Washington, D.C. has always been a town of “power dining” over steak and red wine. But the city’s culinary roots run deeper. In 1979, Nora Pouillion opened Restaurant Nora in Dupont Circle and pioneered the organic food movement. Meanwhile, across town, Jean-Louis Palladin staked a claim on French food at the Watergate Hotel, drawing the elite from both the political and gastronomic worlds to his eponymous restaurant.
Today, D.C. is a bona fide dining destination, offering a smorgasbord of cuisines from top toques. It’s no wonder D.C. earned the number three spot in Zagat’s Top 17 Food Cities ranking in 2015.
Denizens with insatiable appetites for the next best thing and marquee chefs delivering with ever more creative plates are driving this food revolution. Head in any direction, and you’re likely to stumble into a dining room run by Fabio Trabocchi, Mike Isabella or Stephen Starr. And of course, there’s José Andrés, whose restaurant empire includes a wide range of gustatory experiences, from the very high-end (Minibar) to a veggie-focused fast-casual (Beefsteak).
With so many well-regarded chefs cooking up a storm here, there’s never been a better time to relish the culinary arts in the nation’s capital. So don a pair of elastic-waistband pants, and follow your nose to these must-visit stops on any foodie’s list.