The spires of Georgetown University’s classic buildings set the scene for DC’s oldest neighborhood, which today attracts a cross-section of visitors, including pastel-loving preppy college students, Washington’s old guard and young professionals who want to unwind at the neighborhood’s waterfront restaurants. Gourmands in search of great dining will find that high-end options abound in this thriving university neighborhood.
Georgetown’s location along the Potomac River makes it perhaps one of the prettiest places to dine in all of DC. A picturesque view of the Kennedy Center along the banks of the river accompanies diners at restaurants like Sequoia, Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place and Nick’s Riverside Grill, all serving up delectable seafood (and all extremely popular for outdoor happy hours in the summer).
One of the newer waterfront restaurants in Georgetown, Fiola Mare, from local chef and restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi, is making waves for its to-die-for seafood and power list of diners (from Barack Obama and Joe Biden to a former James Bond, Pierce Brosnan). Farmers Fishers Bakers (from the minds behind uber-popular Founding Farmers) also has an address at the Georgetown harbor. The restaurant’s menus are all great, but it’s the brunch menu that has guests clamoring for weekend reservations (Trust us. Don’t miss the cinnamon buns). And if you happen to be arriving in Georgetown by boat, Orange Anchor, will deliver food and drink right to your deck!
Elite Eating at Hotel Restaurants
Georgetown’s luxe hotels house some of the city’s top epicurean experiences. Bourbon Steak in the Four Seasons features James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina’s famed butter-poached steaks; and the lavish Rosewood Washington, D.C. is home to The Grill Room, where diners will find an exceptional menu of carefully curated meats and seafood, paired with impressive wines, whiskies and cocktails from the adjacent Rye Bar. Also tucked inside a high-end hotel is The Alex at The Graham Georgetown. Named for one-time Georgetown resident Alexander Graham Bell, the intimate restaurant features a cool “Steam-Punk” aesthetic spearheaded by local fine artist Maggie O’Neill.
Classic DC Dining
Georgetown predates the city itself by 40 years and while the neighborhood’s top-notch restaurants haven’t been around quite that long, many of DC’s classic see-and-be-seen restaurants are concentrated in this tiny zip code.
For more than two decades, DC notables have been making reservations at Café Milano, a cozy restaurant serving up southern coastal Italian cuisine, while 1789—a restaurant in one of Georgetown’s classic Federal-style rowhouses—has been welcoming distinguished diners with its all-American menu and historic decor since 1960. The latest entrant on the in-demand restaurant scene, Chez Billy Sud, is a tiny jewel box of a dining room that requires reservations well in advance (thanks to fan and foodie Michelle Obama putting it on the map).
Georgetown’s sophisticated student body has helped make the neighborhood a gourmet oasis with their thirst for hip and delicious dining. You’ll find stylish college students packing the bars and booths at many of G-town’s coolest restaurants, like Richard Sandoval’s Georgetown outpost of El Centro D.F., which serves up authentic Mexican fare (and mezcals!). The Sovereign, the latest from local beer legend Greg Engert, focuses on Belgian food and drink served in a masculine but chic dining room (see the chandeliers featuring brass deer heads). For those in search of sushi in a sleek setting, Georgetown’s Maté is a popular pick with its creative rolls and Latin-Japanese menu mashup.
Two more Georgetown hot spots, Malmaison and Kafe Leopold + Konditorei, also serve sophisticated fare and creative cocktails that make for a good start to a long night on the town. Malmaison presents light French food in an industrial chic setting, while Leopold evokes the best of a Vienna cafe (Check out the pastry counter with desserts like the Kaiserschmarrn mit Zwetschkenröster, a pancake with plum and currant compote).