Five Classic DC Restaurants

While DC’s restaurant scene is continuing to expand, to widespread national acclaim, Washingtonians still love the classic joints that used to be the center of the city’s dining scene. If you’re looking for a taste of the true DC, we’ve got you covered. Check out our recommendations below for the top five classic Washington restaurants:


Upscale without ever feeling stuffy, Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s old-school French tasting-menu spot in Georgetown has been a local favorite for nearly two decades now. Fans of Julia Child should head here for Gallic delicacies like caviar service, boudin blanc with black truffle, and elk loin.

2401 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037
(202) 296-1166

Old Ebbitt Grill

The grande dame of DC’s dining, the Old Ebbitt Grill is the oldest restaurant in DC and also happens to be one of the best. Take in the dark-paneled mahogany dining room as you enjoy a perfectly charred hanger steak or a platter of briny oysters.

675 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
(202) 347-4800


Chef Jose Andres got his start in DC with this sprawling, brightly colored Spanish tapas bar, which opened in Metro Center back in 1993. Pay homage to the chef’s beginnings by ordering from the Jose’s Way section of the menu, which includes gourmet offerings like piquillo pepper confit and mini-burgers made from acorn-fed Iberian pigs.

480 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004
(202) 628-7949

Martin’s Tavern

This Georgetown pub has been open since the Great Depression, slinging drinks and meals like New England clam chowder and pot roast. Head to this historic, white-tablecloth spot to enjoy a meal with the family.

1264 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007
(202) 333-7370

Ben’s Chili Bowl

U Street may be home to a bustling restaurant scene now, but DC residents still lined up around the block at this historic chili joint. Go for the traditional order and get a half-smoke: a half-pork, half-beef sausage doused with gloriously thick homemade chili sauce and served with fries, mustard, and onion.

1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009
(202) 667-0909