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Perfect proposal restaurant??

I hate to ask yet another question about romantic/special occasion meals in DC, but I am specifically interested in restaurants in Georgetown. Here's the scoop: I am proposing to my boyfriend (yes, thats right ... eek!!) We are going to be in DC in two weeks, and I have decided that's the time! I have heard/read about Filomena and Citronelle, but would love other suggestions. I am looking for a place that is romantic, but not stuffy...maybe there should be a new phrase "swanky romantic" - that's what I'm looking for! I'm also using the dinner as an excuse to get dressed up, so somewhere that isn't casual enough to wear jeans, but maybe not jacket required (as I doubt I could get him in one) :)
Oh and maybe around $30/entree would be about right.

Would either Filomena or Citronelle fit this bill? Are there some other restaurants in Georgetown I am overlooking that would be better for my big moment?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. WOW! Good luck, you are a brave girl, I applaud the courage. Ok, sorry about this, but I'm going to give you a suggestion that doesn't fit your criteria, annoying, huh? But I do think this place is perfect for this type of thing- the Willard Room. I ate there this summer thinking, gosh this is an impressive, romantic venue. I just made reservations through Open Table, not staying at the hotel/conceirge or anything, but when I checked w/ the maitre 'd, he looked up the reservation and said, "oh we have our best table reserved for you!" And it was a wonderful table (I normally don't even notice these things), right in the window, but discreet as well (idea for the proposal). Also, the staff was so attentive and charming, even when my not-so-savy mom tried to order her meal from the sommelier! Whoops. As for the price, the entrees I recall are in the $30s, but the upper $30s, still, definitely within (even below) the Citronelle range. Oh, and the food itself was incredible, I believe I had butter poached lobster and some form of foie gras for an appetizer. The wine pairings the sommelier suggested were perfect as well.

    1. Check out Mie 'n Yu. http://www.mienyu.com/ It's hip and the decor is romantically exotic.

      Other possibilities: 1789 (definitely upscale, maybe more than $30 per entree), Mendocino Grille (maybe too modern to be romantic), La Chaumiere (french, old school), and Bourbon Steak (expensive and brand new). All these places offer probably better food than Mie 'n Yu but I still think Mie 'n Yu is the perfect place for this occasion.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ericandblueboy

        1789 would be a perfect proposal place. They also run a 3 course special, I believe.

        1. re: Jacey

          I agree with Jacey.......1789 is a perfect spot. It's the only place that is guaranteed to be there in 30 years when you want to come back to visit for your 30th anniversary.
          The Willard room is nice, but I think that you will have a more memorable time at the 89

      2. I second Mie N Yu and would add perhaps:

        Fahrenheit in the Ritz Carlton if you want a space that is a little more quiet, it is dark colors and modern, but not so busy or loud for a more intimate occasion. I also think MAYBE Hook, although it is in transition with chefs I do not have a recent review so I don't know how the food is doing, but if you sit downstairs against the wall by the open kitchen it is very swank.

        1. Does it have to be in Georgetown? lol Filomena isn't a good idea....just doesn't seem romantic enough. Unless you are into cheesy stuff---because the place will be decorated from top to bottom in Valentine's decoration---think cheesy and over the top.

          Citronelle doesn't fit your price range at all, unless you dine in the bar area.

          Fahrenheit might work but truthfully I haven't been there in a long time so I don't know what the food is like anymore.

          Doesn't Mie n Yu have a table that is in a giant bird cage? That might be kind of cool.

          If you are open to other areas of town I think we can give you better options.

          Congrats and good luck btw!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Elyssa

            Yes for the Mie N Yu bird cage, but you need a party of 6 to get it I think

          2. I kind of prefer 1789 (ask for a downstairs table, as that's the more charming part). I say this for one good reason: Tom Sietsema, the Post's food critic, always says that when you pick a restaurant for a momentous occasion, you should try for one that will be there for future celebrations. While Mie n Yu is popular, it may not last forever, nor will you necessarily want to go back for your 20th anniversary! 1789 is a DC institution that likely isn't going away.

            1 Reply
            1. re: katecm

              I love 1789 and I believe they have a special deal going on right now, so it should be much more affordable then usual. That being said, I would never put it in the swanky romantic category. It is much more "old-school" and I imagine some people would consider it stuffy. Personally I like restaurants like 1789. I appreciate it for what it is---a classic restaurant where the service is top-notch and the food is delicious. It is not trendy, nor chic. But it is timeless.

            2. 1789 is wonderful. I fell in love with the place 40 years ago(and I'm not THAT old). They do require jackets. They will remind you when you make a reservation. It is not swanky romantic but rather old fashion romantic. Forget Filomena - it reminds me of a bus tour restaurant.

