The Oval Room

800 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20006


Neighborhood: Downtown

Cuisines: Modern, American

Opening Hours:
Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 AM to 3 PM. Open for dinner Monday through Thursday 5:30 to 10; Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 10:30.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Nearby Metro Stops: Farragut West

Price Range: Expensive

Noise Level: Chatty

Reservations: Recommended


Best Dishes:
Parmesan custard; foie gras brûlée over brioche; beet salad with horseradish and passionfruit gelée; cucumber soup; burrata cheese with apple; lobster over curried rice; striped bass with heirloom peppers and littleneck clams; braised short ribs.

Price Details:
Lunch appetizers, $7 to $13; entrees, $7 to $22. Dinner appetizers, $8 to $16; entrees, $16 to $32.

Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Valet Parking Available

100 Best Restaurants 2008: The Oval Room

No. 13: The Oval Room

Cuisine: With its puréed fruits and vegetables, herb-infused oils, and delicately applied microgreens, chef Tony Conte’s brightly flavored food tastes straight out of revered chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s handbook. Which makes sense: Conte spent three years as executive sous chef of Vongerichten’s Manhattan flagship, Jean Georges.

Mood: By day, this airy dining room, with its colorful abstract canvases, is a favorite lunch spot for boldface names such as Condi Rice and George Stephanopoulos. By night, it feels more like a serious restaurant than a place to schmooze.

Best for: Power lunchers and anyone tired of cream- and butter-laden restaurant dishes.

Best dishes: Beet salad, a Conte signature of roasted beets with passion-fruit gelée and a mignonette made with ice wine; creamy burrata cheese with dried papaya, basil, and salt; an artful tuna tartare made with ribbons of raw fish, avocado, and crisped tapioca; burrata-filled ravioli with corn; New Zealand pink snapper accented with licorice and anise; seared venison with a quenelle of chopped dates and hazelnuts; butter-poached lobster with wasabi, peaches, and young coconut; PB&J vacherin, a layering of Concord-grape sorbet and peanut-butter ice cream with salted peanuts; apple-confit tart with a shot glass of mulled cider.

Insider tips: Ignore the Cobb salads and turkey club sandwiches. Here you can feel comfortable ordering adventurously.

Service: •••