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1 Dinner in D.C. - What's Your Favorite?

Hi D.C. Chowhounds,

I'm going to be in town on business and have one night free for dinner. Do you have any can't miss places for a solo food lover? I'll be staying on M street near Du Pont circle but could cab it if necessary. I'm not looking for nightlife, just outstanding food of any variety.


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  1. Some places that you should consider which I love for solo dining or otherwise would be Cashion's Eat Place, Equinox (if it's back open by the time you are in town), Brasserie Beck, Bistro D'Oc, Hook, Hank's Oyster Bar, or Butterfield 9.

    1. At your doorstep: Vidalia

      Close by:
      Blue Duck Tavern

      A worthwhile cab ride:
      Le Paradou

      2 Replies
      1. re: HSBSteveM

        I can easily second the cab-ride to Le Paradou, and have had very good meals at both Vidalia and Kinkead's.

        I've done Le Paradou solo quite a few times, and the staff has made me feel like I was there with family. Took three trips, before wife's schedule would permit her to join me, and it has become her fav. DC restaurant.

        Dining there again tomorrow night.


      2. All good choices listed.

        I love Le Paradou, I would like to add to the list Central, although it might not be as pleasent for a solo diner, although they have a very long bar it still gets pretty busy.

        Also CityZen would be on my list for outstanding food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ktmoomau

          CityZen, yes. With those melty Parker House rolls, no companion needed!

        2. I would definitely vote for Vidalia--sit at the bar! They have an incredible wine list (in addition to great food), and the bartenders are delightful. I've sipped/dined there alone many times, and I always have a good time.

          11 Replies
          1. re: bettyjoan

            The bartenders are really nice and it is a comfy bar! And I like that you can get partial pours.

            1. re: ktmoomau

              I would definitely recommend Vidalia. Also, Hook in Georgetown is wonderful.

              1. re: Goldielocks1225

                Vidalia it is! It looks like I'm going to be there during restaurant week...is this a problem? In other cities, restaurant week can be a bad time to try and get good food. Thanks for the other ideas too. I'll be returning in a month or so and will check out a few of the other options.

                1. re: ExercisetoEat

                  Are you coming in the summer time? Otherwise you won't be there for RW. Our RW is in January and August. Perhaps they have their old menu up still. Unless its a super extended RW but I highly doubt it.

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    They must have an old menu still up from the January RW. I'll be there in a few weeks. Thanks for the Kinkhead's suggestion, fresh fish is always an attraction when I'm on the road since it's impossible to get at home. I may check that out on my next trip. Now Prime Rib...it sounds like I'd have to be feeling very ambitous and put my game face on for that one! I'll keep it in mind ;)

                  2. re: ExercisetoEat

                    The important point about restaurant week is NOT to order from that menu. Order from what they do best, not what they may be trying to break even on. I travel 150+ days a year and have far too many dinners by myself at bars/counters/communal tables/tables for "one." Vidalia is an excellent suggestion: go. And sit at the bar. But don't dare order off of an abbreviated menu. Go and order like it was the last meal on earth...for who serves you!

                    Kinkead's, by the way, is an excellent alternative. He is also a Beard winner and has a great bar. If you're looking for seafood this would be my first choice. The only other option, and one that would be truly "a D. C. experience" would be dinner at the bar at the Prime Rib.

                    Those on this board will understand my suggestion... If you are female and under 30 this should be your first choice. More than likely you will meet a Congressman. If you are not female and under 30 you should go to Vidalia or Kinkead's...... the Prime Rib is an experience that, well, may not speak well for the power elite of this city.

                    1. re: ExercisetoEat

                      Vidalia is a good choice. Enjoy. Great screen name... good food is my motivation to get in the gym.

                      1. re: ExercisetoEat

                        I would like to add another suggestion...Obelisk. It's very close to you, in Dupont at 2121 P street. It's a wonderful Northern Italian 5 course prix fixe menu with several choices for each course. Everything based upon what is fresh, local and in season. Small space, intimate feeling, great understated service, wonderful well priced italian wine list. The cheese course (#4) is the best i've had anywhere. It's $65 pp. Reserve early though. I think you would love it AND you could walk there.

                        1. re: DCDOLL

                          But can you dine solo there and feel comfortable? I have eaten there before, years ago, and had an outstanding meal. I'd love to know if they serve at the bar because I'm in DC a lot for business and frequently eat solo at the bar. Is Obelisk an option for that?

                          1. re: foodiesf

                            There is no bar at Obelisk. So that's probably not an option for your purposes.

                  1. re: westendhoya

                    Oh, and I also once had this crazy chocolate chip cookie dough souffle there. I don't know how the chef pulled it off, but it had this ethereal texture with the comfort wallop of old-school cookies. I should get back there...

                    1. re: ganacher

                      Not sure when you went to CityZen, but we were there a few weeks ago and this dessert wasn't on the menu (otherwise I would've been all over it!!).

                      1. re: KWynn

                        Sorry, it was probably a year or two ago, and it was in the fall, so that might be a seasonal offering. Along with the rolls, it completely made the experience.

                  2. I encourage you to dine at Vidalia. I don't think their kitchen has ever been better!

                    1. Get on the Metro and take the Green Line to the U st/ Cadozo Metro Stop. oet out on the 10th St exit. Across U St is Oohs and Aahs, an honest-to-goodness hole-in-the wall serving soul food. About four stools in front of a tiny kitchen. My first choice would be the grilled shrimp, greens, and rice and gravy. As fine a mess of food as you'll ever have. Lemon pepper wings are also excellent. Enjoy.

                      1. Within walking distance: Circle Bistro in the Hotel at 1 Washington Circle, tho' I hesitate to tell you about it as this has been a private haunt of my for 20 years. The management has a gift for hiring young chefs just before they break out and start their own 5 star restaurants. I've never had a bad meal here in 20 years of dining and 6 chefs. They treat a solo diner as a guest rather than a refugee.

                        1. Well I went to Vidalia and very much enjoyed the meal. Thanks everyone for the recommendations! I went with the chef's multi-course meal, and had many stand-out items. The oyster in a guvwertziminer (sp?) gelee with caviar was outstanding, as were the tiny bay scallops on an avocado mousse. Probably the star of the show ended up being the chocolate dessert plate, with five different variations of valrohna chocolate desserts. I usually enjoy the savory part of a meal more than desert, but the chocolate was unbelievably delicious. I will be back in D.C. next month and will look to try out another of the recommendations then. Thanks again!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ExercisetoEat

                            Glad you had an enjoyable and memorable meal! You'll have to update us with your pick for next month. Cheers!

                          2. Hi again D.C. Chowhounds! I tried out Kinkead's tonight and it was fantastic! Thank you very much for the recommendation. I had the seafood sampler and oh my, I haven't had fresh clams and oysters like that since my last trip home to Seattle. I can still taste the sweet salty oysters, pure ocean goodness on a plate. The pepita crusted salmon with a chile burre blanc sauce and corn, cilantro, tomato ragu was also very good and the wine list was quite impressive. Thanks again for steering me in the right direction!