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Washington, D.C. restaurants

The Washington, D.C., dining scene has come a long way since the days when lobbyists and lawmakers peddled their influence in wood-paneled steak houses and fussy French restaurants. Today, deals are still brokered over meals, but food no longer takes a backseat: A young professional workforce has demanded fresher, more innovative fare. Ferran Adrià protégé José Andrés jump-started the scene in 1993 with the opening of his tapas restaurant, Jaleo; his local empire now runs the gamut from a lively taco spot to a six-seat, 30-course molecular gastronomic experience. These, as well as other standouts, such as Rasika, Bibiana, and Proof, are mostly downtown and in the Penn Quarter. A more recent food renaissance has occurred along the 14th and U street corridors, yielding an explosion of lively restaurant-bar combos like Belgian soul-food spot Marvin and beer temple Birch & Barley.

However, D.C. is still the province of the power lunch, and at spots like the Oval Room and Central, it's often tougher to score a table in the afternoon than at night. Many folks grab their grub street-side at a crop of new food trucks that dish out everything from Korean tacos to poutine hot dogs. You can track the trucks' locations via the Web site Food Truck Fiesta.

Prime dinner hours run from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, a little later on weekends. You can reserve a table a few days in advance at all but the most popular restaurants (CityZen, Minibar). You can often get same-day reservations at spots along 14th and U and in Dupont Circle, but be prepared to linger over a cocktail or three before space opens up. Waits also prevail on weekends, when it seems like the whole city wakes up for Benedicts and Bloody Marys at the hopping brunch spots in and around Dupont Circle, U Street, and Capitol Hill.

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Oval Room, Downtown

Expect a lot of name-dropping and famous political faces in this white-tablecloth power den close to the White House. It seems that everyone here has an agenda,...more

Editors' Pick
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Oyamel, Penn Quarter

José Andrés is the power chef of D.C. From his classic tapas restaurant Jaleo to airy meze spot Zaytinya to Minibar, his six-stool tribute to...more

Editors' Pick
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Proof, Penn Quarter

This earthy wine bar and restaurant supplies a bit of informal cheer to its preening neighbors in the Penn Quarter neighborhood. The look is New World meets...more

Editors' Pick
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Rasika, Penn Quarter

This lively Penn Quarter Indian restaurant makes a contemporary statement with its decor (tamarind hues, clean lines, blond wood) and menu (a lighter, healthier...more

Editors' Pick
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The Source by Wolfgang Puck, Penn Quarter

The D.C. outpost of the Puck empire is nominally affiliated with the Newseum (located inside the museum complex), but it's hard to imagine the fanny-packed...more

Editors' Pick
Results 11-15 of 15  | previous   1 2
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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