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Restaurants in Washington, DC

Washington has come into its own as a culinary adventure with just about every type of restaurant imaginable. It is said that the best Ethiopian food in the country is available in the Adams Morgan neighbourhood, while downtown Washington has peerless Indian fare. Elsewhere in the city, expect to find everything from Asian to Mexican, as well as local specialities such as blue crab cakes.

The Washington, DC restaurants below have been grouped into three pricing categories:
Expensive (over US$55)
Moderate (US$25 to US$55)
Cheap (up to US$25)

These Washington, DC prices are for a three-course meal for one with half a bottle of house wine or equivalent. They do not include sales tax (10%) or service charge.

Expensive

Charlie Palmer Steak

Cuisine: American

It might have steak in the name but Charlie Palmer Steak is about more than just meat, although it does do an exceedingly good line in rib-eyes. Located in the imposing United Brotherhood of Carpenters building, it's a polished eatery that attracts an upmarket clientele drawn by the prospect of hearty local wines and classic American fare. Burgers, crab cakes and, of course steak, all feature heavily, but are given an upgrade courtesy of some creative kitchen thinking and ultra-fresh, locally sourced produce.

Address: , , ,
Telephone: (202) 547 8100.
Website: http://www.charliepalmer.com

CityZen

Cuisine: Asian

One of the hottest new additions to the Washington DC dining scene, CityZen is located within the slick new Mandarin Oriental hotel but manages to be reasonably intimate despite its setting. Most of what's on offer is fusion fare – think Kobe beef sliders – although there are also some genuinely Asian dishes on the menu. Highlights include oyster sashimi, made using shellfish sourced from the Chesapeake Bay, and the excellent lump crab cakes. The wine list is long and excellent to boot.

Address: , , ,
Telephone: (202) 787 6148.
Website: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/washington/fine-dining/city-zen

Equinox

Cuisine: American

Boasting a mid-Atlantic menu that is heavy on the seafood, Equinox is where the city's most powerful go to rub shoulders, socialise and, in some cases, seal the deal. Unsurprisingly, it's also a date night favourite of the Obamas, who are regularly spotted tucking into chef Todd Gray's fine fare. Gray, one of the first to embrace sustainable cooking, has also ensured that all the food served up to guests is organic and sourced from within 100 miles of the restaurant. Freshness, if nothing else, is guaranteed.

Address: , , ,
Telephone: (202) 331 8118.
Website: http://www.equinoxrestaurant.com

Moderate

Mr Smith of Georgetown

Cuisine: American

Billed as 'the friendliest saloon in town', Mr Smith is a Georgetown institution that has been welcoming regulars and guests alike for more than 40 years. Boasting a chintzy interior crammed with antique mirrors and lamps, as well as a piano bar, it serves up hearty home cooking with burgers, chilli and fish and chips among specialities. The hidden garden buzzes with the sound of conversation and is open all year round, heated by fireplaces and kept warm courtesy of an electronic roof in winter.

Address: , , ,
Telephone: (202) 333 3104.
Website: http://www.mrsmiths.com

Old Ebbitt Grill

Cuisine: American

Situated around the corner from the White House, Old Ebbitt is a comfortable little pub with an interior that boasts lots of dark wood and polished brass. It also has a rather distinguished history and has been serving presidents their supper since 1856. Despite the highbrow clientele, the food is not what you would expect to find at a state dinner - American classics rather than haute cuisine. Staples include enormous, freshly-made beef burgers and there's also an excellent oyster bar.

Address: , , ,
Telephone: (202) 347 4800.
Website: http://www.ebbitt.com

Zaytinya

Cuisine: Turkish

The Mediterranean cuisine at Zaytinya excels. Tuck into the mouth-watering mezze, small plates of seafood, meat or vegetables. Save room for Turkish delight, a walnut ice cream creation with, among other things, caramelised pine nuts. The décor is simple with huge windows and white walls. Zaytinya only takes limited reservations so take a chance and join the hustle and bustle at the bar with others waiting for a table.

Address: , , ,
Telephone: (202) 638 0800.
Website: http://www.zaytinya.com

Cheap

Ben's Chili Bowl

Cuisine: American

The sign over the grill says 'Home of the Famous Chili Dog', which should give a clue as to what to order at this popular eatery. So admired is Ben's, its toothsome chilli half-smoke was voted Washington's signature dish. Formica counters lined with red vinyl barstools are a throwback to the 1950s when it first opened, but then again, posh interior design is not the reason why patrons like comedian Billy Cosby and the Obamas have popped in.

