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Uber Swanky DC restaurant

Taking my VERY trendy cousin out to dinner for her birthday. Looking for a swanky interior and great food.

Any suggestions?

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  1. The usual swanky suspects: Citronelle, La Paradou, Cityzen, 2941, Gerard's Place and Marcel's deserve a mention, as does the under-rated 701 Restaurant. There are other places with very good food that I wouldn't class as "swanky," for example, Komi, Obelisk, and Restaurant Eve.

    On the other hand, if she (you) want "trendy," I'd take her to a place like Indebleu, Zatayina, or Rasika.

    So many choices, so little time ...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Dakota Guy

      I agree that Indebleu would be a nice choice. Food is pretty good, awesome ambience, funky decor and hot waiters.

      1. re: Dakota Guy

        I'd skip Zatinya- expensive, only acceptable food, only trendy in decor and price. Indebleu is a good option, though again very expensive for food that is often mediocre. I might go with CityZen if you really wish to impress. Also, Viridian seems to be coming up in the world and that has some swank appeal.

        1. re: Dakota Guy

          In terms of decor, if you're looking for hip and trendy, not just swank...Gerard's Place, Marcel's nor Obelisk qualify.

        2. Never been there before, but I've heard Cafe Milano in Georgetown is one the swankiest joint in this area. Many of the aforementioned places in this area have power people showing up, but none have the power players, stars, celebrities, royalty, etc. Food is supposedly average though.


          6 Replies
          1. re: Chownut

            Cafe Milano seems to be where people go to "be seen." The food is not worth the trip but perhaps you will see someone who wants to be seen.

            1. re: Dakota Guy

              I assume you've eaten there before?

              1. re: Chownut

                Of course, or I wouldn't comment on the quality of the food.

              2. re: Dakota Guy

                We were always pleasantly surprised by the food at Milano's when we lived in DC and have gone back a couple of times since - we found that by avoiding ordering the specials w/o checking the prices, and being careful with "extras" - bottled water, espresso, etc., we could keep the bill relatively reasonable.

                1. re: Dakota Guy

                  The food at Cafe Milano is outstanding. That includes the pastas, the salads, the pizzas and the specials. I have never had anything but the finest meals there, both lunch and dinner. Better than Tosca, Oblisk, Tiramisu, Bebo, etc. They certainly have their assets and liabilities, depending on your perspective, but they certainly have a fabulous kitchen.

                  1. re: Pappy

                    That's a heckuva counterpoint. Never heard it before.

              3. I've always thought of Poste as "trendy," for good or for ill.


                1. The best food of all, and certainly swanky, would be Maestro, but I wouldn't call it trendy, at least in terms of decor and ambiance (food, yes very trendy). It draws mostly a rich/expense account crowd.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: johnb

                    I fogot Maestro on my list. Definitely worth considering.

                  2. I forgot to add that Oya in Chinatown might be a good option. It's a fusion of French and Japanese food, and has a very modern decor.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jacey

                      Skip Oya - cool setting but the worst service ever, and uneven food preparation. I prefer Zaytinia.

                    2. While I'd recommend Obelisk for food (still my favorite restaurant in town), for swank I'd suggest Taberna del Alabardero (perhaps mis spelled). Very good food (have the roast suckling pig); excellent wine list and good service; but best of all looks and feels like a Madrid club circa 1958. Quite unlike anything else in the city.
                      If you feel retro, I'd also recommend the Prime Rib--a very old fashioned lobbyists' restaurant.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: brianV

                        The Prime Rib IMHO is SOOOO dated and SOOO weak in the food department...I am forced to go for business dinners and I SWEAR I have tried everything and been disapointed...like eating at your unhip grandmother's without the apple pie...Old fashioned yes...living on reputation...absolutely...you can geta better steak at Applebees

                      2. New Heights in DC is always delicious, a beautiful setting and the menu changes with the seasons. I think they have valet parking, too.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MASH

                          but far from trendy. I think for food AND trendiness, Zaytinya and Rasika are good options. Good luck.

                        2. Does Ceiba qualify as trendy (haven't been there yet)? What's your thoughts on the food there?

                          1. PS7 and Central are two of the newest and trendiest, with decor to match. CityZen would be where I'd go though.

                            1. Central is new and trendy but not swanky. We were there last night and many people were in really casual clothes, despite downtown DC locaion. The menu is informal. Lobster burgers and fries. Fried chicken.

                              1. CityZen by far is the best. An elegant, trendy affair!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: madigank

                                  I agree that CityZen is the best choice. There are several swanky places, many places with good food, and many many trendy ones, but CityZen is the only one I know of that combines them so well.

                                  Note the OP didn't specify trendy, just that cuz is a trendy lady.

                                2. CityZen, Rasika, Zaytinya are all good choices -- hip, young. Taberna, Maestro, Marcels may be fancy (though, after a dinner at Maestro with co-workers two of them commented separately on how much they hated the decor, how it felt very much like a hotel restaurant), but if your cousin is young and trendy, probably not her kind of places.

                                  1. Simple: Citronelle, hands down.

                                    1. Swanky? Hands down, without a questions, definitely Blue Duck Tavern. Total NY vibe.


                                      1. Blue Duck is definitely a swanky, trendy place that does not feel too swanky or trendy. Agree that a lot on this list are not trendy except by DC standards - Cafe Milano among them. Seeing political stars only counts as hip in DC and not for visitors. Marcel's is delicious but pretty old school. City Zen is lovely, but as far as trendy, I'd definitely go with Blue Duck or Rasika's.

                                        1. blue duck certainly has that swanky feel to it, but in decor only. the food, while fabulous, is very homey and has a cozy family style feel. not a place i would order, for example, a trendy martini or something like that...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sbr929

                                            You're very right. Even Tom Sietsema says the homey fare clashes with the contemporary decor.