As the largest historic residential neighborhood in Washington, D.C., Capitol Hill is not only filled with exquisite homes and churches, it is filled with some of the best restaurants in the area. From unbelievable restaurants along Pennsylvania Avenue to sidewalk cafes tucked in between 19th century manor homes and federal townhouses, even the most discriminating palate can find their perfect meal. Showcasing the eclectic cultural influences of the area, Restaurants in Capitol Hill are anything but ordinary. On any given day, patrons can find traditional Belgian cuisine, exotic Pakistani dishes, home-style Salvadoran entrees or fusion preparations of an exquisite filet mignon. Many of the restaurants in the area are also rich in early American history, standing in the same buildings that served as farmhouses or offices for some of the nations first settlers. Dining in Capitol Hill is as much a tour through the origins of America as it is an adventurous experience in the flavors of the world.
Southern. Former model and soul food restaurateur B. Smith has taken the DC dining scene by storm with her fresh approaches to southern standards. Located in gleaming Union Station, B.Smith's eponymous supper club is jazzy and sharp.
500 8th St., SE, Washington, DC. Tel. 202.543.5906
This brightly colored island oasis has a well-deserved reputation for excellent, reasonably priced Cuban and Puerto Rican fare and mouth-watering mango margaritas. It's one of the most popular restaurants on Capitol Hill and you'll see why once you try the Cuban picadillo (ground beef and pork loin cooked in a creole sauce with capers, olives and raisins) or the ropa vieja (shredded flank steak cooked with tomatoes, onions, peppers and spices). In between bites, take in the vivid, original Latin artwork collected by owners Jorge Zamorano and Analena Valdes. Upstairs, a quaint piano bar features talented local pianists and singers as well as the occasional tequila inspired sing-a-long. (Andrew Noyes)
514 8th Street, SE Washington, D.C. 20003
Belga cafe is a great place to eat typical Belgian and Euro-Fusion cuisine. Combining an intriguing atmosphere with excellent, light and healthy interesting food. Belga Cafe is a little bit of Brussels on the Hill, with an open kitchen and a sidewalk cafe.
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French. Talk about House appropriations! This DC dining staple on Capitol Hill is likely to have statesmen and their aids confabing over well-seasoned root vegetables and an ever evolving selection of game.
American. This Washington, DC steakhouse not only serves up huge, tender slabs of delicious beef, it invites you to explore the aging process that give this world famous Washington, DC restaurant its excellent meats. Check your cholestrol levels at the door.
Just a stone's throw from Union Station, Capitol City Brewing Co. offers tasty eats and great beer in a stunning, historic setting. The restaurant calls the prominent 1911 Postal Square Building home. Chef Tim Campion mastered a menu that soars high above standard brewpub fare. For starters, try the award-winning chowder or Pale Ale chili with Jalapeno cornbread or share a plateful of spicy hot Washington Wings. The menu features an array of specialties including a "filibuster burger," the Hofbrau bratwurst sandwich, a pulled pork barbecue sandwich and more. But the main attraction is undoubtedly the beer. Expert brewers use only the finest hops, fresh yeast and select malt to concoct some flavorsome ales, lagers and pilsners. The high-tech, in-house brewery lets brewmasters bring fresh suds straight to the table. Signature brews include a medium-bodied Amber Waves Ale; the dark and roasty Prohibition Porter; the golden, light-bodied Capitol Kolsch; classic, full bodied Pale Rider Ale. (Andrew Noyes)
Capitol Hill Tandoor & Grill
419 8th St., SE, Washington, DC. Tel. 202.547.3233
This paradise for Indian and Pakistani food lovers offers exotic and new flavor combinations to tickle your taste buds. The eatery features tandoori chicken and curry chicken dishes, creamy curried beans, lamb dishes, fresh salads and more. The kitchen also caters to all tastes—from spicy and daring to simple and mild. (Andrew Noyes)
701 14th Street, NW, Washington DC; Tel 202.393.3983
The creators of DC Coast and TenPenh have done it again. Ceiba's contemporary Latin American cuisine will make your mouth water and its classy atmosphere is sure to impress. The restaurant specializing in Yucatan, Brazilian, Peruvian and Cuban fare. The name Ceiba honors the tropical umbrella-shaped tree of the same name. Chef-owner Jeff Tunks' meals promise a scrumptious stroll through Vera Cruz and Cancun, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The restaurant's dramatic décor adds to the experience. Start the meal with a shrimp, wild striped bass or yellowfin tuna ceviche. The Brazilian braised pork shank "Feijoada" or the sugar cane skewered jumbo shrimp come highly recommended. Seasonal sorbets, vanilla bean cheesecake and a tangy Ceiba dessert martini finish off a meal perfectly.
