Iron Gate is located inside a historic mansion’s carriage house, which innately screams romance (and also possibly ghosts but let’s forget about that). The wisteria-covered outdoor patio features a fire pit and is beyond charming, and for colder months you can cuddle up to the fireplace in the indoor dining room. Go all out with the $90 prix-fixe menu or just opt for a few small plates to share and some glasses of vino. You really can’t go wrong either way, with Mediterranean-inspired flavors leading the way for dishes like hearth-roasted carrots and a shaved pork gyro with olive oil fried potatoes.
Iron Gate takes the prize as DC’s longest operating restaurant—it’s been open for more than nine decades. Over time, the space has been a women’s tea room, a Middle Eastern restaurant, and even the place where novelist Tom Wolfe would hang out when he was a staff writer at The Washington Post. Beyond the menu created by chef Anthony Chittum over the past decade, part of this restaurant’s allure is the interior. Most diners secure a seat underneath the wisteria vines which have been there as long as historians have been documenting Iron Gate’s history. However, what most also don’t realize is that the dining room is said to be haunted by ghosts known to play pranks like flickering lights or knocking over chairs.