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Where to find free Champagne, festive soirées, and special menus. By Sarah Ehlen
Bistro du Coin offers a lively Bastille Day celebration each year. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

If you haven’t gotten your fill of red, white, and blue this summer, don’t miss the chance to wave French flags on Tuesday, July 14 during Washington’s many Bastille Day celebrations. You don’t need to know French to party—just say oui to free Champagne and baguette races, special menus, and festive soirées.

Art Soiree at Sofitel DC

806 15th St., NW

Don your most festive French attire for a night of dancing, free Champagne, and plenty of photo ops at the Sofitel DC. Live gypsy jazz music by Bitter Dose Combo will have guests up on their feet, fueled by macarons and cake dolled out by a Marie Antoinette impersonator. Tickets are $20 online and $30 at the door.

When: Tuesday, July 14; 7 to 11

Bistro Du Coin

1738 Connecticut Ave., NW

Commemorate La Fête Nationale with dinner and entertainment at this classic Dupont bistro. Known for its parties celebrating France’s three biggest holidays, Bistro Du Coin does Bastille day right with traditional French fare, music by DJ Ash, and a lively atmosphere. Reservations required for the sit-down dinner.

When: Tuesday, July 14; two dinner seatings at 7 and 9

Bistrot Lepic and Wine Bar

1736 Wisconsin Ave., NW

Chef George Vetsch has put together a Bastille Day-inspired menu filled with French classics, both familiar (vermouth-steamed mussels) and more exotic (veal kidneys in mustard sauce). Guests pick from a selection of appetizers, entrees, and desserts ($39 per person).

When: Sunday July 5 to Tuesday July 14; normal business hours

Central Michel Richard

1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Satisfy your cravings for escargot, ratatouille, and—most importantly—lots of wine at chef Michel Richard’s Franco-American bistro. The restaurant will serve up a special menu, complimentary savory cheese pastries, and patriotic libations.

When: Tuesday, July 14; 5 to 10:30

Et Voila!

5120 Macarthur Blvd., NW

Worked up an appetite from a long day of festivities? Head to this Palisades restaurant for a French feast at dinner time, with your choice of a three-course special holiday menu ($40 per person), or regular à la carte options.

When: Tuesday, July 14; 5 to 10

Le Diplomate

1601 14th St., NW

One of 14th Street’s most popular restaurants will hold a grand celebration, complete with mime performances, a pétanque court (French bocce ball), and, of course, food and drink specials. Executive chef Michael Abt will also offer lesser-known French dishes, such as pike fish quenelles with crayfish sauce.

When: Tuesday, July 14; normal business hours

L’Enfant Cafe

2000 18th St., NW

Missed L’Enfant Cafe’s Grand Bastille Day bash in NoMa this weekend? The fun will continue at the annual party's original site—the Adams Morgan cafe and bar—on Tuesday with special plates, drinks, and a DJ to keep the fête going. Reservations are recommended.

When: Tuesday July, 14; normal business hours

Le Grenier

502 H St., NE

The family-owned French restaurant offers free Kronenbourg beer and tasty baguettes to celebrate the holiday. Stop by around dinner for freebies, or stay into the night for live music by Kevin McWha Steele, a bilingual singer-songwriter.

When: Tuesday, July 14; 5 to 11

PAUL Bakery and Café

801 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Run for your bread during PAUL’s 5th annual baguette relay race, where teams will race around the US Navy Memorial in pursuit of a coveted prize—a free lunch from the café. Spectators and cheerleaders are welcome as well.

When: Tuesday, July 14; kids race at 11, adults at 11:30

Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 07/13/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Tasty options around Georgetown, the Mall, National Cathedral, and more. By Anna Spiegel
Find the best spots to eat and drink around the fireworks.

While the July 4th fireworks are Saturday’s main event, you’ll want to eat and drink well before the 9:15 show. Any popular watch spot will be crowded—particularly heavily touristed areas. Here are a few ideas for tasty stops in several of the most popular destinations, including tips for avoiding the crush. For a list of brunches, barbecues, and organized events, check out our July 4th Dining and Drinking Guide.

The Georgetown Waterfront/Key Bridge

Combine a popular tourist neighborhood with July 4th fireworks and you guarantee one thing: crowds. Unless you have particularly sharp elbows—or snagged a reservation at Fiola Mare—we wouldn’t fight for table on the waterfront or main M Street drag.

  • Grab a delicious Maine lobster roll from Luke’s Lobster, just off M Street, and plan on picnicking. The shop also has a few seats, plus wine and beer.

  • Start at Bayou on Pennsylvania Avenue—slightly off the beaten path towards Foggy Bottom, but still easily walkable from G’Town—for tasty fried green tomatoes, po’ boys, and Abita beers.

  • Rise above the fray by starting in upper Georgetown/Book Hill. We like the cozy Bistro Lepic for French fare and wine.

  • Take refuge in one of the neighborhood’s swanky hotel bars, like Degrees in the Ritz-Carlton or the Capella’s Rye Bar. A cocktail will cost you, but you may find room to breathe.

The famous Central burger. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

The National Mall

The National Park Service always advises bringing food and water (alcohol is a no-no), and you’ll need it once you’ve found a prime watch spot. Otherwise fill up on food and drinks in neighborhoods close to the Mall like Foggy Bottom on the Lincoln Memorial side, or Penn Quarter and Capitol Hill on the opposite end.

  • Order a pre-packed picnic from restaurants catering to fireworks-goers, like fried chicken buckets from Penn Commons or barbecue delivery to the Mall itself from Hill Country.

