Guest Post: 7 DC Restaurants @EastCoastContessa Says You Can't Miss

Alexandra Booze @eastcoastcontessa -

There is much I have come to miss about living in Washington, DC since moving overseas last October. Undoubtedly, one of them is the city’s bustling and ever-evolving food scene — the opening of the popular waterfront Wharf, innovative menu additions at well-known Georgetown classics, and late-night bites at local Capitol Hill haunts, to highlight a few. Lavender-spritzed sake cocktails, mile-high seafood towers, and cheesy stacked bulgogi fries are all for the taking at some of the Capitol City’s top up-and-coming restaurants. Below are seven can’t-miss grub hubs that span a myriad of cuisines, and will be sure to keep patrons coming back for more:

Bar Bao
3100 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

A short drive from the city lights will lead one to Arlington, Virginia — a dynamic DC suburb with a growing food scene of its own. It the middle of it all is Bar Bao, a creative take on Asian pub grub. Located across from the Clarendon Metro station, a hand-painted graffiti wall stands as an Instagram-worthy backdrop to colorful menu items such as cheesy wonton nachos, wasabi guacamole, and Bar Bao’s coveted Bulgogi fries.
Price: $-$$

Fiola Mare
3050 K St NW, Washington, DC 20007

With an equally enviable view to the other Georgetown hotspots, the idyllic DC establishment of Fiola Mare overlooks the Key Bridge and the Virginia skyline. Unrivaled among mixologists for its unconventional cocktail menu, Fiola Mare creates true works of art with each hand-crafted dish. Founded by dynamic duo Fabio and Maria Trabocchi, Executive Chef Anton Bolling serves as the hands behind dishes such as the “Duck Egg Ravioli Carbonara” and the signature “Lobster Ravioli”. When on the menu, the lavender-scented “Princess Sakura” cocktail is always a fan favorite.

Price: $$$$

Fish Market
105 & 107 King Street, Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia

Colonial Culture and waterfront charm aren’t the only perks of a visit to Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. A short walk from the town’s seaport, a modern eatery serves some of the DMV’s freshest Chesapeake-style seafood. Housed in a newly renovated 200-year-old warehouse on King Street, menu favorites are the “Titanic Tower” with snow crab legs, local oysters, Maine lobster, and jumbo lump crab. Washing any dish down with a frozen hurricane is recommended. 

Price: $$


751 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024

Southwest DC’s newest attraction, The Wharf, is home to a plethora of the city’s most sought-after restaurants. Offering some of the most epic waterfront views is Kaliwa — a breathtaking tribute to Southeast Asian culture and cuisine. Honoring popular dishes from Thailand, Korea, and the Philippines, Chef Cathal Armstrong’s menu favorites include “Filipino Street BBQ Skewers” and pan-fried pork dumplings. Make sure to bring a friend, as the plates are meant to be shared and the cocktails at Kaliwa are potent. 
Price: $$


3000 K St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Overlooking the Potomac River in Georgetown’s upscale Washington Harbor, one will find Sequoia. Named appropriately for its location on the river, this two-story dining oasis provides floor-to-ceiling views of the river from the Kennedy Center to the downtown Arlington, Virginia skyline. Contemporary art installations adorn the walls and ceilings as Arne Quinze’s sculpture tower over diners in the waterfront garden. If fancy doesn’t fit the budget, Sequoia offers an affordable weekend brunch (Saturday, Sunday) the offers buffet-style plates for every palate: jumbo crab meat omelettes, vanilla bourbon French toast, and killer huevos rancheros. The cocktail menu, led by Beverage Director JD Moore, features the immensely popular “Scarlet Fog” cocktail with dry ice, and hot spiked drinks with decadent names like “Death By Chocolate” and “Butter Me Up.” Tip: When making a reservation, ask for “the table” upstairs. The staff will know the one.
Price: $$


The Smith Restaurant, U Street
1314 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

In the midst of DC’s lively U Street corridor sits The Smith Restaurant — a casual American brasserie that is just as happening as the city that it calls home. Boasting hip, modern decor in an upscale setting, patrons can find many surprising items on the menu including weekly specials such as Lobster and Champagne Night and Short Rib Saturdays which are both perfect for a pre-show meal. The Smith has multiple locations in DC in addition to locations in New York City and soon to include Chicago.
Price: $$-$$$


The Source By Wolfgang Puck
575 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20565

Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck isn’t the only headliner at this modern Asian-fusion hot spot. Located inside DC’s popular Newseum Building, the ambiance and hospitality match the menu — elegant and classic with an innovative touch. Hearty dishes like crispy suckling pig and wok-fried Maine lobster are popular choices, but the real star of the culinary show are the desserts: passionfruit cheesecake and chocolate baked Alaska.

Price: $$$-$$$$



About the Author
Alexandra Booze is the editor of the food, travel, and lifestyle publication, East Coast Contessa. Previously based in Washington, DC for nearly a decade, she recently moved to the Czech Republic to pursue travel writing (and eating) full time. Find her on Instagram at @eastcoastcontessa.

Justin SchubleComment