              1. I don't find Filomena's romantic at all, so not that.

                While I would looove to be proposed to at 1789, I don't know if it's a perfect fit for you. I adore it, but I think some people could find it stuffy -- it's certainly not a hip-and-happening spot. Case in point: it has a jacket requirement, so if that's not your guy's style, 1789 could be a bad fit for you.

                It's also not a restaurant, but two friends of mine got engaged atop the Kennedy Center, which I thought was very romantic.

                1. I think Tosca near Metro Center is a perfect place for a wedding proposal. It is relatively quiet, well decorated, and does have a pre-theater dinner for about $35, although I wouldn't go on the cheap for a proposal. Former Senator John Edwards and his wife supposedly celebrate their anniversary at Wendy's each year but I doubt that is what you want.

                  1. If you can get your bf into a jacket, 1789 is the best place. It's beautiful, romantic, warm, and as another poster pointed out, likely to be in business for your 50th anniversary. It's also probably the best good restaurant deal in the city, with a $40 three course prix fixe (drinks, tip and tax not included of course, but you'll still get out for much less than at other places). Service is very professional. I also suspect it won't be the first proposal they've seen

                    1. On a completely different note...John Kennedy proposed to Jackie at Martin's Tavern, and the booth is labelled so you could pop the question in the same place. It's not at all dressy (in fact, it's very casual), but it will be there for your 10th and 20th anniversaries, like 1789. So, depending on how you define "romance..."

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: dcandohio

                        Cute idea! You could even eat wherever you want, without worrying about romance, and then go there for dessert (get the bread pudding) and drinks, and pop the question there.

                        1. re: dcandohio

                          That's actually a really cute idea!

                          1. re: dcandohio

                            that's a cute idea!

                            I basically told my guy we were getting married over Instant Message while he is deployed to Iraq, so there anything can be romantic if you try! :) He'll likely do the "manly" thing at the vegan bakery or something like that. It's all in the delivery!

                            Good luck - but I think that's a cute idea.

                          2. Wow thank you all for your advice! Additional question re: 1789, any idea how long this prix fixe menu lasts? It does look a bit stuffy, but I appreciate Kate pointing out that it will be there long term.

                            Thanks for the warning about Filomena - that is officially off the list!

                            Mie 'n Yu looks fabulous (and what a great name too!) The cage would be interesting indeed, but would the novelty of the place take away from the occasion or make it that much more memorable?

                            Fahrenheit or Mendocino looks like they may be the perfect happy medium between these two, but I did just read a review of Mendocino and someone mentioned that you sit rather close to other people... has that been anyone else's experience?

                            My BF knows we are going to a fancy meal and hes SO picky about "atmosphere", so I will send links and get his opinion.

                            Oh, and I am not absolutely stuck on Georgetown, I just know we want to spend some time there, so I thought it might work. If there is the perfect place not in Georgetown, please share!

                            Looking at the menus for most of these places, I may have a problem as a vegetarian, but I have a feeling I may not feel all that hungry anyway knowing what I am about to ask! :)

                            Thanks again!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: ceelynn

                              I'm afraid that at Mendocino you wouldn't have very much privacy. It's a small place and tables are close together. I wouldn't do anything as momentous as a proposal there. To continue to think outside the box...the rooftop dining at Tabaq on U Street can be nice when it's not really crowded. Monmarte on the Hill (near Eastern Market) is sweet and low-key. The back room at Palena in Cleveland Heights is really nice and quiet. Excellent food, also. What about the parlor at Tabard Inn? If there's a roaring fire it's one of the loveliest places in town.

                              1. re: ceelynn

                                I so agree with what katecm said quoting Tom Sietsema. I would go with 1789. Call them. Tell them what you are planning..and that you are vegetarian. I would bet they will help you out. THEN go to Martin's Tavern to celebrate when he says yes! And should it happen to snow...very romantic! Good luck!

                                1. re: rHairing

                                  "Tell them what you are planning..and that you are vegetarian. I would bet they will help you out"

                                  sound advice anytime or where and esp. in this economy, any restaurateur would be a fool not to.

                                  I liked Mendocino, but it is very (too) close quarters.

                                2. re: ceelynn

                                  The Web site is sort of unclear about when the prix fixe menu ends. You can always call and ask. 1789 often has a pre-theater prix fixe so I wouldn't be surprised if it was an ongoing thing.

                                  One good thing about 1789 is that they have really lovely service, so I'm sure that they'd see your vegetarianism as a challenge and not a hassle. And they probably have lots of proposals there so they know how to handle it if you need any assistance (special champagne, dessert, no one bothering you between dessert and bringing the check b/c that's when you'll ask, etc.).

                                  Also, not sure when you're coming but Washington Restaurant Week is Feb. 16-22. If that's your time frame, make reservations wherever you decide ASAP!

