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Capitol Hill Restaurants

Formal and family options make the Hill a must-eat destination.

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Celebrity chef Art Smith is behind the success of Art and Soul at the Liaison hotel on Capitol Hill. After coming to fame as Oprah Winfrey's personal chef, Smith has also competed on Bravo's "Top Chef Masters."

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Art Smith's friendly restaurant even seats dog lovers on the "Pooch Patio," which offers a menu for Fido.

Look to this classy restaurant for small batch production wines – their list landed them on Wine Enthusiast's America's 100 Greatest Wine Restaurants of 2011. The owner – the former chef for Oprah Winfrey – blends southern flair with modern twists (brown butter roasted skate comes to mind). Dog lovers and owners can dine on the Pooch Patio, which has a special dog menu to include a 6 ounce grilled steak for the most spoiled of Fidos.

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Pair traditional Belgian dishes like steam mussels with crispy fries and Northern European brews.

Belga combines Asian flair with traditional Belgian styles with mussels and crispy frites. As expected, the Belgian beer list is impeccable, including its own selection of house brews. But Belga also does the beertail (short for “beer cocktail”) thing well. Try the Apple Beer-Tini: apple beer sorbet, marinated apples and apple vodka. The chef-owner Bart Vandaele appeared on “Top Chef: Seattle.”

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Southern cuisine is served inside the suite where presidents used to privately board trains at Union Station.

Get your soul food here: B.Smith's is all about Cajun, creole and southern cuisine served inside the former President's Suite, where commanders-in-chief used to privately board their trains at Union Station. It'll probably be the only time you can say you ordered a “Swamp Thing” (mixed seafood dish over greens in a mustard seafood sauce) in a beautiful Beaux Arts style dining room.

Charlie Palmer Steak prides itself on serving "big, bold American food," including aged Angus rib-eye and a range of seafood. Its wine list features over 600 American selections. Private dining space is available.

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Join politicos for wheeling, dealing and dining at this steak joint when the House is in session.

Politicos wheel and deal over drinks at this upscale steak joint, so come when Charlie Palmer is liveliest, after 5:30 on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings when the Senate is in session. You might just score a sight of celebrities and well-known members of Congress. Dress the part by looking professional; then you're ready for Dirty Politics. Ah-hem, we mean the signature drink.

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Enjoy a vibrant weekday oyster and clam happy hour, and live music on Saturdays.

On nice days, sit on the extra-large outdoor patio for cocktails and spot famous Fox News and CNN television personalities, who work in the building next door, walking by. This is also Fox and other Hill staffers' go-to for happy hour, which features mini burgers, charbroiled oysters, wings and a seasonal cocktail menu. Oysters on the half shell and Rappahannock clams are a must any time of year, but enjoy them over live music on Saturdays.