Indulge in inspired cuisine made from locally sourced and organic fare at these DC dining destinations.
Blue Duck Tavern
Tucked inside the Park Hyatt Washington, this fine American restaurant serves the bounty of the Mid-Atlantic with refreshingly little pretension. Diners enter through the grand front door or like family through the open kitchen. Almost all of the produce – from eggs to crabs (when they're in season) – are locally sourced. Each purveyor receives equal billing to its starring dish on breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. The results are as American as apple pie, which just so happens to be its signature dessert.
Chef Matt Baker has turned a former tomato cannery in Ivy City into the Michelin-starred Gravitas, which highlights delicious farm-to-table fare from the Chesapeake Bay watershed in modern space with plenty of exposed brick. You can choose your own culinary adventure with the flexible four- or five-course tasting menu options, allowing you to sample a range of Baker’s popular dishes (think yellowfin sashimi and a gourmet sticky bun). Green thumbs can get their kicks sipping on cocktails upstairs at the Conservatory, which includes a greenhouse and garden alive with flowers, fruits and vegetables.
The Duck & The Peach
The New American neighborhood spot in Capitol Hill delivers thoughtfully curated menus with a focus on local and seasonal ingredients led by Executive Chef Katarina Petonito. The women-owned and operated establishment sources natural and organic ingredients free of hormones and antibiotics and prioritizes sheep and goat dairy. Taste the difference through menu items like wild mushroom polenta, rotisserie Pekin duck and seared scallops.
If you’ve never had plant-based tacos – or think you already have an idea of how they would taste – then check your misconceptions at the door of Chaia. This District favorite, with locations in Georgetown and Chinatown, exudes light-and-airy positive vibes paired with "farm to taco" fare. Chaia’s sustainable focus pays homage to local producers with delightful combinations like roasted butternut squash with goat cheese, chipotle yogurt and mint pressed between a corn tortilla. The tacos pair nicely with an array of fresh sides, including the fan-favorite green rice with feta, herb pesto and pepitas.
Produce and meat from family farms both regional and national (North Dakota beef!) show up on the menu at this Foggy Bottom favorite, where crowds line up for corn bread, deviled eggs, hearty salads, made-from-scratch pastas and signature dishes like chicken and waffles. Drinks, many powered by house-squeezed juices, are also a star in cocktails poured in the rustic-mod, high-ceilinged space.
Farmers Fishers Bakers
Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Washington Harbour in Georgetown, Farmers Fishers Bakers takes the same farm-first approach to dining as Founding Farmers, but with a distinctive menu that makes for a truly different, but just as satisfying, experience. Farmhouse sushi, house-made pizzas, a range of mussel pots and jambalayas are highlights, and do your best to catch First Bake, when customers can enjoy breakfast selections (to-go, if they’d like) and casual seating for a relaxed setting, complete with waterfront views and Wi-Fi access.
Birch & Barley
555 beers. That should be the leadoff to any conversation regarding Birch & Barley and its upstairs partner, ChurchKey, located on vibrant 14th Street. Of course, Birch & Barley also provides an exciting, upscale dining experience, with a menu sporting local and regional ingredients, informed by the flavors comprising beer sommelier Greg Engert’s immaculately curated beer list. And you can bet the best way to enjoy the menu is with the requisite beer pairings.
With locations across much of the Western United States, this healthy fast-casual chain debuted in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood with much fanfare. The brainchild of James Beard Award nominee Sam Fox, Flower Child was created to provide affordable, made-from-scratch dishes that cater to every diet. So yes, you can bring your vegetarian, vegan and paleo friends here for everything from creative salads and small plates to organic grain bowls and wraps.
A vet of acclaimed Charleston spots like McCrady’s, James Beard Award-winning chef Jeremiah Langhorne explores the cuisine of Maryland and Virginia at this Michelin-starred hot spot in Shaw's Blagden Alley. The open kitchen featuring a wood-fired stove turns out a rotating tasting menu shining with seasonal selections of Chesapeake seafood, farm-fresh veggies and local meats. The throwback setting – a candlelit restored rowhouse – is romantic and relaxing.
