Although it's known more for political fighting than love, Washington, D.C. is home to its fair share of romantic eateries. But just like finding great love, D.C.’s most charmed restaurants can be found where they are least expected. These five picks throughout the D.C. metropolitan area have the cuisine and ambiance to make for an unforgettable evening.
A stroll through D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood is evocative of the past, and visiting 1789 Restaurant, located inside of a renovated Federal house, feels like stepping back in time. American antiques fill the five dining rooms and period equestrian and historical prints deck the walls, reinforcing the restaurant’s old-timey vibe. A favorite of politicians — President Barack Obama has dined here — the menu features creative, seasonal American fare like wild mushroom crepes and tagliatelle served alongside Nantucket Bay scallops, Manila clams, white shrimp, and sweet basil. The restaurant’s commitment to sourcing local food is evident in its offerings — the menu often details where various cuts of meat originated. To finish the meal, enjoy a choice of French press coffee, loose-leaf teas, cheese plates, or offerings such as strawberry chiboust, with pistachio ice cream and financier, fresh berries, a candied violet meringue.
Don’t let the fixed-menu prices, starting at $158 per person, and the one-and-a-half-hour drive from D.C. scare you away from The Inn at Little Washington. It has the distinction of being one of the area’s best and most romantic restaurants, and ranked number 35 on The Daily Meal’s 101 Best Restaurants in America list. The dining room is decorated with rose-colored silk lampshades that give each table its own private "glow." The restaurant’s seasonal menu changes daily and pays homage to French cuisine, but incorporates modern elements, too. Diners may be served dishes like spicy sesame-crusted ahi tuna tartare with cucumber sorbet, aged Gouda macaroni and cheese with Virginia country ham, prosciutto-wrapped veal loin with ravioli, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms, and desserts like the Seven Deadly Sins, which includes a sampling of seven of the restaurant’s desserts. To really go all out, consider staying at the inn. Its 18 bedrooms and suites are filled with English furniture and provide guests with gorgeous views of Virginia countryside. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds reportedly stayed here while on their honeymoon last year, so if it's romantic enough for these celebrities, it's should work for you too.
Tucked inside the luxurious Jefferson Hotel in D.C., Plume offers diners a plush, cozy setting — complete with a fireplace — and inventive cuisine. The restaurant’s seasonal menu takes its inspiration, in part, from the produce in the kitchen gardens at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home in nearby Charlottesville, Va. The $85 fixed menu includes an amuse-bouche prepared fresh daily and an appetizer, entrée, pre-dessert, petits fours, and dessert. Appetizers include Maryland blue crab risotto and rabbit charcuterie, and entrées include Moulard duck breast with seared foie gras, coconut madras curry sauce, and apple and date chutney, and Path Valley Farms stuffed heirloom vegetables with red candy onions with pearl barley, heirloom tomato pickled eggplant, and yellow tomato vinaigrette.
Just a few minutes from the bustling Capital Beltway in Falls Church, Va., 2941 feels like an urban oasis. Diners walk past a koi pond and lush garden before entering a dining room framed with floor-to-ceiling windows. Modern Mediterranean cuisine is the highlight, and guests can look forward to small bites like spiced duck samosa and butternut squash soup, pastas including chestnut raviolini and egg yolk ravioli served with spinach, ricotta and mushrooms, and more heartier fare like Virginia beef rib-eye and roasted duck breast.
French restaurant La Ferme is housed inside an old country house in downtown Chevy Chase, Md., and exudes charm. Expect live piano playing, a fireplace, warm lighting, and French country furniture and décor. The menu includes traditional French cuisine like foie gras, French onion soup, and pan-seared filet mignon, but also offers braised lamb shank simmered in Moroccan spices and pan-seared jumbo sea scallops with pumpkin ravioli served with Swiss chard and sage-brown butter sauce. Desserts include honey-vanilla crème brûlée, pumpkin cheesecake, and choice of Grand Mariner, amaretto, chocolate, or hazelnut soufflé. If ordering a soufflé, be sure to ask for it when requesting the main course so the kitchen has time to prepare.