With a passion to share her Lao culture and food with the masses, Chef Seng Luangrath opened up this restaurant in the Columbia Heights neighborhood in early 2015. Lao food is known for its heat so be sure to check out the 'Let's Go to the Jungle!' menu which showcases meals with ingredients including chili and sriracha sauce. For those whose taste buds prefer tamer fare, this menu offers patrons the option to chose their spice level. Pick mild, medium or Lao hot on such dishes as rice-cured tilapia, crispy fried intestine and grilled beef tongue. A different menu offers starters, soups and salads and large plates. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available. METRO: Columbia Heights
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Whether you like hot or mild food, this restaurant has a delicious dish for you.
Gina's expert tip: Flip the menu over once you have made your selection to see hand-drawn pictures showing patrons how to eat sticky rice with their dinner selection.
For a taste of France right here in Washington, D.C., head to this bistro which offers an incredible comfort food menu for brunch, apres midi and dinner. Brunch options include breakfast favorites like steak and eggs and spinach omelet and entree choices including 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. Former First Lady Michelle Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State John Kerry have all been spotted here. METRO: U Street
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A trip to this destination will make you feel like you are in Paris. No passport required.
Gina's expert tip: Be sure to try the eggs Norwegian which feature smoked salmon with sauce hollandaise.
With two locations in the district, this restaurant puts a modern twist on Indian cuisine featuring small plates yet big taste. Start off with a dish made off a tawa (griddle) like scallops rasam or ragda patties or head straight to their sigri (open barbeque) menu including selections of mango shrimp and spicy reshmi kebab. The entrees list will have you wishing for a bigger stomach with choices like tandoori chicken tikka and grouper kerala curry. Be sure to make time to check out the artwork throughout the restaurant. Each piece was created by an Indian artist. METRO: Archives/Navy Memorial or China Town/Gallery Place
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Small dishes equal big taste at this modern Indian cuisine destination.
Gina's expert tip: Lunch and dinner are served Monday through Friday. They are only open for dinner on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.
You'll find this American fare restaurant tucked inside the Park Hyatt Washington D.C. Soft lighting, an open kitchen and unique handcrafted wood furnishings throughout give the restaurant a warm, contemporary feel. American fare is prepared through roasting, braising, preserving and smoking. The tavern has menus for breakfast (jumbo lump Maryland crab cake with scrambled egg whites), brunch, lunch (suckling pig sandwich), dinner (braised beef rib), dessert and wine. As a way to recognize the farmers who grow and raise ingredients for their menu, names and/or locations are provided on the menus for each course. METRO: Foggy Bottom
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Simple, unique dishes sourced from regional farms are not to be missed.
Gina's expert tip: Make sure to try the French fries. You will not be sorry.
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 and yours are having dinner in the main dining room, guests may create their own tasting menu featuring four or five dishes. Don't be afraid to ask for help from their knowledgeable staff. Those dining in the Ezio Room for the evening will enjoy an a la carte menu. METRO: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Luxury and culinary elegance meet to bring guests an unforgettable contemporary Italian meal experience.
Gina's expert tip: The dress code is upscale so please leave those baseball caps and athletic wear at home.
Nestled inside the outstanding Jefferson Hotel is the equally amazing restaurant Plume. Traditional dishes are created using seasonal ingredients that Thomas Jefferson would have grown on his Monticello estate. The menu is small but huge on tasty options like lacquered veal breast, bison strip loin and diver sea scallops. There is a full dessert menu complete with coffee and tea options. The wine list is truly remarkable with more than 1,300 labels to select with some dating back to Jefferson's time. The decor evokes a historic elegant ambiance with a working fireplace and crystal chandeliers. With such gorgeously plated, delicious meals, you'll wish they served breakfast and lunch too. METRO: Farragut North
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: An outstanding hotel paired with an incredible restaurant make this spot a double winner for locals and travelers.
Gina's expert tip: Plume is only open for dinner from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday so make a reservation before heading there.
With gorgeous views of the Potomac River and a seafood market counter to evoke a Mediterranean feel, this restaurant cannot be missed. Opened in early 2014, this is the third restaurant Chef Fabio Trabocchi has opened in the district and it continues to be a 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.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A charming spot to have fabulous food and a gorgeous view of the Potomac River.
Gina's expert tip: Can't find a place to park? The restaurant offers valet parking for an additional fee.
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 pasta, 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 d�r, the focus goes to the food which is extraordinary. They ask that no photos be taken, so your Facebook/Snapchat/Instagram friends and followers will just have to visualize your dinner or come here to experience it for themselves. METRO: Dupont Circle.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The focus is the food at this establishment and their pride in their work shows.
Gina's expert tip: Komi can work with many dietary restrictions but still uses eggs and dairy in their menu.
Named for Chef Aaron Silverman's paternal grandmother and his desire to provide a warm, casual and hospitable environment for guests, this venue regularly had long waits when its doors open for dinner seating but now the venue offers same day reservations to cut down on times. The tapas menu is eclectic and features small and family style dishes. With seasonal offerings, a recent menu included such delicious dishes as strawberry pasta, popcorn soup, tandoori-ish chicken, sweet pea primavera, South Carolina brisket and hand-shaped farfalle. For those looking for just a drink, head upstairs to their bar. METRO: Eastern Market
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Small plates offer big taste and family-style dishes will not want to be shared at this Southeast dining destination.
Gina's expert tip: During the late spring and summer months, try to book their private rooftop garden.
Housed inside a former row house in Shaw, this romantic dining destination will make you feel like you have walked into an upscale farmhouse thanks to the wood-burning hearth, open kitchen and exposed historic brick walls. Chef Jeremiah Langhorne has focused his menu around sourcing ingredients from Mid-Atlantic farms and purveyors and even growing some onsite on their patio and rooftop garden. You'll find a different menu every day featuring snacks (half dozen white stone oysters), small plates (spicy country sausage toast) and family-style dishes (fried Chesapeake catfish). Don't leave without checking out their drink menu including cocktails, ciders, wine and beer.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A woodburning hearth gives you the feeling of home without having to cook or clean up an upscale meal.
Gina's expert tip: Try the Chesapeake Bay Old Fashioned cocktail featuring eagle rare 10-year bourbon, sacred bond brandy, toasted bay leaf, keep well concord grape vinegar and angostura.