6 Washington, D.C.-Area Restaurants with Colorful Settings
March 4, 2013
Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café is a bookstore, restaurant, and a Washington, D.C. institution since 1976. Browse the latest book titles at the front of this Dupont Circle shop, and then head to the podium in the back of the bookstore to get a table. The restaurant is located in a greenhouse-style, open- air room called the "solarium." Those walking on the sidewalk beside the solarium watch as diners eat in an open setting complete with high ceilings and plenty of windows that still manages to feel private. When the weather is nice, guests can sit outside. The restaurant dishes out a mix of classic and innovative fare like crab quesadillas, butternut squash ravioli, and D.C.-inspired plates like Obama family chili, made with ground beef shoulder, spices, tomato, sweet peppers, and sour cream.
P.O.V. Bar and Roof Terrace
Sure, a rooftop bar isn't exactly the most creative setting ever, but the views of the D.C. skyline from the W Hotel’s 11th-floor P.O.V. Bar and Roof Terrace are unparalleled. It could take an entire day to see the Washington Monument, the White House, and the Lincoln Memorial, but are all in view from the comfort of this lounge. Two outdoor bars serve cocktails like Mai Tais and mint juleps, and the lounge itself dishes out cuisine ranging from classic offerings like jumbo shrimp cocktails, Maryland crabcake sandwiches, grilled cheeseburgers, and walnut fudge brownies to inventive fare like rice cracker-crusted tuna, truffle and Fontina cheese pizzas, and crème fraîche cheesecake.
Built in 1883, Old Town Alexandria’s Columbia Firehouse used to be home to a local fire company. Although the fire department left the building long ago, the exterior, for the most part, remains unchanged, and the interior is still reminiscent of a place where firefighters would spend time. Expect antique-looking light fixtures, exposed brick walls, and a spiral staircase. Menu items include salads, sandwiches, and seafood dishes including seared diver scallops with couscous risotto, cherry tomatoes, and arugula pesto, and mussels with chorizo, saffron broth, garlic, and green apple.
Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen serves nouveau American cuisine and is located inside a foundry that’s next door to a glass-blowing studio, where, if it’s warm outside, visitors can watch glass being shaped. Once diners get inside the place, they can expect a warm, industrial feel with an all-glass front, exposed bricks, and wooden décor. When the weather’s nice, guests have option of sitting outside, too. The restaurant relies on local suppliers from the nearby Chesapeake region to supply its food, and this is evident in its options, with dishes like smoked Maryland rockfish and oysters from the Chesapeake. But this modern haunt also keeps it down to earth with desserts like butterscotch pudding and ice cream sundaes, and snacks such as half-sour pickles and Lancaster County ladyfinger popcorn. Best of all, most plates here are $30 or less.
Severn Inn, located in Annapolis, Md., is literally right on the water. If it’s nice outside, guests can even eat on one of the restaurant’s two wooden docks. While diners look out over the shimmering water, they can feast on a variety of seafood. The menu includes the typical — crab bisque, baked oysters and crabcakes — and the daring — olive oil-poached Ecuadorian mahi, spicy lobster Bolognese and Salvadorian seafood stew.
Spa World, as its name would suggest, is a giant Korean-style spa (complete with saunas, a jet-filled pool, fitness center, and lounge areas) that’s open 24 hours a day and also includes a top-notch restaurant inside. Sure, you have to pay $40 to get into the spa (price of admission is good for 12 hours), but it’s worth it. The restaurant serves traditional Korean fare like bibimbap and bulgogi in addition to buckwheat noodles, chicken wings, and dumplings. Guests pay for their food using a bracelet given out when they first enter the spa, so they don’t have to worry about grabbing their wallets from their lockers down the hall.