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Best and Worst for DC Restaurant Week - Master LIst

Forgive me for posting again on a topic which has discussed many times over, but rather than focusing on a particular restaurant or two, I wanted to try to get one post out there which consolidates the majority opinions on best/worst for RW in DC. This is for Restaurant Week only, not for the restaurant in general...many good restaurants either don't succeed in shining or choose not to during restaurant week (extremely limited menus, upcharges, etc). Those who really come through seem to use RW as an opportunity to proudly showcase their establishments.

Recent and prior year posts suggest the following:

Very Good:
Ceiba
DC Coast
TenPenh
Corduroy
Ristorante Tosca
Acadiana
Zola
Charlie Palmer's
Filomena
Oceanaire
Rasika
Willow
Colvin Run
Zengo (lunch)

Good but Limited Menu or Limited Value:
Smith & Wollensky
Teatro
Georgia Brown's
Vidalia (upcharges)

Avoid:
Mie N Yu
Indebleu
Taberna del Alabardero
Cafe 15
i Ricchi
Rosa Mexicano
Butterfield 9 (service)
Galileo (service)
Occidental (service)
Bobby Van's

Looking forward to your additions/modifications/experiences/debates.

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  1. I agree that Zola is very good for RW offerring their full menu.

    I'd also add to the very good list, Filomena in Georgetown.

    For the avoid list, I'd add Rosa Mexicano and their very limited menu (heck, they don't even include guacomole as an app option on their RW menu). I too have heard very poor reviews for Butterfield 9 during RW. I've had friends say they were treated as second class citizens just because they were there for RW.

    This year, we're trying Corduroy (due largely to all the great reviews on these boards) and Red Sage (planning to at least, but waiting to see what their menu will be. Anyone know what they've done in the past?)

    4 Replies
    1. re: DC Gal

      Thanks for the tips. I will add things to the list periodically as people suggest them.

      1. re: DC Gal

        Red Sage--for the past three RWs--has offered their entire (and unchanged) menu. I don't think there were any upcharges. The atmosphere, service, and food were great. I've been there for two RWs but won't go back again until the menu changes!

        1. re: nicoleberry83

          I hate to break it to you, but Red Sage (as far as I know) has closed. Their website doesn't have anything about it, but the 14th street location is all closed up.

      2. whats wrong with la taberna del alabardero?

        1 Reply
        1. re: cleveland park

          The combination of a very limited menu and totally condescending attitude!!

          We adore Taberna, so it was a rude shock to have had such an unpleasant experience during summer RW. When we were seated, we were given the regular menu only. Had the RW menu been tucked inside, I wouldn't have thought to criticize the restaurant's action. Nope. We had to ask for the RW menu, and, when we did, the waiter gave us a most disdainful look. He softened somewhat when we all (party of five) proceeded to order pre-dinner sherries, but even a decent bottle of wine with our dinner order didn't make him reach Taberna's usual level of graciousness.

          The food was competently prepared and entirely forgettable.

          For a lesson in how restaurants should handle the menus, here's what happened at our visit to Seasons that same RW: The maitre d' handed each person the menu in the open position so the RW insert was clearly visible. When everyone had received his/her menu, the maitre d' announced that he had given us the regular menu so that we might look it over, and, if we liked our RW experience, we might be inclined to return. Now, that's gracious behavior!

        2. Tosca is generally considered to be one of the best. I've tried it several times during RW and always been happy. Oceanaire is also good, but I think they usually only do dinner.

          1. My own personal additions:

            Bad-
            Occidental- service was terrible, food not worth it
            Galileo- snotty service- but then again, isn't that the norm?

            On the good list- offering either full menu,or a good representation thereof, along with good service:
            Rasika
            Willow
            colvin run
            Zengo (lunch)

            1 Reply
            1. re: redglass

              Oh i have to tell you I agree with you on Occidental. I tried their new food recently....UGH! There was this beet juice creame fraiche on a crab cake which looked like PEPTO!

            2. I can vouch for Zola, Ceiba, Colvin Run, and Corduroy....all wonderful experiences. I had a business dinner at Red Sage a few months ago and probably would make a different choice. I wasn't impressed, but I also wasn't footing the bill.

              Add 701 to the avoid list. Not only was the food unimpressive but the service was SO bad that we only tipped 10% based on the special pricing and gave the extra(during RW, we tip based on what the meal would have cost)to the piano player. At least he was doing his job.

              We have reservations at Acadiana. I have to admit I am partial to the restaurants that allow you to choose from the whole menu.

              Thinking about Willow for lunch as I work nearby. I went when it first opened and thought that while the food was good, it was a little overpriced. Not sure if that has changed.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rHairing

                I just went to Willow this week for their RW menu and enjoyed it very much. I've been several times before and adore the flatbread! The service has always been very good.