Shilling Canning Company
Reid Shilling, the former sous chef at The Dabney, spent two-plus years setting the wheels in motion for his own spot to showcase the delicious bounty of the Mid-Atlantic region. The result is Shilling Canning Company on the Capitol Riverfront, named for the chef-owner’s family company that operated in the Baltimore area during the mid-twentieth century. The seasonally guided menu features a raw bar selection, snacks, a range of small plates and large shareable plates featuring local and regional meats, vegetables and other ingredients. In fact, you can catch Chef Reid harvesting from the front garden every afternoon from 4-5 p.m.
At Dupont Circle’s Hotel Madera, this long-running neighborhood favorite puts seasonal spins on American classics like roasted chicken and roasted pork ribs, while also offering produce sourced from local farmers and purveyors. Complement the bright and modern ambiance with a cocktail from its innovative mixology program. With a commitment to sustainability, the restaurant also recycles used fryer oil and uses recycled and compostable takeout packaging.
Centrolina & Piccolina da Centrolina
Centrolina, which can be found along CityCenterDC's Palmer Alley, is part food market, part restaurant and home to the mastery of Chef Amy Brandwein and her take on regional Italian cuisine. The small-yet-thoughtful seasonal menu relies on fresh local ingredients to transport diners on a culinary journey across the Italian peninsula with pastas made in-house daily and wood-fired meat and fish. Across the alley you'll also find Piccolina da Centrolina, the James Beard Award nominee and former RAMMY Chef of the Year's all-day cafe featuring of wood-fired fare that complements the upscale regional dishes served across the street.
Calling all vegetarians: Fancy Radish is your home-away-from-home on H Street NE. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, this Philadelphia-based eatery from Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby is worth a visit. Unique dishes include a rutabaga fondue served with a soft pretzel (an homage to Philly), while the restaurant’s namesake “fancy radishes” are plated with smoked tamari, yuzu avocado and nori.
For more than 25 years, this Federal period home in historic Georgetown has housed a legendary DC dining establishment. Featuring several dining rooms, antiques dating back to the 16th century and a remarkable amount of elegance, 1789 Restaurant is dedicated to high quality products and local purveyors that have been the hallmarks of this farm-to-table favorite. Good to know: jackets are suggested attire for men.
Rappahannock Oyster Bar
This restored turn-of-the-century oyster shed at The Wharf offers farmed Chesapeake oysters raw, grilled and turned into po boy sandwiches. Mosey up to the waterfront bar and tuck into other dishes like Maryland crab cakes and Virginia-raised beef burgers. Wash it all down with local beers and a long list of interesting cocktails.
Rooster & Owl
Despite its name, Rooster & Owl is not poultry-only. In fact, veggies take center stage on most dishes in the tasting menu-focused restaurant, and you’d be remiss to pass on the charred barbecue carrots with cornbread ice cream (you read that correctly). From the husband-wife team of Carey and Yuan Tang, the Michelin-starred restaurant's name is derived from the nicknames for Carey, who works during the day (the “Rooster”) and Yuan, who is the late-night “Owl.”
The Red Hen
The crackling of the wood-burning oven, bucolic decor that emulates a countryside abode and an affordable, Italian-infused menu have turned The Red Hen into one of the city’s most popular neighborhood restaurants. Pasta lovers will have difficulty resisting dishes such mezzi rigatoni with fennel sausage ragu or squid ink linguini, while those hankering for seafood can savor pan-roasted halibut or grilled octopus. This gem also grows organic herbs from its own plot built by local urban gardeners Love & Carrots.
This Michael Mina restaurant, housed inside the chic Four Seasons Hotel, will be a treat to those who thoroughly enjoy a hearty meal in a sophisticated setting. Local farms and the riches of the Chesapeake Bay power a menu full of classic meat and seafood dishes. Try an 18-ounce dry-aged New York strip or feed the whole group with the Bourbon Steak shellfish tower, a celebration of local and national selections.
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