TGIF! As of today, DC restaurants can be open again at 100% capacity—and I am so excited for them. Since I am fully vaccinated and most of my friends are, too, I’ve been eating out a lot more and am excited to share some of the places I’ve been wining and dining at lately around the DC area—there are so many good ones on the list!
Since we have a lot to cover today, I’ll jump right into the restaurant reviews, and I’ll be back at the end of the summer with another DC Dinner club roundup. You can read past dinner club posts here—I’ve reviewed restaurants of all cuisines and price points across the DC area, so I hope it’s helpful!
THE POINT DC | BUZZARD POINT
Ok—I am obsessed with The Point, which is Fish & Fire Food Group’s newest restaurant. Located in the heart of DC’s newest waterfront destination, Buzzard Point, it’s just a few blocks away from Audi Field and Nats Park. Their amazing patio overlooks the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, and it was so nice to enjoy unbeatable sunset views with the fire pit going and a glass of rosé in my hand. (The inside of the restaurant also offers an insane panoramic view, so you really can’t go wrong no matter where you sit!)
We started off with the crab doughnuts and hush puppies, and I am not exaggerating when I say those hush puppies were the best I ever had. For dinner, we split a mixed green salad, the crab cakes, and the smashburger—so, basically, my dream meal. We all but shut their patio down—this was such a fun spot to be and I can’t wait to get back.
The Point DC invited in for a complimentary meal, but all opinions are my own. This place was AMAZING and I think it will quickly become one of the hottest restaurants in DC this summer because the views are unbeatable and the food is great—not to mention its proximity to Nats Park and Audi Field.
THE EASTERN | EASTERN MARKET
I am obsessed with The Eastern! My friend Stephanie and I met for happy hour here on the first warm day of spring and it was such a highlight to sit out on their patio after a pretty gloomy winter. I did a glass of champagne and it came in an old school coupe glass, which was such a fun touch. We split a cheese + charcuterie board for dinner, but they had some other great options, too, if an “adult lunchable” isn’t really your thing.
I got to happy hour a little early and spent a little bit of time walking around the Capitol Hill neighborhood before heading to the restaurant—everything was blooming and it is such a beautiful area!
SALT | ROSSLYN
Salt in Rosslyn has been on my list for a long time, and in April, Kristyn and I went for girls’ night one Friday night. We loved it and I would highly recommend this spot—plus, they have matchbooks! To start, we split the burrata and the tuna tartare nachos. We then both did a burger and fries—in hindsight, we probably could have just split the fries, hah! The burger was amazing, the fries weren’t as crispy as I prefer, but still great.
They offer happy hour from 5-7pm, which we took advantage of: $2 Off – Draft Beers, $3 Off – Seasonal Cocktails, $4 Off – House Wine, $5 Off – Wagyu Burger.
Salt is really known for their cocktails and had an awesome selection. It’s also the type of place where you could tell the bartender what you’re looking for and they can mix you up something you’d like. I am not a huge cocktail person (I know), so I stuck with wine, but wanted to flag in case you’re a cocktail connoisseur.
LULU’S WINEGARDEN | U STREET
I’ve actually been to Lulu’s twice this spring—and went several times last summer, too! It’s just such a great casual spot. I’ve eaten inside, out front on the street (pictured right above), and in the back patio, and the latter is my favorite place to be—it feels like an oasis! I’d highly recommend getting a reservation as this place is popular—and they let you pick where you’re going to sit on the reservation.
They’ve got a great QR code ordering system so you don’t have to flag a waiter down to get another round of drinks, you can just order it really easy from the webpage the QR code brings up. I’m a big fan of the queso, the burger, and the avocado Caesar salad with friend chicken.
ALBI | NAVY YARD
I don’t have enough good things to say about Albi—it was SO GOOD and my favorite restaurant on this list by far. Get yourself. reservation as soon as possible. I think it was my favorite dinner club spot (this was our April pick!) since Maydan.
Like Maydan, Albi specializes in traditional Levantine food. Everything we ate was delicious and we had leftovers for days. We started with the lamb hummus and the mushroom hummus. Both come with this amazing fresh pita. We liked the lamb hummus more, but both were great. We also did the sfeehas to start, which are lamb meat pies.
For our next course, which was my favorite, we did the carrots, the tuna tartare, and the batata harra, which was this amazing potato dish. We fell in love with toum at Maydan—it’s a garlic condiment popular in the Levant region—and we ordered extra pita to eat all the toum that this course offered. (And then I even took some home to eat for breakfast the next day—hah!)
For our meat course, we did the lamb kebobs an the smoked chicken. We were so full by this course, but we somehow found room for dessert. Usually I am not a huge dessert person and skip it, but at Albi, I highly recommend it. We did one of the soft serve ice creams, which was so good, and the kanafeh, which is a traditional Middle Eastern dessert.
ESPITA | SHAW
Espita is a modern Mexican food restaurant in Shaw with a beautiful patio! I went with my friend Jackie in April, and while we were there on a chillier night, they had heaters going and it was lovely. What’s cool about Espita is that in addition to Mexican food, they have Ghost Burger, which is a “ghost kitchen” that operates out of Espita. So you can either order off the Espita menu or the Ghost Burger menu (which you can also order for takeout/delivery).
