This Levantine treasure by chef Michael Rafidi is one of the main reasons why the rapidly-developing Navy Yard neighborhood is the dining spot to know in the District. Since its opening in February 2020, Albi has gained widespread recognition, and it earned a Michelin star in 2022. With a warm, welcoming, unpretentious atmosphere and open, wood-fired kitchen (informed by Rafidi's Palestinian heritage) that makes you feel like you are dining in a friend’s home, rather than a restaurant (“Albi” means “heart” in Arabic), Albi serves up delicious plate after delicious plate: Beiruti-style hummus with green garlic; orchard fattoush with mint, pomegranate and pear; grilled lamb belly with radicchio; perfectly crisped puffs of pita...should we go on? Wash it all down with a bottle from the well-curated and creative wine menu, which celebrates vintages from Beirut’s Château Musar, as well as unique finds like an orange wine from Georgia’s Teliani Valley and a cabernet from Slovenia.

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Bluejacket Brewery

Located in the up-and-coming Navy Yard neighborhood in Washington, D.C., the Bluejacket brewery is a seriously cool restaurant that beer lovers should not miss. Read on for the Indagare Travel review.
Food at Brasserie Beck, Washington, D.C., Mid-Atlantic

Brasserie Beck

Owned by Robert Wiedmaier, the proprietor of the grand Marcel’s, Beck is a hopping Belgian brasserie with such hearty fare as braised pork belly and lamb sausage with lentils. It’s loud, crowded and tons of fun. It's located in McPherson Square.

Cafe Milano

Centrally located off of Wisconsin Avenue, Cafe Milano is an Italian institution in Georgetown. Frequented by the likes of Katie Couric and John Kerry, the restaurant glows with low lighting and a buzzing energy that attracts celebrities, journalists, politicians and Georgetown locals in equal measure. The food is classic and delicious, with standouts including a pumpkin, gorgonzola and rosemary risotto and wagyu beef tagliata dusted with black lava sea salt.

Warm hospitality, an enticing wine list and eclectic design mingle with an air of Northern Italian glamour to make dining here both comfortable and exciting. Guests can sit at the bar for a casual glass of Barbera and bowl of fresh pasta, while families and business people celebrate milestones with Champagne in the more formal back and upstairs rooms. It is just as pleasant to sit at one of the outdoor patio tables for lunch on a sunny day.

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Food at Central Michel Richard, Washington, D.C., Mid-Atlantic

Central Michel Richard

Downtown's Central, which won the 2008 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the country, is part of a continuing trend in D.C.: top toques—in this case Michel Richard, of now-shuttered Citronelle fame—creating more accessible fare, in terms of both price and preparation. (Another example is Robert Wiedmaier’s Brasserie Beck.) Central’s menu is upscale bistro: bangers and mash, an Ahi tuna burger, Caesar salad with goat cheese and a charcuterie plate with prosciutto, salami and garlic sausage. Casual and almost cafeteria-like in ambiance, it is constantly packed, hugely popular and does get some complaints for being on the loud side.

Editors' Picks
Bar at Fiola Mare, Washington, D.C., Mid-Atlantic

Fiola Mare

The stylish younger sister of the famed Fiola restaurant, Fiola Mare fronts the lively Georgetown waterfront and features sophisticated Italian cuisine. The menu focuses on fresh seafood dishes, which are complemented by an extensive wine list. Interiors are elegant and nautical, while sitting alfresco with unparalleled views of the Potomac River is a more casual, buzzier scene.

Food at Jaleo, Washington, D.C., Mid-Atlantic


At Jaleo (the name is Spanish for “merrymaking”), plates are small and flavors are big, bold and altogether mouthwatering. The menu contains more than sixty dishes, including both traditional Spanish tapas such as gambas al ajillo (shrimp sautéed with garlic and guindilla pepper) and more modern selections, like chistorra (chorizo wrapped in crispy potato). I particularly love the butifarra Daniel Patrick Moynihan, homemade pork sausage served with garlicky sautéed white beans (a favorite of the late senator’s), and the rossejat, thin pasta “paella” with monkfish and shrimp. Other treats: fried dates wrapped in bacon, watermelon with goat cheese and pistachios, and a charcuterie plate that includes ibérico ham, from the famous acorn-eating pigs. Because it’s open until midnight on Friday and Saturday, Jaleo, located in Penn Quarter, is a great spot for late-night dinner or drinks. This was the first restaurant in what is now chef José Andrés’ D.C. empire: Minibar, Zaytinya and Oyamel.

Steak and fries at Le Diplomate, Washington, D.C.

