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May 27, 2008 07:59 PM

Looking for Fine Dining Recs. in DC

We’re a couple of Phoenix Chowhounds, and are about to embark on our 4x/year trip to DC. Over the years, we’ve dined at Le Paradou (maybe 8x), Michel Richard’s Citronelle (maybe 3x), Vidalia’s (probably 3x), Kincaid’s, 1789, Briss [SP?], Galileo, and a few dozen other restaurants, including the Charlie Palmer lineup. We’re more into fine dining and are looking for someplace that might be new to us. Wife is leaning towards a return to Citronelle, even though she thinks that Le Paradou is probably the best, all of the way around.

I’ve looked at the posts over the last few months, to see if some spot really struck me, but most of the chatter seems to be about restaurants out of DC-proper. We’ll be staying near Embassy Row, so we’re looking for someplace within a reasonable cab ride of the hotel. A great wine list, and wine service, are a real plus. Maybe even a ++.

We are not looking for a “scene,” or a “see and be seen,” place. Fine dining and wine are the subject of my request. Price is not a problem, as we just finished a week in London, followed by repeats of Joël Robuchon’s L’Atelier. Those dinners were in the US$350-400/person range. While I do not wish to throw my $ away, I’ll pay whatever the fare is, for great food.

Should I just do Citronelle, and not try and find any new spots, or do you have some great recs.?



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  1. Try any of these restaurants:

    Jaleo, one of Jose Andres' restaurants


    Taberna del Alabardero

    2 Replies
    1. re: shishkalady

      Thanks for the recs.. I have seen Jose Andres on some of the TV events, and programs, but had not picked up that he had places in DC. I will certainly search the links.



      1. re: shishkalady

        I have found that Jaleo is quite mediocre, hit or miss (more misses). However Zaytinya, which is Mediterranean tapas is excellent. It is also Jose Andres.

      2. Your request is for "fine dining with a great wine list." In all honesty, I don't think Jaleo or any of the Jose Andres restaurants fits that criteria. 2941 definitely does, but it is not in the city -- it's in Northern Virginia.

        A restaurant that you did not mention that I think would meet your criteria is Marcel's.

        Also, if you have not been to Obelisk, it is worth a visit. Excellent food and wine in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. Located on P Street, just off Dupont Circle.

        1. I agree that Jose Andres restaurants do not really fit your criteria, though you may enjoy a lunch there. My two favorite meals have been Marcel's and Restaurant Eve. While Eve is in Old Town Alexandria, and not D.C., the food and cocktails are phenomenal and definitely worth the short trip. IMO, both these restaurants were better than Le Paradou. You should also consider Komi, Palena, Blue Duck Tavern, and CityZen.

          1. Palena or Komi. While I am not sure they might be in the upper echelons of fine wine service (though their lists are good, just not ridiculously deep like at Citronelle), I think you'll find the food at both stunning. Of the moment, of the season, always changing sometimes even day to day. I like Marcel's too, sure, and a recent trip to Taberna del Albardero puts that on my suggested list too.

            I think CityZen and Restaurant Eve (the latter is in Old Town Alexandria, and thus not DC proper) are both overrated, but many others seem to think they are wonderful, so your mileage may vary. CityZen does have a very nice (and very overpriced) wine list though. Proof, though not at the upper echelons of fine dining in DC, is very good, and they have a very nice (and very overpriced) wine list.


            2 Replies
            1. re: Pool Boy

              Thank you all for your contributions to my dining plans. I'll digest [pun intended] the info and choose one, as we only have one night, that is not an event. I'll report back with our experiences.



              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Rank ordering the places you ought to consider for your one free night, my list would look like this:

                The Oval Room
                Taberna del Alabardero

                Missing from the list is Komi simply because I haven't been there. Not necessarily for cause.

                Unless you can snag reservations for Minibar within Cafe Atlantico, the experience at an Andres restaurant will leave you wondering what all the fuss is about. It's not that the food at Cafe Atlantic isn't perfectly satisfactory. It is. However, it is not the gastronomic experience you might be expecting given Andres' reputation.

            2. Briss sounds like an interesting name for restaurant :)

              5 Replies
              1. re: elegantelliot

                Briss? That's the new Kosher place, right? I've heard the menu is mostly "small bites." No idea about the wine list - probably mostly sweet wines - a few drops at a time.

                Seriously, not much to add to the list: Komi, Tasting Room at Eve, CityZen, Palena and the tasting room at BlackSalt will all satisfy.

                  1. re: Pappy

                    Something tells me that Briss was NOT the name of the restaurant. This was the "hot-topic" some years back, and featured two female chefs in a highly decorated venue. The press was abundant. The crowds were young and loud. The food was not worth mentioning, at all, even though the media loved it. Similar name to Briss?

                    Sorry for the misinformation, though some did add some rather odd humor to the reference. [Grin]

                    One thing that might sway me, on this trip, is the mention that La Paradou might be closing. Well, they have served us very well for some years. I may have to pay "last respects."

                    Since we're in DC about 4x/year, there will be other trips, and most will include more free dining time.

                    Whatever the choice, I do thank everyone for the input. I have put the recs. in the bin, for the next trip, and will report on the dining.

                    Thanks to everyone,


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      I think you original meant Bistro Bis on Capital Hill. Same owner as Vidalia's.

                      I've been predicting La Para's demise for years, yet he continues to hang on.

                      To answer your question, you would be very well served at Marcels, or Palena (be sure to reserve the back room). But if you haven't yet been to CityZen, that should absolutely be your first choice.

                      1. re: Pappy

                        Ah, my "bad." That was close, but "no cigar." Now, I understand the jokes, even if they were slightly at my expense.

                        Thanks for the clarification.

                        We're still hammering out the details, as we will be in SF, then heading to DC, then coming back to PHX for an event. Still looks like only one "free" night, and we'll look into the availabilities. If La Paradou is closing, we must do a "wake," as they have been a favorite of ours for some years. Still, we do this very often, so all the recs. will not go to waste, I assure you.