We did a mix of both and started with guac and margs, and then did burgers and fries as our entrees. We shut this place down and they had an awesome playlist!
PINSTRIPES | NORTH BETHESDA
The Saturday before Easter, my sister, Jennifer, and my cousin, Kara Marie, and I went to Pinstripes for brunch. We were really hoping for warm weather, but we went during that period of spring when the weather is really hit or miss. It was on the chillier side, but we sat in the sun on their rooftop and had a great morning regardless. I had only ever been to the Pinstripes in Georgetown before, but the one in North Bethesda is huge! They’ve got bocce and bowling, in addition to the full service restaurant.
We had ourselves a brunch feast—avocado toast, flatbreads, bacon, breakfast burgers, and fried chicken sandwiches. It was all delicious; they do “bar” food really well. And, we loved the $18 bottomless mimosa deal! You can mix juices—OJ, cranberry, or grapefruit—which makes it fun, too.
Our Pinstripes meal was complimentary thanks to the team behind Pike & Rose. I wrote a post about our time at Pinstripes for local blog Sonder / Sway, which highlights some of the best of the DMV. All opinions are my own!
SCREWTOP WINE BAR | CLARENDON
No surprise here—another big shoutout for Screwtop! I’ve written about them countless times before, but this is my favorite wine bar ever and it’s located right in the heart of Clarendon. I’m a member of their rosé wine club, which is $40/month and gets you two bottles of wine picked by Screwtop each month, 10% off bottles in the retail shop, and 5% off your bar tab. It is such a great club—and such a nice way to support a local restaurant.
We mostly recently ate on their patio to celebrate my sister Jennifer’s birthday—I’d definitely recommend getting a reservation because they are always busy! They have the best wine flights, which they switch up monthly. In April, they had a great sparkling flight that went so well with the best nachos in town (make sure you get the pulled pork!).
SEQUOIA | GEORGETOWN
I hadn’t been to Sequoia in years—I went for NYE party once, my old work had a holiday party there, and I went for bottomless brunch back when I was on the brunch circuit as a 22-23-year-old. I am so glad that I went back—I forgot what an amazing view they had from their patio. It overlooks the Potomac River and The Kennedy Center and was the perfect spot for a girls’ night happy hour!
We decided to split a bunch of appetizers to pair with our Whispering Angel—flatbread, burrata, calamari, ceviche. It was a great way to keep costs down since their entrees are on the pricier side (views usually come with a price!). I would love to get back to Sequoia as soon as possible because this was just such a fun night.
IMPERFECTO | FOGGY BOTTOM
Imperfecto was dinner club’s May spot and the architecture of the restaurant itself is absolutely stunning and the service was incredible. It’s done by the same chef as Seven Reasons, which was a dinner club spot a couple of years ago. The food at Imperfecto was delicious, but it was very pricey for relatively small portions—which is probably my biggest complaint with super fine dining in general. By contrast, our April dinner club spot, Albi, was slightly less expensive and the portions were huge and we had leftovers for days. So I guess personal preference would state I’m probably more of a three $ dining gal than a four $ dining gal—but I do think Imperfecto would be a great celebratory spot, it probably just wouldn’t be my first recommendation for girls’ night or date night.
One big way Imperfecto scored points with me was that they have brut rosé on the menu—it’s my obsession as of late and not everyone has it! To start, we did the moussaka and burrata. For our vegetable + fish course, we did the Egyptian KFC, which was this amazing crispy cauliflower and my favorite dish of the night, steak tartare, ricotta ravioli, and spinach risotto. To finish out our feast, we did the chicken + mole and braised lamb. Taylor and Julie split an eclair for dessert, but I skipped out in favor of another glass of sparkling!
SUMMER HOUSE SANTA MONICA | NORTH BETHESDA
Last weekend, my sister, Jennifer, and I did a staycation at Canopy Hotel at Pike & Rose, and we went over to Summer House Santa Monica for dinner. It’s been on my bucket list for years—there’s also one in Chicago!—and it didn’t disappoint. We were able to sit outside on such a lovely evening; it was warm, but the DC summer humidity hasn’t settled in yet. The atmosphere was also really fun, it really did give me California vibes.
We split a pitcher of summer sangria and did the homemade burrata to start. For dinner, we split the mashed potatoes—#priorities—and then I did the Costa Mesa salt with grilled chicken. I love a southwest salad and this one was so good! Jennifer did a sausage and pepperoni pizza that she said was great.
ST. VINCENT WINE | PARK VIEW
My friend Jackie and I were able to check this place out on a Friday night and it was the perfect spot to post up for a few hours. Inspired by Bacchanal Wine in New Orleans, it’s a no-frills wine bar with a beautiful back patio. They’ve got a huge selection of wines—all of which you have to order by the bottle, just a heads up—and offer 25% off bottles if you’re grabbing them to-go. In terms of food, they offer a selection of small plates and cheese + charcuterie—we made our own board and it was really delicious and fun to order. If you’re super hungry or in the mood for a full meal, this probably isn’t your place—but if you’re looking for a great spot of share some snacks and wine with friends, add St. Vincent Wine to your list!
I’d definitely get a reservation since this is a popular spot—and a heads up that they’ve got a two-hour time limit on the tables that they do enforce.