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16 Great Nostalgic and Retro Dishes Around D.C.

Mother could have made these dishes at home, but restaurants have put their own spin on things.

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classics week logoD.C. has a surprising wealth of old school dishes being served around town. Some play on nostalgia, from mac and cheese to homemade pop tarts. Others feel like nods to decades past, including Baked Alaska and Floating Island.

Just in time for Classics Week, Eater has updated our guide to retro dishes with a modern flair.

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    Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

    1. 1905 Restaurant

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    1905 9th St NW, Washington
    D.C., 20001
    (202) 332-1905
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    There's hardly a dish more classic that southern shrimp and grits. But at this Shaw restaurant, the classic comfort food is given a twist with a bit of squid ink blackened bread crumbs.

    2. Crane & Turtle

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    828 Upshur St NW, Washington
    D.C., 20011
    (202) 723-2543
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    Carpaccio is a classic dish with a bit of a retro feel. But made from sea trout and topped with avocado mousse makes the ordinary extraordinary.

    3. DBGB Kitchen and Bar

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    931 H St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20001
    (202) 695-7660

    The Baked Alaska at the new DGBG in CityCenter is a show-stopper dessert.

    4. Duplex Diner

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    2004 18th St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20009
    (202) 265-7828
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    The Adams Morgan hangout is popular with the gay and straight community alike. The dish they're most known for? The meatloaf. The classic dish is served with a side of green beans and chunky tomato sauce.

    5. Equinox

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    818 Connecticut Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20006
    (202) 331-8118
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    don't take a bite of a truffle

    without permission.

    6. Et Voila!

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    5120 MacArthur Blvd NW
    Washington, D.C. 20016
    (202) 237-2300
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    Et Voila! puts its own spin on Floating Island with the ile flottante. It features a meringue floating on a vanilla custard cream.

    7. GCDC

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    1730 Pennsylvania Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20006
    (202) 393-4232
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    Nothing quite summons up thoughts of childhood like grilled cheese. GCDC is devoted entirely to the classic sandwich. Give one of their new spins, like the French onion grilled cheese, a try.

    8. Kapnos

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    2201 14th St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20001
    (202) 234-5000
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    Kapnos gets more love for its modern Greek fare, but it also has a way with diner classics. Find spanikopita on the menu every day, and sample moussaka on Mondays.

    9. Le Diplomate

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    1601 14th St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20009
    (202) 332-3333
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    This restaurant made a splash when it opened, and people are still clamoring for tables. It may be because of the restaurant's legendary steak frites, a classic combo.

    10. Mari Vanna

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    1141 Connecticut Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20036
    (202) 783-7777
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    While Mari Vanna's beef stroganoff may be reminiscent of the home-cooked variety, eating it while someone's playing the accordion is not something most people experience at home.

    11. Mintwood Place

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    1813 Columbia Rd NW
    Washington, D.C. 20009
    (202) 234-6732
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    Escargot is a dish with a retro quality to it, but Mintwood Place makes it new with their own spin: escargot hush puppies.

    12. NURISH FOOD & DRINK

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    1231 Good Hope Rd SE
    Washington, D.C. 20020
    (202) 903-7134
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    When was the last time you had pigs in a blanket? Probably in middle school. At Nourish in the Anacostia Arts Center, the pigs in a blanket come with sage sausages and whole grain mustard.

    13. Ted's Bulletin

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    1818 14th St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20009
    (202) 265-8337
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    Hello childhood. It's the restaurant's take on pop tarts that keeps everyone talking. But there are other things to order at this diner. Just don't forget the pop tart. And even the Maryland burbs are getting in on the action with an upcoming Ted's Bulletin coming to Gaithersburg.

    14. The Coupe

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    3415 11th St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20010
    (202) 290-3342
    Visit Website

    Typically brought to church socials, company picnics or after finding all the Easter eggs, the Coupe in Columbia Heights makes sure eaters can enjoy deviled eggs any day of the week. The formerly 24/7 diner adds a bit of lox to give the typically boring deviled eggs a bit of panache.

    15. The Grill Room

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    1050 31st St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20007
    (202) 617-2424

    Nothing takes a diner back like dishes prepared tableside. The Grill Room, now under the direction of chef Frank Ruta, prepares tartare this way.

