Shaw

This is where we live, so I'm biased but it's our favorite neighborhood in DC. Very young, hip, great food, centrally located. Has great mix of retail, food & bars and residential.

Dupont/Downtown/14th St

  • We're famous for Blagden Alley - a converted alley in the middle of a residential area with bars, design shops, awesome wall art and great restaurants. Below are my favorite spots in the alley

    • The Dabney - $$$ Locally sourced, farm fresh American food with constantly changing seasonal menu. Long wait, so would recommend getting a reservation ahead of time, or grab a drink at the Columbia Room while you wait.

    • The Columbia Room - $$ Great for before or after dinner drinks. 

    • Tiger Fork - $$ Small plate modern chinese and great cocktails 

    • Calico - $/$$ New England Style Patio Bar 
       

  • Maxwell - $$ Pretty new wine bar. Usually pretty packed.
     

  • Chaplin's - $/$$ One of my absolute favorites. A Charlie Chaplin-themed Ramen restaurant. Great cocktails. Enjoy a silent film and popcorn while you wait for a table.

    • Check our their new sister restaurant Zeppelin just up the street, with delicious sushi, yakitori, and Japanese whiskey & sake cocktails.​
       

  • Baked and Wired - $ Fun and delicious coffee shop
     

  • Thai X-ing - $$ 8 course, BYOB, delicious Thai food. Come hungry, leave happy.
      

  • Cher Cher - $ Ethiopian. Literally finger licking good.

  • Maydan - $$/$$$ Seriously just go there. INCREDIBLE, middle eastern food. Instagrammable and voted #2 restaurant in the US. You'll have a few hour wait, but either have a snack before or grab a drink/appetizers are a bar nearby.
     

  • Tico - $$ Latin tapas. Home of my favorite hibiscus margarita. And their mac & cheese is insane. Trust. 
     

  • Compass Rose - $$ Street food from around the world. From the same owners as Maydan (above).
     

  • Iron Gate - $$/$$$ Beautiful, historic and traditional Washington restaurant. Delicious Italian and Greek food and great wine. Beautiful ambiance off.
     

  • W Hotel (POV Lounge) - $$/$$$ One of my favorite places for a quick drink and amazing views. Located just next to the White House, I love coming here with visitors to see all of the monuments and the top of the White House. 
     

  • Little Serow - $$/$$$  Pre-fixe traditional and SPICY thai food. Of all of DC's "line up at 4 and get a table at 9 because we can only seat 20 people a night" this is the one you gotta try.  
     

  • Oki Ramen - $/$$ This used to be a Friday lunch tradition for my coworkers and I for a while. It'll transport you to a trippy dance party through your bowl of Ramen and the eccentric decor. Get the Oki Curry.

NoMa and H Street NE

East side of the city, historic, quickly gentrifying part of DC. Lots to do but not super walkable from one spot to another (except H St). Not super accessible by public transportation, call Uber/Lyft. Dedicate an entire day to just exploring. 
  • Union Market - $/$$ Awesome retail and food huge open space market. The area around it has been developing with lots of new restaurants nearby as well. Great to explore on a Sunday afternoon. If in the neighborhood, check out St. Anselm and A. Litteri.
     

  • Republic Restoratives - $$ DC's first female owned distillery. Home of the Rodham Rye and some other incredible whiskey and vodka based cocktails.
     

  • Masseria - $$$$ Very upscale, Michelin star rated Italian restaurant by chef Nicholas Stefanelli. I believe it's about $100 per person for a prix-fixe menu but I hear it's worth the hype. Have not yet been personally. 

    H Street Corridor
     

    • Bar Elena - $/$$ General Tso's Chicken Wings. Need I say more? Coincidentally located next door to one of our newly legalized results of Initiative 71, New Leaf. 
       

    • Hill Prince - $/$$ Great cocktails. I recommend their Side Car. 
       

    • Whole Foods - $ Yes, the grocery store. The one on H Street has a great bar upstairs and it's super cheap. If you just want a quick and cheap drink to get the night started, would recommend.
       

    • Copy Cat - $/$$ Asian street food and award winning cocktails. Plan to spend $30 max on a filling meal and $15/cocktail.
       

    • Toki Underground - $/$$ Original and delicious ramen in a quirky upstairs environment.

Capitol Hill

Very residential. Lots of strollers and dogs. Very walkable but probably only worth spending half a day.
  • Ambar - $$/$$$ One of my favorites in DC. Located right on Barrack's Row in Eastern Market/Capitol Hill this place serves up delicious Balkan food and drinks. I've only ever been for brunch but hear great things about dinner.
     

