Special Occassion Dinner
I am going to be proposing to my girlfriend in December, and I want to make the entire day memorable, capped off by a wonderful dinner in DC. I am looking for a romantic Italian or Asian restaurant (preferably Thai, Chinese, Japanese, or fusion; no Korean of Vietnamese) in town that has a varied menu. My girlfriend loves both Italian and Asian cuisine but is not a very adventurous eater (a little picky). I'm looking to spend no more than $120 for two people, including possibly multiple courses, drinks, and dessert.
Would like Metro accessibility, especially walking distance from a Red Line station.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I was referred to Chowhound by a coworker who highly recommends the advice other site users provide.
First off---Congrats! How exciting!
My first recommendation would be The Source, which has unbelievable Asian fusion cuisine. That said, staying within a $120 price range for multiple courses plus drinks might be a stretch. You certainly can dine within that price range though downstairs in the bar/lounge area...but that might cut down on the romance. It's not that far from the Gallery Place metro stop.
Two places you might consider (by the same owner) is Sei (for a more sushi menu) or Oya (more Asian fusion). Both places are very modern and hip, but can work as a modern romance spot. The nice thing is both have a great 3-course dinner menu for about $35/person with lots of nice options. I've always have had good meals at both restaurants. Both are also near the Gallery Place metro stop.
Are you willing to consider something Metro accessible in Virginia? If so there are probably a couple of good Thai or other Asian restaurants that would work. (It would be Blue or Orange Line, not Red Line.)
Just after posting above I remembered: Rice! As in:
I liked it a lot, but I have to warn you that I haven't been there in about 5 years, so maybe it's not what it once was. But back then I really liked it. For my tastes, it was romantic in a simple way, nothing lavish or luxurious at all.
It would be helpful if someone who has been there recently can confirm that it's still good.
Does Indian qualify as Asian for you? If so, I recommend The Bombay Club (BC). I know Rasika is considered hipper, but if romance is a requirement, Bombay Club wins big time. There are plush banquets that offer relative privacy and you could arrange with the piano player to be playing a special song when you propose. The food is every bit as good as at Rasika. If you want the famous spinach appetizer, it's available at BC as a spinach-arugula version. Appetizer prices range from $8 -- $12 and main dishes largely fall in the low- to mid-$20 range. There are dishes which are as low as $18 and lamp chops top the list at $32.
I feel like this is tough - romantic, wonderful dinner for 2 w/ drinks for <$120. I think Bombay Club was a good suggestion (though some picky eaters won't eat Indian, which I don't get, because I love it and it has a wide variety of options), and you should be able to squeak out right around $120. And I laugh since this restaurant was derided by the "C'mon Man, I don't get it" post, but I think Dino is really the only Italian that fits the bill. You could do a couple antipasti, a large pasta dish, a meat dish and dessert with a bottle of wine, and get out at $120.
Given your criteria, i would suggest Tosca (Italian). it is very appropriate for a special occasion dinner and if you book in advance you can ask for the very private table in the back left side of the dining room by the window. The waiters are dressed formally and are committed to service (most are career waiters) and the clientele are there (mostly) for a nice experience too. The food is delicious...and best of all you can get a 3 course pre-theater menu for $37 if you order BEFORE 6:30. the pastas are all homemade and the fish and meat are really delicious. Desserts too. If you both got the pretheater menu you could even afford a couple glasses of wine or bottle that isn't too expensive. Tosca is at 11th and F and metro accessible or if you want to valet it's only $5. we had my husband's retirement from the AF dinner there and they took fabulous care of our party. We also go just the two of us several times a year and they are just as solicitous of a party of 2. if you tell them in advance you are going to propose they could probably arrange something, if you wanted. I think both you and she would love it!