President Obama took German Chancellor Andrea Merkell to a Georgetown favorite, 1789, in summer 2011. The antiques-filled restaurant consists of two connected townhouses and six intimate dining rooms. Obama and Merkell ordered summer salad, beet salad and beef tenderloin. If you’re visiting, menu favorites also include spring lasagna and leg of lamb with baby vegetables, all served with a side of house-baked bread.
First Lady Michelle Obama had a ladies’ lunch at this Louisiana-inspired restaurant in the summer of 2009. Gumbo, boudin and fried green tomatoes reign as delicious first courses, while crowd pleasers such as soft shell crabs, cornmeal crusted catfish and roast duck with sides of grits or collards are served as mains.
There’s always a line at this down home favorite, where patrons can order a half-smoke with chili and a side of cheese fries. Opened in 1958, Ben’s has hosted many a celebrity, from Bill Cosby, Roberta Flack and President Obama, who has visited with former DC mayor Adrian Fenty as well as French president, Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife-who ate two half-smokes a piece.
The President and the First Lady celebrated Mrs. Obama’s birthday in 2009 at this downtown powerhouse. She must have like it, because in 2011 the First Lady returned with Mexico’s First Lady Margarita Zavala. Chef Todd Gray’s emphasis on seasonal ingredients drives the menu of regional American cuisine. Eggplant frites, tortellini with lemon ricotta, roasted fennel and mussels or Maryland rockfish are a few options that may grace the plate.
Though the name is a nod to the extensive wine collection, Proof offers an array of craft beers and helms an ambitious cocktail program. Lunch is among the favorite offerings, as First Lady Michelle Obama learned in 2011 when she ordered the popular shrimp burger, the lunchtime favorite. The wagyu Philly cheese steak is easily one of the most decadent dishes on the menu.
Wolfgang Puck’s Asian inspired menu is a favorite among Democratic staffers and inspires buzz that has brought in the Obamas not just once, but three times (and maybe more in the next four years). Upstairs the Obamas enjoyed the tasting menu- with arctic char, dim sum, lobster and steak, among other dishes. Downstairs guests can graze at the izakaya, featuring sushi, dumplings and drunken noodles.
This respite in a charming row house was the destination for the First Lady’s birthday in 2010, where the kitchen plated saffron lobster risotto and lamb for the couple and their guests. Dishes at Nora are conceived by Chef Nora Poullion, whose organic restaurant is among the first certified in the nation.
Tosca isn’t just for lobbyists; The Obamas visited the Italian mainstay for date night in spring 2011, where seasonal produce, handmade pastas and generous cuts of meat are among the offerings. Tosca’s northern Italian menu is a crowd pleaser for the pickiest eater to the most discerning gourmand.