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Fiola Mare patio
Fiola Mare patio
Photo: Facebook

Waterfront Dining Guide: Don't Just Pay for the View

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Fiola Mare patio
| Photo: Facebook

Waterfront restaurants around D.C. have a (deserved) reputation for often being mediocre. At such places, diners are paying more for the view than for decent food. But some restaurants are worth the visit for more than just their real estate. Luckily, since Eater's last waterfront guide two years ago, the options have gotten even better. Give these places at locations ranging from the Georgetown Waterfront to the Yards development a try.

And stay tuned — new places like Bangkok Joe's replacement Mama Rouge and the nautical-themed Orange Anchor, are still to come later this summer and fall.
—Alia Khan

Have another favorite waterfront spot? Share in the comments.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Fiola Mare

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3050 K St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20007
(202) 628-0065
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Fabio Trabocchi’s third DC restaurant’s prime Georgetown waterfront location and sweeping river views help accent the sophisticated food. Fiola Mare is the seafood-centric sister restaurant to Trabocchi’s much-lauded Fiola. The impressively wide range of raw and nearly-raw options includes everything from oysters on the half-shell to a Chesapeake Bay eel crudo. Entrees span from pastas (including Trabocchi’s famous lobster ravioli) to elaborate yet clean seafood preparations. Cap off the waterfront experience with a the “Simply Grilled” market selection, deboned tableside.

2. Farmers Fishers Bakers

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3000 K St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20007
(202) 298-8783
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The sister restaurant to the ever-popular Founding Farmers, this place does a great job of offering something for everyone. The menu jumps from pizzas to jambalayas to sushi and just about everything in between, with an emphasis on cocktails as well. The dessert shop churns out American classic treats like ice cream sandwiches and Hummingbird layer cake. And on weekday mornings, it doubles as First Bake, a gourmet coffee shop that helped bring the artisan toast movement to DC. From a seat on their huge patio, enjoy the dancing fountain show, or look right past it to the sparkling Potomac.

3. Osteria Morini

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301 Water St SE
Washington DC, D.C. 20003
(202) 484-0660
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The first upscale establishment to open at The Yards development on the SE waterfront in Navy Yard, this Northern Italian restaurant is brought to us by Chef Michael White of NYC. The original Morini is in SoHo, and the DC location is now open for brunch, lunch, happy hour and dinner. If the selection of meats, cheeses and pastas aren’t as appealing, try a hunk of meat either grilled or spit-roasted over their impressive wood-burning grill. The spacious patio that wraps around the front of the restaurant looks over the Yards Park lawn to the Anacostia.

4. Agua 301

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301 Water St SE
Washington DC, D.C. 20003
(202) 484-0301
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Modern Mexican munchies, margaritas and a marine view? Yes, please. The family behind Barracks Row’s Zest Bistro recently opened Agua 301 right next to Osteria Morini in The Yards development at the SE waterfront. The menu (still a bit in flux, since the opening chef left) involves many different types of guacamoles, ceviches, empanadas, tacos, and other “bocaditos” (small bites), but also offers plenty of full-sized entrees if “shared plates” aren’t your speed. Happy hour does not disappoint with over 50 Tequilas and Mezcals, signature cocktails, and of course, house-made margaritas. The patio has plenty of seating and fantastic river views.

5. Goodies

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150 American Way
National Harbor, MD
There’s something about being at the waterfront that tends to flood you with nostalgia. The folks behind the Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats kiosk at National Harbor understand. The 1950’s inspired gourmet bakery and soda-fountain serves up old-fashioned treats made from scratch. The menu features Wisconsin-style frozen custard in addition to cobblers, cookies and donuts.

6. Maine Avenue Fish Market

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1100 Maine Ave SW
Washington DC, D.C. 20024
(202) 484-2722
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Time is running out to visit this DC institution in its original, grimy splendor. Once The Wharf project in SW is complete, the fish market will have gotten a full makeover. Until then, this is a great spot to chow down on some freshly-fried seafood and accouterments, whether shopping for seafood to take home or grabbing something to eat on the docks.

7. Cantina Marina

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600 Water St SW
Washington DC, D.C. 20024
(202) 554-8396
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Look no further for waterfront happy hour needs. The extensive beverage menu offers six types of margaritas among a cocktail list of the usual suspects, Micheladas, and decent beer selection, and wines by the cup (not glass) or half-bottle. The food leans casual (think sandwiches and nachos) without being very standout, but the chill, feels-like-vacation atmosphere still makes Cantina Marina a must-visit.

