Aug 15, 2023 - Food and Drink

D.C. Summer Restaurant Week: New and best restaurants to try

Joon, a Restaurant Week newcomer. Photo courtesy of Rey Lopez

D.C.'s Summer Restaurant Week arrives on Monday, August 28 with more than 150 participants offering $25 brunch and lunch menus, and multi-course dinners for $40 or $55.

Why it matters: It's one of the biggest restaurant happenings of the year, and in this dining economy, the prix-fixe menu prices can be a good value.

What's new: Airport restaurants at Reagan National and Dulles join the mix β€” a boon for travelers and tourists since the later-than-usual promo falls over Labor Day weekend and the DC Jazz Festival.

  • Look for chains like Legal Sea Foods joining local ventures (e.g. Devil's Backbone, Matsutake Sushi).

Newcomer picks: These five spots make up our hit list for new places to check out during Restaurant Week.

πŸ‡«πŸ‡· Petite Cerise: The Dabney team's new French spot in Shaw is lovely and serves true bistro fare including mussel soup and chicken ballotine (dinner, $55).

πŸ•ŠοΈ Ellie Bird: The RW menu looks fun (salmon poke, kimchi bouillabaisse) at the new West Falls Church spot from Michelin-starred Rooster & Owl (dinner, $55).

πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬ Jiwa Singapura: Cranes chef Pepe Moncayo brings a rare Singaporean restaurant to Tysons and the RW menu looks promising β€” as do optional wine pairings for lunch ($11) and dinner ($20).

🍒 Joon: Famed Persian cookbook author Najmieh Batmanglij is behind this Tysons newcomer specializing in kabobs and fragrant rices (lunch and dinner, $55).

πŸ’ƒ Philippe Chow: The Wharf's splashy Chinese export from NYC serves upscale plates for RW including filet mignon and green beans or wok-seared branzino (dinner, $55).

L'Ardente bomboloni doughnuts
Fresh Italian doughnuts at L'Ardente. Photo courtesy of Lia Alexi Manfrredi

Zoom out: The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington's Restaurant Week isn't the only one coming. Alexandria Restaurant Week (Aug. 18-27) brings $25, $35, and $45 prix-fixe dinners to 70-plus Virginia restaurants.

Thought bubble: I've collected some restaurant week hacks and golden rules over the years.

🍳 Brunch and lunch are the best values for $25. I'd check out Mediterranean garden Iron Gate, glam Italian L'Ardente, All-Purpose brunch, or New Orleans-style Dauphine's.

🍽️ Dinner at a pricey restaurant is more of a "deal" where entrées alone can be $40. Think Michelin-starred participants like Cranes, Gravitas, and Bresca.

πŸ•°οΈ Don't overlook older spots β€” they've had years of RW experience. I'm thinking of classics such as Sushi Taro, Rasika, and Central.

πŸ‘€ Search RW menus. It's a good sign when they're similar to regular menus (e.g. Convivial) or on the flip side, new and playful (e.g. Unconventional Diner). Beware dumbed-down ones that sound like airline food (chicken or fish?).

🍷 Alcohol really adds to the tab, but you can search the RW site for drink specials. Oh hey, free mimosas at Lulu's Wine Garden brunch.

πŸ™‚ Tip generously and be nice to your server β€” it's Restaurant Week for you, maybe hell week for them.


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