Food & Drink

Here are DC's hardest-partying dinner destinations

Laura Hayes Published On 12/06/2013 Published On 12/06/2013
BNOYL Party Dinner DC
Laura Hayes

You're going out on the town, and at some point, you'll need to eat dinner, so we've rounded up DC's best spots for a party-filled meal that won't put a dent in your momentum.

Laura Hayes

Ping Pong Dim Sum
Chinatown
There’s something insanely competitive about seeing how many dumplings you can throw down as a collective group. So do it (and make sure you put the other tables to shame) -- at Ping Pong Dim Sum in Chinatown (or Dupont Circle). Alternating between sips of stiff tropical drinks and bites of fluffy char sui buns will keep you busy for a while, but save room for chocolate banana Spring rolls.

Robert Wiedmaier Restaurant Group

Brasserie Beck
Mt. Vernon
It's the perfect place to party if you're dealing with a combo platter of beer AND wine lovers, because they crush it at both. With a glass to match every Belgian beer and a wine program that requires its own room, it's a lock that you'll find the perfect pairing for steaming bowls of mussels and platters full of charcuterie. Reserve a cozy little alcove and get down to business.

Greg Powers & Audrey Crewe

Zaytinya
Metro Center
Pass around plate after plate of Jose Andres' addictive Mediterranean mezzes, and don’t worry about rationing their possibly even MORE addictive bread, it just keeps coming. Also, get out of your comfort zone when it comes to wine. This is not a cab sav kind of joint. Points to anyone who attempts to order Ökügözü.

Hill Country

Hill Country
Penn Quarter
If you like to party protein-style, get sauced with two kinds of brisket, beef ribs, pork ribs, beer can game hen, and every appropriate side (that onion-topped green bean casserole doesn't have to be reserved for Thanksgiving). Also saucy: the pitchers of Shiner you'll wash everything down with. 

The Hamilton

The Hamilton
Downtown
If you like dinner to come with more booze than you know what to do with (five different bars!) and a side of live music, hit The Hamilton (don't hit George Hamilton, even if he's randomly there) and lay a base with a menu that spans from snackage like cheese tots and arancini to sushi to grass-fed burgers.

Founding Farmers

Founding Farmers
Downtown
Make your way from apps you can grab like brown sugar-glazed bacon lollies to comfort-ness like Low Country shrimp & grits, but it's with making some room at the end the best damn red velvet cake in the District. Actually, before you go cake, get a set of three "Dogs and Rolls" with options like crab rolls, balsamic onion bacon dogs and pastrami rolls. This is why you brought friends.

Lisa Shapiro

Carmine’s
Penn Quarter
Nothing says party more than a little mafia-esque ambiance and a pile of spaghetti bigger than Bobby Bacala. They’ve got room for 700 carbo-loading mobsters (or just like, regular folk) who are sick and tired of small plates. After scarfing down family-style Italian classics, have them stick your birthday candle in a cannoli, whether it's your birthday or not.

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1. Hill Country Barbecue 410 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004 (Penn Quarter)

Because there's nothing more American than Texas, Hill Country Barbecue brings the live music capital to the actual capital. All their meats are Lone Star state-inspired, smoked in-house with a dry rub, and served by the pound. Hill Country also offers classic Texas indulgence like Big Red Soda (for you Yankees, that's a red cream soda) and Blue Bell ice cream.

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2. Ping Pong Dim Sum 900 7th NW, Washington, DC 20009 (Chinatown)

Pong covers 7000sqft of dark wood tables, low-hanging lamps, and lattice-work accented bars, and is serving up delicious dim sum alongisde Eastern-inspired cocktails.

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3. Brasserie Beck 1101 K St NW, Washington, DC 20005

From noted chef Robert Wiedmaier comes the European-style Brasserie Beck in McPherson Square. Brews include classic Belgian styles like dubbels, tripels, and saisons, while eats count options like a ratatouille crepe, classic steak frites with bearnaise and bordelaise, and Maine lobster pappardelle. Maine is notably not in Belgium, but doesn't that sound damn good?

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4. Zaytinya 701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Downtown)

This airy Mediterranean spot, with Greek, Lebanese, and Turkish influences in its fare, is overflowing with flavor -- and light. Massive floor-to-ceiling windows line the space headed up by Chef José Andrés. Be sure to bring along your family and friends, and have everyone dig into a variety of the menu's shareable small plates (mezze), like spice-rubbed lamb kebab and pan-roasted sweet breads. You'll also find traditional salads, soups, and flatbreads in the lineup, plus a vegetarian-friendly mezze menu that's worth a try whether or not you're meat-free.

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5. The Hamilton 600 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005 (Capitol Hill)

Within walking distance of the White House itself, this traditional American eatery blends upscale-casual dining with live music. There’s a noticeable maritime focus on the menu, as regulars salivate over popular plates like jumbo lump crab cake, gingerly plated over a swoop of vibrant zucchini puree or available as a sandwich with fries and slaw. The decor blends modern tastes with Belle Époque flair (think mahogany woodwork interspersed by framed contemporary artwork, lit by art nouveau-inspired chandeliers), but the vibe is casual and unpretentious, making it a worthy outing for locals and visitors alike.

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6. Founding Farmers 1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006 (Foggy Bottom)

This spot was doing farm-to-table before it was even cool; enjoy your tasty, sustainable, family-farmed eats in a LEED-certified setting that's as green as the food.

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7. Carmine's 425 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004 (Penn Quarter)

The District incarnation of "NYC's legendary family style Italian restaurant", Carmine's is a sprawling behemoth, with a huge circular bar anchoring a 670-seat dining room covered in 500+ photos (...of old Italian people...), in total 20,030sqft, officially making it DC's largest eatery.

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