Classics Revisited: The Occidental

The restaurant world is notoriously fickle, but these15 places—all a half century old or more—have withstood the test of time.

From the entrance lined with oil portraits of Presidents to the mirror-and-marble-bedecked bathrooms, this 107-year-old grill and seafood spot at the Willard hotel screams old-school Washington. There are better steakhouses in town but few as handsome—we love sinking into a burgundy booth at lunchtime, when the Occidental offers the straightforward preparations its kitchen does best.

With applewood-smoked bacon strips, white cheddar, and a heap of red-onion marmalade, a burger on brioche hits all the right notes. It’s plenty rich on its own, but you can upgrade it to “presidential style” and get it topped with short rib and foie gras. We’re also partial to the tender bistro filet, served over a sweet-potato purée with a side of broccolini. One dish to avoid: a “chopped” salad that turned out to be a grilled wedge of romaine doused in a chunky gribiche vinaigrette and decorated with limp pancetta “chips.”

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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