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Requesting 3 great restaurants in DC

Staying at Sofitel end of Sept. 06. Would like recommendations for 3 great gourmet/foodie type restaurants. Any price. Prefer DC proper or reasonable cab ride. Husband would like a great steak but doesn't have to be a steak house. Would love recommendations from diners who have eaten at restaurant in last 6 months. What I consider great:

Peter Lugers, NYC
Aqua San Francisco
Slanted Door San Francisco
Bayona New Orleans
Lineage Boston
Frontera Grill Chicago

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  1. For the great steak try either of the Ray's restaurants either Ray' the Steaks in Arlington or Ray's the Classics in Silver Spring. Arlington is a cab ride but Silver Spring you are better off with the metro. Easily the best steak in the area. Search this site for more info.

    For sometihing a bit more distinctive try to get a reservation at Komi.

    Also try,

    Cordoruy
    LaTomate
    or Charlie Palmer.

    Have fun. If you want something purely fun and washingtonian head to Ben's Chili Bowl and get a chili half smoke. YUM.

    1. I second the Ray's recommendation for a steak. The Arlington location doesn't really take reservations, though, so I'd go with the Silver Spring location, which is nicer anyway.

      I like Corduroy and Komi greatly, and Charlie Palmer is good, but I woudln't lump La Tomate anywhere near the others.

      If money is truly no object, you want also to be looking at places like CityZen, Maestro, Citronelle, Palena, Eve, Vidalia, and 2941. For good Italian with an amazing wine list, also look at Dino.

      For a truly outrageous dining experience, check out Minibar.

      1. I ate at CityZen and had a truly memorable dinner. I'm surprised how little attention it seems to draw on this board. I'm from B-more, though, and haven't tried a lot of the faves here. Give me time.

        1. Yes, CityZen!

          Michel Richard Citronelle would figure in most observers' top three, though my experience there wasn't a standout. I haven't been to Maestro or Eve yet, but from what I've heard I would make one of those my third suggestion.

          Based purely on firsthand experience, I would say CityZen / 2941 / Palena.

          1. Thanks so much! Ok, I think I've narrowed it down. Ray's the Classics for my husband, Charlie Palmer Steak because the menu looked good and now I'm torn between Citronelle, Komi and Palena. Any help narrowing it down? Am I making a mistake with Charlie Palmer?

            3 Replies
            1. re: lisaomay

              I have yet to hear a good thing about Charlie Palmer but I've never been so it could be hearsay.

              I've eaten at Slanted Door and Bayona (both this year - lucky me!) and can highly recommend Corduroy. And my friend, the painfully harsh critic, raves about CityZen. Hope that helps.

              1. re: lisaomay

                I would skip Charlie Palmer if you're doing steak at RTC. They do have a menu outside of steak, and it's good, but there's too much overlap with the other places you've chosen.

                For a second night, choose one place to blow the budget. That's Citronelle, Maestro, or CityZen. Or Minibar, if you want to try incredibly inventive food, in 30 1-2 bite courses!

                Then go with something still outstanding, but not quite as decadent as the others. So that's Palena, Komi, Corduroy, or Eve.

                1. re: lisaomay

                  One thing no one has mentioned about Palena is that you have the option of the front room/bar at Palena vs. the back room. The bar has very comfortable seating areas (it is not all barstools!) and offers some lighter fare on the menu, plus they'll bring you items from the full back room menu. If you have any suspicion that you will be feeling a bit overstuffed by your third evening, Palena's front room might be a good compromise between deliciousness and overdoing it.