  • Drop into Chef Geoff’s Downtown. It’s a one-stop Metro ride to the Mall, and a something-for-everyone kind of place that’s family (and wallet) friendly.

  • For something fancier and foodie-er, try Central Michel Richard. Dishes like the lobster burger and fried chicken are Washington classics, and there’s a bar if tables are booked.

  • Head to the Mitsitam Cafe located inside the Museum of the American Indian for an early meal (open until 5). The fare takes cafeteria-style dining to a new level—granted, at a higher price—with cedar-planked salmon, enchiladas mole, and alcoholic beverages.

The National Cathedral
3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW

Spectators can catch the fireworks from the Cathedral’s lawn and parking lot. The crowd gears more local than others downtown, but the restaurant/bar options are fewer—prepare to fight neighbors for tables.

  • The little restaurant row on nearby Macomb Street includes great options like 2 Amys (Neapolitan pizza), La Piquette (cozy French), and Cactus Cantina (cheesy Mexican). Be warned these eateries are crowded on an average weekend, so there’s no telling what a July 4th Saturday will look like.

  • For a quick-grab option, Jetties sandwich shop on Macomb Street is a great option for a picnic to bring over to the Cathedral. Grab a Thanksgiving-style Nobadeer sandwich and cheers America, and don’t forget a cupcake for dessert from sister bakeshop Something Sweet.

  • Start in Glover Park, where you’ll find a number of decent restaurants. Try a wood-fired pizza and house-made limoncello at Arcuri, and Breadsoda for beers and games like shuffleboard and darts.
Try culinary fireworks before the real show with spicy Laotian fare at Thip Khao.


Cardozo High School and Meridian Hill Park

1200 Clifton St., NW; 2500 16th St., NW

This is one of the richest areas for dining and drinking options before and after the fireworks—U Street, 14th Street, and Columbia Heights are all in close proximity.

  • For a quick-grab option, go for tacos. Tacos El Chilango whips up simple, tasty Mexican tacos, guacamole, and cervezas. A small back patio is the place to be if the weather is nice. Pica Taco is another option for no-frills tacos, burritos, and quesadillas.

  • Start further away from the crowded areas at Thip Khao (about a 20 minute walk and eight minute cab from Cardozo). The mouth-searing Laotian fare creates fireworks before the real show starts.

  • For something closer, check out the G sandwich/Kapnos duo. The latter has a fairly large bar area if all the tables are taken, while the adjoining shop packs sandwich picnic boxes until 5, and serves a la carte Italian after.

McKinley Technology High School

151 T St., NE

The vantage point from McKinley in DC’s Eckington neighborhood is as good as Cardozo, minus the raucous U Street crowds after—though you’e not far, so joining the revelry is an option. Nearby Bloomingdale and Shaw also offer good options for eating and drinking.

  • Short on time? Drop into DCity Smokehouse for some of the city’s best barbecue. Pulled pork or brisket sandwiches make for tasty takeout, or you can grab a stool in the shop.

  • The Pub & the People just a block away offers tasty gastropub fare and a casual-hip vibe.

  • Check out Bloomingdale’s concentrated restaurant/bar area about a 10 minute walk away, with the Red Hen (destination-worthy Italian), Boundary Stone (neighborhood gastropub), El Camino (low-key Mexican), and more.

Posted at 10:13 AM/ET, 07/02/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Chefs prepare ready-made feasts for watching the fireworks, or escaping the crowds. By Nelson Billington
Find the perfect picnic for your July 4th weekend. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Nothing says July 4th weekend like a picnic, not to mention relaxing one where chefs take over the work. A number of Washington restaurants offer baskets and boxes for all your outdoor eating needs, whether you want to feast on the National Mall while watching the fireworks, or plan a meal in your own quieter spot--here are nine of our favorites around DC.

If you want to assemble your own spread, check out Washingtonian’s guide, Where Foodies Shop, for the best markets, cheese purveyors, meats, and more.

Fried chicken picnic boxes from Penn Commons

700 6th St., NW

This Penn Quarter eatery near-ish the National Mall designs boxes with watching fireworks in mind. Orders include buttermilk-fried chicken, potato salad, corn chow-chow, and peach hand-pies.

Details: Stop in any day this week or call ahead to order; feeds two; $17.76

Barbecue delivery boxes from Hill Country

410 Seventh St., NW

Hoping to eat ribs and brisket on the National Mall while watching the fireworks? Arrange a rendezvous with Hill Country’s delivery service at either 10th Street and Constitution Avenue, Northwest, or at the Smithsonian Castle (10th and Jefferson Dr., SW). Call 202-556-2044 to place orders from the menu.

Details: Pre-order by July 3 at 3; prices vary; pickup at designated areas on July 4.

Sandwich basket from G by Mike Isabella

2201 14th St., NW

G creates a picnic basket with their top sandwiches like chicken parm, roasted cauliflower, and lamb gyros. The meal includes a choice of a seasonal sides, non-alcoholic beverage, chips, and Nutella cookies.

Details: Order online 24 hours in advance starting July 1; feeds two ($39) or four ($74); pickup from 11 to 5.

Americano and Italiano picnic baskets from Centrolina

974 Palmer Alley, NW

Chef Amy Brandwein’s new Italian market offers two kinds of picnic baskets: an American one starring fried chicken, and an Italian version with prosciutto sandwiches. Both include side salads, snacks, and either local beer or Prosecco.

Details: Order online by July 1 at 2; feeds two or four; $75 or $150; pickup on July 3 or 4.

