5 Must-Visit DC Restaurants

For so many reasons, the food scene in Washington DC is always an exciting one. The international population, proximity to sophisticated palates, and Mid-Atlantic location all make DC cuisine among the most interesting -- and most innovative -- in the country. We chose five restaurants that are truly one-of-a-kind so that you could experience a taste of DC for yourself as you indulge in the finest that Washington DC senior living has to offer.



Best Restaurants in DC

While any list of the best restaurants in DC would be purely subjective, the five on this list represent classic and character-filled restaurants that are considered essential DC spots. Part of dining here is the experience and the opportunity to people-watch at the seat of power. Any of these restaurants are likely to feature an opportunity for fun politico- or celebrity-spotting.


Fine Dining in DC


L’Auberge Chez François, Great Falls VA

For a truly once-in-a-lifetime dining experience, you can't do better than L'Auberge Chez Francois, nestled in the dense forest outside Great Falls, Virginia. Your journey will take you through Virginia’s iconic horse country just minutes from downtown, then over the river and through the woods to a sprawling complex of buildings.


Family-owned since 1954, and known simply as L'Auberge to the locals, you're in for a multi-course experience with exceptional French cuisine. The interior feels like an ancienne maison with a roaring fire to keep out the winter chill. While you may think of French cuisine as stuffy, L'Auberge is anything-but. The experience is like being welcomed to dine by an old family friend at their home in the French countryside.



Italian Restaurants DC


Filomena Ristorante, Georgetown

For old school, Sinatra-style Italian, be sure to visit Filomena in Georgetown. Not too modern, not too fussy, here you'll experience all of the warmth and hospitality you associate with real Italian-American cuisine. Everything at Filomena is made fresh and the emphasis on high quality ingredients elevates the simple, homey fare.


Filomena is especially known for their elaborate holiday decor, and they decorate extensively throughout the year. This creates a sense of “special occasion” that makes the restaurant particularly beloved for family dinners, birthday dinners, and holiday meals with out-of-town guests. Be sure to check out their dessert selection for beautiful, over-the-top Italian favorites.


Seafood Restaurants DC


Chart House, Alexandria waterfront

Because of its location near the Mid-Atlantic waterways, DC enjoys some of the finest seafood on the East Coast. If you're looking for a beautiful and elegant setting to enjoy some of that great seafood, you'll love the Chart House in Old Town Alexandria. Offering expansive views of the Potomac waterfront, and with a sophisticated interior filled with elegant finishes and design details, you’ll enjoy a stunning backdrop perfect for a large family dinner or an intimate date night.


Chart House’s location makes it a perfect spot whether you're exploring Old Town’s shopping during the day or night life in the evening. Check out the Sunday brunch menu at Chart House then take a boat ride up the Potomac to Mount Vernon for a quintessential DC Sunday experience.



Iconic Restaurants DC


Old Ebbitt Grill, Downtown

Founded in 1856, Old Ebbitt Grill bills itself as DC's oldest saloon. The elegant, wood-paneled interior filled with antique finishes and fixtures makes you feel as if you've stepped back in time. Indeed, a visit to Old Ebbitt Grill is almost like touring a museum, and many of the furnishings have fascinating stories attached to them.


Of course, the star here is the food, including fabulous fresh seafood selections, delicious sandwiches, and upscale pub food. Generous cocktails, a fabulous wine list, and the opportunity to revel in DC's history may make this your new favorite spot.


Mark’s Duck House, Arlington VA

Mark's Duck House doesn't necessarily look like one of DC's best restaurants -- tucked away in a small storefront in an Arlington strip mall. However, don't judge a book by its cover. Here you'll find some of the most exceptional Chinese-American, dim sum-style cuisine in the country, including, of course, the Peking Duck for which the restaurant is named.


This is one of those restaurants where everyone goes and is especially popular for birthdays and celebrations. The family-style dishes served on large Lazy Susans tempt you to try, taste, and share with friends and family. Become a regular and you never know which famous politician or media personality will walk in, roll up their sleeves, and start passing dishes at the next table.


Considering retirement in the DC area? Your DC culinary adventures should start in a Del Webb community. Contact us today to find an active living 55+ community in DC close to the finest bistros, restaurants and cafes.



Contributed to The 55+ Society by Christy Murdock Edgar

Looking for more Society tips and learnings? Return Home here.

Published 12.1.20

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