The Beatles famously crooned "All you need is love, love. Love is all you need." Well, they may be right but an unforgettable trip to a romantic restaurant certainly can't hurt, right? Washington, D.C. has a huge variety of restaurants to chose from with culinary dishes representing countries from across the world that will please the palate of that special someone.
When it came time for 10Best to find the most standout romantic spots, we looked at several factors – venue ambiance, menu excellence and staff attentiveness – because when you are trying to impress someone special, you only want the best.
Several of our picks contain places that change their menu daily to reflect the freshest ingredients including Fiola and The Tabard Inn. Every time you step in the door, a new food discovery can be made. If you are looking for a romantic getaway that marries both food and lodging, The Inn at Little Washington can not be beat. Tasting menus are quite popular in the district so head on over to Komi, Iron Gate and Marcel's for sinfully delicious selections.
Whether you are celebrating Valentine's Day, an anniversary or just a fun night out, romance is on the menu at these fine Washington, D.C. area restaurants.
Take a drive down to Old Town, Alexandria and head to this charming restaurant housed inside a renovated late 1800s warehouse. A cobblestone path guides you to the entrance which is lined by candles. With a goal to bring ingredients, cooking techniques, presentation and soulfulness together, this venue buys from local farms and uses herbs and fruits from its own garden for dishes. The menu changes daily so each visit can lead to a new culinary discovery. Many products are made in-house including seven to nine different breads baked daily and artisanal cheeses. METRO: King Street (703-706-0450)
Co Co. Sala
Sure, you can come to this eatery and get an amazing dinner meal – bacon mac and cheese, strawberry caprese flatbread and creole crab cakes just to name a few. But, let's face it, this venue is known for its fabulous dessert offerings. Try the chocolate crème brulee, warm sticky toffee pudding cake or the valrhona chocolate rum cupcake trio. If one sinfully delicious treat is just not enough, you may want to try the chef's 3- or 5-course dessert experience. Your pants may not thank you later but your stomach certainly will. Metro: Metro Center or Gallery Place-Chinatown. (2023474265)
Choosing its name to honor a historic year in Washington, D.C.'s history, the Georgetown venue harks back to days gone by. American antiques, paintings and china decorate the six dining rooms which add to the venue's historic ambiance. The restaurant prides itself on shunning commercial produce in favor of local fare. The four-course menu changes daily to reflect the freshest ingredients and seasonal flavors. A recent selection included chilled cucumber gazpacho, squid ink tagliarini and Icelandic cod. Men are no longer required to wear jackets but this destination will make you want to wear your very best. METRO: Foggy Bottom. (202-965-1789)
Tabard Inn Restaurant
Dubbing itself a European-style oasis on American soil, this venue offers both a charming place to sleep and a restaurant featuring a seasonal dish menu. Located inside three townhomes dating back to the late 19th century, the Inn has 40 individually designed rooms. Note that some rooms have a private bath while others are shared. When dining at the restaurant, note the menu changes every day inspired by local. fresh and seasonal offerings. A sample of dinner entrée options could include seared salmon, veal chop and gumbo. Live jazz music is played in the bar and lounge every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night. METRO: Dupont Circle (202-331-8528)
With soft lighting, elegant white décor, and a maître d to greet you, this French and Belgian cuisine venue is epitome of fine dining. Menu items change daily but the high quality of each meal does not. Chose from four, five, six or seven course meals. For those who love to attend shows at the Kennedy Center, be sure to check out Marcel's three course pre-theater dining menu. Some selections to try include the smoke salmon carpaccio, the roasted Berkshire pork loin or perhaps the melting hot chocolate cake. The price tag even includes an executive car service to take you to and from the venue. METRO: Foggy Bottom (202-296-1166)
This modern Greek restaurant is a foodie's dream come true. A set multi-course tasting dinner begins with small, light dishes and moves toward pastas, entrees and desserts. Since there are no printed menus, you are told of the meal as it is presented to you. Many will add on a wine pairing to the experience. With minimal décor, the focus goes to the food which is extraordinary. They ask that no photos be taken to your Facebook friends will just have to visualize your dinner or come here to experience it for themselves. METRO: Dupont Circle. (202-332-9200)
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. The dessert and cheese menu is not to be missed so be sure to save room. Check out the large bar which serves classic and modern libations. For those who love wine, be sure to check out their impressive list of estate wines from Italy, France, Spain and the United States. METRO: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter. (2026282888)
Iron Gate Restaurant
Reopened in 2013 under the direction of executive chef Anthony Chittum, this venue dates back to the days of the Civil War when it was used as stables for its cavalry officer owner. Today, the original carriageway hosts the bar and year round dining area and features a cozy courtyard complete with grapevines and wisteria. Booking a table in the dining room? The tasting menu is offered nightly with varying number of courses. Those who dine in the carriageway and garden area may chose from an a la carte menu complete with house made pastas, wood-roasted meats and seafood. METRO: Dupont Circle (202-524-5202)
Named for Chef Aaron Silverman's paternal grandmother and his desire to provide a warm, casual and hospitable environment for guests, this venue regularly has a long line when its doors open for dinner seating. They do not take reservations for parties with less than six people and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. The tapas menu is eclectic and features small and family style dishes. With seasonal offerings, a recent menu included such delicious dishes as beef ribeye tartare, pickled ramps and crispy potatoes, grilled quail with Brussels sprouts, Caesar and apples. For those looking for just a drink, head upstairs to their bar. METRO: Eastern Market ((202) 580-8889)
Inn at Little Washington
Nestled in Washington, Va., this cozy yet elegant venue is the perfect spot to bring that special someone for a romantic getaway. The Inn features 24 bedrooms and suites – some with picturesque views of the historic, untouched land. Patrons will find a decadent menu at the restaurant including mouth-watering classics such as carpaccio of herb-crusted baby lamb loin, truffle-stuffed breast of pheasant and a fricassee of Maine lobster. The wine cellar has more than 2,400 selections so you will surely fine one (or more) to pair with the meal. Be sure to take a walk through the campus to watch the sunset on the Perimeter Path, buy some presents at the gift shops or meander through the cutting garden. (540-675-3800)
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.
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