Address: NW, 1213 U Street, Washington DC,
Telephone: (202) 667 0909.
Website: http://benschilibowl.com/

Meskerem

Cuisine: Ethiopian

The streets of Adams Morgan are lined with Ethiopian eateries, but none as enjoyable as Meskerem, which is set over three levels and decorated with colourful murals and traditional musical instruments. Food is served at low tables, where diners sit and tear off little pieces of injera (sour pancakes) which they then use to scoop up delicious stews made from lentils, chicken, lamb or vegetables. The duro wat (chicken stew) is particularly good. Wash the whole lot down with a glass or three of the homemade honey wine.

Address: , , ,
Telephone: (202) 462 4100.
Website: http://www.meskeremethiopianrestaurantdc.com

Pizzeria Paradiso

Cuisine: Italian

From traditional favourites, such as quattro formaggi (four cheese), to the popular Atomica (tomato, salami, black olives), the thin, crunchy crust is always a winner here and the pizzas are cooked up in a wood-burning stove that takes pride of place. Along with classic pizzas, Paradiso has also created a few unusual recipes of its own, including several that pay homage to the city itself. Although originally a small downtown eating spot, Paradiso has since branched out and now has several locations, including one in Georgetown.

Address: , , ,
Telephone: (202) 223 1245.
Website: http://www.eatyourpizza.com

Featured Hotels

SEE MORE

Hotel Tabard Inn

Located on a tree-lined side street in the Dupont Circle neighbourhood, this is the small hotel that residents recommend to their friends. As it was constructed from three Federal-style row houses, no two rooms are exactly the same, but each is filled with unique antiques and has Wi-Fi access throughout. Some rooms have a shared bathroom. Victorian sitting areas in the lounge are quite cosy and feature live jazz on Sunday night. The hotel's downstairs dining room, a popular lunch spot for both guests and non-guests, features American cuisine. The restaurant's brick-walled garden is one of the most pleasant places to pass an afternoon in Washington, DC. Price includes continental breakfast.

Hotel Helix

If funk is your thing, you'll love this Kimpton boutique hotel where pop art meets Hollywood. The guestrooms are decorated in eye-popping patterns, bright red, green and blue colours, and underscored with rounded mirrors and large pillows. Twelve of the rooms are themed including the cool Zone rooms, fun family Bunk rooms and Italian-inspired Eats rooms. The lighting system changes from blue to gold in the hotel's bar/café, Helix Lounge, and the outdoor patio is popular with locals. Located in the Logan Circle neighbourhood, Hotel Helix is more appealing to young hipsters rather than sedate business people.

The William Lewis House

A home from home, this welcoming bed and breakfast has all the trinkets and touches of grandma's place with patterned rugs, plump sofas and candles and doilies above the fireplace. Actually taking up two Edwardian townhouses, The William Lewis House has 10 individually decorated rooms, scattered with antiques and family heirlooms, plus free Wi-Fi. What's more, the owners host happy hours with wine and hot chocolate. Gay friendly.

Washington Plaza Hotel

Under the watchful eye of architect Morris Lapidus, the Washington Plaza sprung up in 1962, placing a resort-like hotel in the middle of a city. Right next to the Smithsonian museums, the location is superb, while its glorious swimming pool, 340 well turned out rooms and recently renovated fitness suite are all as good as any modern contemporaries.

Normandy Hotel

Located on an elegant street with embassies as neighbours, and within walking distance of bars, restaurants, shops and the Dupont Circle Metro, this small hotel is a real find. Extensively renovated in 2009, the 75 rooms are decorated in black and white highlighted with fabrics in warm colours. The lobby and rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi internet access and although there is no restaurant, afternoon tea and coffee is served to guests and there is a free wine and cheese reception some evenings.

Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC

The award-winning Oriental is one of the most popular hotels in Washington, DC. Touches of Feng Shui have made its huge guest rooms calming - in fact, you may not want to leave them. All have Chinese marble bathrooms, silk bed tapestries, flatscreen TVs, high-speed internet access and smashing views of city monuments or the Potomac Tidal Basin. The hotel also has a state-of-the-art spa plus two restaurants - the Asian-inspired, award-winning Cafe MoZU and the Sou'Wester, serving regional American cuisine. For lighter fare or cocktails try the Empress Lounge.