5 Days in DC. Where MUST I go eat?
I am a total foodie looking for the best DC has to offer. Nothing is out of bounds for this vacation because eating DC is my primary reason for traveling to the area. I need the must eat places if you had only 5 days to spend eating and drinking. Money is of no object. I love fine dinning and eating amazing food and am a big fan of eating course after course. I want to be truely amazed by what I am tasting. Im no snob when it comes to restaurants either, casual and inexpensive is okay as well as long as the food is outstanding. I Maybe someone can help me out with some places off the "beaten path" if you will? I am interested in lunch and dinner options, and I am definetly looking for a sunday brunch spot as well. Extensive wine lists are always a plus but not necessary. I also want places that I am going to be able to get into without reservations being made months in advance, since I am going to be traveling in one week. I am taking a special person out for a special evening as well, so maybe a romantic setting for one night would be great. If anyone can help me I would be forever in your debt. If you need help for dinning options in Charleston, SC let me know! Thanks.
Old Ebbitt Grill is a must choice for either lunch or late night when all of their raw bar items are 50% off. The place is always busy, always consistent and a real place to be seen and people watch. The service is quite good and while not formal by any means, a very nice restaurant with reasonable prices.
Here's an enthusiastic vote for Founding Farmers in DC. It has a bustling brunch crowd (GWU is nearby and you'll probably see students out with visiting parents). We enjoy it for lunch and dinner as well.
For a fun, urban vibe we love Eatonville (Southern food) which is a relative of Busboys & Poets (also good, more casual). For a beer-filled evening (I know you mentioned a wine list is a plus, but a beer detour could be fun) The Brickskeller will not disappoint. It is a bit of a hovel, down in a basement, but once you're down there you are together with a family of others touring their very extensive beer list (booklet).
Nothing mentioned so far, in my opinion, amounts to "fine dining," especially not in a "money is no object" sense.
Eatonville (mentioned above) is fun, though I would call it pretending-to-be-rural-Southern rather than "urban vibe."
The problem you may find is that you are trying to put together two incompatible things - "best/money is no object" and "I'm coming in a week and don't have reservations." I would suggest going through the Washingtonian magazine 100-best list (http://www.washingtonian.com/sections...) and seeing which places (a) sound good to you and (b) you can get into on this little notice (through opentable.com or by calling).
I think that most "best DC has to offer"/"money is no object" people would probably steer you towards Komi, Cityzen, and a few others if you can get in.
In my opinion any one of José Andrés's restaurants is a good choice. My favorite is Zaytinya in Chinatown which serves Mediterranean mezze style dishes (small dishes like spanish tapas). Their braised then grilled octopus is out of this world. Also if you are craving a good steak go to Morton's In Georgetown.
For the Sunday Brunch, you are definitely going to want the Latina Dim Sum Brunch at Cafe Atlantico. You can order a prix fixe meal for 14 courses for $35 or order a la carte. You probably don't need reservations in advance, but you should call to at least make sure you arrive on time. The hours for the prix fixe are more limited. Sounds to me like you are a good candidate for the full treatment. This is an astonishing meal for those willing to spend the time on a Sunday morning/early afternoon.