Hi, friends! I am back with another installment of my quarterly series where I round up the restaurants I’ve enjoyed in the DC area. Recently, I’ve been able to help several people who are planning trips to DC plan their culinary itineraries and nothing makes me happier—if you’re looking for a DC restaurant recommendation, don’t hesitate to email me or DM me on Instagram!
That being said, I wanted to provide an important update — this will be the last of this Dinner Club series. I am still so passionate about trying new restaurants in and around DC and sharing those with you all. But as I think about how I want to spend the limited time I have to work on on the blog, in 2023, I think the time I spend working on this particular series could be better spent elsewhere. Don’t worry though — I am still planning on highlighting all of our dinner club spots and all my other restaurant adventures over on Instagram and I will update my Dinner Club Restaurant Directory on a regular basis.
Over my “winter break” from my day job, I am also going to work on a post of all my favorite DC restaurants — and I will plan to keep it updated regularly so that you have a handy reference guide to refer back to as needed. I’ve also got a fun roundup planned for the 12 restaurants my real life dinner club went to this year — so stay tuned for that! (Editor’s Note — you can read the post recapping our 2022 dinner club here!)
CAPTAIN GREGORY’S | OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA
I went to Captain Gregory’s with Jennifer several years ago and loved it. I’ve been wanting to get back ever since. My friend Molly came to town back in October and we grabbed drinks after dinner at Blackwall Hitch. (If you’re looking for a great, family friendly restaurant in Old Town, I love it — I just didn’t snap any photos!) If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a speakeasy that was previously located behind a donut shop, named for a Captain Gregory that discovered the donut. Right now, the retail space where the donut shop used to be is empty, but I will be curious to see what they do with it.
I highly recommend getting a reservation if you’re wanting to go to Captain Gregory’s because it’s a really small place. Upon arrival, they provide an a complimentary assortment of snacks — but I definitely recommend going elsewhere for a full meal. The month we went, the cocktails they were offering were a Nordic theme — which, tbh, I thought was a little weird and not all that appetizing. Luckily, this is the type of place that can mix up just about anything, so they made me a twist on the classic margarita, which was great.
ILILI | THE WHARF
For my birthday this year, I asked each of my sisters to take me out to dinner in lieu of a physical gift — it’s nice to spend one-on-one time with my sisters and y’all know that I love exploring the best of the DC dining scene. Lindsey and I went to ilili, which was one of my absolute favorite dinner club spots in 2021. Of all my family, Lindsey is probably the most adventurous eater, so I knew she would love it as much as I would.
We started with their amazing fresh hummus, chankleesh, and warm pita and a few glasses of bubbly. For the rest of our meal, we split the carrots, Brussels sprouts, kebab kerez, and mekanek. And, because it was my birthday, they were kind enough to bring out some baklava on the house for dessert. If you’re looking for amazing food, ambiance, and service, I can’t recommend ilili enough.
MARTIN’S TAVERN | GEORGETOWN
The following weekend, Jennifer and I went to Martin’s Tavern, one of my absolute favorites in DC — especially at Christmastime! For the first time, we sat in the dugout, which is a little room off the main dining room. All the booths at Martin’s are named, and we sat across from Ted Kennedy’s favorite spot, so that was really cool. We had the best time enjoying a slow meal and chatting. We started with bread and clam chowder, and then for my main, I did the Cobb salad with fried chicken — so good.
MAXWELL | NAVY YARD & LOGAN CIRCLE
As of late, I have been to both Maxwell locations in the city — there’s one in Navy Yard and one in Logan Circle, the latter I slightly prefer. If you’re looking for a great spot to grab a glass of wine before or after dinner, Maxwell is one of my go-to places. The location in Logan Circle is a little bit larger and feels a little more mature + moody, which is why I give it slight preference.
SHILLING CANNING COMPANY | NAVY YARD
Our November dinner club spot was Shilling Canning Company! We really enjoyed it and the service was outstanding. It’s done by a former sous chef of The Dabney and a great nod to Mid Atlantic cuisine. We started with the deviled eggs and the fall harvest salad, and then hared the wagyu and chicken ballotine. The wagyu was so, so good — I definitely recommend ordering that if you go.
THE NEXT WHISKY BAR AT WATERGATE | GEORGETOWN
My friend Jackie and I recently went to The Next Whisky Bar at The Watergate Hotel before going out to dinner. It was my first time over to Watergate in a long time, and we had such a great time — I love a good hotel lobby bar! We went around 7pm on a Saturday and had no problem grabbing a couple cozy seats. Jackie went with an Old Fashioned and I went with a glass of bubbles.
LUTECE | GEORGETOWN
Following drinks at the Watergate, Jackie and I ate dinner at Lutèce, which is hands-down one of the best meals I’ve had all year! The spot is so cozy, service was great, and the food was excellent. They have a prix fixe menu, but we did à la carte, which I would definitely do again. We started with some amazing sourdough bread and butter, the best carrots, and then we both did the mushroom gnocchi as our main. I can’t wait to get back to Lutèce soon!
FITZGERALD’S | GEORGETOWN
Fitzgerald’s had been on my list for a while and I am glad I recently was able to check it out! Located right next door to 1789 and upstairs from The Tombs, Fitzgerald’s is a good balance between the high-end 1789 and the college haunt that Tombs is. It truly was the perfect place for a pre-dinner drink! It was quiet, there was ample comfortable seating at the bar, and the bartenders were super friendly and helpful. I would love to go back for a proper meal soon.
1789 | GEORGETOWN
Following Fitzgerald’s, we concluded another great year of dinner club at 1789! It was my month to pick and this DC institution had been on my bucket list for years. We so enjoyed it and it would be a great place to celebrate a special occasion or take your parents! As is custom in dinner club, we shared everything family style — we started with some delicious bread, scallops, and ravioli, and then rounded out the meal with the lamb, braised wagyu short ribs, Brussels sprouts, and pomme rosti. Everything was wonderful and I can’t recommend this special spot enough!