Best Restaurants in Washington

Searching For Masterpieces On Plates? Try These Top D.C. Restaurants

Washington, D.C. welcomes people from all over the world so naturally, the district features cuisine from practically every spot on the map. When it came time for 10Best to select the top restaurants, we decided to choose ones that span the culinary globe and offer an unforgettable dining experience.   

For those looking for excellent Mediterranean dishes, renowned chef Fabio Trabocchi has two restaurants on the list – Fiola Mare features a seafood market counter and Fiola dishes out contemporary Italian cuisine.   

No passport is required to go to Le Diplomate even though you may feel like you are in a Parisian cafe. If it is warm enough, try to grab a seat outside. Rasika puts a modern twist on Indian cuisine while Thip Khao introduces diners to Lao food which is known for its heat.

Want outstanding American fare? You can't go wrong with Rose's Luxury which features eclectic small and family style dishes.

Whatever your choice, you are sure to find culinary masterpieces awaiting you at these top district restaurants. 




Thip Khao
Photo courtesy of Thip Khao

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 menu descriptions which include ingredients like chili and spicy sauces. Guests may chose from appetizers like sai oua (spicy herbal pork sausage), salads such as tam som (green papaya salad) and soups and noodles. The main dinner courses include piing kaw muu (pork shoulder) and chuenh paa sa moun pai (crispy catfish. 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: There is an hour and a half dining limit for those dining inside or on their patio. If you wish to have a longer experience, carry out and delivery are available.

Read more about Thip Khao →

Blue Duck Tavern
Photo courtesy of Blue duck tavern

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 seasonal menus for breakfast (smoked salmon and scrambled egg whites) brunch, lunch (braised beef rib), dinner (roasted rohan duck breast), 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.

Read more about Blue Duck Tavern →


Named for the Turkish word for olive oil, Zaytinya is one of several beloved Jose Andres restaurants in the district. Patrons will discover a bevy of spreads, soups, salads, flatbreads and mezze options to devour. Served in small plate style, you'll find delicious dishes throughout the entire Greek, Turkish and Lebanese focused menu. The chef's tasting menu is also a delicious option for those who want concept chef Michael Costas's favorite picks for a fixed price. If it's a nice day, grab a table outside on their patio which seats 70 guests. METRO: Gallery Place/Chinatown

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Serving an affordable, innovative menu, this Jose Andres gem can not be missed!

Gina's expert tip: You can not make a reservation for a patio table. They do take seating requests but it is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Read more about Zaytinya →

Le Diplomate
Photo courtesy of Le Diplomate

For a taste of France right here in Washington, D.C., head to this bistro which offers an incredible comfort food menu for lunch, brunch, midday and dinner. Brunch options include breakfast favorites like eggs benedict and avocado toast and entree choices including beef bourguignon 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 and President Joe Biden 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: Don't leave without trying some of their sinfully delicious desserts like vanilla bean créme brulee, apple tarte tatin and créme l'orange.

Read more about Le Diplomate →

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. Those dining in the Ezio Room for the evening will enjoy an a la carte menu. Don't be afraid to ask the staff for recommendations. Be sure to check out Fabio's Cellar Selections to enjoy at the restaurant or in the privacy of your own home. 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.

Read more about Fiola →


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 crab pepper masala or avocado banana chaat 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 lobster hawa mahal. 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 is offered every day except Saturdays. Dinner is served every day.

Read more about Rasika →

Fiola Mare
Photo courtesy of Fiola Mare

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: During the winter months, they offer outdoor dining inside one of several igloos. There is a rental fee which only goes toward reserving your spot and not the meal itself.

Read more about Fiola Mare →

Rose's Luxury
Photo courtesy of Rose's Luxury

Named for Chef Aaron Silverman's paternal grandmother and his desire to provide a warm, casual and hospitable environment for guests, this venue asks guests to pick two dishes off their prix-fixe menu. With seasonal offerings, a recent menu included such delicious dishes as spaghettini alfredo, steak and eggs, the pork and lychee salad and Seth's fancy fish camp. There is a complimentary bread service but don't eat too much as you will want to save up for dessert. One dish like old school chocolate souffle can serve several people. 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.

Read more about Rose's Luxury →

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 â€" some with picturesque views of the historic, untouched land. Patrons will find a decadent American-inspired menu at the restaurant with menus focusing on vegetarian creations (The Good Earth) and one on food appreciation (Gastronaut). The wine cellar has more than 14,000 bottles so you will surely find 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.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: We know this one is a little bit outside the district but it completely worth the drive to get there.

Gina's expert tip: Cell phone service is very limited in this rural area so be sure to have incoming calls forwarded to your room if you stay onsite.

Read more about Inn at Little Washington →

The Dabney
Photo courtesy of The Dabney

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 (divine pine oyster), first course scallop crudo) and main course dishes (seven hills short rib). 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 marigold cocktail featuring Hayman's London dry gin, turmeric, pear, clove, honey, lemon and egg white.

Read more about The Dabney →


Meet 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...  More About Gina