Celebrity sightings in New York City and Los Angeles usually mean actors and musicians but when it comes to Washington, D.C., we are all about the politico and people spotting. Presidents. First Ladies. Members of congress. Supreme Court Justices. Well-known political journalists. Those are the people we want to sit across from while feeding out foodie cravings.
Steak houses and power lunches/dinners go together like cool water on a hot day. The Palm has many cartoons and characters of Washington power players on the walls but don't be surprised to see the real life inspirations seated at a table nearby. Located steps from Capitol Hill, Charlie Palmer Steak features USDA certified angus beef aged 21 days steak entrees.
The Georgetown-based Café Milano is an upscale Italian dining experience offering an abundance of pasta dishes along with seafood, salad and meat dishes. Want a taste of France right here in the district? Head to Le Diplomate, a bistro which offers an incredible comfort food menu and gives you the feeling that you have stepped inside a Parisian café.
Instead of watching politicos and people on television, get the opportunity to see them in a relaxed, upscale setting while also satisfying your hunger for great food at these top spotting restaurants.
Old Ebbitt Grill
When Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding and Teddy Roosevelt were in need of libations, they came to here. Established in 1856 and boasting of being Washington, D.C.'s oldest saloon, the restaurant features Victorian-styled rooms perfect for tourists, locals and politicians. The upscale American lunch menu is sure to appease with great choices like the grilled swordfish, trout parmesan, chicken milanese and butternut squash agnolotti. Be sure to check out their menu devoted solely to oysters. The dress code is anything goes so it is perfect for Washington elite along with tourists stopping for a bite to eat just steps from The White House. METRO: Metro Center. (202-347-4800)
Charlie Palmer Steak
While many steakhouses feature a dark color palette, this venue favors white and large windows to let in an abundance of natural light. Located in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters building near Capitol Hill, this upscale restaurant has a floating wine cube that features more than 6,000 bottles. First courses contain raw bar and cold and hot dish selections. Move on to USDA certified angus beef aged 21 days steak entrees like the European cut filet mignon, bone-in cowboy cut ribeye and the pepper crusted culotte steak. Be sure to add on sides like the poached blue crab, roasted prawns or seared foie gras. METRO: Judiciary Square. (202-547-8100)
With a focus on modern interpretations of traditional French bistro fare, this restaurant is where Capitol Hill dines out. Patrons will find a warm yet sophisticated atmosphere upon their arrival including a tiered dining area and a bar ready to make classic French cocktails. Savor lunch entrees like the Bis burger, salmon Normande, trout l'ardenaise, crab cakes and the salad grecque. The brunch menu is worth getting out of bed for on the weekend with selections like the risotto au pistou, quiche Lorraine and tuna salade nicoise. METRO: Union Station (202-661-2700)
Bringing a modern American steakhouse to the nation's capital, this venue is known for its mouth-watering Certified black angus and USDA prime steaks. Sink your teeth into a prime hanger steak, an American wagyu skirt steak or filet mignon. If you are looking for a meal other than steak, try the grilled spicy miso tuna, lemon rosemary chicken or rack of lamb. Sides are separate from the main course but are not to be missed. Try the mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and grilled asparagus. Be sure to pair your meal with a cocktail or a choice off their impressive wine list. METRO: Faragut North. (202-689-8999)
Opened in 2011, this much buzzed about restaurant is Chef Fabio Trabocchi's first in D.C. With a modern upscale vibe, this venue changes menus every day to reflect the freshest ingredients available for its regional and contemporary Italian cuisine. The menu includes selections of pasta, meat, fish and salads. If you are looking to make more healthy choices, look at the Maria menu Monday through Fridays which offers three courses of Mediterranean style dishes that are low on sodium, calories and fat. The bar offers its own lunch menu called PRESTO! where guests may chose a select beverage and entr�for one price. METRO: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter. (2026282888)
For a taste of France right here in Washington, D.C., head to this bistro which offers an incredible comfort food menu for brunch, apr�midi and dinner. Brunch options include breakfast favorites like steak and eggs and spinach omelet and entr�choices include lamb sandwich and trout amandine. Dinner offers succulent hors d'oeuvres, tasty entrees and a full wine and dessert menu. Try to grab a seat outside to enjoy conversations with friends and people-watch. You may even see well-known political figures. First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry have all been spotted here. METRO: U Street (202-332-3333)
Joe's Seafood Prime Steak and Stone Crab
Born from the Lettuce Entertain You Restaurant Group, this venue opened its doors just a couple of years ago but is already known as a great spot to see the politically powerful. For those who love seafood and steak, you will find a bevy of menu options but don't leave without adding sides to your main dish. Jennie's mashed potatoes and Joe's grilled tomatoes are great choices. Be sure to check out their cocktail hours every day from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the banking hall. Nosh on Alaskan king crab roll, blackened rockfish and oysters on the half shell. (202-489-0140)
With gorgeous views of the Potomac River and a seafood market counter to evoke a Mediterranean feel, this restaurant can not be missed. Opened in early 2014, this is the third restaurant Chef Fabio Trabocchi has opened in the district and it continues to be must-go destination for foodies. Menus change daily based on fresh ingredient availability so be sure to check out their website before you make a reservation. While this restaurant is great for lunch and dinner, you should also check out their top notch brunch menu which will give you a major reason to get out of bed early on a weekend. (202-628-0065)
When The Palm opened its first location in Manhattan, the owners had no money for decorating. Lucky for them, their restaurant was near a comic syndicate headquarters and many cartoonists would pay for their meal by drawing a picture on the wall. As the restaurant branched out, the cartoons and caricatures became a fun staple of the restaurant. After you have focused on the walls, give all your attention to the plate in front of you because the food is not to be missed. Try their bite sized gourmet menu items or head straight to their superb steaks that are corn-fed USDA prime beef that has been aged a minimum of 35 days. METRO: Dupont Circle (202-293-9091)
Italian culture is the focus of this upscale Georgetown staple where politicians, lobbyists and journalists are known to mingle. The décor harks back to a Milan boutique with hand painted coves and framed designer scarves adorning the walls. Patrons will dig into a Southern Coastal Italian cuisine menu featuring an abundance of pasta dishes along with seafood, salad and meat dishes. Italian dishes tend to fill you up fast but ordering off the dessert menu is a must with choices like the vanilla panna cotta and flourless chocolate cake. Daily specials are listed on their website so check it out before you head to the venue. METRO: Foggy Bottom. (202-333-6183)
About Gina Gallucci White
Gina Gallucci White is an award winning freelance writer with articles appearing in such regional publications as Frederick Magazine, The Daily Record, Montgomery Magazine and The Gazette. She writes about a wide variety of subjects and holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from West Virginia University. Gina has two kids, can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi in a blind taste test and admits to knowing all the songs from Frozen.
Read more about Gina Gallucci White here.
Connect with Gina via: Blog | Twitter