12 Must-Try Classics for DC Winter Restaurant Week

When it comes to Restaurant Week, decades of experience is a good thing.

A Central classic—steak au poivre and crispy frites. Photo by Scott Suchman

Sure, you’ve hit all the new hotspots in Shaw. What about DC’s tried-and-true establishment? We’ve loved dining at these time-tested restaurants, and when it comes to Restaurant Week, many, many years of experience can be a bonus.

The main dining room of 1789 (here dressed up for the holidays). Photograph courtesy of 1789

1226 36th St., NW
This Georgetown mainstay isn’t quite as old as the name suggests, but its home in a Federal-era townhouse gives it plenty of old school charm (plus 60 years in business). Chef Tracy O’Grady’s Restaurant Week menu looks good on paper. Guests have multiple options in each of three courses with seasonal specialties like bouillabaisse, cassoulet, and a chocolate trifle. For extra ambiance book a table by the wood-burning fireplace. Dinner only

The Bombay Club
815 Connecticut Ave., NW
Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj launched his career in DC with this refined Indian spot, and it’s still going strong 22 years later (as is the live piano music). Dress up and dine on mango shrimp, green chili chicken, or a vegetarian thali served with rice and warm naan. Younger, now 14 year-old sibling Rasika is also a great bet.  Lunch and dinner

Bombay Club. Photograph by Scott Suchman

1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Late chef Michel Richard was a DC fine dining pioneer. Though he passed away in 2016, you can still taste some of his lasting creations on the Restaurant Week menu like the goat cheese Caesar and “Michel’s fried chicken.” Bonus: Restaurant Week is extended here through Friday, January 24. Lunch and dinner

818 Connecticut Ave., NW
Chef Todd Gray opened Equinox in 1999—long before seasonal, Mid-Atlantic cuisine was trendy—but that’s not to say the kitchen is stuck in the past. Gray embraces plant-based cuisine, and the Restaurant Week menu includes creative vegan dishes like eggplant rolls with cashew ricotta alongside omnivorous favorites such as roasted duck breast with farro risotto. There’s also a wine pairing for $20. Dinner only

Sip by the fire at Iron Gate. Photograph courtesy of Iron Gate.
Sip by the fire at Iron Gate. Photograph courtesy of Iron Gate.

I Ricchi
1220 19th St., NW
Before the “casual-chic” trend there was Christianne Ricchi’s upscale-rustic Italian restaurant in Dupont Circle. The Restaurant Week menus look comforting and filling—think Tuscan meatballs over polenta, pasta trios, grilled swordfish, and tiramisu. Lunch and dinner

Iron Gate
1734 N St., NW
Though this Dupont restaurant, set in a historic Dupont mansion, was given a full redesign from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, you can still dine under century-old wisteria vines on the atmospheric patio or indoors by a wood-burning fireplace. Chef Anthony Chittum is doing Restaurant Week a little differently with family-style menus (minimum two diners) where tables can share options in each of three categories. Lunch, brunch, and dinner

The dining room scene at Jaleo. Photograph by Scott Suchman

480 Seventh St., NW (additional locations in Crystal City and Bethesda)
The Penn Quarter tapas house is José Andrés’s first-ever restaurant, though nothing feels dated after 26 years thanks to its exuberant owner, creative menu, and modern design.  Get a taste of where the ThinkFoodGroup began with your choice of five tapas like chicken croquettes, garlicky shrimp, and flan with a Catalan cream foam. Wine flights are an additional $35. All three locations in DC, Bethesda, and Crystal City are participating in extended Restaurant Week through Sunday, January 26. Lunch and dinner

Johnny’s Half Shell
1819 Columbia Rd., NW
Johnny’s is a double DC classic: the seafood restaurant launched in Dupont Circle in 1999, moved to Capitol Hill, and most recently transitioned into chef Anne Cashion’s original Adams Morgan restaurant space (Cashion’s Eat Place) a few years ago.* Cashion is still the one turning out tried-and-true Mid-Atlantic dishes like crab Imperial. Options for Restaurant Week dishes are few but promising—think Scottish salmon or grilled duck breast. Dinner only

Johnny’s Half Shell dishes up Mid-Atlantic classics. Photograph by Scott Suchman

La Chaumière
2813 M St., NW
Georgetown has changed tremendously since this rustic French restaurant debuted in 1976, as have menus—you don’t often see Julia Child-era dishes like quenelle de brochette (pike dumplings in lobster sauce), sautéed calf’s liver, and salmon en croute. If anywhere, this is the place to try them. Lunch and dinner 

Old Ebbitt Grill
675 15th St., NW
Founded in 1856, the Ebbitt is technically Washington’s oldest restaurant (though its changed locations several times). The current iteration by the White House is popular with tourists but also draws a local crowd thanks to popular early and late-night happy hours. The all-American Restaurant Week menus are also generous on drinks and include a glass of beer or wine up to $10. Lunch, brunch, dinner

Yellowtail sashimi at Sushi Taro. Photograph by Scott Suchman

The Prime Rib
2020 K St., NW
Sick of jarringly loud dining rooms and millennial pink? This throwback—complete with cheetah-print carpet, a jackets-for-men policy, and a live pianist—is your antidote. There’s pretty much one major draw: You guessed it, prime rib. It’s available for a $5 surcharge—and totally worth it. Dinner only.  

Sushi Taro
1503 17th St., NW
One of the longest running Japanese restaurants in DC is also the best thanks to sublime sushi and a wide range of delicacies from the kitchen like homemade udon noodles and charcoal-grilled beef. As is always the case, the Restaurant Week lunch deal is particularly good for sushi fans. Lunch and dinner

*This post has been updated from a previous version 

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.