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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. Equinox

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818 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 331-8118
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Mac and cheese is the quintessential classic comfort food dish. And at Equinox, Chef Todd Gray takes it up several notches with his version of truffle mac and cheese. Just don't take a bite of a truffle without permission.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 637-6100
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It's taken Scott Drewno 10 years to perfect his take on the Chinese classic Peking Duck.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. The Coupe

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

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. Equinox

818 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20006
Mac and cheese is the quintessential classic comfort food dish. And at Equinox, Chef Todd Gray takes it up several notches with his version of truffle mac and cheese. Just don't take a bite of a truffle without permission.
818 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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

10. 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

11. 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

12. 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

13. 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

14. 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

15. 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

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16. 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

Related Maps