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DC Honeymoon meals

Since my husband-to-be is starting Law School at UBalt the Monday after our wedding, we decided just to stay at the Mandarin Oriental in DC for a local "mini-moon." It's going to be in August, so very hot and sticky. Does anyone have any ideas for dream restaurants? Money is not an object, and I don't want to make reservations somewhere to only have to wait for a half hour, or sit shoulder to shoulder once I'm there. Luxury and service are tops!

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  1. While I was not as enamoured with CityZen as some (it is in the Mandarin Oriental), it is a worthy place to go for a fine meal. I still think Palena and Komi and arguably Obelisk are better.

    But, if you're staying at the Mandarin Oriental. Splurge on a serious massage. they do it right there.

    1. I am sure the Mandarin will be great and there are many fine choices in DC, but depending on when you must get back, you might consider driving to the Inn at Little Washington to stay and eat there. Weekend traffic should be light and it will be cooler than DC in August.

      1 Reply
      1. re: eatsie

        +1 for the Inn - I've been there twice, and staying the night is definately the better choice. Plus, Breakfast there is to die for! It's beautiful country out there...

        Luxury and Service are "Tops" - Try to reserve the Chef's table, or if you want to be romantic, tell them and they'll tuck you into a nice corner.


      2. would spend one nite at Michel Richard Citronelle and the other nite at Cieba,
        The Prime Rib or if you can get a reservation, Minibar @Cafe Atlantico

        2 Replies
        1. re: dining with doc

          If Roberto Donna has his Laboratorio open by August - go.

          Palena and Corduroy aren't really in the "luxury" category, but are two I'd recommend whole heartedly for future escapes to DC.

          Since there's a Prime Rib in Baltimore, I'd save that for a special dinner after first semester exams. You'll both need it.

          Congratulations to both of you.

          1. re: crackers

            I concur with Corduroy. Tell them you are on honeymoon and they can seat you in a cozy booth and will "do it up right" for you.

        2. I don't know many luxury restaurants but should you be looking for a great bar that isn't packed with summer interns, I'd recommend PS7 in china town.

          The drinks are great, as is service. I haven't eaten a meal there, but have heard very good things. The food I have had at the bar has been very good with excellent presentation.

          If you're looking for something wonderful yet casual, I'd recommend the front cafe at Palena during the week. The desserts there are top notch and it's in a lovely neighborhood for wandering around hand in hand.

          1. citronelle. top-notch service and most definitely luxurious. komi and minibar are hot right now but i've never been to either — definitely worth investigating for you, though.

            1. Marcel's. Marcel's. Marcel's. All the other suggestions -- CityZen, Citronelle, Komi -- are superb but lack an element of romance. Marcel's is the complete package. I don't know how many nights you'll be here, but I'd go to Marcel's and CityZen.

              Obelisk is so far from a luxury experience, I can't imagine how it made the list. This is a foodie's restaurant that emulates the food in a restaurant in Italy. However, the type of restaurant it is emulating is essentially a trattoria /osteria. It is not a dream restaurant.

              Ceiba offers lively atmosphere, great drinks, and good food. But I don't think it qualifies as a dream restaurant either. Love their assorted ceviche. In colder weather, their black bean soup with sherry is a wonder.

              1. Congratulations for the upcoming wedding and honeymoon, we just got done booking all the restaurants for our honeymoon.

                I think the restaurant you want really depends on what type of food people you are. If I was going to DC on my honeymoon I think I would want to eat at:

                Marcel's- it is very upscale and rich French Food, very cute "jewel box" interior, very refined service, but also quiet and relaxing in a way that there aren't too many people and you don't feel rushed.

                Minibar- if you are foodies, I think this is the most fun you can have at a food experiment that is quite tasty. It is 30 one bit courses and six seats inside another restaurant. You have to call exactly one month in advance for reservations right when they start taking calls at 9:30 I believe. Order champagne, don't do the wine tastings. After you could wander for drinks to Oya or PS7 which has a nice lounge, but the food isn't up there with others mentioned.

                Citronelle- this is probably one of the most controversial restaurants in DC, when it is good it is fantastic, and when it is not, it is bad. They just lost their wine sommelier and reviews are that quality has dropped somewhat. I haven't been since December and my meal in December was fantastic. I think the food is very creative, and when the kitchen is on it is divine. I would read reviews and make you own decision on this, I would go, but you may not.

                Because of service issues, I don't know if I would want to go to Robert Donna's new restaurant he doesn't take a lot of care with his staff.

                I have not been to Komi or CityZen, but they get high remarks.

                I find the back room at Palena very romantic and relaxing, the gnocchi and other pastas are melt in your mouth. It may not be a dream restaurant, but I think it would be perfect for a honeymoon meal after a stressful couple of months of planning.

                For brunches you might want to go to Bistro Bis which has great brunch, Cafe Atlantico's Dim Sum brunch or perhaps Cafe Du Parc.

                If you don't do Citronelle you could always do his bistro Central for lunch, it's right downtown by all the touristy stuff.

                I don't know what you are planning on doing besides sleeping, but if you will be in any certain areas we could give lunch recs too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ktmoomau

                  I think is all good advice. Cityzen and Komi both have very good service (and food). I think Komi has a slightly more casual atmosphere (although there's nothing casual about the food). Palena is very good, and I agree the back room is little more romantic (and ornate) than Cityzen or Komi but I don't think the food is as knock-you-out great. Minibar is a series of very small plates, and Komi starts with a series of very small plates, so depending on how feel about that you might want to choose one (or both).

                  If you like buffet brunch, the Willard has a very nice one.

                2. CityZen
                  Komi - Komi, I believe has better food than CityZen but CityZen will awe you with their presentation.
                  Citronelle - I personally have been disapointed every time at Citronelle. Perhaps too high of expectations?

                  I have enjoyed the Oval Room in my last several visits - not as high end.

                  1. Thanks for all the advice! I think we're going to do CityZen the night we get in- I'm a little hesitant because of the mixed reviews, but I figure it would be nice just to be able to BE at the hotel and stay for dinner. I think Marcel's is looking like our Saturday night plans, and then maybe Veritas, which is one of my faves!

                    Minibar sounds AWESOME. Since we live in Baltimore anyway, I'm going to try to get reservations there another night. I think the best food is little food!

                    Maybe we'll try the Inn at Little Washington for my birthday with is early September- it sounds really good, but I don't think we'll have time that weekend.

                    Also- I will be booking our spa treatments this weekend! I'm getting really excited and all your wonderful recomendations will have me drooling for the next 3 months.