Enjoy Baklava for Breakfast
Italy meets American at this buzzing pizzeria along the Potomac. It may seem pedestrian from afar, but this pizza party can hold its own among the sea of restaurant week deals. And with both the Nationals and DC United on hiatus, crowds in the area will be far below what they are on a midsummer’s night. It’s serving up a menu of hearty antipasti and pies to brunch and dinner crowds and is sure to settle any craving for cheese, carbs and tomato.
Order: Sicilian disco fries, the egg- and bacon-topped Beltway pizza and a scoop of gelato at brunch. The whipped ricotta crostini, the Buona pizza with tomato, mozzarella and pepperoni and a brownie at dinner.
The flagship restaurant of the Eaton DC Hotel highlights chef Tim Ma’s mash up of Asian ingredients and techniques with American comfort food. Dishes draw heavily upon produce and seasonality, and all have a refined and modern touch while remaining approachable.
Order: The San Marzano tomato bisque, fried chicken sandwich with papaya slaw and spiced tea panna cotta at lunch. Or the potato croquette, rigatoni with butternut squash, kale and Szechuan peppercorns, and the chocolate hazelnut bar at dinner.
This underground bar, which translates to “grandmother,” is the sister establishment of Ambar, popular for its Balkan small plates. It’s a cozy spot to share a drink and some shareable plates. Baba knows its audience, so it’s no surprise its Restaurant Week menu start with a cocktail from a selection of six signature drinks (some beer and wine choices are available, too). From there, guests complete their meal with an appetizer and entree or pasta.
Order: The Serbian Sombrero (pink peppercorn tequila, jalapeno orange liqueur, sour mix, rose water and hibiscus salt), the salmon or steak tartare and the five-hour lamb with mashed potatoes.
U Street Corridor
Try to wiggle your way into Bresca for a chance to taste Michelin-starred cooking on a discount. Executive chef Ryan Ratino’s combination of inventive gastronomy and lighthearted vibes turned heads from its debut and continues to turn up fresh ideas. Snagging a table might be a challenge (hey, there’s always the bar or the hope for cancellations), but the rewards are there.
Order: Sunchokes with sweetbreads and maple, saffron fettuccine with duck ragout and foie gras “cake” pops.
DC’s seen a crop of new Indian restaurants recently, though none have the staying power of Bombay Club. The opulent dining room celebrated its 30-year anniversary last month, and its classic Indian fare continues to be a favorite gathering spot for political power lunches and spice-seeking Washingtonians. It’s offering both lunch and dinner Restaurant Week meals.
Order: Lamb kabob, the vegetarian Bombay thali and fruit sorbet at lunch. Paneer tikka, green chili chicken and chocolate sticky toffee pudding at dinner.
Amy Brandwein's pasta house and Italian market has had so much success that the chef recently announced a fast-casual spin-off across the street. The food here embraces cooking with simplicity, quality ingredients and big flavor. Ditch the stuffy, white tablecloth Italian and soak up the best of the winter season in this date-night ready dining room.
Order: Crispy ravioli with Swiss chard, braised pork cheek with polenta or sea scallop with Tokyo turnip and a flourless chocolate cake torta.
Weave past those waiting for Daikaya's first-floor ramen house and instead stake out a table at its upstairs izakaya. The dimly lit loft is ideal for getting lost in a world of Japanese booze (think sake and premium whiskey) and savory bar bites crafted to match. Both the food and cocktail menus were recently revamped, making it worthy of a visit for regulars and new guests alike. The bar is also offering a few bottles of wine for $35 each.
Order: A daikon “Caesar” salad, fried “karaage” chicken with baccala cream, and the broiled salmon donburi bowl.
Anticipation built for months as Gravitas dealt with lengthy opening delays. Now it’s Northeast D.C.’s hottest new tasting menu destination. It’s a change of pace for the up-and-coming Ivy City neighborhood, which until now was more known for its distillers, brewers and warehouses than fine dining. Chef and owner Matt Baker makes heavy use of vegetables along with high-quality seafood and meats. Everything from the plating to the cocktails is polished without seeming pretentious.
Order: Crispy basmati rice cake with coconut vadouvan curry, roasted Arctic char with creamed Brussels sprouts and roasted purple fingerling potatoes and bread pudding with chocolate cremoux.
Big changes have come to Hazel’s menu thanks to the Mediterranean and Turkish influences of new executive chef Robert Curtis. Gone is the kimchi gnocchi, replaced by a version featuring a smoky poblano pork ragout. And the pita-like laffa bread provides an addicting vessel for scooping up the restaurant’s new selection of dips (and they are worth considering adding on to any meal). Plates are meant to share, so a couple dining at Restaurant Week can easily taste more than three dishes during a meal. There’s also the option to add a family style order of fish, lamb or duck for an additional charge.
Order: Roasted carrots with whipped tahini and harissa oil, charcoal grilled lamb sausage, gnocchi and poblano pork ragout.
Officina’s recipe for success includes a Michelin-starred chef (Nicholas Stefanelli) and three stories of prime waterfront location. Diners can grab a drink and some Italian groceries on the first level before grabbing a dinner of expertly-made pastas paired with grilled meats, seafoods and vegetables. Complete the experience with a cocktail or dram of vintage amaro on its heated rooftop. Note that they are also offering a $40 four-course lunch and a $53 four-course dinner in addition to the $22 and $35 menus.
Order: Bucatini all’Amatriciana, grilled stuffed calamari with potato and prosciutto and a cannoli for lunch. Braised beef cannelloni, pan seared trout with spinach and brown butter and baba au rhum for dinner.