The National Cherry Blossom Festival starts today, and the spring weather arrived just in time. While you’ll have to wait a little longer to see those blossoms in full bloom, restaurants, bars, and hotels are charging ahead with specialty cocktails, menu items, and events for all your festival fun.
523 Eighth St., SE
This Capitol Hill Balkan spot celebrates the festival with springtime dishes such as drunken mussels spiked with rakija ($8), cured salmon ($9), and a cherry cvet cocktail made with chery brandy, gin, and cranberry ($12).
1837 M St., NW
There’re too many blossom-inspired dishes to list, but think cherry-inspired preparations of Long Island duck breast, seared diver scallops, and cherry cake. Through Sunday, April 13.
425 Seventh St., NW
Get a free taste of lemon zeppoles alongside vodka-based cherry blossom punch at Carmine’s open tasting on March 25 from 4 to 6. Can’t make it on Thursday? You can still order both treats—$11.50 for the zeppoles, $9.95 for the punch—throughout the festival.
1099 New York Ave., NW
Amarena cherries accent a vanilla panna cotta and a Fiore Rosa gin cocktail at chef Fabio Trabocchi’s casual eatery in Penn Quarter.
705 Sixth St., NW
Sip a black-cherry Old Fashioned ($10) alongside your bowl of ramen in the first-floor shop, or head up to the izakaya for two more specialty cocktails: a sochu-based Bark & Bite Fizz mixed with wild-cherry soda ($11), and the Gift, made with barley sochu, Japanese beer, and an edible preserved cherry blossom ($13).
1819 14th St., NW; 1218 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Both branches of this Mexican spot on 14th Street and Georgetown take part in the springtime fun with specials such as pepita-crusted seared tuna salad ($14) and a cherry blossom margarita ($12) made with tequila, cherry syrup, and a pink Himalayan salt rim.
Enjoy the blossoms on one of five vessels including the glass-enclosed Odyssey, where the brunch (starting at $68.90), lunch (starting at $54.90), and dinner options include live music. Fireworks, a history of cherry blossom trees, and visiting monuments are also among the festivities. Through Sunday, April 13.
601 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
The Penn Quarter trattoria serves its cherry panna cotta with almond granita alongside two cherry-filled cocktails: one mixed with cherry-infused Maker’s Mark, and another made with cherry-vanilla simple syrup.
3050 K St., NW
Make it a cherry duo by pairing the festival cocktail of rosé Champagne granita and cherry liqueur with a kirsch-soaked baba au rhum for dessert.
The Graham Georgetown Hotel
1075 Thomas Jefferson St., NW
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a cherry-and-goat-cheese-stuffed puff pastry ($8) and the Graham Cherry cocktail ($13), made with vodka, vanilla soda, cherry, and star anise and garnished with a chocolate-covered cherry. The deal runs Thursday, March 20, to Sunday, April 13.
480 Seventh St., NW; 2250 Crystal Dr., Arlington; 7271 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda
Chef José Andrés celebrates the festival at all three of his Washignton Jaleos, offering special dishes like pork belly confit with cherry sauce ($11) and a wild red berry soup with Idiazabal-cheese ice cream ($9).
The Lafayette at the Hay-Adams
800 16th St., NW
Festivities begin at the Lafayette on Friday, March 28, with a five-course tasting menu and beverage pairings for $160 per person. Over the following two weeks the restaurant offers a cherry blossom menu during dinner, featuring dishes such as charred scallop sashimi with pickled cherries, available as a $60 prix-fixe or à la carte through April 12.
1110 Vermont Ave., NW
East meets West in the restaurant’s Ozaki cocktail ($10), named after the Tokyo mayor who gave us the cherry trees in 1912. The drink, available now through March 24, combines applejack brandy and sikhye, a sweet Korean rice drink, and is served in a vintage coupe. Lincoln also serves two variations of an à-la-carte cherry blossom menu—one from March 17 through 24, the other from March 25 through April 7—with pan-seared foie gras with carbonated cherries, cola-rubbed short rib with cherry gelée, bittersweet Black Forest cake with cherry Pop Rocks, and more.
3401 K St., NW
The Georgetown riverfront spot serves up French takes on cherry-themed dishes. A roasted duck breast comes with sweet-and-sour cherry sauce, and a cherry clafoutis graces the dessert menu. Specials are available Thursday, March 20, through Sunday, April 13.
