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Birthday Celebration in/near Dupont Circle -- Any suggestions?

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My husband and I are coming down to DC on the Friday after Thanksgiving (the 26th) to celebrate his birthday and hopefully to attend an argument at the Supreme Court that Monday.

I'd like to find a great restaurant to take him to on that Friday, his actual birthday. We particularly like French, Italian, and Contemporary American food (read: local) and my husband has an especially soft spot for Viennese food. We like good wine. I'd say the budget is $175-250 for the meal including tax/tip/wine. Preferably something that's not too formal or stuffy.

Do you have any suggestions? We're staying in the Dupont Circle area so we'd like something convenient to that location although we're willing to take a metro or a cab if that's better.

Thanks in advance. And if you have any hints for being assured entry to the Court, that would be greatly appreciated as well! Thanks.

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  1. I can't speak to Vienese food, but there is a lot of good Italian in DC. Around Dupont Circle you could try the intimate and more casual Floriana. However it is not at all fancy. However, for fancy, great food, and a good wine list I recommend Obelisk. Once of the best Italian restaurants in DC.

    Of course, you shouldn't limit yourself to Dupont Circle. Getting around DC by METRO is easy. You should consider Restaurante Tosca downtown and Galileo III in the Penn Quarter. Both should fit the bill for you, If you are a lover of Italian wine, there is no better place to go than Dino (one block from the Cleveland Park Metro stop). The wine list there is primarily Italian, huge, and very well priced. Foods pretty good too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dinwiddie

      First off, I would have to highly disagree on the recommendation for Flordiana's in Dupont. The food and service is very mediocre. The only thing it really has going for it is its location (it's close to my apt) and it's in a cute town house. You could so much better, especially for a birthday celebration. I think Dino is very overrated also. If you are going up to Cleveland Park try Palena. High quality Contemporary American food by a former White House chef.

      If you want Austrian food Leopold's in Cady's Alley in Georgetown would be a good option. It might be a better brunch/lunch or snack option, though, for the weekend.

      I would also recommend Tosca for a nice Italian meal downtown. You might like Filomena in Georgetown or Al Tiramisu in Dupont. Here are some good French (and Belgium) places: Bistro Cacoa near Union Station--delicious food and the setting is intimate and absolutely adorable. Also, Bistro Bis, Brasserie Beck, Bistrot Lepic and Central.

      New American options: Nora's in Dupont (first organic restaurant in DC), Cashion's, 701, Corduroy, Proof, 1789 or Ris.

      Let us know what you end up choosing!

      -----
      Bistro Bis
      15 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

      Palena
      3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

      Brasserie Beck
      1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

      Al Tiramisu
      2014 P Street, Washington, DC 20036

      1. re: spinachandchocolate

        I recommeded Dino for the wine. I disagree with a recommending Filomena, you can get that anywhere. However, Corduroy and Nora are good choices but Nora can be expensive and sometimes ordinary. Of course Palena is an excellent choice, one of the best. I forgot to say anything about Contemporary American. Brasserie Beck is loud but good, but for a more sedate and formal meal, you could also try Marcel's. Cashions is overrated imho.

        -----
        Palena
        3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

        Brasserie Beck
        1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

    2. I am a fan of Blue Duck Tavern, Tabard Inn, and Ris in Dupont. I haven't been, but I've heard some really good things about Plume at the Jefferson hotel, but it is definitely formal (and I've heard some not so good things also).

      I have never heard of a good German restaurant in DC, much less Viennese, but we have an abundance of upscale Italian places. Bibiana and Dino are probably the two I hear mentioned most often here (I would recommend Bibiana, but only the wine list at Dino based on my experience so far), but Obelisk is probably a good option. Doesn't get much love on these boards, but it appears to be very popular. Why is this - anyone else have thoughts on that?