  • Rose's Luxury - $$$ No reservations and people start lining up around 4p to get a spot. This is one of Washington's top rated restaurants serving eclectic new American tapas in a converted townhouse.
     

  • Pineapples & Pearls - $$$$ Haven't personally been but this is also one of DC's hottest restaurants. I believe it's a prix-fixe menu of about $250/pp serving up American fare in an upscale restaurant. I believe's it's owned by the same chef as Rose's Luxury.

    • They also own an ADORABLE coffee/wine bar a few blocks away called Little Pearl - would recommend!

Other neighborhoods in and around DC

  • Hot N Juicy Crawfish - (Woodley Park) $/$$ Come hungry and leave with an entire eaten bag of seafood  deliciously smothered in garlic, butter and old bay. Your breath will remind you of the experience for days, but trust me, it's SO worth it. Pro tip- cut your fingernails before coming. 

  • Our Mama Eugenia - (Falls Church, VA) I’ve never been to Greece, but after the food at this restaurant, I’m not sure I need to go. It was truly one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. Each item was a hit. Only regret was that we didn’t have more people to try more of the food. It is wayyyy out there in VA, but if you can pair it with a day exploring Great Falls, it’s beyond worth the trek. 

  • The Salt Line -(The Yards) $$ DEEEEEELICIOUS, unpretentious, reasonably priced, locally sourced seafood. 

  • Rocklands - (Georgetown, Arlington, Alexandria) $ BBQ. Finger lickin good. Would recommend the Arlington location. 

  • Yekta - (Rockville, MD). $$ Some of the best Persian food I've ever had. And I crave this all the time. 

  • Urban Hot Pot- (Rockville, MD). Figured if I'm already sending you to Rockville, you may as well get a few recs. I personally haven't been, but my coworker said it's well worth the drive. 

  • Primrose - (Brookland) $$$ Oui oui! Try this authentic French restaurant and impress your date with a dessert cheese board and a brandy flight. 

  • Hank's Cocktail Bar - (Georgia Ave/ Upshur) $/$$ The cocktail innovation lab that sparks creative drinks such as "I Once Paid $400 for Ed Sheeran Tickets" "Oaxacan af" "you been betta, bella". In the neighborhood and want to keep drinking? Go to Union Drinkery

  • WunderGarten - (NoMa) $ Contemplated which beer garden from the city to post and this is the one I'll stick with. 

  • Truxton Inn - (Bloomingdale) $$ Dark and quiet and delicious cocktail bar. The kind of place that when I asked for a substitution they told me I was just wrong. And I agreed!  

  • Southwest Fish Market- (The Wharf/SW DC) The oldest continuously operating open-air fish market in the United States. Had a seafood boil at home once and got all my ingredients from this market. Great food and fun experience. If you're in the area, find King Ribs - a tiny bbq in a parking lot owned by Bufus Buchanan. I once rode in an uber with his son who told me that they also do deep fried turkeys for Thanksgiving. Treat yourself, seriously. 

  • Red Hen - (Bloomingdale) $$/$$$ Great local, understated Italian restaurant. Highly acclaimed.

  • Kochix - (Bloomingdale) $ Korean. Fried. Chicken. If you've been taking all of my recommendations so far and you just want a quiet night in, get your Ranch out and order some of this. You won't regret.

​And finally, here's the overrated section, IMHO. Most of these I find overrated because of the value for the price you pay.

  • Le Diplomate - Classic French restaurant located in very hip 14th Street. I personally think it's good, but not worth all of the hype people give it. The stretch of 14th St where this is located has tons of amazing restaurants, bars and retail for crowds of all ages. LGBT friendly area.

  • San Lorenzo - Yes I said it. I'm sticking with it. 

  • Barcelona - Meh. A crowd that takes themselves far too seriously. 

  • Convivial-  Gave them a few shots. But like with an ex, realized it wasn't healthy for either of us. 

  • Most Jose Andres restaurants. Except the following, which are great: 

    • Oyamel - Mexican with awesome decor. Love their Margaritas and guacamole. Haven't done dinner, only drinks and appetizers. 

    • Zaytinya - Tapas style mediterranean restaurant

    • Barmini - $$$ If you love science and you love drinking, Barmini is your spot.

  • Founding Farmers - Everyone and their mother will tell you to go here. Your call.

  • Most spots that are "famous for their brunch"