Haute dog and burger packs from Red Apron Butcher

Union Market (1309 Fifth St., NE); Penn Quarter (709 D St., NW); Mosaic District (8298 Glass Alley, Fairfax)

Make grilling out in the park easier than cooking at home with these house-made hot dog and 1/3 pound burger packages from chef Nate Anda. Each comes with buns, traditional toppings like lettuce and tomato, and condiments like smoked mayonnaise and pickle relish; additional homemade sides are available in the markets, as well as extra sausages and grill-ready ribs.

Details: Pre-order by calling the shops; packs serve 5; $23 for hot dogs; $28 burgers.

Barbecue baskets from Society Fair

277 S. Washington St. Alexandria, VA

Chef Cathal Armstrong’s market sells barbecue baskets with ready-to-grill brined pork chops, and pre-made potato and succotash salads. There’s plenty more meats, sides, and drinks in the market if you want to add extras.

Details: Order online by Friday; feeds four; $65.

Dessert essentials kit from Rare Sweets

963 Palmer Alley, NW (CityCenterDC)

Pastry chef Meredith Tomason whips up sweets inspired by First Lady favorites. Try Lady Bird Johnson’s favorite lemon bars or Hillary Clinton’s oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, available individually or in a box of four FLOTUS-style desserts.

Details: Available through July 3; prices for individual sweets vary; $65 per box that serves six.

Louisiana-style picnic from Bayou Bakery Capitol Hill

901 Pennsylvania Ave., SE

The team at the newly opened Capitol Hill branch of David Guas’ Louisiana-style bakery/cafe offers picnic boxes with a choice of three sandwiches (pimento cheese, chicken salad, shaved turkey), Zapp’s chips, lemon-cornmeal cookies, and fresh fruit.

Details: Stop in any day this week; feeds one; $15

Fried chicken buckets at Boundary Road

414 H St., NE

This Atlas District restaurant offers 50 fried chicken buckets over the holiday weekend, which include eight pieces and sides (dine-in, or carryout).

Details: Buckets ($40) can be reserved by calling 202-450-3265; available for pickup July 4 between 11:15 am and midnight.

Posted at 07:00 AM/ET, 07/01/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find barbecue bashes, holiday brunches, rooftop parties, and more. By Nelson Billington, Anna Spiegel
Drink and eat away your Fourth of July weekend in Washington. Photograph via "http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-78446935/stock-photo-hot-dog-on-flag-plate.html?src=n7_gul_IQIDbukL8GAMvEA-1-93"_blank">Shutterstock.

Celebratory brunches

Because nothing says “freedom” like bottomless mimosas on a Friday…or 7 pm on Saturday.

All-you-can-eat-and-drink Sandoval spectacular

Multiple locations

Richard Sandoval’s restaurants offer bottomless brunches throughout the weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Indulge in all-you-can-eat-and-drink meals at both the Georgetown and 14th Street locations of Mexican-themed El Centro D.F., or Latin-Asian eats at Masa 14 and Zengo. Expect endless small plates, free-flowing drinks, and a party vibe at all.

Day-to-evening brunch at Bar Pilar and Cafe Saint-Ex

1833 14th St., NW

Sister 14th Street restaurants have your Saturday brunching covered, serving eggs and bloodies until 8 pm. Pilar dishes up satisfying plates like butter-poached lobster salad and fried chicken biscuits, while Saint-Ex leans French. After 8 look for bar snacks off the late-night menu at both places.

Tico’s bottomless brunch

1926 14th St., NW

Weekend brunching at Tico starts at 11 on Friday and continues beginning at 10 on Saturday and Sunday. Bottomless brunch cocktails go for $19, alongside an a la carte menu of American/Latin dishes like duck confit and green chili hash, and fried chicken.

Bottomless brunch at Station 4

1101 Fourth St., SW

Head in for a set menu on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: $30 for an entree (crawfish and sausage omelets, corned beef hash) with bottomless mimosas or bloodies for $30.

Masa 14's bottomless brunch is a guaranteed party. Photograph by Scott Suchman.


Barbecues, roof deck parties, all the fried chicken…

Where to find the best summery fare and food-fueled parties.

Fried chicken buckets (and Friday brunch) at Boundary Road

414 H St., NE

This Atlas District spot has a lot going on over the holiday weekend, starting with lunch/brunch on Friday from 11 to 3. Drinkers can opt for $4 DC Brau beers and $4 rickey cocktails on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday, when the kitchen dishes up buckets of fried chicken alongside a special Independence Day menu. Crispy bird buckets include eight pieces and sides ($40); only 50 orders are available for dine-in or carryout from 11:15 am to midnight on Saturday, and can be reserved by calling 202-450-3265.

AmeriCan DrinkDependence Weekend at Jack Rose

2007 18th St., NW

With a name like that, you know it’s going to be a party. The Adams Morgan whiskey spot hosts a Saturday and Sunday rooftop bash from 4 to 7:30 with $4 Flying Dog brews and half-prices snacks like smoked whiskey wings, fried chicken skins, and jalapeño hushpuppies. Admission is free.

Grilling with DC Brau at DC9

1940 Ninth St., NW

DC Brau head brewer Jeff Hancock spins tunes on the rooftop of DC9 during their 5th annual grilling party. Platters of brats, burgers, and sides go for $11, while DC Brau beers are $4. Doors open at 2; admission is free.

Brewery battle at City Tap House

901 Ninth St., NW

The beer-centric restaurant joins local breweries 3 Stars Brewing Company, Evolution Craft Brewing Company, and Adroit Theory Brewing Company for a cook-off on Saturday from noon to 5. Expect plenty of ‘cue, traditional sides, a corn hole tournament, and $5 draft beers.

