HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


Top, unstuffy, DC Restaurants?

Hi there - Im a DC expat who has been in NYC the last 8 years. I wanted to get my sister and her husband a gift voucher for a nice restaurant in DC. Can be fairly pricey. They are in their 30s, fairly hip, so I want to avoid places that are in hotels, for example, in favor of something that is livelier, or any new foodie havens that have opened in the last couple of years.

All suggestions welcome, thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Central and Proof are both winners.

    1 Reply
    1. re: aburkavage

      These would be my choices as well. And I would add CoCo Sala.

    2. Blue Duck Tavern gets my vote. It's in a hotel, the Park Hyatt, but it's a great atmosphere, very lively, definitely has a trendier edge to it, and the food is fantastic. I was on a date there last night and I can't wait to go back

      1 Reply
      1. re: MarcDC

        Went there for a prix fixe chef's table and was really impressed. The atmosphere was sleek and cool. Really enjoyed the service and the food.

      2. I like Obelisk which is consistently highly rated, located in Dupont Circle, and serves wonderful food. Moreover, it's price fixe so you can get a gift certificate with tip so that your relative can eat without having to pay anything.

        1. My favorite "foodie haven" that is unstuffy is Rasika in Penn Quarter. It is a hip, modern Indian/fusion restaurant. I also like Brasserie Beck, which is very lively and has great Belgian beers. I've only eaten downstairs in the bar at the Source, Wolfgang Puck's place in the Newseum, but also attracts a lively crowd. It's pricey.

          1. Great tips, thanks all! I had been eyeing Obelisk actually, and will check out the other suggestions.

            1. i vote for proof if they are fairly hip and lively, their wines are great dn the food is wonderful. obelisk is great and nice but not quite as trendy in my opinion. also there is the source by wolfgang puck, which is newer and very hip and the food is fantastic, and there's a greater chance your sis and her husband haven't been there yet as it is newer

              5 Replies
              1. re: littlew1ng

                Komi. The obvious choice. And Palena, too. Corduroy is great, but perhaps too staid for you.

                1. re: MartyL

                  I agree with Komi (it's very pricey, but otherwise not stuffy). Palena strikes me as an a little bit more formal/older crowd. If you want to go less pricey, you might consider Oyamel.

                    1. re: MartyL

                      I agree with Komi and Palena. I also think the new Corduroy is kinda cool. But i'm in my 40's. The upstairs bar seemed hopping to me last Thursday night.

                      1. re: keithdcil

                        I think the food at the new Corduroy is outstanding and while I don't necassarily feel it is stuffy, I don't find the surrondings "hip". If the focus was just on the food then this would be the place. I feel the same way about Palena.

                  1. I would *definetely* recommend looking at the 2008 dining guide -- pretty much any of these will do: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/...

                    for your purposes, I recommend Cafe Mozu/City Zen, Oya, 2941, Ceiba, and Citronelle. I second the Rasika suggestion. Any of the Passion Foods restaurants (TenPenh/Cafe Atlantico, etc). It really depends on what your price range is as well as how trendy.

                    I think Oyamel is not high-end enough for your needs. Most of the places in Penn Quarter will fill your requirements (co co sala is a chocolate boutique -- not sure this is what you're looking for). Hook is another great place, as well as Farrah Olivia (for brunch).