Restaurant Week just finished up yesterday and I have to say that I’m so happy with all of the meals I chose! This city-wide event is something I look forward to every August because it really gets me out and about, exploring new places in the city, and gives me the ability to try out so many new restaurants that I can’t afford to go to all the time. Each three-course dinner at the over 160 participating restaurants is $35 and every three-course lunch and brunch is $22. It’s such an incredible price for city food that I always have to go to as many as possible!
Washington, DC is a foodie city. Every time I have friends or family come visit, I take them to some of my favorite spots and they are always impressed. I feel as though there’s a new list of “best brunch spots to try in DC this summer” or “5 new rooftop bars in DC” or “10 new DC restaurants you have to try this week” constantly popping up on my radar so I always have tons of new dining options to try out. However, even though I have my personal staples I still love learning about new spots and supporting local businesses.
That being said, here’s my rundown of everywhere I ate for Restaurant Week, along with my recommendations:
Rasika (Indian food)
I had only heard rave reviews about this upscale Indian restaurant and it did not disappoint! I do love Indian food, but am a little wary of certain spices so Restaurant Week allowed me to try out their lunch cuisine without feeling like I was braking the bank. This would also be a great place for big groups and dinner parties! Recommendations: Palak Chaat or Mushroom Galouti Kebab to start, Vegetable Thali or Chicken Tikka Masala as your main dish, and Jack fruit Jaggery Sorbet, Gulab Jamun, or Pineapple Coconut Delight for dessert.
Toro Toro (Spanish tapas)
Unlimited tapas for $35? Yes, please! And unlimited drinks with an additional $20?? Yes!!! To be fair, I went to Toro Toro on a Tuesday and therefore did not in fact tap into the unlimited drinks option for fear I wouldn’t make it back to work on Wednesday. However, I say this is the perfect option for a weekend gathering with a bunch of friends so you can all try everything on the menu! Recommendations: guacamole, both ceviches, sweet corn soup, crispy shrimp, brussel sprouts, truffle fries, the must-try maduros, and the bomba for dessert.
1789 (Upscale Seasonal American Cuisine)
A great steal for the quality of food, this restaurant is one of the top ranked in DC and certainly lives up to expectations. I’d recommend this restaurant for special occasions and date nights due to the intimate ambiance. Recommendations: start with the warm fingerling potato and heirloom tomato salads, english pea raviolini and fried squash blossoms for your entrees, and the opera cake.
San Lorenzo (Tuscan Italian)
This restaurant wasn’t even on my radar until my godparents suggested we all get together to dine there during restaurant week. It was only then that I checked out the menu and fell for the delicious options available. I’m a true sucker for Italian food, so this was PERFECT! Recommendations: start with the burrata and fried squash blossoms, then move on to the pesto gnocchi or risotto, you MUST get the to-die-for black truffle mushroom tortelli to share or keep for yourself, and then any of the amazing desserts will do, but we were partial to the cioccolato, delectable seasonal crostata, and sorbetto so creamy I thought we had ordered gelato.
Fair warning, San Lorenzo only opened in early July and has already been featured on some of DC’s lists of hottest new restaurants, so I would recommend making your reservations now.
Nobu (Japanese Sushi)
This may have been the best deal of all DC Restaurant Week, as Nobu is typically veryyy expensive. They only offer lunch on Fridays and I had to book roughly a month in advance to secure a spot, but $22 for lunch at one of the most luxurious sushi spots in the city was too good to miss out on! A bunch of coworkers and friends all gathered there together as a Friday treat and we were not disappointed! They even had a special vegetarian sushi bento box option that was exceptional! A miso soup starter and mochi ice cream dessert to finish really tied the meal together. Overall, a fantastic meal! Recommendations: YES to the vegetarian sushi bento box, but the classic sushi bento was beloved by all my coworkers so honestly you can’t go wrong!
RPM Italian (Italian)
Located in the center of DC, this bustling Italian restaurant was the perfect place for a get together with a large group of friends. I would highly recommend splurging on the Gin&Tonic selection, which is their specialty even if they are quite pricey. Recommendations: the burrata, cheese tortelli, the signature torta meringata or outstanding toasted pistachio gelato for dessert, and the fantastic elderflower “P” gin & tonic.
Acqua al 2 (Italian)
I have heard rave reviews about this Italian staple in DC’s Eastern Market. I rarely venture into this corner of the city and was glad for an excuse to do so! The restaurant lived up to it’s expectations! And the staff was exceptional – there weren’t any vegetarian options on the RW menu so they offered me options from their normal dinner menu and I was so glad they did! Recommendations: a classic caprese, rigatoni alle melanzane (an eggplant-tomato sauce covered pasta that is simply divine), and a satisfying tiramisu.
Le Grenier (French)
I’m so glad I was able to squeeze in a French restaurant this week! The decor and ambiance of this restaurant was fantastic and all the courses were delicious. Working double duty at this location was the DC Drink Passport providing us with buy one get one free drinks on top of the $35 dinner deal! Recommendations: begin with the soup du jour, vegetarian french onion soup, or endive salad (duck pate for the meat eaters), move on to the crab cakes, and then finish with the delicious crepes (flambée for the flaming variety).
Options I wished I tried:
I Ricchi – my absolute favorite Italian restaurant finally joined Restaurant Week, but I couldn’t manage to fit it into my schedule and decided to prioritize new restaurants this week over my classic favorites,
Whaley’s (brunch) – apparently some of the best views for brunch and a great selection, I’ve already marked my calendar to brunch here soon!
Convivial – my coworker went, loved it, and made me insanely jealous that I didn’t go. It’s also on my list of places to dine asap.
Any Jose Andres dinner option – Jaleo, China Chilcano, and others were available to try out during Restaurant Week but didn’t fit into my schedule. I’ll have to aim for next time!
I hope you all enjoy these reviews and that this post inspires you to get out, try new restaurants, and explore different parts of wherever you live!