Roof deck grill-out at 1905

1905 Ninth St., NW

1905 fires up the grill on its rooftop on Saturday with a selection of dishes like local sausages, pulled pork, portobello sandwiches, and green bean salad. Wash it down with Atlas Brew Works beer (a full bar is available). The $20 cover charge includes three tickets for food or beer.

Restaurant picnic at Fainting Goat

1330 U St., NW

The 14th Street gastropub serves a celebratory picnic from 2 to 9 on Saturday. An a la carte menu includes snacks ($3.50 to $12) like a peach and burrata salad or sliders, and entrees with seasonal sides ($14 to $19) such as fried chicken thighs with slaw.

Independence Day party at Lincoln Restaurant

1110 Vermont Ave., NW

Celebrate on Saturday at this Abe-themed restaurant, which dishes up a bottomless barbecue buffet ($35 adults; $17 kids 12 and under), and drink specials including $3 PBR and Miller Light, and $30 punch bowls. DJ Freddie spins tunes. The party runs from 2 to 11.

‘Cue and crabs at Teddy & The Bully Bar

1200 19th St., NW

Lincoln’s sister restaurant, themed after Teddy Roosevelt, lays out a farm-to-table barbecue buffet on Saturday from 2 to 11 ($35 per person; $16 for kids 12 and under). Fried chicken, pulled pork, salads, and pies are all on offer, alongside $5 Heavy Seas IPA and $8 house cocktails. Guests can also opt for cracked, garlic-spiced Maryland blue crabs ($12 for three; $24 for six; $48 per dozen).

Lobster bake at Graffiato

707 Sixth St., NW

Tired of beer and barbecue over the holiday weekend? Head to Mike Isabella’s Italian restaurant on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for a lobster bake of one-pound crustaceans, corn on the cob, sausage, potatoes, and cornbread ($39). Reservations are recommended.

Villain & Saint dishes up ribs and rock n' roll. Photograph by Andrew Propp.



Live music, good eats

Feast and listen to live tunes at these restaurants and concerts.

The Hollies hit Bethesda via Villain & Saint

7141 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda

Steve Lauri of The Hollies makes a rare performance at Robert Wiedmaier’s restaurant/music house on Friday (musical trivia: his band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010). Sip a drink special, dubbed The Holli-Day, with rum and fresh-squeezed orange and pineapple juices. Doors open at 8 and the concert begins at 9. Tickets ($18) are available online.

Freedom fest at Republic

6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park

Head to Jeff Black’s Takoma Park restaurant on Saturday from 11 to 7 for a beer-filled party. Guests can listen to live tunes from Yamonamen and Human Country Jukebox, try limited-release beers, and dig into a barbecue feast from chef Danny Wells. Local breweries like Denizens Brewing Company, The Brewer’s Art, and Atlas Brewing Company join the festivities. Tickets ($40 to $70) are available online.

Biker bash starting at DC Brau

3178 Bladensburg Rd., NE

Anyone with a motorcycle can head to DC Brau on Saturday at 9 for a Chef Geoff’s breakfast and Vigilante coffees before riding the hogs to RFK Stadium for the Foo Fighters 20th anniversary concert. Each ticket ($50 to $125; two ticket limit) includes preferred seating at the show.

Posted at 11:29 AM/ET, 06/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Restaurants offer free beer, fried chicken, and plenty of meat for dad. By Emma Foehringer Merchant
Grab fried chicken to-go from Jackson 20 along with slaw and watermelon. Photograph courtesy of Jackson 20.

Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday, June 21. No plans yet? No problem. Unlike the seemingly-obligatory Mother’s Day brunch, restaurants offer a variety of specials and deals—and typically aren’t booked solid—for dad. Here’s where to find great takeout, free beer, and of course, lots of meat.

For dads who like picnicking (but not cooking):


Fried chicken to-go at Jackson 20

480 King St., Alexandria; 703-842-2790

This American restaurant’s summery feast includes eight pieces of crispy fried chicken, watermelon, and coleslaw.

Call ahead by Sunday, June 21 to order; $28 per takeout package.

BBQ bags to-go at Society Fair

277 S. Washington St., Alexandria; 703-683-3247

Chef Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong’s market/restaurant prepares a picnic-friendly basket with pulled pork sandwich makings, barbecue chicken, potato salad, and cornbread. ($75, serves four). The shop also sells a variety of items for the grill (burgers, sausages), prepared sides, and presents for dad like a spiced rum kit.

Order your bag online by 9 pm on Friday, June 19 for pick-up on Saturday, June 20.

Fathers can pick between a prime rib special or regular meaty treats like the burger at Central. Photograph by Scott Suchman.



Fathers who love meat:

Suckling pig brunch at The Pig

1320 14th St., NW; 202-290-2821

Pork-loving pops will dig this swine-filled—and wallet-friendly—brunch, featuring biscuits and ham, pork fat potatoes, and the main event: a stuffed, roasted Pennsylvania suckling pig.

Served Sunday, June 21; $25 per person.

Steakhouse specials at Dino’s Grotto

1914 9th St., NW; 202-686-2966

Chef Dean Gold gets in the Father’s Day spirit with Flintstone-esque portions of meat, such as a two-plus pound T-bone from Shenandoah Valley, or a boar strip loin. Dad can top it all off with luxe sauces like truffle and ramp butters.

The a la carte dishes are offered Friday, June 19 through Sunday, June 21.

