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The Most Fun Restaurants in Washington DC

Washington, D.C. has evolved into a melting pot of cultures, offering up regional and international cuisines. The variety of restaurants creates a diverse landscape for foodies, and with so many cool restaurants the D.C. food scene will not disappoint. But where are the smartest, savviest diners eating out? We’ve pulled data from thousands of restaurants to find the top spots among OpenTable's most expert, seasoned diners. From high-profile dining establishments to friendly, fun restaurants, some of the best, food-centric neighborhoods are in the nation’s capital. Each of these restaurants are unique, yet all of them offer consistently great food, service, and most importantly, a memorable atmosphere.

A photo of Otlogo
The OpenTable Team
6 Restaurants
Updated January 14, 2020
Restaurants:O-Ku - DC, BlackSalt, Belga Cafe
Price Range:$$ - $$$
Cuisines:Japanese, Seafood, Belgian
Neighborhoods:Washington, Palisades Northwest, Capitol Hill
A photo of O-Ku - DC restaurant

O-Ku - DC

1333 reviews
If you have never experienced true Japanese hospitality, O-Ku is the place to be. When you combine their unmatched level of hospitality with the freshest ingredients from around the world, you quickly end up with a dining experience unlike any other. As soon as you step into O-Ku, you’ll adore the modern, yet rustic interior. With a menu that features everything from grilled lamb chops to raw tuna, no matter what you feel like, O-Ku will satisfy any craving. Best of all, the open concept kitchen allows you to immerse yourself in a unique culinary experience. You can also head upstairs to hang out in their second-floor lounge, where you’ll find a rare assortment of Japanese whiskeys, premium sake, specialty cocktails, and local beers. Not only is the atmosphere in O-Ku fun and vibrant, but their food is equally captivating. Plated with the utmost respect for the ingredients used, each dish is a piece of edible artwork. Each sophisticated menu item is interesting and elegant, served in a highly social environment. With the area’s only roof deck, you will enjoy sweeping views of D.C. landmarks as you sample each memorable bite.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of BlackSalt restaurant


Palisades Northwest
6304 reviews
If you’re a seafood fan, BlackSalt Fish Market and Restaurant should be at the top of your list. This cool restaurant is not only an upscale tavern but also a sustainable fish market. Critics refer to BlackSalt as Washington’s premier seafood restaurant, mainly based on their commitment to sustainability and the highest possible quality. Serving up lunch, dinner, and Saturday brunch, BlackSalt acquires the most sought-after products from around the globe. From wood-grilled baby octopus to an array of mussels dishes, seafood stew to a whole branzino, you will be pleasantly surprised by the incredible menu options. For those who do not eat seafood, there are a number of chef-inspired, seasonal offerings available during each service. Vegetarians love their vegetable risotto and meat lovers can’t resist their chimichurri marinated hanger steak served with aged white cheddar grits. If you desire a more relaxed experience, you can also order off their bar menu, featuring beer-battered fish and chips, a wood-grilled cheeseburger, Maryland blue crab cakes, and of course, a wide selection of drink specials. For those who have a sweet tooth, don’t miss out on their butterscotch pot de creme or trio of creme brûlée.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Belga Cafe restaurant

Belga Cafe

Capitol Hill
4476 reviews
A concept developed by Belgium native and award-winning chef Bart Vandaele, Belga Café is a vibrant, cool restaurant, inspired by the casual cafes in Brussels. Serving lunch, dinner, and their beloved brunch, Belga Café is the place to try authentic Belgium cuisine while enjoying an extensive craft beer list and a selection of genever — more commonly known as Dutch Gin. The open kitchen provides a more immersive experience, instantly elevating this casual European dining room. Many refer to Belga Café as a little piece of Brussels on Capitol Hill, making it one of the most fun restaurants in the area. In fact, while sitting on their patio, you will feel as though you’re on a mini vacation in Europe. From the dinner menu, start with their homemade paté, spicy cigars of chicken and crab meat, or the Belgian steak tartare. If you don’t opt for one of their famous mussel pots, be sure to try their veal meatloaf, homemade butternut squash tortellini, braised rabbit, or slow-cooked pork cheeks. With sides to share like truffle mac and cheese or deep-fried Brussels sprouts, you can’t go wrong. What makes this one of the most fun restaurants in Washington so interesting is the variety of dishes available, many of which you won’t find anywhere else. This is particularly evident when visiting during weekend brunch. Where else will you find Belgian “French” brioche toast with creme brulee foam and homemade syrup or a Liège waffle with caramelized apples and cinnamon? If you prefer savory dishes, their beer-braised short ribs served with fried eggs, creamy polenta, and garlic bread is a fan favorite.

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A photo of Peacock Café restaurant

Peacock Café

Contemporary American
1696 reviews
First opening its doors in 1991, Peacock Café is a local treasure. A friendly neighborhood restaurant and bar, this cool restaurant offers guests a vibrant, charming interior, as well as seasonal outdoor seating. Serving up lunch, dinner, and their "legendary" brunch, with so many incredible choices, it's tough for even the most frequent diners to choose a favorite dish. During dinner service, start off with one of their classic soups or salads, followed by one of many mouthwatering main dishes. For burger lovers, you will be able to order lamb, salmon, veggie, turkey, or 100% ground chuck. From crab and pesto risotto to grass-fed steaks, pistachio-crusted cod to a pomegranate-glazed roasted half chicken, each dish celebrates American classics with a high-end spin. Speaking of American classics, the sandwiches on their lunch and brunch menus celebrate some of history's most adored people, including Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Humphrey Bogart. Although you can order main dishes during brunch service, including grilled salmon and grilled chicken rigatoni pasta, it's tough to pass up corned beef hash or poached organic eggs served with crab meat, Hollandaise, and fries.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Iron Gate restaurant

Iron Gate

Dupont Circle
2529 reviews
This swanky, cool restaurant dishes up small Greek and Italian plates, in addition to a tasting menu and a high-end brunch menu. There are few places as cozy as Iron Gate, as diners enjoy a candle-lit atmosphere and warmth from the brick-covered fireplace. Their outdoor patio is elegant yet mystical, particularly during the evening. The perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine while sharing a variety of well-crafted dishes, Iron Gate is the perfect place to meet with friend or coworkers. Sample a range of dishes each time you visit, including their chicken liver mousse, crispy catfish, bison tartare, warm pumpkin salad, grilled octopus, and so much more. Their brunch menu is in a league of its own, offering diners lemon-ricotta pancakes, curried cauliflower soup, crispy yeast doughnuts with orange blossom syrup, and baked hen eggs served with rotisserie pork, tomato, chili, and feta. With nearly 400 bottled wines and 60 craft beers, there is something for everyone, at every price point.

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A photo of Dirty Habit | The Glass House restaurant

Dirty Habit | The Glass House

Global, International
Penn Quarter
1674 reviews
Offering diners the perfect blend of New American cuisine and globally inspired dishes, this hip, edgy restaurant is a great place to hang out. The regulars rave about their expertly crafted cocktails and social plates, in addition to their stunning urban patio. Each seasonal menu highlights the joy of shareable plates, encouraging a fun, highly social atmosphere. Whether you pop in for happy hour, are seeking a more formal sit-down meal, or crave some late-night snacks, Dirty Habit is sure to please. With dishes like curry shrimp, housemade gnocchi, and honey-glazed eggplant, you can't go wrong. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, there's a reason why Dirty Habit makes the perfect downtown meeting spot. Catering to all tastes, this cool restaurant will leave a lasting impression.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

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