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Presidential Dining

Barack and Michelle Obama support DC with frequent trips to some of the city’s best restaurants. If you can’t get an invite to the White House, these establishments are the next best thing. Get into the American spirit with these First Family faves.

Opened in 1960 in a Federal period home, 1789 is made up of six separate dining rooms, including this one featuring a cozy fireplace.


President Obama and German Chancellor Merkell dined here the night before a state dinner.

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.

Named by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the city's "100 Very Best Restaurants," Acadiana specializes in Louisiana cuisine, with an expansive bar and dining room, along with space for private dining.


Mrs. Obama lunched with two female friends at this Louisiana-inspired restaurant.

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.

Opened by Ben and Virginia Ali in 1958, Ben’s Chili Bowl draws hungry crowds from early in the morning until late at night.


The Commander in Chief has visited this DC staple more than once with fellow politicos.

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.


Michelle Obama visited this close-to-the-White-House wine bar for lunch.

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.

The Source is the creation of Wolfgang Puck, one of the world's most renowned chefs. Known for its Asian cuisine, The Source also features vegetarian dishes and an extensive dessert menu.


Not technically regulars, but the Obamas have been to the Wolfgang Puck restaurant three times.

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.

Restaurant Nora was the first certified organic restaurant in the United States. Featuring seasonal food prepared without chemicals, it is a popular dining spot for environmentalists and politicians throughout the District.


The certified organic restaurant was the perfect place for the "Let’s Move" First Lady’s birthday.

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.


The Obamas visited this Northern Italian-inspired restaurant for a quiet date night.

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.