Your guide to the best restaurants in one of DC’s most vibrant neighborhoods
The cosmopolitan nature of Dupont Circle makes it one of DC’s most popular neighborhoods, with its social circle serving as a gathering spot, while shops and museums provide something for every taste. Dupont’s restaurants and bars radiate outward from the central circle and include a diverse mix of marquee restaurants, casual bistros, brunch hot spots and late-night dining options.
Bucket List Meals
Dupont Circle’s fine dining scene hasincluded special occasion restaurants that are worth the bill, but the neighborhood recently became even more buzzworthy with the arrival of DC’s first Michelin Guide.
The gourmet authority awarded four restaurants near the circle with a coveted one-star rating. Sushi Taro, one of the District’s best Japanese restaurants, offers fresh fish in a serene setting. Chef Nobu Yamazaki’s kaiseki, or tasting menu, is not to be missed.
Plume at The Jefferson Hotel, another Michelin star restaurant near Dupont Circle, serves a menu inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s kitchen gardens at Monticello in a dining room that can only be described as sumptuous, along with a wine list of more than 1,300 labels.
Komi provides diners with a dazzling Mediterranean tasting menu night after night, curated by Chef Johnny Monis, who is also responsible for Little Serow downstairs, another rave-worthy restaurant serving up spicy Thai cuisine.
Located inside Kimpton’s Carlyle Hotel, The Riggsby, guided by acclaimed Chef Michael Schlow, is a classic American restaurant for the modern day. The speakeasy-style abode features a menu of simple comfort foods, like homemade French fries and New York strip steak.
Dupont Circle’s neighborhood feel lends itself to low-key dining rooms that attract those who want to break bread and share long conversations with friends. Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café is a neighborhood institution. Patrons love to browse the book selections and then settle in for a meal with friends at the cafe.
Major renovations at neighborhood institution The Dupont Circle Hotel resulted in the transformation of Café Dupont into The Pembroke, a globally-inspired restaurant starring farm-to-table fare. Whether you’re seeking brunch, after-dinner drinks or something in between, The Pembroke and accompanying cocktail bar Doyle are welcome additions to the neighborhood.
The subterranean Urbana, located inside Hotel Palomar, is home to Italian favorites and craft cocktails. The restaurant’s romantic digs make it a great place to linger over a meal with your date. The seafood is so fresh at Pesce that the restaurant doesn’t offer a pre-printed menu. Diners find the catches of the day on a daily chalkboard in this Parisian-style bistro.
City Tap House is a solid option for American fare in a casual gastropub, while the Beacon Bar & Grill's rooftop perch gives diners city views with their meal.
Dupont Circle’s social scene buzzes well into the evening, so numerous bars and restaurants cater to the nightlife crowd. The Topaz Bar and Bar Rouge pour sophisticated cocktails inside the Topaz Hotel and the Hotel Rouge, respectively.
Right on Connecticut Avenue in a rustic-yet-comfortable setting comprised of reclaimed wood and steel is City Tap House Dupont. With an extensive craft beer list and a lengthy late-night menu that doles out Korean short rib tacos until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, this bar-gastropub is a best bet for nightlife neighborhood dining.
Located inside the Embassy Row Hotel, Station Kitchen & Cocktails serves as a coffee shop by day and a social gathering spot by night. Nightlife-loving locals and savvy travelers come together to converse over bottled cocktails and interesting small plates like Mexican street corn salad and Korean fried chicken biscuits.
The Gryphon gives new meaning to the sports bar. The sophisticated spot gives off a masculine vibe with exposed brick walls and tufted leather couches, but a live DJ on weekends and ample space for socializing mean sports won’t be the only focus during your visit.
Russia House has been a longtime favorite in Dupont. The four-story townhouse offers fine dining on the first floor, plus several floors that feature a DJ, dancing and more than 200 kinds of vodka for sipping (or shooting) late into the night.