Visiting the nation’s capital? Let’s face it — the lines for the best museum exhibits are long, you’ve seen all the monuments before, and getting a tour of the White House is practically impossible.
So next time you’re in Washington DC, skip the usual trek around the National Mall and check out the local restaurants where high profile celebrities, socialites, and political bigwigs like to hang out.
Here are the best places to dine like a true Washingtonian and maybe even catch a glimpse of the President, or at least of his motorcade zooming by.
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue
Zagat Food Score: 23
An ideal venue for digging into a steak while rubbing shoulders with powerful international figures, this exquisite steakhouse, located in Georgetown's prestigious Four Seasons Hotel, is certainly a local hub to see and be seen.
1226 36th Street, NW
Zagat Food Score: 25
This secluded restaurant, reminiscent of a traditional country inn, is known for hosting major political figures, including President Barack Obama.
According to The Washington Post, President Obama was seen dining in the restaurant's private Wickett Room with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as recently as June 7, 2011.
1789, which holds Gourmet's prestigious America's Top Tables title, is the perfect place to try locally caught fish and savory meats prepared by critically acclaimed 24-year-old chef Daniel Giusti while quietly observing the power players who walk through the restaurant's doors.
24 & M Streets, N.W.
Zagat Food Score: 26
This modern American restaurant continually holds the title as one of the city's best restaurants by a variety of publications, including Zagat, Washingtonian Magazine, and Conde Nast traveller.
The lavish interior boasts hand-crafted wood decor and beautiful designs by Tony Chi.
Yet, despite it's luxurious furnishings, the restaurant feels like a local hearth for Washingtonians, elevated by its delectable American cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Brian McBride.
A gathering place for celebrities, politicos, lawyers, businessmen, and socialites, this sophisticated district restaurant aims to dazzle.
3000 M Street N.W.
Zagat Food Score: 28
For dinner, choose from a versatile section of savory French dishes, from porcupine to foie gras roulade to fresh roasted veal.
At this Washingtonian institution expect to find appreciative foodies mixing with politicians and celebrities alike.
Insiders know to ask for a table near the kitchen so they can watch Chef Richard and his masterful team at work.
575 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Zagat Food Score: 25
This luxurious, three-level contemporary restaurant is located inside the contemporary building that houses the Newseum.
Apart from it's sophisticated social scene, chic decor, and delectable Asian fusion dishes, its also headlined by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.
At this award-winning restaurant you can spot locals mingling with celebs, athletes, lawyers, lobbyists, locals, and politicians alike.
1990 M Street N.W.
Zagat Food Score: 24
Located off of DC's bustling M Street, this four-star cosmopolitan restaurant boasts flavorful Southern dishes, beautiful decor, and an award-winning wine list.
Chef and owner Jeffrey Buben previously worked at Le Chantilly in New York City and was also the driving force behind the acclaimed restaurant Bis Bis on Capitol Hill.
At Vidalia, guest will relish the lively ambiance, hospitable service, and excellent people watching.
1401 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Zagat Food Score: 22
An authentic French bistro, this charming restaurant near the heart of the political scene on Pennsylvania Avenue lures politicos, socialites, and locals alike.
Headed by executive French chef Antoine Westermann, this secluded French restaurant has the inviting, festive atmosphere one would expect to find at a bistro lining the Champs-Elysées.
With an unrivalled assortment of culinary delights and superb setting, this destination is surely not to be missed.
1190 22nd Street
Zagat Food Score: 21
This top notch bistro is ideal for mixing and mingling in the heart of the D.C. social scene.
3251 Prospect Street, N.W.
Zagat Food Score: 20
A city staple for politicians, entertainers, lawyers, journalists, and diplomats, this exquisite Italian restaurant is nestled on Georgetown's historical cobblestone streets.
This chic restaurant has received a Star Diamond Award and consistently has an influx of D.C. socialites.
DC visitors will not want to miss the top-tier Italian cuisine, friendly staff, quality service, lively ambiance, decadent decor, or prime people watching.
2401 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Zagat Food Score: 29
A unique French Belgian culinary delight, this critically acclaimed restaurant continually receives both local and international praise.
Zagat awarded the restaurant with the Top Food rating in its 2011 D.C. survey.
Step off bustling Pennsylvania' and enjoy a deluxe pre-fixed menu compiled by chef Robert Weidmaier or socialize and mingle with high profile figures from Capitol Hill at the wine bar, which boasts an extensive list of top-tier champagnes, white, red and dessert wines.
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