Prime rib dinner at Central Michel Richard

1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-626-0015

Central’s menu gets a “manly meal” makeover for Father’s Day. The special du jour: prime rib, green beans, and a baked potato. Diners can also opt for stellar fried chicken or burgers from the regular menu.

Served Sunday, June 21; $34 for prime rib dinner.

“Man-hungry” dinner specials at Et Voila!

5120 MacArthur Blvd., NW; 202-237-2300

Hunker down for a meal of beef Napoleons with mushrooms. or a béarnaise-sauced New York strip. Holiday bonus: the restaurant will throw in a monogrammed pilsner glass for dad.

Sunday, June 21; a la carte menu.

More meats at MET Bethesda

7101 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda; 301-767-1900 (Inside Westfield Montgomery Mall)

Manly specials planned for brunch include a surf n’ turf Benedict with filet and lobster. Dinner brings a ribeye steak for two with all the trimmings.

Sunday, June 21; $28 for the Benedict special; $49 per person for prime rib dinner.

Joe’s classics at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab

750 15th St., NW; 202-489-0140

Filet mignon, grilled tomatoes, Alaskan king crab, and banana cream pie are among the specials for dad. The restaurant recommends reservations.

Sunday, June 21; a la carte menu.

Beer-loving fathers will have plenty of beer to choose from--plus a free cold one--at City Tap House. Photograph by Andrew Propp.


Dads who love beer:

Complimentary beer at Kapnos and Kapnos Taverna

2201 14th St., NW; 202-234-5000; 4000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-243-4400

Dads get a complimentary cold one at both of Mike Isabella’s Mediterranean eateries. The restaurants suggest Victory Brewery’s Summer Love—part of Kapnos’s June tap takeover—Port City, or Champion Killer.

Sunday, June 21; a la carte.

Free beer with a barbecue dinner at City Tap House

901 9th St., NW; 202-733-5333

Love beer and meat? Head in for chipotle-glazed, hickory-smoked ribs, and get a complimentary beer for dad. On the side: homey dishes like cornbread, coleslaw, and baked beans.

Sunday, June 21; $25 per person.

Burgers and brews at Del Frisco’s Grille

11800 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda; 301-8881-0308;750 15th St., NW; 202-450-4686

Two local Del Frisco’s branches offer a burger and beer deal, which includes any beer on tap, fries, and a cheeseburger ($17.50). The North Bethesda location also offers an a la carte brunch on Sunday with Father’s Day specials.

Sunday, June 21; $17.50 per person.


Dads with eclectic tastes:

Brunch at Mio Restaurant

1110 Vermont Ave., NW; 202-955-0075

Mio mixes Puerto Rican and traditional DC-brunch dishes for their Father’s Day specials. Dad’s can celebrate with a whole fried snapper, ceviche, beet salad, and a caipirinha.

Sunday, June 21; a la carte menu.

Virginian wine dinner at Jardenea

2430 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-955-6400

Explore the local wine world with dad over a four-course pairing dinner at the Melrose Georgetown Hotel’s restaurant. Dishes include duck breast with mushroom bread pudding and roasted strawberries with bourbon chocolate ganache.

Sunday, June 21; $75 per person person.

Posted at 12:06 PM/ET, 06/17/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find the tastiest barbecue, adventurous eats, and crab feasts for dad. By Anna Spiegel
Satisfy Dad's 'cue craving with a combo plate at Black Hog BBQ. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 21. Yes, it’s a Hallmark holiday, but most dads won’t protest being treated to a great meal. We’ve picked some of our father-friendly favorites for every taste and budget.

Barbecue: Black Hog BBQ

118 S. Market St., Frederick; 221 Shorebird St., Frederick; 3323 Worthington Blvd., Ijamsville

Some of the best barbecue in Washington comes from these destination-worthy joints. Order dad a combo plate of multi-regional ‘cue, best loaded with St. Louis-style ribs and Arkansas brisket.

Also good: Pretty much anything from DCity Smokehouse; KBQ Real Barbeque in Lanham, MD for tasty pork ribs.

Crab feast: The Point Crab House & Grill

700 Mill Creek, Arnold, MD

This waterside restaurant in Ferry Point Marina near Annapolis has everything a crustacean-loving parent would want: crab soups, cakes, dips, and delicious, freshly-steamed blues from the Bay. Get there early—the place gets busy, and steamed crabs go fast.

Also good: Wild Country Seafood in Annapolis/Eastport for takeout crabs (limited seating); Arlington’s Quarterdeck for crabs closer to DC.

Vegetarian: Kapnos and Kapnos Taverna

2201 14th St., NW; 4000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

Spit-roasted meats are the main event at Mike Isabella's Kapnos, and the new Virginia spinoff focuses on seafood, but no matter—vegetarians do exceptionally well at either restaurant. Start with smoked feta dip and freshly-baked breads before moving on to a garden’s-worth of mezze.

Also good: Upscale Indian dinner/brunch at Rasika; more Mediterranean small plates at Zaytinya.

Veggie-loving fathers can dig into excellent meatless fare at Kapnos and Kapnos Taverna, like roasted cauliflower with pistachios. Photograph by Scott Suchman.


New/hip:
Maketto

1351 H St., NE

Fathers can feel like one of the cool kids at chef Erik Bruner-Yang’s new H Street concept, which mixes a Durkl men’s fashion boutique, coffee shop, bar, and indoor/outdoor restaurant. That’s not to say the place is all style and no substance—get the ma la-spiced fried chicken, and you’ll know what we’re talking about. Note the lunch menu is tiny, but stuffed Cambodian sandwiches and buns are all you'll need.