This well-known, upscale steakhouse is one of Capitol Hill's newest additions — and it couldn't have come too soon. The smartly designed restaurant serves up world-class cuisine and fine wine within eyeshot of the Capitol dome. Charlie Palmer Steak offering premium cuts of artisan meats, game, fish and fowl, readied in the namesake's progressive American style as well as an outstanding wine cube that houses more than 3,500 bottles from every U.S. state. Best bets include a grilled filet mignon with roasted shallots and cabernet sauce and a Chesapeake blue crab gratin with shellfish emulsion. The space includes three private dining rooms and a sprawling rooftop terrace with spectacular city views. (Andrew Noyes)
Clyde's of Gallery Place
707 7th Street NW, Washington DC; Tel. 202.349.3700
Clyde's of Gallery Place recreates the Victorian charm of its popular Friendship Heights location—only bigger and better. This two-level restaurant features three bars, five distinctive dining rooms, a private dining hall and a carryout called Clyde's on the Walk. The eatery, which features original oil paintings and bronze sculptures, embodies time-honored sporting themes and is attached to Verizon Center in the heart of bustling Chinatown. The interior is inspired by the work of renowned 19th century architects Henry Hobson Richardson and Stanford White. Downstairs, patrons catch game highlights on the saloon's multiple screens or dine in the Oyster Bar and Cove dining room. Up the grand staircase, customers lounge in cozy booths underneath stained glass chandeliers. The menu features seasonal specialties like Maryland Rockfish, soft-shell crabs and jumbo lump crab cakes as well as Clyde's classics: Maryland crab soup, trout parmesan, hot steak salads and crab & artichoke dip.
1401 K Street, NW, Washington, DC; Tel. 202.216.5988
DC Coast represents the rebirth of a classical Beaux-Arts style that has recently surfaced, surprising historians throughout the city. It offers beautiful architectural details in and around which the restaurant is designed. The menu consists of Modern American cuisine with flavors of the tri-coastal areas—Mid-Atlantic, Gulf Coast and West Coast. The regional influences provide each delicious dish with distinctive flavors and presentation. The unique Poisson Cru' Tahitian-style tuna tartare and exotic mushroom and goat cheese chili relleno make great starters. An eclectic array of entrees include pan roasted sea scallops, Carolina shrimp and grits, tower of crab, Hong Kong style whole crispy striped bass and Chinese style smoked lobster.
517 8th St., SE, Washington, DC. Tel. 202.543.3700
Las Placitas is a favorite for authentic, homestyle Salvadoran and Mexican food. The flavorful chicken or green corn tamales, cheese pupusas and plantains are standouts as is the roasted half chicken or pork morsels smothered with sautéed onions. Standard Mexican dishes include sizzling hot fajitas, overstuffed enchiladas, fried chimichangas, crispy tacos and soft, filling burritos. The laidback, welcoming atmosphere attracts all types of locals and visitors alike. (Andrew Noyes)
225 7th St., SE, Washington, DC. Tel. 202.547.8444
This legendary greasy spoon located inside Eastern Market is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Saturday. It's best known for homemade bread, blueberry pancakes and crab cakes. The old fashioned cash-n-carry also serves up breaded fish and shrimp and a variety of breakfast favorites. On weekends, come early or expect to wait in a long line to snag your heart unhealthy (but scrumptious) fare. Afterwards, take a stroll through the open-air market and grab some fresh fruits and vegetables to ease the deep-fried guilt. (Andrew Noyes)
527 8th St., SE, Washington, DC. Tel. 202.546.4952
Family fun, burgers and beer are the main attractions at this Barracks Row favorite. The ribs and beef barbecue also can't be beat. Marty's serves up steaks that taste like they'd cost double and the restaurant's salads and sandwiches are good quality and a great value. The extensive kids' menu will please the youngsters and the full bar will satisfy mom and dad. The American bistro's doors open midday for the lunch crowd and stay open late on weekends for post-party diners. (Andrew Noyes)
633 D Street, NW, Washington DC; Tel. 202.637.1222
This modern Indian restaurant –whose name means "flavors" in Sanskrit—features Tawa (griddle), Sigri (barbecue) and Tandoori dishes that excite the senses. The Penn Quarter favorite was conjured up by the team that brought us the Bombay Club Ardeo, Bardeo, 701 and the Oval Room. Food & Wine magazine called the establishment one of the hottest restaurants in the world, so join the Rasika revolution. Curry rubbed filets of tiapila are bold and creative and the Masala crab cakes, Shammi kebab and mango shrimp are delightful. Tandoori temptations include chicken, salmon, snapper and lamb chops. A special tasting menu—for meat-eaters or vegetarians—serves up a feast of flavorful dishes.
At Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, their culinary mission is straightforward - use the best local ingredients as simply as possible. New American Cuisine places an emphasis on seasonal ingredients that are regionally available, and their menu changes frequently to reflect the Mid-Atlantic’s offerings. Sonoma’s first floor, a bustling, “upscale-casual” bistro and wine bar, will offer superior moderately-priced cuisine by using the best local, organic, and naturally raised ingredients. (The Bistro does not accept reservations). The menu bears a southern European influence, and is comprised of four groups: cheese and charcuterie, handmade pasta and pizzas, wood-grilled meats and fish, and organic salads and produce. Fine and private dining, on the second floor, uses carefully selected ingredients as a platform for the creativity of Executive Chef Drew Trautmann to create a new culinary standard on Capitol Hill.
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539 8th St., SE, Washington, DC. Tel. 202.546.5006
Some of the freshest, finest seafood on Capitol Hill is dished up at Starfish Café. This sizzling spot specializes in seafood prepared with a spicy Creole flavoring and a tropical dash of the Caribbean. The plates are presented so beautifully you'll feel guilty digging in and savoring each tasty morsel. Start off with a zesty scallop and salmon ceviche or sautéed mussels, a variety of oyster platters. Entrees range from a flash fried sea bass crusted with pistachios, crabmeat stuffed trout, or sesame crusted tuna. There are also a handful of hearty pasta dishes, including a shrimp and tasso ham linguine, seafood linguine and a grilled chicken cannelloni. Finish off the meal with a piece of fresh, fruity mango key lime pie. Don't forget Starfish for an unbeatable brunch as well. (Andrew Noyes)
1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington DC; Tel. 202.393.4500
Swing by TenPenh for some of the most creative contemporary Asian-Pacific cuisine in Washington. The restaurant has been in business for six years and remains a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. The owners spent three wandering in Bangkok, Singapore, Saigon and Hong Kong to learn traditional and modern Asian approaches to décor, food and atmosphere. The chef recommends the spicy grilled beef salad or the spice fried quail with green papaya salad. For a gentler start, sample the shrimp and pork spring rolls. Signature dishes include house smoked salmon and crisp wonton napoleon with spicy sprouts, and red Thai curry prawns—a traditional South Vietnam dish. A triple threat crème brûlée or Thai black rice pudding finish off a superb meal.
Two Quail rightly bills itself as "another Washington monument." This Capitol Hill hideaway has taken home a slew of superlatives including "most romantic," "most fun" and "most comfortable and charming." Nestled in a historic row house, the cozy restaurant offers private dining rooms for big dinners and semi-secluded nooks perfect for canoodling. The big band music, large wingback chairs and charming, attentive wait staff enhance the Hill's finest dining. From "whim of the chef" soups and starters to the signature two quail stuffed with pumpkin and apple filling, patrons always sing this restaurant's praises. Other delicious dishes include a filet mignon stuffed with Applewood bacon and bleu cheese, spotted golden trout stuffed with spinach and artichokes and an herb and nut encrusted pork loin. The fact that the dishes change seasonally assures you a new dining experience with every visit. (Andrew Noyes)