    16. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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    575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20001
    (202) 637-6100
    Visit Website

    It's taken Scott Drewno 10 years to perfect his take on the Chinese classic Peking Duck.

    1. 1905 Restaurant

    1905 9th St NW, Washington, D.C., 20001

    There's hardly a dish more classic that southern shrimp and grits. But at this Shaw restaurant, the classic comfort food is given a twist with a bit of squid ink blackened bread crumbs.

    1905 9th St NW, Washington
    D.C., 20001

    2. Crane & Turtle

    828 Upshur St NW, Washington, D.C., 20011

    Carpaccio is a classic dish with a bit of a retro feel. But made from sea trout and topped with avocado mousse makes the ordinary extraordinary.

    828 Upshur St NW, Washington
    D.C., 20011

    3. DBGB Kitchen and Bar

    931 H St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

    The Baked Alaska at the new DGBG in CityCenter is a show-stopper dessert.

    931 H St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20001

    4. Duplex Diner

    2004 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

    The Adams Morgan hangout is popular with the gay and straight community alike. The dish they're most known for? The meatloaf. The classic dish is served with a side of green beans and chunky tomato sauce.

    2004 18th St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20009

    5. Equinox

    818 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20006
    don't take a bite of a truffle

    without permission.

    818 Connecticut Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20006

    6. Et Voila!

    5120 MacArthur Blvd NW, Washington, D.C. 20016

    Et Voila! puts its own spin on Floating Island with the ile flottante. It features a meringue floating on a vanilla custard cream.

    5120 MacArthur Blvd NW
    Washington, D.C. 20016

    7. GCDC

    1730 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20006

    Nothing quite summons up thoughts of childhood like grilled cheese. GCDC is devoted entirely to the classic sandwich. Give one of their new spins, like the French onion grilled cheese, a try.

    1730 Pennsylvania Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20006

    8. Kapnos

    2201 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

    Kapnos gets more love for its modern Greek fare, but it also has a way with diner classics. Find spanikopita on the menu every day, and sample moussaka on Mondays.

    2201 14th St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20001

    9. Le Diplomate

    1601 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

    This restaurant made a splash when it opened, and people are still clamoring for tables. It may be because of the restaurant's legendary steak frites, a classic combo.

    1601 14th St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20009

    10. Mari Vanna

    1141 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

    While Mari Vanna's beef stroganoff may be reminiscent of the home-cooked variety, eating it while someone's playing the accordion is not something most people experience at home.

    1141 Connecticut Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20036

    11. Mintwood Place

    1813 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

    Escargot is a dish with a retro quality to it, but Mintwood Place makes it new with their own spin: escargot hush puppies.

    1813 Columbia Rd NW
    Washington, D.C. 20009

    12. NURISH FOOD & DRINK

    1231 Good Hope Rd SE, Washington, D.C. 20020

    When was the last time you had pigs in a blanket? Probably in middle school. At Nourish in the Anacostia Arts Center, the pigs in a blanket come with sage sausages and whole grain mustard.

    1231 Good Hope Rd SE
    Washington, D.C. 20020

    13. Ted's Bulletin

    1818 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

    Hello childhood. It's the restaurant's take on pop tarts that keeps everyone talking. But there are other things to order at this diner. Just don't forget the pop tart. And even the Maryland burbs are getting in on the action with an upcoming Ted's Bulletin coming to Gaithersburg.

    1818 14th St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20009

    14. The Coupe

    3415 11th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20010

    Typically brought to church socials, company picnics or after finding all the Easter eggs, the Coupe in Columbia Heights makes sure eaters can enjoy deviled eggs any day of the week. The formerly 24/7 diner adds a bit of lox to give the typically boring deviled eggs a bit of panache.

    3415 11th St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20010

    15. The Grill Room

    1050 31st St NW, Washington, D.C. 20007

    Nothing takes a diner back like dishes prepared tableside. The Grill Room, now under the direction of chef Frank Ruta, prepares tartare this way.

    1050 31st St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20007

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    16. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

    575 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

    It's taken Scott Drewno 10 years to perfect his take on the Chinese classic Peking Duck.

    575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20001

    Related Maps