Restaurant Week returns today and runs through Sunday, August 21. 236 restaurants in and around D.C. will offer $35 prix fixe dinners and $22 prix fixe lunches. Some deals are phenomenal. Some deals aren’t really deals. And some restaurants don’t need to participate to get us dining out.
This not-at-all comprehensive list features Restaurant Week deals that are actually worth it. And some restaurants that aren’t participating. Whether you’re a carnivore, herbivore or too lazy to make reservations, we have some delicious options.
If you are going to participate in Restaurant Week, make sure you read our handy and helpful Restaurant Week Pro Tips.
5 Restaurants For Meat Eaters
Mike Isabella’s flagship is an easy Restaurant Week choice; rather than the traditional three-course meal for $35, Kapnos (along with Kapnos Kouzina and Kapnos Taverna) offers four courses. (Bumping up to $55 gets you five courses, but you’re looking at a normal night out at that point…Restaurant Week is about finding the good deals.) Start with one of the Greek mainstay’s signature spreads (the taramosalata is on point, briny and sharp), then move on to apps and main like a luscious lamb tartare, housemade falafel with roasted eggplant and tahini, or a spit-roasted chicken (unlike other spots, the chicken here is decidedly not just a concession to picky eaters). Dessert offers the choice of a traditional baklava or a “Greek diner” that pairs a strawberry-rhubarb crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. -Logan Hollers
The perfect choice for those looking for a more laid-back Restaurant Week experience, Daikaya goes all out, offering multiple courses for just $35. Whether it’s Little Bites, Green Things, Skewers, Fish & Meat, Rice, or Dessert, the play here is to come with a group; everyone orders different options, and you’re left with a table full of delicious small plates that everyone can share. Just you? No problem: you’re still set with options like their grilled oyster with miso butter, fried shishito peppers with a fried egg, a skewer full of minerally chicken livers, and the roasted miso salmon with a carrot puree. Daikaya regulars fear not: the grilled avocado with ponzu is an option on the Restaurant Week menu. And for dessert, the perfect encapsulation of summer: roasted sungold tomatoes vanilla ice cream and sweet miso…sound weird, tastes awesome. -Logan Hollers
Real talk: the D.C. food scene, and the national dining community as a whole, lost a giant last weekend with the passing of Michel Richard. Though he was taken too young, Chef Richard’s legacy of innovative flavor pairings and gorgeous plating lives on at his namesake restaurant Central. The bistro is French in name only, ditching the staid, overdone French stereotypes for daring, delicious food that pushes boundaries. Take, for instance, the scallop carpaccio: thin slices of scallop, brightened by acidic lime juice and emboldened with a grassy olive oil. Classic, with a twist. The burger is rightly lauded, but it’s Restaurant Week – go out on a limb and stick with the restaurant’s fried chicken, shatteringly crisp, yet impeccably tender and juicy. A chilled strawberry soup is the perfect finish. Tip of the cap to the team at Central, and pour one out for one of the most influential chefs of our time. -Logan Hollers
For most D.C. denizens, Alexandria is a hike. (Especially with this goddamn Safe Track bullshit.) Restaurant Eve is worth the trip on a normal night; during Restaurant Week, even more so. Chef Cathal Armstrong offers nightly a 5-course tasting menu…for $105. Getting three courses for $35? Delightful. With a menu that leans distinctly Asian (think plump mussels with a naam jim sweet chili sauce or lobster in a ginger sauce), finding three courses here should be no problem. Use the money you saved on dinner for an Uber back to the city – win-win. Fine dining, made accessible. -Logan Hollers
One doesn’t often think of going out for sushi as a “deal,” per se. Those slices of raw fish can rapidly add up to a hefty bill. That’s especially true when dining at Sushi Taro, one of D.C.’s premiere sushi restaurants. Hence, Sushi Taro’s clutch Restaurant Week deal. They hew to the $35 norm, but, like Kapnos, offer four courses. Everyone starts off with a luscious salmon and tuna tartare; after that, the menu is your oyster, so to speak. Choose from a second course menu of miso-grilled black cod, braised pork belly, or panko-fried softshell crab. After that, move on to Sushi Taro’s specialty: pristine raw fish. Pick the 7, 5, or 4 piece option. The 7 piece includes the usual nigiri – tuna, salmon, yellowtail, etc.; the latter two feature some of the more upscale fish – toro, Hokkaido scallop, and sweet shrimp, for example. Wrap up with some mochi ice cream, and you just scored some of the best fish in the city at a price that’s hard to beat. A perfect Restaurant Week choice. -Logan Hollers
5 Restaurants For Vegetarians
This is my first choice for restaurant week (I’m going on Tuesday!) for many reasons. First, the food is divine. Chef John Melfi is incredibly talented and his attention to details means each dish is comprised of ingredients which marry together in the most perfect harmony. Second, Oval Room is definitely on the pricier side so for Restaurant Week you will spend less than if you went any other time. I think that is the point of Restaurant Week. Third, the menu. This year Chef is offering tomato risotto which I have had and it is my favorite dish of the summer. How I will decide between that and a summer corn agnolotti? -Priya Konings
