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La Ferme’s countryside inn facade at night
La Ferme continues to court customers in Chevy Chase, nearly four decades in.
Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post

14 of the Most Romantic Restaurants in D.C.

When impeccable service, mood lighting, and tempting fare all align

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La Ferme continues to court customers in Chevy Chase, nearly four decades in.
| Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post

Power lunches with the politically elite may come to mind when considering dining in the nation’s capitol, but the D.C. area has a soft spot. From caviar and Champagne at an intimate row house in Georgetown to charming countryside inns with noteworthy restaurants to top notch Indian cuisine that lures the likes of Mick Jagger, D.C. is full of romantic places to dine.

Each of the spots on this map offers pretty dining spaces, excellent service, and food that is noteworthy on its own, whether the occasion calls for first-date drinks, a special occasion splurge, or something in between.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. L'Auberge Chez Francois

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332 Springvale Rd
Great Falls, VA 22066
(703) 759-3800
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Back in 1954, culinary pioneer François Haeringer was inspired to bring a taste of his native Alsatian countryside to D.C. His sons keep his spirit alive at the cherished Falls Church inn that’s filled with family heirlooms and murals of Haeringer’s birthplace in France. All these years later, the restaurant remains most famous for its hot souffle. Arrive early for a creative cocktail from the downstairs bar or take a stroll around the six-acre property’s gorgeous gardens during warmer months.

The dining room at L’Auberge Chez Francois
The stained glass in the dining room came from the original L’Auberge Chez Francois in D.C.
L’Auberge Chez Francois/Facebook

2. The Ashby Restaurant

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692 Federal St Suite D
Paris, VA 20130
(540) 592-3900
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Tucked onto a sprawling green landscape of softly rolling hills and blooming flowers, this historic Virginia wine country restaurant and inn is as charming as it is romantic. On a pretty day, book a table on the outdoor patio. On a cooler day, dip a spoon into the winter truffle risotto topped with shaved truffles and egg yolk.

3. La Ferme Restaurant

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7101 Brookville Rd
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
(301) 986-5255
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Nestled in an adorable country farmhouse since 1985, this acclaimed French fixture in Chevy Chase is known for delicacies like foie gras creme brulee, pate, and sautéed calf liver. A large fireplace, year-round porch, porcelain rooster statues, and a piano player all add touches of timeless whimsy, with an added modern-day perk of ample (free) parking. Saddle up to its casual counterpart, the Cognac bar, to order its beloved burger and draft beers in a wood-framed setting.

4. Tail Up Goat

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1827 Adams Mill Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009

This intimate neighborhood restaurant oozes effortless Caribbean chill while somehow providing impeccable service, leaving diners to spend dinner focusing on each other. Shareable plates make for a cozy table, though patrons may find themselves in a tiff over the last bite of crispy salt cod to dip in smoked cauliflower aioli. Giving up that last bite counts as a romantic gesture.

5. Slate Wine Bar

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2404 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 913-4671
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For an approachable alternative to Michelin-rated Xiquet, consider chef and sommelier Danny Lledó’s long-running sister spot downstairs. The Glover Park institution sends out a rotating list of global small plates that compliment his personal favorite wines. Dine at an intimate table or Slate’s newly expanded bar area. Go the prix fixe route ($70 with $40 pairings) or a la carte with options like Iberian pork shoulder and grilled octopus.

A mushroom dish on a white plate at Slate
Slate’s vegetarian mushroom medley with smoked chestnut cream.
Slate/official photo

6. Apéro

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2622 P St NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 525-1682
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This dreamy petite French restaurant nestled in a Georgetown row house embraces Champagne and caviar like few other restaurants do. Enjoy it at the restaurant along with mushroom “cigarettes” with Parmesan foam, trout topped with lump crab, or silky ribbons of pappardelle cloaked in lemon, créme fraîche, caviar, and freshly snipped chives. If a romantic dinner at home is on the menu, grab the Champagne and caviar special to go for $50.

7. Iron Gate Restaurant

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1734 N St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 524-5202
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A dining room with a roaring fire is just one of the treats that makes this historic Dupont Circle setting so intimate. Share dishes off the family-style menu with wine pairings, or order a la carte dishes like daily focaccia and golden potato keftedes with charred leek, caviar, dill, and smoked egg gribiche.

8. Quill at The Jefferson

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1200 16th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 448-2300
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When a romantic night out means classy drinks and light bites. the Quill in the Jefferson Hotel fits the bill with smart cocktails, satisfying bar food, and a dimly lit space lined with warm wood paneling. Keep the bites light with the king salmon tartar dotted with avocado mousse, grapefruit, tobiko, and crème fraîche. Alternatively, indulge in a plate of fettucine bolognese. And if it ends up being a night to remember, this timeless space will be one worth revisiting far after trendy spots have come and gone.

9. 1789 Restaurant & Bar

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1226 36th St NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 965-1789
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This fine-dining showpiece in Clyde’s family of restaurants oozes intimacy, seating diners in quaint, fireplace-filled dining rooms in a historic Georgetown home. 2941 alum Kyoo Eom took the reins of the kitchen in fall 2020 and reenergized the restaurant with an la carte lineup of brioche-crusted halibut, American wagyu tartare, and veal tagliatelle. A handsome mahogany bar called Fitzgerald’s recently resurfaced next door with classic cocktails, rare Japanese whisky pours, and elegant drinking snacks, all served a tweed-filled setting fit for a Ralph Lauren ad.

10. Rasika West End

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1190 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 466-2500
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The stylish younger sister restaurant to Penn Quarter’s Rasika, a large, sound-absorbing wood installation along the ceiling makes hushed conversations possible. Try to snag one of the carriage-like booths lining the windows or a table in the book-lined library while dining on Indian dishes from James Beard Award-winning chef Vikram Sunderam. Plus, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger dined out at Rasika West End, which seals the deal on this restaurant’s sex appeal.

The Library Room at Rasika West End
The Library Room at Rasika West End seats 42,
Rasika West End/Facebook

11. Filomena Ristorante

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1063 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 338-8800
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Around since the 1980s, Georgetown’s subterranean Italian mainstay famously decks its halls for every annual holiday (Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and even Halloween). Pastas also adhere to tradition, and its untouched family recipes are beloved by regulars and celebrities alike. U2 frontman Bono reportedly requested seconds of its rigatoni flecked with homemade Italian sausage, and Germany’s late Chancellor Helmut Kohl was a frequent fan of its gnocchi.

12. Bistro Cacao

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316 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 546-4737
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Dressed in red drapes, chandeliers, and vintage prints, Capitol Hill’s chic French bistro continues to woo diners a dozen years in. Chef Alex Merritt, an alum of Cafe du Parc and 1789, sends out warming French onion soup, escargot, and seared duck breast.

13. 2941 Restaurant

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2941 Fairview Park Dr
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 270-1500
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Located in Falls Church, bubbling waterfalls, koi ponds, and a lakeside view provide a view for the floor-to-ceiling windows around the dining room. East Coast oysters with lemon, cocktail sauce, and yuzu-kosho mignonette make for a sexy starter before diving into ​chef Bertrand Chemel French-infused take on contemporary American dishes.

Magazine Spring Dining Guide
The view from 2941 Restaurant
Photo by Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post

14. The Inn at Little Washington

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309 Middle St
Washington, VA 22747
(540) 675-3800
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Located in rural Virginia so far from the city lights that guests are lucky to score a few bars of cell phone service, the Inn at Little Washington is the ultimate fairytale break from the day-to-day. Plus, one of the most celebrated chefs in the U.S. cooks with food grown on the premises near gorgeous gardens that sprout 10,000 tulips come April.

Fall Dining Guide - The Inn at Little Washington
The Inn at Little Washington
Getty Images

1. L'Auberge Chez Francois

332 Springvale Rd, Great Falls, VA 22066
The dining room at L’Auberge Chez Francois
The stained glass in the dining room came from the original L’Auberge Chez Francois in D.C.
L’Auberge Chez Francois/Facebook

Back in 1954, culinary pioneer François Haeringer was inspired to bring a taste of his native Alsatian countryside to D.C. His sons keep his spirit alive at the cherished Falls Church inn that’s filled with family heirlooms and murals of Haeringer’s birthplace in France. All these years later, the restaurant remains most famous for its hot souffle. Arrive early for a creative cocktail from the downstairs bar or take a stroll around the six-acre property’s gorgeous gardens during warmer months.

332 Springvale Rd
Great Falls, VA 22066

2. The Ashby Restaurant

692 Federal St Suite D, Paris, VA 20130

Tucked onto a sprawling green landscape of softly rolling hills and blooming flowers, this historic Virginia wine country restaurant and inn is as charming as it is romantic. On a pretty day, book a table on the outdoor patio. On a cooler day, dip a spoon into the winter truffle risotto topped with shaved truffles and egg yolk.

692 Federal St Suite D
Paris, VA 20130

3. La Ferme Restaurant

7101 Brookville Rd, Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Nestled in an adorable country farmhouse since 1985, this acclaimed French fixture in Chevy Chase is known for delicacies like foie gras creme brulee, pate, and sautéed calf liver. A large fireplace, year-round porch, porcelain rooster statues, and a piano player all add touches of timeless whimsy, with an added modern-day perk of ample (free) parking. Saddle up to its casual counterpart, the Cognac bar, to order its beloved burger and draft beers in a wood-framed setting.

7101 Brookville Rd
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

4. Tail Up Goat

1827 Adams Mill Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009

This intimate neighborhood restaurant oozes effortless Caribbean chill while somehow providing impeccable service, leaving diners to spend dinner focusing on each other. Shareable plates make for a cozy table, though patrons may find themselves in a tiff over the last bite of crispy salt cod to dip in smoked cauliflower aioli. Giving up that last bite counts as a romantic gesture.

