April 17, 2024


The Food community

27 Best Washington D.C Restaurants to Take Your Parents in 2022

7 min read

Taking your parents out to dinner? The restaurant has to have two things: good food, and of course, good vibes. (It should also probably be quiet enough so your dad won’t complain about the noise.)  

Whether you’re celebrating an occasion — like grandma’s birthday or your graduation — and looking for a memorable venue with a view, or you’re in the market for a casual Italian spot where the locals dine, we’ve rounded up the best restaurants in Washington, D.C. in almost every neighborhood. These menus all offer something delicious (and affordable) for any picky out-of-town guest or indecisive family member, who will surely be impressed with the following options. Here’s where to make your delectable dinner plans.

1818 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009


In the mood for an upscale diner? Ted’s Bulletin has nostalgic faves like country fried chicken and sloppy joes, while also catering to the vegetarian crowd. The best part, of course, is dessert: be sure to try the Ted’s tarts and the boozy milkshakes.

1401 T St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009


Nothing’s better than homemade pasta. That is, until you pair it with a good wine and an impeccable, intimate setting. Lupo Verde’s menu is on the pricier side — the average pasta dish will run you $28 — but it’s ideal if you’re splurging on a special occasion.

3226 11th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20010


Although Bad Saint — D.C.’s star Filipino restaurant — is not currently doing indoor dining, they have a mean to-go and delivery menu in case you want to bring their iconic flavors home with you. Depending on the weather, you can also try to nab a reservation for outdoor dining. Could be a great option if your parents are too wiped to take the Metro anywhere!

1835 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009


Looking for a rooftop and margaritas by the pitcher? Lauriol Plaza, located by Dupont Circle, has you covered. While rooftop dining is open only on Fridays and Saturdays, swing by on a weeknight for a bustling atmosphere and delicious chips and salsa. There’s plenty of non-rooftop outdoor seating, too.

3221 Mt Pleasant St NW, Washington D.C. 20010


Bakery by day and full-service restaurant by night, Ellē shines with a veggie-heavy menu and spectacular cocktails like the Nectar Collector, which features Japanese whiskey, balsamic fig, and a little bit of lemon. While the menu updates frequently, be sure to try their desserts (hello, honey goat cheesecake with pine-roasted pears!).

99 District Square SW, Washington, DC 20024


Enjoy waterfront views while wining and dining at Bistro du Jour, a new French café on D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront. This is a safe bet for those who are serious about their steak frites. Come by for dinner, and swing back the next day for brunch.

701 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001


Chef José Andrés’ Mediterranean-style venture, Zaytinya, is a definite crowd pleaser. Similar to his other restaurants, Zaytinya’s menu features small plates like hummus or halloumi pita that you can share — so there’s something for everyone to try. And if you’re too indecisive, let the chef’s tasting menu guide the way.

1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20006


If your parents are the farm-to-table types and they also want to check out the White House after din, be sure to take them to Founding Farmers, a New American restaurant with a penchant for fresh and seasonal flavors. Savor a delicious cauliflower steak and skillet cornbread if you lean vegetarian. And if vegetables aren’t your thing, don’t worry — you can’t go wrong with their blue cheese balsamic bacon burger.

1320 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20005


We’d be remiss to not include The Pig — a pork-focused hallmark in the Logan Circle area — in any D.C. restaurant roundup. If your parents are convinced no one can do barbecue like they do at home, bring them here. Debating over jerk chicken sausage and a smoked brisket platter is great conversation fodder and will help take the focus off of them asking you for the umpteenth time what you’re planning to major in.

1401 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, D.C. 20003


You can’t go wrong with old-school Italian. With red booths and dinnerware that remind you of your grandparents, Caruso’s Grocery has a classic vibe that’s simply unmatched at any other restaurant on Capitol Hill. Come for the homey feel, stay for the spicy Neapolitan ragu.