Also good: Peruvian-Chinese fare from José Andrés at China Chilcano; seasonal Italian in CityCenterDC at Centrolina.

Classic: Corduroy

1122 Ninth St., NW

Shaw may be the neighborhood for hip new restaurants, but chef Tom Power’s refined New American fits the bill for fathers who like reservations, tablecloths, and ambient jazz. The menu is reliably delicious—and that tuna with sushi rice isn’t going anywhere—but thankfully for the many regulars, never boring.

Also good: Old-world elegance at L’Auberge Chez Francois; dinner or Champagne brunch at the Bombay Club.

Adventurous: Thip Khao

3462 14th St., NW

If dad considers sweetbreads tame and pops jalapeños like they’re berries, he’ll love the exotic odd-bits and heat level at this Laotian spot. Order from the “Let’s Go to the Jungle!” menu, which includes dishes like grilled chicken hearts, pork intestine soup, and mouth-searing papaya-crab salad. A perk for families: tamer eaters can eat equally well.

Also good: Fish in bean-curd sauce at Hunan Taste in Fairfax; Ravi Kabob’s lamb brain masala.

Adventurous dads can test their boundaries at Thip Khao, though tamer palates will love the rice salad and sun-dried beef (above).

Steak (splurge): Del Campo

777 I St., NW

We can’t think of a better place to satisfy carnivorous cravings in Washington right now. Chef/owner Victor Albisu’s South American restaurant isn’t your ordinary filet-and-potatoes place, but dad can still order traditional cuts of delicious meats—dry-aged ribeye, a tomahawk for two—sauced with chimichurri or smoked citrus hollandaise. The eatery also serves a terrific all-you-can-eat brunch ($45 per person).

Also good: Card-carrying Japanese Wagyu beef at BLT Steak; live piano music and steak au poivre at the Prime Rib.

Steak (steal): Medium Rare

3500 Connecticut Ave., NW; 515 Eighth St., SE

If Dad is a man of simple meaty tastes, the set menu at these sister steak-frites joints is perfect: fresh bread, salad, steak, fries, and house-special sauce for $19.75 per person.

Also good: Ray’s the Steaks; Korean barbecue short ribs or ribeye at Kogiya.

Wallet-friendly steaks and comfort dishes like lobster mac are staples at Ray's.

Foodie road trip: The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

42461 Lovettsville Rd., Lovettsville, VA

If dad dreams about a pilgrimage to Noma, take him to chef Tarver King’s greenhouse-like dining room overlooking the surrounding countryside; many of the ingredients come from the nearby land. King’s cooking is adventurous and creative, but doesn’t lack the delicious factor—thankfully Noma-esque live ants aren’t part of the experience.

Also good: The Alley Light (Charlottesville, VA) for inventive French; Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen.

Pre/post Nationals Game: Osteria Morini

301 Water St., SE

If you want to treat the family to more than a ballpark dog during the Nationals vs. Pirates games this weekend, consider Morini. The airy Italian welcomes fans with game-day specials—and don’t be shy about sporting Nats gear—but upscale dishes like truffled ricotta ravioli and wood-grilled ribeye steaks feel celebratory.

Also good: Arsenal at Bluejacket brewery for beer-lovers; ultra-crispy Korean fried chicken from Bonchon.

Posted at 12:10 PM/ET, 06/16/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Need a last-minute cookout (or cocktail) recipe? Here are some of our warm-weather favorites. By Ann Limpert
Two all-beef patties, special sauce...you know the drill. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

The Burger Americain from Le Diplomate

Two skinny patties plus American cheese and special sauce equals one of the best burgers in the city.

Hup Hup Orange Crush from Pop's Sea Bar

Charred and fresh oranges go into this sunny-day cocktail, which tastes a lot more innocent than it actually is.

Corn with manchego and aioli from Estadio

'Tis the season for one of our all-time favorite dishes, a mix of sweet corn, rich aioli, salty cheese, and lime.

Pimiento cheese from Gypsy Soul

Hot sauce and piquillo peppers rev up this addictive cheddar dip.

Watermelon-and-feta salad from Ananda

This Indian restaurant puts out a refreshing starter that’s equal parts sweet, spicy, and salty. It's pretty in the picture, but you can go rustic, too, and just chop the fruit.

Caju caipirinha from Tico

This riff on a caipirinha—our favorite cocktail at Tico—is made with the juice of cashew apples (don’t worry, it’s easy to find).

Connecticut-style lobster roll from Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls

Buttery, buttery lobster on a buttery, buttery hot-dog bun.

Marinated-mozzarella-and-tomato salad from Duke’s Grocery

A fresh take on the usual caprese.

Bacon-wrapped dates from Jaleo

The ultimate salty-sweet party food.

Pina colada from Bourbon Steak

“This is not what they served you on your beach vacation,” says bartender Duane Sylvestre.

Posted at 01:37 PM/ET, 05/22/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Or any day, really. By Ann Limpert
Chaia's freshly griddled corn tortillas hold local mushrooms, crumbly feta, and cilantro.

Mushroom taco at Chaia

Thursdays at the White House FreshFarm Market (810 Vermont Ave., NW) and Sundays at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market (20th St. and Massachusetts Ave., NW)

We think pretty much all the vegetarian tacos at this roving farmers market stand—soon to open as a Georgetown storefront—are worth the lines they draw, but this earthy mix of local ‘shrooms, feta, and salsa roja might just be our favorite.


