We originally published this on January 14, but we’ve updated it for the procrastinators among us. Get out there and grabs those reservations while you still can!
OK, so Valentine’s Day is
one month week less than a week away (!!!), on a Friday, and the Friday of a long weekend (President’s Day) to boot. Which means getting reservations is basically going to be a real Hunger Games (we love puns over here!) challenge.
So, while all the amateurs out there are all going to try for the newest, coolest, hippest, buzziest spots here are 10 great, slightly under-the-radar (meaning they do a good job, and they’ve been doing a good job for a while, and that is not news to anyone) destinations that still have room for your romantic meal ahead.
p.s. even if you are not coupled up, make these reservations – these places are delicious any time of the year.
Ristorante Piccolo – The most charming, instagram-worthy exterior of this Georgetown mainstay also offers a truly lovely, high-quality old-school Italian experience w/ excellent martinis and wine list. The lighting scores extremely high on our flattering meter as well.
Reservations for two on Feb 14th are readily available. * Ristorante Piccolo no longer has reservations available, but Aperto still has reservations available and their duck gnocchi rules.*
Tabbard Inn – Is there a single more romantic spot than the Tabbard Inn in this whole city? We think not. If you’re in the mood to feel like you’re in a movie for a night, show up early, get a quiet spot in the corner, then enjoy a fireside drink (or pair it with a bar stop at Iron Gate across the way).
Reservations for two on Feb 14th are readily available. Tabard Inn no longer has reservations available, but if you like a cozy fireplace dining experience, check out Olivia. We loved the octopus.
Bombay Club – Ashok Bajaj’s original Indian restaurant (before Rasika and Bindaas and James Beard nominations and cookbooks and universal acclaim) is a monument to delicious food, perfect service and a vibe that is made for special occasions. (Why don’t more places have a man in a white tuxedo playing a white piano while you enjoy your dinner tucked in a very comfortable booth?) Reservations for two on Feb 14th are readily available.Bombay Club no longer has reservations available, but if you’re looking for some of the best Indian food in D.C., take a trip over to Cleveland Park and stop by Indique. We love their morel vegetable stew.
Floriana – An old school Italian spot that feels extremely special and intimate (and delicious). Bonus – it’s sister bar, Ditto’s (in the basement of the same Dupont townhome), is one of our favorite hidden treasures in the city.
Reservations for two on Feb 14th are readily available. Floriana no longer has reservations available, but if you want to keep it old school, check out Old Europe for authentic German cuisine.
Taberna Del Alabardero – Enjoying Spanish food in D.C. has gone the way of tapas, but Taberna is here to remind you that having a Spanish meal can feel positively regal. The recipient of the honorary RAMMY award in 2019 (it was their 30th anniversary), the menu is classic, seasonal and it offers plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options. Also, possibly one of the finest wine lists in town. Reservations for two on Feb 14th are readily available.Taberna Del Alabardero no longer has reservations available, but if you’re craving some killer Spanish food, check out the very classy Joselito. We adore their brunch (but we bet dinner rules too).
Central – Before there was Le Diplomate, Michel Richard’s Central served brasserie food with an American twist in a sophisticated setting. Get the fried chicken, and definitely leave room for dessert. Reservations for two on Feb 14th are readily available.Central no longer has reservations available, but if you’re looking for a solid downtown dining experience, head to DBGB. We love having a boozy meal there.
Blue Duck Tavern – Consistently one of the best fine dining destinations in the city. You know it, we know it, there’s nothing more to say.
Reservations for two on Feb 14th are readily available. Looking for a nice hotel dining experience? We highly recommend grabbing a room at the Ritz and making a reservation at West End Bistro. They’re an under the radar favorite.
Le Tomate – You probably walk by Le Tomate often (its prime spot in Upper Dupont is hard to miss), but have you ever been in there? A real neighborhood spot, it still maintains a white tablecloth specialness and the kind of service that makes you say, “They just don’t make them like this anymore.” Reservations for two on Feb 14th are readily available.
Kaz Sushi Bistro – Kaz pops up regularly in our Food Writer End-of-Year round-ups, and for good reason. This is the destination if your loved one is a fan of sushi and is looking for a perfectly executed experience in the genre. Get the chef’s table seat if you can. Reservations for two on Feb 14th are readily available.Kaz Sushi Bistro no longer has reservations available, but if you want to scratch that sushi itch, Perry’s is a D.C. institution.
The Occidental – You live in D.C. and you may as well embrace it. Spend this Valentine’s Day in the most old-school, D.C. way possible (and we mean this as a compliment). If it is good enough for multiple presidents, it is good enough for you. Reservations for two on Feb 14th are readily available.
In the meantime…
GOOD LUCK OUT THERE: