The Best Dining in DC!


So far you’ve seen how we sipped, cupcaked and hiked our way through DC and it’s surrounding areas, but what…about…the FOOD?

Well, thanks to my in-laws, we ate like friggin’ KINGS during our trip. Seriously, I have no idea how we all didn’t walk away 10lbs heavier! The dining options in Washington DC are seriously endless, and Ben’s parents knew exactly where to take us. I’ll take YOU through two of my favorites! :D

First up – drinks & dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill on Capitol Hill in the heart of DC.


Located right down the street from POV Rooftop Lounge, and even closer to the White House, Old Ebbitt Grill was recommended over and over (and over and over!) by people who have visited/live in DC. I squealed when my FIL told me we had reservations there for the evening after we arrived!


OEG was established in 1856 and has been a favorite for famous names such as U.S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley & Teddy Roosevelt over the years. These days it’s a popular Capitol Hill watering hole and restaurant for journalists, political big-wigs and…people like us! ;)


Decorated in rich mahogany, velvet, marble and iron, Old Ebbitt Grill feels sophisticated, but cozy.


The menu is shaped around classic American recipes and features tons of fresh seafood (at pretty reasonable prices, I might add) homemade pasta, and steak, steak, steak! More on that in a minute. ;)


We arrived for our dinner reservation a bit early so we settled into the adjoining bar & lounge for a pre-dinner drink while we waited.


Paneled from floor to ceiling in richly colored wood, and decked out in hunting memorabilia and turn-of-the-century-style lamps, this was just as relaxing as the dining room.


Kind of felt like I was in a rich Uncle’s study, or something. :)


From beers to martinis, we bellied up to the bar to sip and survey the scene.


A cold beer was calling my name,


while an Irish Coffee was just what my MIL needed (which was as big as her head, I might add!) ;)

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Before long we sat down to dinner and, while the menu was bursting with fresh seafood options, there was one thing I just had to have. STEAK!


I had seen a commercial featuring a juicy, fire-grilled steak right before we left for DC, and it was all I had been thinking about since. This Argentinian Steak Salad featured a rare, succulent sirloin steak, thinly sliced and set atop cold greens dressed with a savory dressing and salted plantain chips.


TO die! Melt in your mouth, expertly seasoned and just what I was craving. For the record, several family members ordered the crab cakes and they looked A++. :D


Old Ebbitt Grill: 2 enthusiastic thumbs up. Great menu, good prices and the ambiance (and location) can’t be beat!

My other favorite dinner out took place at seafood paradise, otherwise known as PassionFish!


“The cuisine of PassionFish represents the bounty of the world’s oceans, lakes, seas, and waterways reflecting the flavors and natural resources of the Mediterranean, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The dishes feature a vast array of seasonal fresh seafood, distinctive flavors, and simply elegant presentations.”


From the paintings on the wall,


to the tips of the silverware, PassionFish was decorated to the nines.


Isn’t this flatware amazing?!


PassionFish is the kind of place where all the waiters seem to be aspiring chefs. Ours knew the menu by heart, and had no trouble selling us on the chef’s special sushi rolls for a light and flavorful appetizer to share.


Jumbo lump crab meat in the California Roll blew our minds, spicy tuna and tempura crunch had us praying the Geisha Roll would never run out, and the Spicy Tuna Roll stuffed with fresh tuna and asparagus then tempura-battered and fried had us fighting over who’d get the last piece!


I thought I had my entree all picked out – 4 jumbo scallops (my favorite,) pan-fried and flavored by local bacon – but the server came back to take our order and spun such a wicked tale of the day’s special – including this salmon dish – that my mind changed instantly. The scallops didn’t stand a chance!


Buttery salmon was seasoned with salt & pepper then pan fried and served over fresh vegetables.


Fragrant Jasmine fried rice was piled high on the side, and the whole thing was drizzled with a buttery, soy sauce reduction. O.M.G.! Sorry I keep saying this – but it legit melted in my mouth. PF owns seafood!


Ben also had the meal of a lifetime. An entire Flounder. No, seriously – an entire Flounder! He went CRAZY over it – clearly… ;)

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PassionFish: 12 thumbs up (the thumbs of everyone present at dinner.) Everyone adored their meals and the menu had dozens of fabulous options. (Including mini beignets with coffee Bavarian cream that we all split for dessert – ummmm yeahhh…) :D Can’t wait to go back!

Dining out nearly every night was a serious treat, but perhaps my favorite meal of the trip took place right at home and featured…Mom’s Lasagna.


Seriously – how do Mom’s make such life-altering lasagna? How?!


Ben’s Mom had her famous, spicy lasagna all ready to pop into the oven to get hot and bubbly for dinner when we arrived into town, along with a fresh salad with tons of veggie toppings and warm bread and butter. I asked Ben if he wanted me to make it this week for dinner so he could reminisce. He said no.


I think it’s because it won’t be as good as Mom’s… I agree! ;)

There’s one recap left – then it’s back to regular programming. Stay tuned! :D

Other DC recaps:

IGE in Washington DC

Sips in the City

Sweets in the City

Steps Outside the City

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  1. I LOVE Old Ebbitt Grill – I used to go for weekend brunch. Mm! That’s definitely a city landmark, it’s great that you went. :)

  2. kelly 05.24.2011

    I can’t believe you left the scallops uneaten! :)

  3. Katie 05.24.2011

    Great choice on Old Ebbitt’s; it’s fantastic!

  4. Lauren 05.24.2011

    Looks like some fantastic dining experiences. There are so many great options in DC though. It’s tough to choose.

  5. VABelle 05.24.2011

    It looks like you did a great job of hitting some of the best places in DC. I absolutely love Old Ebbitt Grill! We go there all of the time for brunch and happy hour.

