Where do You Eat Out in Georgetown, and Why?

1500 block of Wisconsin Ave.

After GM’s post yesterday about the amount of restaurant closures last year (and GM just realized he left out Rugby Cafe), a friend reached out and asked for GM’s assistance in starting a conversation with Georgetowners about our restaurants. Specifically, he wanted to know where do Georgetowners actually go out when they go out in Georgetown, and why.

GM can only answer for himself, so here goes: the vast majority of times the reality is that GM and family only go out to restaurants in Georgetown because it’s convenient. As a result, very close-by restaurants like Bonaparte and Los Cuates get selected a lot. But a baby is in tow. It is unlikely GM and wife would stick around Georgetown if a baby-sitter has been hired for the night. When that happens they high-tailed it for U St. or H St. NE.

So simple comfort food that’s kid friendly draws the Family GM out when they’re out in Georgetown.

But what about you? When you eat out in Georgetown, do you go to the fancier restaurants like La Chaumiere or Citronelle (when it was open), the touristy M St. joints, or the more local-oriented places like Bonaparte?



Filed under Restaurants

16 responses to “Where do You Eat Out in Georgetown, and Why?

  1. My colleagues and I ofter entertain clients for lunch at local restaurants. We like Farmers Fishers Bakers, News Cafe, Filomena’s and Picolo!

  2. Gee

    The bar at Citronelle was a favorite, and I take clients to Unum or Chaumiere. For a work lunch…..I miss Furins!

  3. Bonaparte is great – especially their lunch special, which you can order through a big part of the afternoon. I’m also a fan of Tacklebox, Bodega, and Filomena’s.

  4. Charlie Eason

    We enjoy Los Cuates, not just because it is close, but great food and service and tasty margaritas! We also frequent Cafe Bonaparte, Billy Martin’s, Cafe Puro and Bistro. We miss Nathans and Furrins.

  5. Raul Bernal

    We’re new to the area and have explored further up Wisconsin like Sprig and Sprout, Surfside, and Rockland’s. I avoid the M street touristy places largely b/c of price. However, we have done Filomena’s and liked it. Puro and Bonaparte are on our to try list!

  6. Tom

    Many choices in Georgetown: for a big night out it’s La Chaumiere; for a fun evening and great food it’s Unum; for a good meal with local friends or visitors from out of town, Martin’s Tavern or Bistro Francais; for an easy, satisfying night out, Don Lobo’s; for lunch al fresco, George’s House of Felafel; Saturday breakfast is Pain Quotidien or Booeymonger.

  7. Carol Joynt

    Missing the bar at Citronelle all the time. Hoping it will return. For now, the usual suspects: Cafe Milano, La Chaumiere, 1789 (and the Tombs), Clyde’s, and, just beyond the border: Bistro Lepic, Sushiko, Rocklands & Surfside.

  8. Gee

    I promise to do the happy dance when the bar at Citronelle opens

  9. Joan Kennan

    We tend. to eat at Martin’s when we want a cozy atmosphere. The food is average but the atmosphere is great. For a special evening, we like La Chaumiere as the food is very good and the restaurant is such a neighborhood restaurant patronized to a large extent by locals.. For very casual dining, we often go to Basil Thai – good Thai food, nice presentation and good service.

  10. Rob

    Nathan’s of course (R.I.P.) or Pied de Cochon (ditto), Clyde’s, 1789, or Billy Martin’s

  11. Diane Colasanto

    All of my favorite restaurants are outside of Georgetown. I’m so disappointed we don’t attract the new exciting restaurants here, though I am very much looking forward to the Italian seafood place I understand Fabio Trabocchi is going to open at the waterfront. That said, we do have some worthy places in the neighborhood– I think Shanghai Lounge on Wisconsin has the best Chinese food in the city; Taj of India is a reliable source of good Indian food; Unum and La Chaumiere both do some things very well and have a warm and welcoming atmosphere (at least this is true of the main room at La C, not their 2nd floor); Bandolero has some fabulously delicious dishes though the atmosphere is awful; Il Canale has great authentic Neapolitan-style pizza; plus, Bonaparte, Martin’s, Luke’s Lobsters.

    We are lucky that just outside of Georgetown there are some outstanding restaurants– Obelisk and Al Tiramisu on P just before Dupont Circle; Rasika West End, West End Bistro, and Blue Duck on or near M St.

    What we need in Georgetown is great sushi! I’ve been a little lost ever since Uni closed on P St. Kaz is great when I want to splurge and the place on MacArthur Blvd. is good for everyday sushi. Does anyone have any suggestions for other places I should try?

  12. I agree with Diane and GM, I think there are plenty of serviceable (and some good to very good restaurants) in Georgetown, but little that is exciting. As a new parent, my wife and I similarly have a two-track dining experience: convenient, comfortable places where we can take an 8-month old, and places that we’re looking to go when we’re not taking him along.

    In the latter category, there are a few Georgetown spots on our list (either that we’ve been to, or are on our list to try eventually), like Bourbon Steak, 1789, and Unum. But there aren’t many spots in Georgetown that are hit a spend-some-money-but-not blow-the-checking-account sweet spot (for us, around $40-50 per person, including a drink, tax, tip) that are also exciting.

    Whereas we can find lots of those options in other parts of the city, either doing classics exceptionally well, bringing a new dining experience, or showcasing local, seasonal, or sustainable food. We have had great (and varied) dining experiences in a range of restaurants like Ripple, Estadio, Boundary Road, Graffiato (and to a lesser extent Bandolero, though the noise is a big turn-off), Kushi, Bibiana, and many more.

    While there are some, it’s a shame that Georgetown doesn’t have more restaurants that get a buzz for their cooking, and not just for who might show up dinner. Hopefully, 2013 will bring more of these. I’m personally excited about Fiola Mare, Malmaison, Gypsy Sally’s, and the place in the Capella Hotel (though that last one will definitely be in the next price range, for very-special occasions).

  13. Carol Joynt

    The reason exciting and interesting and — in some cases — affordable restaurants went elsewhere, such as Penn Quarter, is because landlords give them fair rent in those other locations. When Georgetown landlords finally get the message, and begin to work with happening chefs and quality owners, Georgetown will again be the foodie bomb.

  14. jacquer

    I agree, as two recent examples show.
    One with Food & Wine Best New Chef awardee John Shields, who is looking to open a restaurant in DC, and “’fell in love with’ a non-restaurant location in Georgetown whose landlord ended up backing out of a near-deal.”
    The other being Frederik de Pue, who just opened Table in Shaw and will be opening Azur in the former Cafe Atlantico/Minibar space, who was set on Georgetown, a neighborhood in line with his background in the diplomatic community. But he had driven by the former garage on N Street NW that Table now occupies many times, and the same day that negotiations for a space in Georgetown fell through, he called the garage’s realtor in Shaw.

    Two huge near-misses.

    But at least we’ll be getting high-end Italian food and bowling, right?

  15. Louise Brodnitz

    Totally agree with Shanghai Lounge best Chinese I’ve ever had (full disclosure I’ve never been to China).

    For sushi, we are regulars at Chopsticks, a few doors down from former Nathan’s. The interior is not great, the stairs to the second floor are awful but the sushi is out-of-this-world in our opinion.

  16. Diane Colasanto

    Thanks Louise for the Chopsticks suggestion. I can’t wait to try it!

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