OK, so I may be a fan of the Knightsbridge Restaurant Group’s venues. Bombay Club is an easy choice for Restaurant Week: the serve bangin’ Indian food that is offered for a steal during Restaurant Week. This year options include paneer corn kababs, kale chaat, and banana sticky toffee pudding. -Priya Konings
This place is oh-so-fancy, a place you normally can only afford for very special occasions. Which makes it a great choice for Restaurant Week. Sometimes overshadowed by its younger sister, Fiola Mare, Fiola is the original, and just as good. Make a restaurant week reservation so you can sample some of Fabio Trabbocchi’s fantastic house made pastas, stunning sauces, and irresistible desserts. -Priya Konings
This fun Mexican tapas spot is offering a great deal for restaurant week: you can order three small plates, tacos, and a dessert. The options are incredibly interesting: esquites, sweet potato tacos, salads, mushroom enchiladas, tres leches, and more. The venue is also offering Restaurant Week wine and drink specials. An added bonus: Oyamel’s restaurant week special will go on for two weeks. -Priya Konings
Vegetarians will love the plant based options at this D.C. powerhouse. Sample pasta with a mushroom bolognaise sauce, a slow roasted beet salad, and crispy cauliflower. Vegetarians sometimes get left out of the Restaurant Week menus, but Equinox will take care of you. -Priya Konings
6 Restaurants That Aren’t Participating In Restaurant Week That You Should Still Visit
When we first spoke to the Tail Up Goat team back in December, one thing was for sure even before the restaurant even opened: this was not going to be a place you enjoy eating at, it was going to be a place you enjoyed VISITING. And 6 months later, with a Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurant Of The Year nomination under their belt, we are happy to report the place lives us to the expectations. The food is delicious and never safe (everyone talks about the lamb and the lasagna, but even most humble sounding items are great. For one, the bread based dishes are cooler than any bread based dishes deserve to be), the precisely curated but fun wine menu is probably our favorite in the city right now (including German Riesling Spritzers), the staff clearly LOVES being there, and the bar seating is one of the best foodie people watching in town. And yes, stay for dessert. Bonus: ANY OLE DAY THERE ARE TABLES LEFT OPEN FOR WALK-INS. PLUS, ALL THOSE BAR STOOLS. Take a chance. It is worth it. -Svetlana Legetic
Let’s say time was not on your side when you tried to go to Tail Up Goat. Svetlana is correct, there are usually tables for walk-ins but sometimes there’s not. So go around the corner to Al Volo Osterio, the brand new restaurant from Union Market’s Cucina Al Volo. You’ll remember this Columbia Road space as the old home of Pasta Mia. Unlike Pasta Mia, this place isn’t servicing pasta from a box and sauce from a glass jar. -Brandon Wetherbee
Ardeo is participating in Restaurant Week. Bindaas, located in the old Bardeo space, is not. Executive Chef Vikram Sunderman makes some of D.C.’s finest Indian food. This is his ‘street’ food restaurant, which means it’s much more affordable than the other places he practices his craft, Rasika and Rasika West End. Lucky for you, Rasika and Rasika West End are participating in Restaurant Week for lunch. -Brandon Wetherbee
Joining Tail Up on BA’s Best New Restaurant List is Jeremiah Langhorne’s love letter to Mid-Atlantic cooking. Everything is made over an open fire, everything is sourced locally and hyper-seasonally, and all these facts would feel like gimmicks, if the food wasn’t SO DAMN DELICIOUS. The reservations fill up fast but come early, and snag a seat at the bar or one of the bar tables and dive into the Catfish dip, the Maryland Blue Crab & Cucumber Gazpacho and go from there while your whole self feels like wrapped in Summer. Cocktails are VERY on point too (plus you can make it an extra boozy evening and finish what you started downstairs, with a visit upstairs to Columbia Room). -Svetlana Legetic
Going to Sally’s Middle Name feels like going to your coolest (but also warmest) friend’s apartment for a home cooked meal. The H Street NE spot is a family affair, with every dish that day somehow sounds both completely new and fresh and exactly like the thing you’ve been craving in your food dreams. From fermented turnip fried rice to grilled carrot salads to Masala coconut chicken, one thing is for sure: there is no boring, or unloving meal here. And we dare you to try and not Instagram the general adorableness (we know you can’t resist, but, I mean, be cool about it). -Svetlana Legetic
This H Street restaurant and cocktail bar does not need to participate in Restaurant Week. Add up every item on the food menu and you’re still under $22, the base for a Restaurant Week lunch. So go and order one of everything on the food menu and talk to the bartender. They’re all knowledgeable and will make something you like. I would tell you what I enjoyed but I have no idea what I ordered. I told the bartender what I like, he made a great drink, I told him other spirits I like and he made another great drink. And now there’s a bottle of Falernum in my bar and I’m still not sure what I drank at Copycat Co. -Brandon Wetherbee