counter where “artistic” omakase meals using “unusual” fishes showcase “out-of-this-world” flavors, though there are also more “traditional” à la carte dishes served by “impeccable” staffers in its “appealing” dining room; aficionados say it’s “worth every dollar”, though there is a “reasonable happy hour” for those on a budget. Read more about Sushi Taro on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Kaiseki (chef's choice)
    • Soft-shell crab (in season)
    • Grilled eggplant (pictured)

    Behind the Scores: Lunch and happy-hour prices are one of the city's great bargains, and frequent menu updates are posted to Facebook.

     Map of Sushi Taro

    Food photo by Laura Hayes

    www.sushitaro.com

  • Duke's GroceryDuke's Grocery#16

    Duke's Grocery

     British • Dupont Circle

    • 4.6
    • 4.5
    • 4.1
    • $22
    • Share:

    East London collides with Dupont Circle East at this “casual yet sophisticated” spot serving “hearty” sandwiches and specials (i.e. salt beef, “unreal” pumpkin curry) along with a full English breakfast in a “welcoming” row-house setting; it’s best known for its “awesome” classic burger, as well as a double-patty version that’s a “perfect hangover cure.” Read more about Duke's Grocery on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Macaroni and cheese
    • Proper burger (pictured)
    • Ca Tre banh mi

    Behind the Scores: The menu changes almost daily, so be sure to check Facebook for the most up-to-date offerings.

  • BlackSalt Fish Market & RestaurantBlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant#17

    BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant

     Seafood • Palisades

    • 4.6
    • 4.0
    • 4.2
    • $57
    • Share:

    A “great catch”, this Palisades New American seafooder hooks customers with “fresh fish prepared with care” plus an “extensive wine list” delivered by “very good” servers; yes, it’s “on the pricey side” and some find the ambiance only “so-so”, but that doesn’t keep “high-energy” crowds from packing the bar and the more “intimate” back dining room; P.S. there’s also a front market stocked with “prepared foods and cook-it-yourself fruits de mer.” Read more about BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Raw oysters
    • Fried Ipswich clams
    • Bouillabaisse

    Behind the Scores: Diners are able to pick any fish from the market case up front and ask for the chef to prepare it his way with the diner's preferences in mind.

  • Ruth's Chris Steak HouseRuth's Chris Steak House#18

    Ruth's Chris Steak House

     Steakhouse • Dupont Circle

    • 4.6
    • 4.4
    • 4.5
    • $66
    • Share:

    “Melt-in-your-mouth” filets “covered in melted butter” are the draw at this “classy” steakhouse chain where the signature chops are always “cooked perfectly”; add a “warm welcome”, “masculine” decor, “excellent” sides and an “extensive” wine list, and no wonder carnivores crow it’s “wonderful for a romantic dinner” – and worth every “high-end” cent. Read more about Ruth's Chris Steak House on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Crab-stuffed mushrooms
    • New York strip
    • Sweet potato casserole (pictured)

    Behind the Scores: The happy-hour menu offers $8 food and drink specials Sunday through Friday from 4:30-7 PM.

  • Blue Duck TavernBlue Duck Tavern#19

    Blue Duck Tavern

     American • West End

    • 4.6
    • 4.5
    • 4.6
    • $70
    • Share:

    A magnet for “Washington establishment” types, this “sophisticated” West End American turns out “consistently excellent” farm-sourced meals served in a “beautiful” designer-rustic setting that permits “conversation without shouting”; an “excellent” wine cellar, extensive tea selection, “incredible” brunch and “Anthony Bourdain”–ish bone marrow appetizer are further reasons why it’s “well worth the hefty price.” Read more about Blue Duck Tavern on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Crispy pork head cheese
    • Rabbit tagliatelle
    • Apple pie for two (pictured)

    Behind the Scores: The family-style chef's table can be booked for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner for up to 20 guests.

     Map of Blue Duck Tavern

    Food photo by Len DePas

    Restaurant photo by Courtesy of Park Hyatt

  • Mintwood PlaceMintwood Place#20

    Mintwood Place

     American • Adams Morgan

    • 4.6
    • 4.1
    • 4.4
    • $48
    • Share:

    “Wonderful” smells presage “outstanding” French-American fare featuring “interesting techniques and flavor combinations” (i.e. escargot hushpuppies) at this Adams Morgan “foodie” destination that’s relatively affordable; it’s a “loud”, neo-rustic place with a “fun atmosphere”, “helpful” servers and a bar that knows how to “rock a Manhattan.” Read more about Mintwood Place on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Escargot hushpuppies (pictured)
    • Wood-grilled confit calf's heart
    • Tagliatelle Bolognese

    Behind the Scores: It might feel like a fancy, date-night place, but the thoughtful kids' menu shows it's a neighborhood spot at heart.