1827 Adams Mill Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009

5. Slate Wine Bar

2404 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007
A mushroom dish on a white plate at Slate
Slate’s vegetarian mushroom medley with smoked chestnut cream.
Slate/official photo

For an approachable alternative to Michelin-rated Xiquet, consider chef and sommelier Danny Lledó’s long-running sister spot downstairs. The Glover Park institution sends out a rotating list of global small plates that compliment his personal favorite wines. Dine at an intimate table or Slate’s newly expanded bar area. Go the prix fixe route ($70 with $40 pairings) or a la carte with options like Iberian pork shoulder and grilled octopus.

2404 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007

6. Apéro

2622 P St NW, Washington, DC 20007

This dreamy petite French restaurant nestled in a Georgetown row house embraces Champagne and caviar like few other restaurants do. Enjoy it at the restaurant along with mushroom “cigarettes” with Parmesan foam, trout topped with lump crab, or silky ribbons of pappardelle cloaked in lemon, créme fraîche, caviar, and freshly snipped chives. If a romantic dinner at home is on the menu, grab the Champagne and caviar special to go for $50.

2622 P St NW
Washington, DC 20007

7. Iron Gate Restaurant

1734 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036

A dining room with a roaring fire is just one of the treats that makes this historic Dupont Circle setting so intimate. Share dishes off the family-style menu with wine pairings, or order a la carte dishes like daily focaccia and golden potato keftedes with charred leek, caviar, dill, and smoked egg gribiche.

1734 N St NW
Washington, DC 20036

8. Quill at The Jefferson

1200 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20036

When a romantic night out means classy drinks and light bites. the Quill in the Jefferson Hotel fits the bill with smart cocktails, satisfying bar food, and a dimly lit space lined with warm wood paneling. Keep the bites light with the king salmon tartar dotted with avocado mousse, grapefruit, tobiko, and crème fraîche. Alternatively, indulge in a plate of fettucine bolognese. And if it ends up being a night to remember, this timeless space will be one worth revisiting far after trendy spots have come and gone.

1200 16th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

9. 1789 Restaurant & Bar

1226 36th St NW, Washington, DC 20007

This fine-dining showpiece in Clyde’s family of restaurants oozes intimacy, seating diners in quaint, fireplace-filled dining rooms in a historic Georgetown home. 2941 alum Kyoo Eom took the reins of the kitchen in fall 2020 and reenergized the restaurant with an la carte lineup of brioche-crusted halibut, American wagyu tartare, and veal tagliatelle. A handsome mahogany bar called Fitzgerald’s recently resurfaced next door with classic cocktails, rare Japanese whisky pours, and elegant drinking snacks, all served a tweed-filled setting fit for a Ralph Lauren ad.

1226 36th St NW
Washington, DC 20007

10. Rasika West End

1190 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037
The Library Room at Rasika West End
The Library Room at Rasika West End seats 42,
Rasika West End/Facebook

The stylish younger sister restaurant to Penn Quarter’s Rasika, a large, sound-absorbing wood installation along the ceiling makes hushed conversations possible. Try to snag one of the carriage-like booths lining the windows or a table in the book-lined library while dining on Indian dishes from James Beard Award-winning chef Vikram Sunderam. Plus, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger dined out at Rasika West End, which seals the deal on this restaurant’s sex appeal.

1190 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037

11. Filomena Ristorante

1063 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007

Around since the 1980s, Georgetown’s subterranean Italian mainstay famously decks its halls for every annual holiday (Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and even Halloween). Pastas also adhere to tradition, and its untouched family recipes are beloved by regulars and celebrities alike. U2 frontman Bono reportedly requested seconds of its rigatoni flecked with homemade Italian sausage, and Germany’s late Chancellor Helmut Kohl was a frequent fan of its gnocchi.

1063 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007

12. Bistro Cacao

316 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

Dressed in red drapes, chandeliers, and vintage prints, Capitol Hill’s chic French bistro continues to woo diners a dozen years in. Chef Alex Merritt, an alum of Cafe du Parc and 1789, sends out warming French onion soup, escargot, and seared duck breast.

316 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

13. 2941 Restaurant

2941 Fairview Park Dr, Falls Church, VA 22042
Magazine Spring Dining Guide
The view from 2941 Restaurant
Photo by Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post

Located in Falls Church, bubbling waterfalls, koi ponds, and a lakeside view provide a view for the floor-to-ceiling windows around the dining room. East Coast oysters with lemon, cocktail sauce, and yuzu-kosho mignonette make for a sexy starter before diving into ​chef Bertrand Chemel French-infused take on contemporary American dishes.

2941 Fairview Park Dr
Falls Church, VA 22042

14. The Inn at Little Washington

309 Middle St, Washington, VA 22747
Fall Dining Guide - The Inn at Little Washington
The Inn at Little Washington
Getty Images

Located in rural Virginia so far from the city lights that guests are lucky to score a few bars of cell phone service, the Inn at Little Washington is the ultimate fairytale break from the day-to-day. Plus, one of the most celebrated chefs in the U.S. cooks with food grown on the premises near gorgeous gardens that sprout 10,000 tulips come April.

309 Middle St
Washington, VA 22747

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