                                3. Another thought! Bistro Lepic, just up Wisconsin in North Georgetown (not quite Glover Park), is really lovely French, very cozy, but not stuffy. If you sit in the upstairs area, you can even sit in comfy stuffed chairs. In fact, he could even get away with nice jeans and a jacket there. If you eat on a Tuesday, they do a little wine tasting with wine deals. AND, you could still head down Wisconsin to Martin's (even walking, if the weather permits).

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: katecm

                                    I second Bistro Lepic! (Je deuxieme Bistro Lepic!) I was going to mention it earlier but hadn't been in a while and wasn't sure if my information was fresh.

                                    1. re: katecm

                                      Having originally recommeneded 1789 (still a good idea) I also join in the recommendation of LePic; it's cozy but elegant, very good food and warm service. Tables are a bit close together, but if you call and explain they probably could seat you toward the back.

                                    2. I think I am the only person who thinks 1789 is just awful for a proposal. It is the type of place I take my Father or Fiance's Grandparents when they are in town...

                                      It is stuffy, it isn't swanky, at least with the new chef the food is getting slightly more creative.

                                      To each his own, but it isn't my style at all, I guess that is why I got proposed to at the Blue Door in South Beach which is swanky romantic.

                                      If you were basing it on a place to go back to pick like The Willard Room or something so you can stay in one of the nicest places in Washington too, or heck go all out and go to the Inn at Little Washington, and really up the ante.

                                      If you can go anywhere in the city I would suggest Palena's back room, which is classic modern decor not swanky, but not stuffy at all and not pretentious. And few enough tables he won't be embarrassed because people won't make a huge fuss.

                                      If you could get the semi-private table at Tosca that is a really nice idea too.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: ktmoomau

                                        Again, thank you all so much for taking the time to offer your suggestions - I am pulling my hair out with what should be a fairly simple decision here!! I do think that 1789 is not the right place for US, although it looks beautiful and the reviews are excellent across the board, it is what I would consider "stuffy" and almost too predicable.
                                        Honestly, I dont know if we will ever go back to DC (I suppose I failed to mention that I live in Colorado and my boyfriend lives in England - we've been doing the VERY long distance thing for almost 3 years now).

                                        I seem to be stuck on Mie N Yu (minus the bird cage!) just because it seems very memorable. We would never say "what was that place??" I sent him the link this morning to get his opinion and if he poo-poos it, then I will send some of the other places you've been kind enough to share.

                                        No wonder propsals are usually left up to the boy!! This is stressfull enough and I still have to buy a cute dress too! Maybe I'll give up and propose in a pub over a pint! :)

                                        1. re: ceelynn

                                          You'll have fun at Mie 'n Yu and I doubt you'll ever forget how interesting the place is. Wonder around the restaurant, explore each room. Sample various small plates and I hope he says yes.

                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                            The only problem with Mie 'n Yu is you might spend half the meal wondering why the food is so bad...

                                            1. re: DanielK

                                              Have you been since they redid their menu a little while ago? I think the reformatted menu and small plates have really improved the food quality and it is quite tasty now.

                                              1. re: ktmoomau

                                                I haven't been back since a disastrous dinner a couple of years back. The food MUST be better now, because the bar was so low, but it's reputation as a "scene" first and restaurant second doesn't push it high on my must-do list.

                                              2. re: DanielK

                                                Me 'n you might bitch about the food but I doubt the OP will be focused on the food.

                                                Actually, I agree with KT. Their Asian fusion menu is actually quite tasty.

                                            2. re: ceelynn

                                              My only concern about Mie N Yu is that is can be quite crowded and loud at points -- its a place where a lot of people go and get drinks and it just seems chaotic the times I've been there. Or, you get stuck in the smaller room which has the least romantic lighting ever! Also, I"ve been there for a special occation and they totally dropped the ball. The food was not that good, they messed up our drink order, and it was just kind of disappointing. This was in the bird cage, where there is a per person minimum (or so we were told). Of the places that have been suggested, I feel that Bistro Lepic would be great. Adour is also great, but pricier. But it would be an elegant after dinner drink!

                                          2. I love this story already....

                                            I would not do Citronelle---it's like the tourist special ocassion place. No one goes for the food they only go for special occassions at least when I was there. Two engagements, whole bunch of anniversaries, etc.

                                            If you consider Palasades as part of Gtown--Mokoto for sushi, only seats 26 people, must take off your shoes so it will be memorable. Place has been there for about 20 years but it's little known. Also a seafood place is Blacksalt. Different atmosphere Fish store in front, very CA modern small restauraurant in the back. Again seats about 50 and the food was out of this world but not sure if it would qualify as swanky. Both in Palasades (West of Gtown)

                                            I think the place that will take the best care of you in a super cool upscael atmosphere is Adour. Very expensive but amazing service. 1:1 staff to guest ratio I think. I bet the chef could craft a special menu for you. I believe this place runs circles around Citronelle depsite what Washingtonian says.However that is downtown on K Street.