Al pastor taco at Taqueria la Placita

5020 Edmonston Rd., Hyattsville

Many porcine pleasures await at this Hyattsville joint—pork leg and lips are other favorite fillings—but the two-ply tortillas laden with zesty al pastor-style pork, cilantro, and chopped onion are a good place to start.

Skirt steak tacos with grilled guacamole at Taco Bamba. Photograph by Scott Suchman.


Taco Bamba taco at Taco Bamba

2190 Pimmit Dr., Falls Church

Smoke is one of chef Victor Albisu’s favorite flavors, so he adds grilled guacamole to this crispy, luscious mix of skirt steak, chorizo, and chicharrones.


Shrimp taco at Taqueria el Poblano

2401 Columbia Pike, Arlington; 2503 N. Harrison St., Arlington; 2400 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria

At this trio of Mexican hangouts, the star taco is a flour tortilla holding fat grilled shrimp, avocado dressing, and tangy, vinegary red onions.


Grilled-fish taco at Fish Taco

7945 MacArthur Blvd., Cabin John

Chili-lime mayo, salty cotija cheese, and mango pico de gallo accent the hunks of fresh-off-the-grill fish (mahi mahi, when we last tried it) at this Cabin John taco shop.

Posted at 12:12 PM/ET, 05/05/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Family-friendly brunches, wine tastings, and more ways to celebrate. By Anna Spiegel
DGS Delicatessen (pictured) offers a special Mother's Day brunch, and opens early. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Mother’s Day is to brunch what Valentine’s Day is to dinner: any restaurant that’s open has something special planned. So how does one decide where to eat? We’ve compiled a few ideas outside the typical brunch box, many of which fit with last-minute planning. Don’t see anything you like? Check out our recent guide to breakfast and brunch in Washington for more ideas.

Make a day of it and head out to wine country, like at Veritas (pictured). Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Head to a vineyard, and bring the kids

Virginia wine country is unbelievably green and gorgeous this time of year—and can be accessed in about an hour, depending on how far you want to travel. Many vineyards are also kid-friendly, offering picnic spots, live music, and lawn games to entertain the under-21 crowd and designated drivers. Stop for a tasting or glass of wine in the sunshine at one of our favorite vineyards, or combine a visit with a country lunch. Great spots like Girasole, Ashby Inn, and of course, the Inn at Little Washington, come to mind.

Channel the early-bird

Le Diplomate’s prime-time reservations filled up long ago, but diners may find tables at 9:30 AM, when doors open and families with young kids often fill the seats. Other popular early-bird options that would be wonderful for the holiday include Kafe Leopold (8 AM), Belga Cafe (9 AM), DGS Delicatessen (10 AM), and the hotel options mentioned below.

Seasons at the Four Seasons serves one of the most lavish hotel brunches, with plenty of sweets for kids. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Check out a hotel, no check-in required

Hotel brunches feel like festive occasions, even on a normal day—the handsome lobbies, bountiful buffets—not to mention other perks: they’re almost always family-friendly, equipped for high-volume dining, and typically offer early and late reservations, so there's a better chance of snagging seats. A few of the many options include splurge-worthy meals at Seasons and Blue Duck Tavern; three-course brunch menus for parents and children at Poste; a grand buffet at Jackson 20; and market-inspired buffet in Juniper's courtyard.

Span the globe

Brunch doesn’t have to equal eggs Benedict. Ethnic restaurant can be more kid-friendly—think A&J in Rockville for delicious dim-sum, where families crowd the boisterous dining room, or delicious Korean fare at welcoming Gom Ba Woo, which critic Todd Kliman highlights in a 2012 piece about the best places to dine with children. That’s not to say all the options are Cheap Eats-type places. We’re fans of the classy all-you-can-eat-and drink menu at Del Campo ($45 per person). Two other favorites: Rasika West End just launched weekly brunch, while sister Bombay Club offers an elegant buffet with live piano music.

The Angelika theater in the Mosaic District combines eating and movie-going. Photograph by Tom McGovern.

Combine eating and entertainment

Luxury movie theaters with dine-in options are the newest trend in entertainment, serving tasty food and alcoholic beverages to go along with the flick. Critic Ann Limpert recently reviewed three new cinemas: Angelika Film Center (Fairfax), iPic Theaters (North Bethesda), and ArcLight Cinemas (Bethesda). Whichever you choose, it's a rare plan that’s great for Moms in need of a relaxing escape, or families with kids in tow.

Go out for dinner

Mother’s Day brunch is the tradition (for some unknown reason), but dinner can be equally good, and less chaotic. A number of restaurants have special meals planned. Tosca, typically closed Sunday evenings, opens for a celebratory Italian meal. Over at Casa Luca, chef Fabio Trabocchi offers a Mother's Day tasting menu at dinner in addtion to a special brunch.

Rare Sweets bakes gorgeous cakes and "breakfast in bed" baskets for Mom. Photograph by Scott Suchman.


Stay in for breakfast, even if you can't cook

Avoid the crowds and plan for a meal at home, even if you can’t poach an egg. Society Fair in Alexandria offers a range of pick-up items, from whole brunch baskets with quiche and read-bake scones, to cinnamon rolls and pound cake. Rare Sweets bakes up Breakfast in Bed gift boxes, with six seasonal pastries like scones, coffee cakes, and cinnamon rolls. If Mom is a bagel fan, get to Bullfrog Bagels in the Atlas District early to avoid lines, and make sure to pick up smoky whitefish salad or specialty cream cheeses as toppings.

Posted at 06:00 AM/ET, 05/05/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Traditional spring meals, Greek Easter celebrations, and a vegan buffet. By Anna Spiegel
Casa Luca serves a prix-fixe tasting alongside a la carte dishes like crescia with smoked salmon. Photograph courtesy of Casa Luca.