  • KomiKomi#21

    Komi

     American/Mediterranean • Dupont Circle

    • 4.6
    • 4.2
    • 4.6
    • $139
    • Share:

    It’s “almost impossible to get a table” at this “exceptional” American-Med in Dupont Circle offering “unique”, prix fixe–only multicourse meals that unfold over several hours; “enthusiastic” servers oversee the “understated” verging on “spartan” surroundings, and “adventurous” eaters say the high price tags are worth the expense for “really standout” dining. Read more about Komi on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Tasting menu

    Behind the Scores: If you share that you're celebrating a special occasion when you make your reservation, a personalized take-home treat arrives at the end of the meal.

     Map of Komi

    Food photo by Scott Suchman

    Restaurant photo by Scott Suchman

    komirestaurant.com

  • Fiola MareFiola Mare#22

    Fiola Mare

     Seafood • Georgetown

    • 4.6
    • 4.7
    • 4.6
    • $97
    • Share:

    The “beautiful” Georgetown waterfront vistas are outdone only by the “excitingly prepared” seafood served by staffers who “accommodate your every whim” at Fabio Trabocchi’s “exquisite” Washington Harbour Italian; “elegant” indoor and outdoor settings, with “great” wines and “innovative” cocktails, make it an ‘in’ place to impress someone special or just “spend time with friends”, but be prepared to “pay up” for the privilege. Read more about Fiola Mare on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Frutti di mare (pictured)
    • Bucatini
    • Marchesi

    Behind the Scores: For the best river views, ask for a table in the enclosed veranda.

     Map of Fiola Mare

    Food photo by Greg Powers

    Restaurant photo by Christopher Anderson

    www.fiolamaredc.com

  • Little SerowLittle Serow#23

    Little Serow

     Thai • Dupont Circle

    • 4.6
    • 4.0
    • 4.4
    • $68
    • Share:

    Cognoscenti swear that chef-owner Johnny Monis has “absolutely nailed” Northern Thailand’s “hotter-than-heck” night-stall cuisine at this semi-“secret” Dupont Circle basement; fans use “every superlative in the book” to describe the multicourse prix fixe meals, the “passionate” staff, the “value” and even the “cool”, no-frills setting, though the no-reservations policy is another story. Read more about Little Serow on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Tasting menu

    Behind the Scores: If the spice level becomes too much to bear, ask for a glass of icy rice milk to cool things down.

     Map of Little Serow

    Food photo by Scott Suchman

    Restaurant photo by Dakota Fine

    www.littleserow.com

  • Casa LucaCasa Luca#24

    Casa Luca

     Italian • Mount Vernon Square

    • 4.6
    • 4.5
    • 4.6
    • $58
    • Share:

    Fabio Trabocchi’s Mount Vernon Square tribute to his Le Marche regional roots gives casual dining an “upscale touch” in a “smart but comfortable” dining room overseen by a “welcoming” crew; “outstanding” pastas and other rustic Italian dishes, complemented by a “good wine list”, come at “reasonable prices” at this “bravissimo” place. Read more about Casa Luca on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Seasonal piccoletti
    • Smoked potato gnocchi
    • Grilled lamb shoulder (pictured)

    Behind the Scores: Sunday brunch was recently reinstated with a $32 three-course option that includes a bottomless cocktail.

     Map of Casa Luca

    Restaurant photo by Greg Powers

    www.casalucadc.com

  • Central Michel RichardCentral Michel Richard#25

    Central Michel Richard

     French • Penn Quarter/Chinatown

    • 4.6
    • 4.2
    • 4.4
    • $50
    • Share:

    “Genius” chef Michel Richard and a stellar team headed by David Deshaies craft “some of the city’s best dishes” (e.g. a “divine” lobster burger, “spectacular” desserts) at this “convivial”, “visually interesting” French-American bistro in the Penn Quarter; hailed as a “bargain for the quality”, it features a “broad” menu that’s “invariably delicious”, bolstered by a “great” wine list and a “steal” of a Sunday brunch. Read more about Central Michel Richard on Zagat.

    What to order

    • Cheese puffs
    • Bacon cheeseburger (pictured)
    • Michel's fried chicken

    Behind the Scores: Happy hour, held from 5-6:30 PM weekdays, offers deep discounts on some of the restaurant's most popular dishes.

Ratings are out of 30. Key to ratings

Zagat calculates ratings on a 30-point scale based on periodic consumer surveys

26–30Extraordinary to perfection
21–25Very good to excellent
16–20Good to very good
11–15Fair to good
0–10Poor to fair

Numerical cost estimates are for the price of dinner with one drink and tip.

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