                                            Another small and cute place is Restaurant Nora. Been here forever but did organic and local produce before that was a trend. Small place, quiet, romantic and interesting. It's off Dupont circle though by the Philips gallery.

                                            Good luck, make us proud!

                                            OOOOOHHHHH I forgot Firefly in DuPont circle. great food, and cut with the tree in the middle. Only drawback is tables are close together but its really cute. Check it out.

                                            11 Replies
                                            1. re: foodie0807

                                              I was going to suggest Firefly when I first saw this post (we love it, the prices are reasonable, and it is in fact adorable inside) but really the only drawback is that the tables are close together like foodie0807 mentioned. I honestly think this would be a good place to do it...I bet if you call and explain what you want to do, you can make sure to get one of the 2 seat tables that are a little bit more away from the rest of the crowd. Otherwise you're basically sitting on your neighbor's lap hearing all about their cat...or worse.

                                              1. re: MDoodle

                                                Firefly would be very cute and romantic! It is crowded, but I bet if you called the restaurant, they might be accomodating, especially if you agreed to have a non-primetime proposal.

                                              2. re: foodie0807

                                                I know this is a horrible thing to say on a foodie website, but you are right when you say I wont be too concerned with the food. Everything will probably taste a bit like cardboard to me that evening! So, if we did Mie N Yu, is there a room/area that you would recommend I ask for? I see they have different areas on their website... which request might get me one of the booths with curtains??
                                                I think I am in love with Adour. Of course, there are no prices listed on their menu - what is a ballpark entree price here?

                                                Firefly looks super cute - I think I will drag him there for lunch one day, since there is the close together table issue... Thank goodness I am not planning on getting down on one knee, but I dont really want our neighbor diners eavesdropping on my fumbling proposal! I can see it now - their eyes fixed on him as he breaks into a cold sweat or chokes on his food after I ask! Ugh.

                                                1. re: ceelynn

                                                  It looks like the Baroque room from their website but you should specify that you want privacy when you make your reservation. When the restaurant isn't busy, they may not seat you upstairs int he Baroque room (the entire room may be closed off).

                                                  1. re: ceelynn

                                                    Sorry for the delay in response, Adour is at the upper end for DC, I think 10-14 for an ap and 28-35 for an entree. Really not that much more than 1789 or Firefly (not sure about Mie and You not eaten there). I'm telling you though, it's really a neat spot and they would be SOOOO accomodating if you called in advance.

                                                    So I know others on the Board will cricify me and it's all about personal preference but....

                                                    ....I would at least go look at Mie and You beforehand---you're either going to love or hate the atmosphere. Again, can't comment on the food but I would have been horrified if I was proposed to there unless there was a "theme" to the proposal. Again, maybe just me but it's a "theme-like" decor.

                                                    1. re: foodie0807

                                                      Heres my plan: My boyfriend made reservations at Mie N Yu (I think hes more intrigued than anything else and now just has to see the place) and if its "right", then it will happen there; if not, I will wait until a moment that is right. No idea what that may be, but seeing as though the proposal itself is a bit unsual (me proposing to him), I guess I dont have to follow any rules, do I? :) Thanks a million for your suggestions!

                                                      1. re: ceelynn

                                                        rules - what rules are there for anyone of either gender?

                                                        you put your heart on the line and hope for the best... but then that's part of the bargain in any romantic relationship.

                                                        what feels 'right' is what counts - that's strictly a case by case scenario and we can't comment on that.

                                                        Best Wishes.

                                                        1. re: ceelynn

                                                          If the feel at Mie n Yu isn't right, after dinner, walk west along M to the Key Bridge. Take a left onto the bridge and walk halfway across. Spectacular views, and trust me, it'll still be there in 50 years!

                                                          1. re: katecm

                                                            nice (seriously), hope the weather cooperates for that scenario.

                                                        2. re: foodie0807

                                                          Adour's entrees are only $28-35? Why did I think it was outrageously expensive? Maybe I was just thinking it was all tasting menus.

                                                          1. re: Elyssa


                                                            The menu includes prices. Entrees range from 25 to 46. I'm not a huge fan of Adour. Definitely a nice restaurant with attentive service but I don't find their food special compared to other high end restaurants in town. Good food at high prices.

                                                    2. you have to let us know what setting you pick and if it was what you wanted (but DEFINITELY NOT prying into the personal issues regarding the response and reception - just the room).

                                                      1 Reply