Whether we like it or not, cost is often as important as quality when it comes to deciding on a restaurant. Most of us don’t have the luxury of eating wherever we want, whenever we want. Fortunately, DC has dining options to fit every budget – whether you’re on a shoestring or ready to splash out.
Cheap and Cheerful
You don’t need to spend a ton of money to eat well in DC. As with any major city, lots of folks who live here are in school, or doing jobs that they love but that don’t necessarily pay huge bucks. Two restaurants that serve great food at budget prices are Kotobuki, a laid-back sushi spot just north of Georgetown, and bustling Zorba’s Cafe, a Greek restaurant and deli in the heart of Dupont Circle. You’ll leave both places with a full stomach and a clear financial conscience.
Moderate and Manageable
If you’re willing to part with a little more cash but would still like to keep dining costs under control, consider heading to Dino in Cleveland Park. It’s a stylish Italian bistro that benefits from its location across the street from the iconic Uptown Theater. For Mediterranean flair with a slightly different flavor, head to funky Zaytinya in Penn Quarter, to sample their mezze and take advantage of happy hour specials.
There’s no denying it: you’re going to feel a little bit of a pinch at these places. But they’re worth it. Blacksalt, tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood, serves outstanding seafood and surprisingly creative desserts. The Oval Room, just down the road from its namesake Oval Office in the White House, boasts a gorgeous, light-filled interior. Prices are steep, but the menu is fresh and filled with modern interpretations of classic dishes (roasted beets, poached lobster). Portion size is good, too.
Maybe it’s better that these restaurants are uber-expensive; it makes them even more of a treat to visit. Komi’s cuisine is frankly stunning. The small menu is a mini-masterpiece of flavor combinations, and the homemade pita bread is addictive. Expect to pay in the triple digits per person, though, if you include wine and dessert. Vidalia serves Southern Cuisine with a French flair and is consistently included among the city’s “best restaurant” lists.
[Photo: Neeta Lind]