1520 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20005


Pretend you’re in Spain snacking on blistered peppers and patatas bravas. This is the place you bring your out-of-town guests who love to eat off of each other’s plates, trying everything. But hey, that’s the beauty of tapas.

2431 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009


Bond with your parents at Bul, a hip Korean eatery specializing in comfort food. Nosh on Korean fried chicken — the spice level is up to you — and chit chat over a glass of soju. There are also some fusion faves, like bulgogi tacos.

1601 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009


You’ve seen Le Diplomate, an old-fashioned French eatery, in the movies and in the news. There’s a reason why politicians and celebrities alike flock here: the nightly specials are consistently out-of-this world. Definitely book a reservation in advance.

1451 Maryland Ave NE, Washington, D.C. 20002


If you’re looking for a sublime night packed with flavor, Daru’s the spot. Serving creative Indian dishes and cocktails, Daru is one of the hottest new restaurants in D.C. Try the pomegranate aloo, the chicken tikka tacos, and the wild mushroom biryani.

5933 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20011


What’s a trip to D.C. without soul food? Oohh’s and Aahh’s is a staple, Black-owned restaurant that boasts delicious fixings like fried catfish, yams, and peach cobbler. Don’t forget to buy a lemonade for the road after!

1346 T St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009


If you’re craving Mexican, but mom is craving Mediterranean, come by Compass Rose, a truly global restaurant situated in a cozy townhouse (with a private patio!). Split a khachapuri from Georgia and nibble on sambal shrimp from Malaysia.

1967 Calvert St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009


Open since the 1960s, Mama Ayesha’s is an Adams Morgan institution, serving Middle Eastern classics like makloobah, sujok, and kanafa. Enjoy the cozy atmosphere while snacking on labneh.

1227 11th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001


El Sol has everything you could possibly want from a taqueria: a splendid number of taco options, at least 60 tequilas to choose from, and tres leches cake to round it all out. Super casual and stacked with salsas, El Sol is the perfect place to nosh.

1833 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009


Dine like Ernest Hemingway at Bar Pilar, themed after the literary heavyweight. The Logan Circle restaurant serves farm-to-table fare and artisanal cocktails for those who like some food for thought.

1124 23rd St NW, Washington, D.C. 20037


Imperfecto is Chef Enrique Limardo’s latest concept, bringing seasonal, upscale eats inspired by the Mediterranean and Latin America. The restaurant has a beautiful private dining room should you want a more personal experience for a large group.

2321 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009


Savor Japanese-style hot pot at Shabu Plus in Adams Morgan. You can choose from three types of broth — traditional, duck bone collagen, or vegan — and select the toppings of your choosing. Never had wagyu beef? This is the time to try it.

600 Florida Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001


After a long day exploring the museums and Howard University, stop by Quattro Osteria, an experimental Italian restaurant. You can let the chef pick what you’re having for dinner, or you can dive head first into some deconstructed eggplant parmigiana.

1243 Good Hope Rd SE, Washington, D.C. 20020


Those who know, know: Open Crumb is Anacostia’s top Black-owned scratch kitchen, meaning every ingredient is raw. No cans, no frozen goods. If that doesn’t pique your interest, the crabcake sandwich definitely will.

3462 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20010


A Laotian gem nestled in Columbia Heights, Thip Khao serves family-style portions in a sleek space. Slurp as many wok-tossed flat noodles in chili garlic sauce as you’d like. Dishes can be made vegan or vegetarian upon request.

2420 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009


D.C. is known for its wide array of Ethiopian restaurants, but Zenebech is by far the best. Don’t be afraid to get your hands messy — scoop stew with your injera, and savor every minute of it.

1300 4th St SE, Washington, D.C. 20003


If you’re at the Navy Yard looking for something warm and toasty, La Famosa has you covered with delectable Puerto Rican stalwarts like mofongo, pastelillos, and asopao. The restaurant also happens to be very Instagram-friendly with its lively pink tile.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, information listed here may be subject to change. Contact each restaurant directly for more information.

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