Washington D.C.

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In this town of foodies (Washingtonians spend more money and time dining out per capita than any other group), CIA is just as likely to stand for “Culinary Institute of America” as it is for “Central Intelligence Agency.” Find top chefs producing ethnic cuisine ranging from Burmese to Belgian.

Top Restaurants in Washington D.C.

1789 Restaurant

Modern fare adapted from various ethnic traditions (think yellow fin tuna with arugula, piquillo peppers, botarga and fennel) contrasts with the classic antique, art-filled atmosphere of this romantic, Federal townhouse in the city center.

1226 36th St. NW, DC, 202-965-1789, http://1789restaurant.com/
Tags: expensive | editor pick | smart splurge | global fusion

Al Tiramisu Restaurant

Attentive Italian-style service, traditional pastas prepared al dente, and an intimate hole-in-the-wall atmosphere lend plenty of charm to this quaint little restaurant. Let the waiter choose the wine and ask him to bring out a platter of calamari, portobello carpaccio, and other mixed antipasti. Huge portions of risotto, lamb, and homemade pasta in sage sauce leave little room for the eatery's signature dessert which is - you guessed it - tiramisu.

2014 P Street Northwest, DC, 202-467-4466, www.altiramisu.com
Tags: family | moderate | editor pick | great value | italian

Amsterdam Falafelshop

This falafel joint turns out delicious, budget-friendly lunches. Line up at the counter and wait for a falafel with a side of fries, then load your pita up with toppings like vegetables, peanut sauce, and garlic. Outdoor seating is available; the combo meals also make great takeaways for a picnic lunch.

2425 18th St. NW, DC, 202-234-1969, www.falafelshop.com
Tags: family | budget | middle eastern

Bistro Bis

Tucked into the George Hotel just around the corner from the Capitol, this sophisticated bistro is the place to go to rub elbows with political celebrities and tuck into creative French fare like curry mussels and warm galettes filled with chevre, rabbit, and potato.

15 E St. NW, DC, 202-347-4200, www.hotelgeorge.com
Tags: lounge | french

Bodega

Craving first-rate tapas in a flirtatious, low-lit setting? Look no further than Bodega, a May 2008 addition to the Georgetown dining scene. Fresh scallops, garlic-tossed shrimp, and paella are all popular menu choices for the couples and small groups of friends who come to eat and down sangria in the intimate corners of this red, black, and copper-outfitted eatery.

3116 M St. NW, DC, 202-333-4733, www.bodegadc.com
Tags: romance | expensive | smart splurge | trendy | small plates | spanish

Café Atlantico

Expect experimental, unorthodox, tapas-style nibbles like cotton candy-wrapped foie gras, caramelized pork rinds with maple syrup, or tomato water with tapioca pearls and orange-trout roe in this three-floor dining complex.

405 Eighth St. NW, DC, 202-393-0812, www.cafeatlantico.com
Tags: expensive

Café Milano

A must for locals, the café, good for Italian food and coffee, has been recognized for being the best power spot in the city. Celebrity sightings are frequent, including George Clooney and Bill Clinton.

3251 Prospect St., DC, 202-333-6183, www.cafemilano.net
Tags: expensive | italian

Café Saint-Ex

Come to this vintage, aviation-themed bar and local hangout for great happy hour specials, funky music, and affordable American fare, like their fried green tomato BLT with tomato mayonnaise and mixed greens.

1847 14th St. NW, DC, 202-265-7839, www.saint-ex.com
Tags: budget | american | trendy

Dupont Market

This neighborhood treasure isn't really a restaurant at all, as the name implies, but a casual, all-day deli occupying a tiny space in a commercial area of well-traveled Dupont Circle. Locals rave about the sandwiches (vegetarians and carnivores both have a range of classic and gourmet options), the wine selection, and the outdoor tables.

1807 18th St. NW, DC, 202-797-0222
Tags: family | budget | trendy | deli

Equinox

Equinox caters to the Brooks Brothers set with sophisticated spins on American comfort-food classics like steak, roasted Amish chicken, and Hawaiian Blue Marlin - all grilled to perfection and served with decadent side dishes like truffled mac and cheese and fried okra. The ever-changing menu incorporates seasonal produce, but patrons don't just come here to eat their vegetables. We highly recommend the spiced-cider cocktails, especially when wintry weather threatens.

818 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC, 202-331-8118, www.equinoxrestaurant.com
Tags: expensive | smart splurge | new american

Full Kee

You know it's good when Chinese chefs come here after work. Try the definitive roast pork, Hong Kong dumpling soup, and Chao-Zhou marinated duck off of the classic Cantonese menu.

509 H St. NW, DC, 202-371-2233, www.fullkeedc.com
Tags: budget | chinese

La Fourchette

A classic French bistro in the heart of Adams Morgan, La Fourchette is a popular locale for Sunday brunch or a leisurely dinner of soft shell crab, fresh baguette, and crisp white wine. Dark wood fixtures and high ceilings are reminiscent of a Parisian eatery, as is the relaxed pace - waiters are attentive but won't be racing around to fill your water glass or serve you with the check.

2429 18th St. NW, DC, 202-332-3077
Tags: moderate | great value | trendy | french

Michel Richard Citronelle

Richard juxtaposes colors and textures with his imaginative French cuisine. Enjoy dishes like beef, chateaubriand (served with mixed vegetables, yukon gold gratin, and syrah sauce), on the intimate red-brick patio.

3000 M St. NW, DC, 202-625-2150, www.citronelledc.com
Tags: expensive | french

Poste Moderne Brasserie

Bistro favorites like roseate venison paired with Brussels sprouts, are served out of an exhibitionist kitchen in this historic courtyard outside the General Post Office. The modernist interior is sleek.

555 8th St. NW, DC, 202-783-6060, www.postebrasserie.com
Tags: moderate | french

The Source

Wolfgang Puck's first D.C. eatery is located within the Newseum, a museum chronicling America's fourth estate. Epicurean Mid-Atlantic fare is served with a bold twist of Asian flavor (try the scrumptious sautéed Maryland crab cake and mango crab salad in Thai vinaigrette). Dine in the posh, wine-bottle-lined main dining room or mingle like a true journo in the lounge.

575 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., DC, 202-637-6100, www.wolfgangpuck.com
Tags: expensive | notable chef | smart splurge | new american

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