While I've eaten at my fair share of places in this city, I haven't even come close to making a dent in all that DC has to offer. One of my favorite times to get out and try new places is the Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week. This seven day event is held twice a year, in January and August. More than 100 or so area restaurants offer a prix-fixe lunch ($20.15) and/or dinner ($35.15) menu, showcasing some of their more popular items from their full menu.
I absolutely love this week because you get the opportunity to try more food for your money. For this winter's restaurant week, I already have reservations lined up to try Ambar, Zengo, Lincoln DC and more! *Image via
If you've never participated in the Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, there are a few things you need to know...
- Make your reservations now. This is the most popular week of the year for diners, especially since it's during the winter and people don't have anything better to do than eat out.
- Even if you aren't sure you are going somewhere, go ahead and reserve a spot through Open Table. Just make sure you read the restaurant's cancellation policy and cancel in enough time to not get charged.
- For restaurants that feature small plates or four courses, I recommend going with a smaller group of people. That way you can share your plates, and get to try even more items on the menu.
- When it comes to tipping your servers, tip based on what the meal actually would have cost. At some restaurants your meal would ordinarily cost twice what you end up paying. For most places, 18% is the customary tip amount (you can't tell that I was a server once, can you?! ha!)
- Try places out of your comfort zone. Restaurant Week is a great time to try places that you normally wouldn't go. You can always hit up your favorite restaurant any other week of the year!
- It's a great week to go on a date! You can get whatever you want that's featured on the menu and don't have to worry about ordering something too expensive.
Policy // Probably one of my favorite restaurants in this city, Policy gets my vote for the best "bang for your buck" during Restaurant Week. I went here this past August for my birthday dinner, and barely touched the dessert! They say "small plates" but the portion sizes are anything but! I didn't have a single thing I didn't like. They offer a very extensive menu to choose from during restaurant week, where as most restaurants have a very limited, prix-fixe menu. *Image via
Floriana // I fully admit that I've eaten here more than 5 times. I can't get enough of their homemade pastas, mouthwatering mussels and some of the best Brussels sprouts I've had in the city. Based on the deal they offered up last year, you get one appetizer + one entree + one dessert for the $35.15. Also, I believe Wednesday's are half price wine night... need I say more?!
Lincoln DC // I love their twist on American cuisine. I tried four times to get into this restaurant and let me tell you, it's worth the wait. It's that good. The Brussels sprouts and mac&cheese are to die for. I highly recommend this place for lunch or dinner.
Bandolero // Looking for a fun take on Mexican cuisine? Try Bandolero in Georgetown. One of my favorite places in DC, I recommend the crazy corn or alambres! *Image via
Oya Restaurant and Lounge // This place gets my vote for "best date environment." Now, I admit... I've been on two dates here, both times with different guys #awkward. Unfortunately it didn't work out with either guy, but the atmosphere of Oya definitely made this one of my favorite places for a romantic night out. From the chic all white furniture, to the crystal chandeliers, and cozy rock fire wall, it's the perfect place to impress your date! *Image via
There are a few other places I've eaten at on the list, but I feel the ones mentioned above are the must try places, as well as the restaurants you really get your money's worth. Oh, and for a few others I should definitely mention, but forewarning haven't tried...
America Eats Tavern, DBGB Kitchen and Bar, Fiola Mare, G by Mike Isabella, Graffiato, Jaleo, Lavagna, Second State, and Zaytina.