Le Diplomate

Since this French bistro opened in 2013, it has been so popular that it is almost impossible to get a reservation. Locals and visitors alike continue to flock to Le Diplomate for classic French bistro fare like escargot and steak au poivre in a buzzing atmosphere.
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Little Serow

In 2012, Johnny Monis, the young chef behind renowned D.C hotspot Komi, finally opened his much-anticipated following act, Little Serow (rhymes with “narrow”). The minimalist twenty-eight-seat Thai restaurant, in Dupont Circle, doesn’t take reservations, doesn’t allow substitutions, doesn’t have a phone and doesn’t even have a sign in front, but the lengthy line out the door gives away its location. (Join the queue starting at 5:30 P.M.) The family-style, prix fixe menu changes weekly (and is updated online every Tuesday), usually listing around seven plates for $45 per person. Dishes such as “yaam makhua yao” are explained by simplistic descriptions like “eggplant/cured egg/pickled garlic”, proving that eating here is more of an experience than a meal; every course is accompanied by a story or instruction from your server.

Editors' Picks
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The fun, relaxed vibe at Matchbox (one of three D.C. locations) combined with the great tasting food and even greater value makes this a fantastic spot for a meal with kids. Classic American dishes are featured including mini burgers, roast chicken and personal pizzas as well as salads. Expect a wait as this is a popular place.

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The second outpost of the popular Nantucket restaurant, Millie’s has quickly become a DC institution. The casual, nautical eatery is decorated with accents like full-scale canoes hanging from the ceiling, painted oars on the walls and black-and-white surf photographs.
Dinning Area at Minibar by José Andrés, Washington, D.C., Mid-Atlantic - Courtesy Ken Wyner

Minibar by José Andrés

Minibar was formerly upstairs at the shuttered Café Atlantico, and now lives in a new location adjacent to the International Spy Museum, where chef José Andrés tests every new culinary concept for his expanding empire. But Minibar’s exclusive erstwhile essence remains: a space with room for just sixteen diners who pay $225 for a meal that has roughly thirty courses—each just one bite and prepared in front of you. It’s a little like sitting at a sushi bar, except the chefs are creating dishes that are startling in their originality. A Spaniard and a former protégé of Ferran Adrià, chef Andrés was one of America’s first proponents of molecular gastronomy, the mixing of science and culinary art. (Another bright light in the movement is Grant Achatz, of Chicago’s Alinea.) It’s fascinating to see all the tools of the trade in action. Tip: You will have a better chance of getting off the wait list if you are flexible about your date. Also visit the newest addition to Andrés’ portfolio, Barmini–the drinks lounge adjacent to Minibar that serves more than 100 artisanal cocktails. Set aside several hours for dinner

Editors' Picks
Entrance at Oyamel, Washington, D.C., Mid-Atlantic - Photo Courtsey : Powers & Crewe


If the tin butterflies hanging from the ceiling of this Mexican cocina don’t put you in a good mood, the signature margaritas are sure to. Run by star chef José Andrés (of Jaleo and Minibar), Oyamel is known for its house-made ceviches (tuna and jicama; yellowtail kingfish with avocado and jalapeños) and guacamole that’s prepared tableside with fresh tomatillos. Best of all are the tacos with such sublime fillings as duck confit, pineapple and cilantro or barbequed pork with pickled red onion and Mexican sour orange. The Penn Quarter location makes it a good stop for lunch after hitting the museums.

Entrance at Rasika Penn Quarter, Washington, D.C., Mid-Atlantic - Photo Courtesy : Michael J Colella

Rasika Penn Quarter

Run by chef Vikram Sunderam, Rasika is beloved for its modern Indian fare: lamb kebabs with garam masala and mint chutney, chili garlic calamari, tandoori trout with Kaffir-lime leaves, and garlic naan. Dim lighting and cozy banquettes contribute to the seductive atmosphere at this Penn Quarter eatery. A second outpost is located in the West End (1190 New Hampshire Avenue, NW; 202-466-2500).

Food at Rose’s Luxury, Washington, D.C., Mid-Atlantic - Photo Courtesy : Victoria Milko

Rose’s Luxury

The hottest seat in town is at Rose’s Luxury, the foodie favorite spot in DC that everyone is raving about. Owner Aaron Silverman boasts quite the resume, having worked for some big culinary names, among them Sean Brock (of Charleston’s Husk fame) and David Chang (owner of New York City’s Momofuku). In this endeavor, he creates small and family-style dishes for the table to share, and the oft-changing menu can include such specialties as crispy pig's ear salad with mango and cabbage, and hand-cut pasta with caramelized cauliflower.

The restaurant famously doesn't take reservations, and many begin lining up for a table around 5pm. But if you take any local's word for it—or Bon Appetit magazine's—the food is worth the wait.

Editors' Picks
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Fabio Trabocchi, known for Michelin-starred Fiola and Fiola Mare, has opened Sfoglina, a chic trattoria focused on pastas. Read Indagare's review.
Food at Zaytinya, Washington, D.C., Mid-Atlantic


This ever-popular José Andres restaurant is one of DC’s best Mediterranean eateries, great for a sophisticated dinner or bountiful brunch. The soaring, all-white interiors with floor-to-ceiling windows create an airy and chic atmosphere that compliments the fresh seafood and vegetable-centric dishes.

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