Food Critic’s Picks: 11 Restaurants for Last-Minute Thanksgiving Dinners in DC

Late on plans? You can still find a great feast out.

Looking to get out of the kitchen this Thanksgiving? Procrastinators, you’re in luck: several solid places still have reservations available (or did when this was published). If I were sticking around town this year, here’s where I’d consider booking for a turkey dinner, both traditional and not. 

2132 Florida Ave., NW
The elegant Dupont restaurant is doing a three-course dinner (plus family-style sides) for $85 per person. Frank Ruta runs the kitchen, and the menu, which has several choices, shows off many of his talents: soup-making (on Thanksgiving it’s mushroom), charcuterie (in the form of chicken-liver/foie-gras mousse), and housemade pastas. There’s also turkey with cranberry relish, and pumpkin pie or ginger-poached pears for dessert. 

Bistro Bis
15 E St., NW
If you’re turkey-avoidant, veteran DC chef Jeff Buben’s decades-old French dining room near Union Station will serve its regular a la carte menu, with steak tartare, mussels, onion soup, and a gorgeous apple tart. But there’s also traditional holiday fare—a turkey plate with roasted breast, leg roulade, fennel/chestnut stuffing, and giblet gravy ($38.50) and a bourbon-glazed pumpkin-custard tart ($10.50).

1906 14th St., NW
This is more tasting menu than turkey dinner—in fact, there’s no turkey to be found. In its place: brioche-stuffed chicken or the 14th Street hotspot’s famous duck a la presse. The five-course menu is $195 per person, and also includes capelletti with pear and lamb neck; scallop with beet and lime; and chestnut mont blanc.

Central Michel Richard
1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
There are a couple nice things about the menu at the late Michel Richard’s Penn Quarter bistro. First, it’s a la carte, so you won’t be forced to sit through three courses plus a huge plate of turkey. There is a traditional Thanksgiving plate ($40), with garlic mashed potatoes, cornbread, green beans, and stuffing, but also several hits from the regular menu. My favorites: the goat-cheese Caesar salad, the miso-laced onion soup, and the burger.

1122 Ninth St., NW
Tom Power’s long-running Shaw dining room is serving a three-course menu for $70 per person ($40 for children under 12). There’s roast turkey with sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes and root vegetables, gravy, and cranberry sauce; blue-hubbard squash soup, and a little gem salad with Riesling/anchovy dressing. Or you can forget the bird and go for Power’s peppered tuna with sushi rice—one of his kitchen’s classics.

Et Voila
5120 MacArthur Blvd., NW
If your vibe is more laidback and cozy than upright and fancy, consider the a la carte menu at this French/Belgian bistro in the Palisades. It’ll serve its regular menu—think moules frites, sole meuniere, Flemish beef stew, and escargot—plus specials like turkey stuffed with foie gras, chestnut, mushroom, and pistachio ($32) and seared cod with butternut-squash risotto.

President Obama celebrates his final birthday in the White House at Fiola Mare. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Fiola Mare
3100 K St., NW
On the splurgier side, there’s Fabio Trabocchi’s Georgetown dining room, which emphasizes coastal Italian cooking and will serve both a la carte selections and a four course menu ($150 per person). On the latter, go for Trabocchi’s mushroom “cappucino”—one of my favorite soups in the city—pastas like lobster ravioli with ginger, and, among several seafood offerings, roast turkey with chestnut stuffing and vin santo jus or prime rib with horseradish cream. This being a Trabocchi establishment, luxe upgrades abound, including a $250 shellfish plateau, a turbot entree ($20 more), and plenty of Alba truffles. If this kind of holiday dinner is your jam, sister restaurants Del Mar at the Wharf and Fiola in Penn Quarter are also worth considering.

1401 Okie St., NE
The Ivy City tasting room leans in a more traditional direction than usual on Thanksgiving. The four-course menu, $125 a person, includes choices like sunchoke veloute with poached lobster; squash agnolotti with vanilla brown butter; roast turkey with sage-brioche bread pudding and turkey-confit hash; pork loin with sweet-potato mustard; and pecan pie with black-pepper caramel. Upgrades include foie gras terrine for a $30 supplement and a $22 cheese course. Nice touch: the kids menu—with turkey, sides, adn milk and cookies or sorbet—is only $35.

Green Pig
1025 N. Fillmore St., Arlington
The Southern-style dining room in Clarendon had me at two words: relish tray. The cocktail-snack-lover’s dream—$21 for two people—is laden with shrimp cocktail, cheese coins with pimiento cheese, deviled eggs, and more. The rest of the a la carte menu features indulgences like buffalo-style pork ribs with blue cheese, lobster-and-hearts-of-palm gratin, and fried chicken/biscuit sliders. There’s a $35.50 turkey plate, with cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and more, or you could opt for a steak dinner for two ($89) or pork schnitzel ($32.50).

Moon Rabbit
801 Wharf St., SW
You need a group of four for Kevin Tien’s riff on a classic menu, which sounds pretty great. The sharable $250 feast—available in the Wharf dining room or for takeout—includes buttermilk biscuits with honey butter, crawfish mac’ and cheese, Brussels sprouts in nuoc cham, roast turkey breast served with cucumbers, hoisin, and ginger-scallion sauce, and mashed potatoes with black-pepper gravy. For dessert, it’ll offer curried sweet potato pie. And there’s a nice roster of fall cocktails, too.

Unconventional Diner 
1207 Ninth St., NW
If you’re looking for a dine-in option at a more affordable price point, check out David DeShaies’s lively Shaw spot. The $50 menu—which also has several gluten-free dishes—features squash soup with brown butter; roast turkey with mushroom-sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, and Brussels sprouts; and pumpkin pie with mascarpone. You can add on dishes from the regular menu, like the excellent cornbread muffins with habanero butter and honey or the espelette-spiked mac’ and cheese.


Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.