1141 Connecticut Ave., NW
Here’s a good deal: Welcome the Cherry Blossoms with a complimentary cherry vodka shot or cocktail on Thursday, March 20, from 5 to 8. You’ll also find a station serving cherry vareniki (Russian dumplings).
1825 14th St., NW
The restaurant’s Latin-Asian specials include include roasted beet salad with curry-leaf yogurt ($9) and ancho-rubbed beef brisket ($11). Sip a “rosy rickey” ($12) alongside, made with bourbon, house-made cherry simple syrup, fresh lime, and soda.
401 Seventh St., NW
Duck picadillo, cherry sauce and pomegranate seeds combine to create a special chile relleno ($14) at this Mexican spot.
1064 Wisconsin Ave., NW
This recently opened Georgetown Park bowling and bocce spot honors the cherry blossoms with both food and drink specials. There’s a baked cherry tart ($7), which comes with house-made caramel sauce and vanilla gelato, and a cherry martini ($10) with vodka, pomegranate liquor, and cherry juice. The cocktail is available through Sunday, April 20; the tart is available until September.
PostScript at the Loews Madison Hotel
1177 15th St., NW
The lobby lounge puts a cherry-blossom-inspired twist on the classic gin rickey, made with crème de noyaux and brandied-cherry juice that’s served over crushed ice with brandied cherries ($10). Find the cocktail through Sunday, April 13.
1143 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Chef Devon Capili devised a Japanese-influenced cherry blossom menu that includes dishes such as hamachi with shimeji mushrooms and jalapeño-cherry vinaigrette, shrimp tempura udon, and chocolate-cherry biscotti ice cream. Through Saturday, April 12.
1150 22nd St., NW
Tourists and locals alike can try cherry s’mores at the hotel’s Degrees Lounge or sample them for free in the lobby “living room” from 6:30 to 7, along with an array of cherry blossom cocktails. The Ritz’s Cherry Blossom Give-a-Tree package (starting at $489) includes cherry-themed eats, as well. Cherry festivities last through Saturday, May 31.
Ritz-Carlton DC’s Lobby Lounge and Westend Bistro
1150 22nd St., NW
Try the cherries jubilee dessert and house-made sakura tea in the lounge, or settle in for the dining room’s cherry-inspired prix-fixe menu for $70 a person. The three-course dinner features a hamachi crudo with kirsch-lemongrass foam, crispy-skin duck breast with house-made cherry bow-tie pasta, and a vanilla bavarois with candied cherry, sake gelée, and matcha ice cream. Wash it all down with a cherry bellini bubble tea (included in the prix-fixe) or a gin-based sakura cocktail. The specials last through Sunday, April 13.
1216 18th St., NW; 800 F St., NW
The Shack partners with local joint Dangerously Delicious Pies to offer a Cherry Pie, Oh My concrete at both DC locations. The cherry pie/vanilla frozen custard combo is available in both half ($4.25) and regular ($6.50) sizes through Monday, April 14.
1200 19th St., NW
Try the saloon’s inventive duck dish, pan-seared in Cherry Coke jus ($14), along with a cherry blossom cocktail featuring Hayman’s Old Tom Gin and Cherry Heering liqueur ($10) through Sunday, April 13.
1940 11th St., NW
If you can’t decide whether you want something sweet or sour, try chef Lonnie Zoeller’s new chicken dish ($16) with yellow lentils, quinoa, smoked sour cherries, and cashews. Through mid-April.
1714 International Dr., McLean
Wildfire serves a three-course “cherry picks” menu with shrimp-and-crab bisque, a cherry barbecue pork chop, and Key lime pie ($37.95) through Sunday, April 13.
701 Ninth St., NW
This Penn Quarter Mediterranean favorite keeps it simple with just one spring special: roasted asparagus with bahar-spiced yogurt, crushed pine nuts, and chives ($9).
781 Seventh St., NW
Head to Chinatown for the $15 dim sum lunch platter that includes miso soup, shrimp lo mien, and a five-piece dim sum. If you still have room for dessert, try the mousse cake with yuzu marmalade and a warm cherry compote ($7).