Easter is this Sunday, April 5, and plenty of restaurants around Washington are celebrating. Many of our 100 Best Restaurants are joining the festivities, offering special brunches, Greek Easter festivities (most of which are Sunday, April 12), all-day prix-fixe menus, and in one case, a vegan-friendly spread.

Casa Luca

1099 New York Ave., NW

Guests can opt for an a la carte Easter brunch at chef Fabio Trabocchi’s osteria, or go in for a $65 tasting menu that includes a fresh pastry basket, three courses, and bottomless brunch drinks.

Daikaya

705 Sixth St., NW

This Japanese izakaya serves an Asian spin on the traditional Easter brunch, with springtime small-plates like a fried Jidori chicken egg and caviar, miso-glazed carrots with rabbit sausage, and a merengue with seasonal berries.

Del Campo

777 I St., NW

Special Easter brunch dishes at chef Victor Albisu’s South American grill include rack of lamb with olive persillade, ham and cheese croquettes, and grilled smoked swordfish with a fried egg and romesco. Bottomless mimosas can be had for $20, in classic or creative flavors like smoked pineapple.

Equinox

818 Connecticut Ave., NW

Vegetarians and vegans looking to celebrate can head to Todd Gray’s “VegEaster” market buffet brunch from 11 to 3. The meal begins with a complimentary glass of sparking wine or cider, followed by a spread with the likes of grilled asparagus with shaved cashew cheese and black truffle vinaigrette, a spring risotto station, and raspberry jam bars. ($40 per person).

Et Voila!

5120 MacArthur Blvd., NW

Festive brunch and dinner specials round out the regular menu at this Palisades bistro, such as lobster salad, braised lamb shank and artichokes over gnocchi, and a chocolate egg dessert.

Graffiato

707 Sixth St., NW

Mike Isabella goes casual for Easter at his Italian restaurant, offering a few holiday additions to the regular brunch menu like a sweet pea frittata, or shrimp and grits with Old Bay beurre blanc.

Gypsy Soul

8296 Glass Alley, Fairfax

Easter brunch runs from 11 to 4 at chef RJ Cooper’s Mosaic District eatery, with supper to follow from 4 to 7. Southern-inspired dishes like deviled eggs and ricotta griddle cakes are already tasty, but be on the look out for additional specials.

Inn at Little Washington

309 Middle St., Washington, Virginia

Chef Patrick O’Connell creates a special Easter multi-course tasting menu at his destination restaurant, with dishes like lightly scrambled eggs with wild morels, chilled Maine lobster Napoleon with Ossetra caviar, and roasted pheasant. Guests can also pick between two other tasting menu options for the seatings, which begin at 4 (starting at $188 per person).

Iron Gate

1734 N St., NW

The atmospheric Dupont restaurant celebrates both Easters with an Italian brunch menu on April 4 and 5, and a Greek version on April 11 and 12. The meals begin with family-style appetizers, followed by dishes like wood-roasted mushroom lasagna (Italian), or a rotisserie of local lamb (Greek). Both menus are $65 per person.

Kapnos

2201 14th St., NW

Skip cooking and let chef Mike Isabella’s team handle the feast with a special catering menu served for both Catholic Easter (April 5) and Greek Orthodox Easter (April 12). A bountiful menu includes spit-roasted lamb, chicken, or pork, dips and spreads, and sides like lemony potatoes and dolmades.

Lupo Verde

1401 T St., NW

Celebrate Pasquetta, or “Little Easter,” on Saturday, April 4 at this neighborhood Italian, which serves special $25 plates of wood-grilled meats like lamb and sausages, pizzas, homemade pastas, and market panzanella salad. The menu is offered exclusively on the outdoor patio.

Osteria Morini

301 Water St., SE

The regular brunch menu at this waterfront Italian restaurant gets a few festive additions, such as freshly-made hot cross buns and a rotisserie leg of lamb with buttery whipped potatoes.

Plume

1200 16th St., NW

This fine dining Easter celebration at the elegant Jefferson Hotel restaurant centers around a four-course menu with dishes like smoked Scottish salmon with red onion jam, crab cakes with grilled asparagus and a slow-cooked egg, and a shareable platter of desserts for the table ($105 per person; $55 for children 12 and under).

Poste

555 Eighth St., NW

Celebrate Easter early or late with an all-day prixe-fixe menu that runs from 11 to 8. The three-course lineup ($68 per person; $11 kids 12 and under) includes dishes like burrata with tomatoes, basil, and jamon, a duo of lamb, and seared scalloped with spring garlic.

Ripple

3417 Connecticut Ave., NW

Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley prepares a four-course meal that begins with a fresh pastry basket, followed by seasonal dishes like smoked sabelfish rilettes, baked eggs with wild mushrooms and herb salad, and raspberry beignets.

Ris

2275 L St., NW

Celebrate with a special menu that includes four courses such as smoked salmon deviled eggs, pistachio-crusted lamb, and a tres leches nest with sorbets for dessert. The restaurant also offers a new a la carte brunch menu alongside the prix-fixe.

Zaytinya

701 Ninth St., NW

Chef José Andrés hosts an annual two-week Greek Easter Festival. An outdoor marketplace on the restaurant’s patio is held on Saturday, April 4 with with Greek foods, pantry items, wines, and live music. A $35 prix-fixe brunch is served on Sunday, April 5 and 12 with springtime specials.

Posted at 11:15 AM/ET, 03/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()