Rehearsal dinners offer the perfect precursor to a wedding–they’re low-pressure, they offer a chance for the wedding party to bond, and they offer a smaller guest list–which makes it easier to spend more on top-notch cuisine. If your family is full of foodies–or good food just happens to be your passion–then Washingtonian’s associate food and wine editor Anna Spiegel would recommend reserving the following eateries for your pre-nuptial feast.
This historic Dupont restaurant is one of the most romantic spaces in Washington, with a fire-lit dining room for 50 guests and a wisteria-covered patio for warm-weather celebrations. Chef Anthony Chittum offers a threecourse, family-style Mediterranean menu with an emphasis on dishes from a wood-burning hearth.
The first certified organic eatery in the United States offers a private upstairs event space with the same elegant farmhouse feel of the main dining room (think white tablecloths with Amish quilts on the walls). Chef Nora Pouillon’s menus change seasonally, with a steadfast dedication to local ingredients.
The most casual of Fabio and Maria Trabocchi’s three restaurants is a perfect spot to kick off a food-centric wedding, offering a soulful taste of the Italian chef ’s home region of Le Marche, Italy. Three warmly lit rooms off the main dining area can be reserved separately or combined for large parties up to 60. Fine-dining sisters Fiola and Fiola Mare also offer private spaces for a blowout affair.
Kapnos and Kapnos Taverna
Chef Mike Isabella’s pair of Mediterranean restaurants are hip spots to host a celebration. The menu in DC highlights spit-roasted meats, while Greek seafood and raw-bar dishes abound in Virginia.
Spice up your rehearsal dinner at the West End branch of restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s renowned Indian restaurant, where an elevated room styled after a library holds up to 50 guests. Longtime favorites like the palak chaat (crispy spinach) and baked black cod fill the event menus, which offer a bounty of vegetarian options.
Chef José Andrés’s first restaurant concept in Washington still shines, and the vibe at all three locations is nothing short of vivacious. Guests can feast on a parade of Spanish tapas or sample the paella prepared in giant pans.