  6. Amy 05.24.2011

    Love Passion Fish! That’s where we had our rehearsal dinner and it. was. perfect. Your parents-in-law have great taste!

  7. JennyV 05.24.2011

    Loved the pics of Old Ebbitt Grill — I went there a few years ago and had forgotten how charming it was!

    PF looked amazing — how I’ve been in the DC area and not gone there is beyond me!

    As for mom’s lasagnas… there really is no way to recreate!

  8. dmcgirl 05.24.2011

    This post reminds me of my time in Copley Plaza in the Backbay in Boston!

    Wonderful! Enjoy!

  9. Ashley 05.25.2011

    Everything looks A-MAZING! And the lasagna…WOW! You are going to need to re-create at some point. :) Thanks for sharing with us!

  10. Linda Kidd 05.25.2011

    So glad you are enjoying every minute – live it up!!
    Great pics

  11. Hope 05.25.2011

    Wow! All of that food looks incredible! I want to try PassionFish! I love the silverware and that sushi looks incredible! More importantly, Ben’s mom’s lasagna looks incredible!!! You should definitely get the recipe and post it because that looks way too good to pass up! :)

  12. Kristen Waby 05.25.2011

    You really need to recreate that salmon. It looked so delicious!

  13. Melissa 05.25.2011

    All of your DC posts are making me want to go back again! I love Old Ebbitt grill!

  14. Machelle 05.25.2011

    LOVE that flatware! oh….the food looks pretty good too! i love a good homemade lasagna…..mainly cuz it’s something i never make!

  15. Monica 05.25.2011

    Can we get the secret recipe?

  16. Abby 05.25.2011

    My family lived in Maryland before moving out to Iowa and all your pictures make me miss the East Coast! Next time you’re out in DC I would recommend driving over to Annapolis. You would love all the history there I am sure! Not to mention it’s the cutest town on the water. I was there in November and went to their Food and Wine Festival. Let me tell you, they have some GREAT restaurants. :)

  17. Amanda 05.25.2011

    yayyyy LOVE old ebbitt’s grill! it’s amazing! such a classic! :)

  18. Daisy 05.25.2011

    this is all so amazing!

  19. dmc 05.25.2011

    Oh… did you add an extra picture between the paintings and the flatware??? Or..??

  20. kate 05.25.2011

    DC has so many great restaurants. But did you get Rita’s? YUM!

  21. Rachel 05.25.2011

    My husband took me to OEG the day we got engaged :)

  22. You’re literally helping me to create a to-do list of places to go next time I visit my older brother in DC! All the food looks incredible but I agree, there is nothing quite like homemade lasagna. Yum!

  23. DC is a foodie’s dream! I used to live there and still visit frequently to see friends. What a great city! Glad you guys enjoyed.

  24. Faith 05.25.2011

    The Old Ebbitt grill is the only place that I eat when I go to DC!! I thought you would really enjoy it. It is amazing. I am so glad you enjoyed it.

  25. I recently came back from DC and have to say it is one of my favorite cities to visit. Food, culture, people, politics – I love all of it! So glad you’re having fun there :)

  26. Jen 05.25.2011

    Glad you enjoyed OEG!!! It is my favorite place to eat in DC by far!!

  27. jmcnichol 05.26.2011

    If you order something with the red thai curry sauce at Passion Fish, the servers are wise enough to bring you a spoon without being asked. It’s to die for! So, glad you got to try my favorite restaurant.

  28. Sam 05.27.2011

    Any idea what the name of your server was at Passionfish or what he looked like? People who work there would like to know. The waitstaff there is truly the best in the area.

  29. Kara 05.29.2011

    Sorry to respond so late – but I love Old Ebbitt Grill! My fiance and I ate there the night he proposed : )

  30. Katie 06.01.2011

    Old Ebbitt is great. I love their brunch, too. I’m SO jealous you went to PassionFish! I have heard such amazing things about it and have been dying to try it out. Do Ben’s parents live out in Reston?

  31. Alexa 11.12.2011

    Surfing your blog tonight to print out my recipes I had book marked and saw these DC posts. So cool to see these now that I live here! Next time you visit, I’ll tweet you some other good restaurant recommendations.

  32. Crystal 12.07.2011

    ok, Just got back from DC Sunday and we got 1/2 cupcakes from GC, thank you!!! and we had steaks at Old Ebbit Grill after the National Christmas tree lighting. It was awesome! Now a tip for you when you go back to visit your in-laws. Please please please go to Good Stuff Eatery. It is on the SE side of Pennsylvania Ave. kind of right behind the Capital building if you’re coming from center city. It 1000% had the best hamburger I have ever had in my life and I didn’t even put ketchup on it. I dont recall ever having done that. It’s just a little hole in the wall. When you’re done with your burger and greasy fresh cut fries, grab the de leche shake. It’s vanilla ice cream, ground up coffee beans and caramel. MMMMMMMMMMMMM have fun and thanks for your suggestions!

  33. Crystal 12.07.2011

    ooops that’s 1/2 dozen cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes :)

  34. […] in DC with several locations in and around the city. Last trip we visited one of their locations, Old Ebbit Grill, which is steps away from the White House and all the action on Capital […]

  35. […] in DC with several locations in and around the city. Last trip we visited one of their locations, Old Ebbit Grill, which is steps away from the White House and all the action on Capital […]

  36. Francesca 01.18.2013

    We ate at Old Ebbitt Grill when we visited DC (before moving to the area). Amazing breakfast…I had the brioche French toast. You simply can’t go wrong! My boyfriend ordered the crab cakes…they were huge and to die for delish.

    As for the sushi, that looks amazing. We’ll have to try PassionFish. We at ate Kaz Sushi when we visited. Fantastic sushi in a quaint little restaurant.

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