8. Roof Terrace Restaurant & Bar

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2700 F St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20566
Executive Chef Joe Gurner and Pastry Chef Kendra Stephens have been catching the attention of critics recently (including the Post's Tom Sietsema). The summer menu at this Kennedy Center restaurant features dishes like scallop crudo and goat's milk ricotta gnocchi. Brunch is also a draw.

1. Fiola Mare

3050 K St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20007
Fabio Trabocchi’s third DC restaurant’s prime Georgetown waterfront location and sweeping river views help accent the sophisticated food. Fiola Mare is the seafood-centric sister restaurant to Trabocchi’s much-lauded Fiola. The impressively wide range of raw and nearly-raw options includes everything from oysters on the half-shell to a Chesapeake Bay eel crudo. Entrees span from pastas (including Trabocchi’s famous lobster ravioli) to elaborate yet clean seafood preparations. Cap off the waterfront experience with a the “Simply Grilled” market selection, deboned tableside.
3050 K St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20007

2. Farmers Fishers Bakers

3000 K St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20007
The sister restaurant to the ever-popular Founding Farmers, this place does a great job of offering something for everyone. The menu jumps from pizzas to jambalayas to sushi and just about everything in between, with an emphasis on cocktails as well. The dessert shop churns out American classic treats like ice cream sandwiches and Hummingbird layer cake. And on weekday mornings, it doubles as First Bake, a gourmet coffee shop that helped bring the artisan toast movement to DC. From a seat on their huge patio, enjoy the dancing fountain show, or look right past it to the sparkling Potomac.
3000 K St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20007

3. Osteria Morini

301 Water St SE, Washington DC, D.C. 20003
The first upscale establishment to open at The Yards development on the SE waterfront in Navy Yard, this Northern Italian restaurant is brought to us by Chef Michael White of NYC. The original Morini is in SoHo, and the DC location is now open for brunch, lunch, happy hour and dinner. If the selection of meats, cheeses and pastas aren’t as appealing, try a hunk of meat either grilled or spit-roasted over their impressive wood-burning grill. The spacious patio that wraps around the front of the restaurant looks over the Yards Park lawn to the Anacostia.
301 Water St SE
Washington DC, D.C. 20003

4. Agua 301

301 Water St SE, Washington DC, D.C. 20003
Modern Mexican munchies, margaritas and a marine view? Yes, please. The family behind Barracks Row’s Zest Bistro recently opened Agua 301 right next to Osteria Morini in The Yards development at the SE waterfront. The menu (still a bit in flux, since the opening chef left) involves many different types of guacamoles, ceviches, empanadas, tacos, and other “bocaditos” (small bites), but also offers plenty of full-sized entrees if “shared plates” aren’t your speed. Happy hour does not disappoint with over 50 Tequilas and Mezcals, signature cocktails, and of course, house-made margaritas. The patio has plenty of seating and fantastic river views.
301 Water St SE
Washington DC, D.C. 20003

5. Goodies

150 American Way, National Harbor, MD
There’s something about being at the waterfront that tends to flood you with nostalgia. The folks behind the Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats kiosk at National Harbor understand. The 1950’s inspired gourmet bakery and soda-fountain serves up old-fashioned treats made from scratch. The menu features Wisconsin-style frozen custard in addition to cobblers, cookies and donuts.
150 American Way
National Harbor, MD

6. Maine Avenue Fish Market

1100 Maine Ave SW, Washington DC, D.C. 20024
Time is running out to visit this DC institution in its original, grimy splendor. Once The Wharf project in SW is complete, the fish market will have gotten a full makeover. Until then, this is a great spot to chow down on some freshly-fried seafood and accouterments, whether shopping for seafood to take home or grabbing something to eat on the docks.
1100 Maine Ave SW
Washington DC, D.C. 20024

7. Cantina Marina

600 Water St SW, Washington DC, D.C. 20024
Look no further for waterfront happy hour needs. The extensive beverage menu offers six types of margaritas among a cocktail list of the usual suspects, Micheladas, and decent beer selection, and wines by the cup (not glass) or half-bottle. The food leans casual (think sandwiches and nachos) without being very standout, but the chill, feels-like-vacation atmosphere still makes Cantina Marina a must-visit.
600 Water St SW
Washington DC, D.C. 20024

8. Roof Terrace Restaurant & Bar

2700 F St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20566
Executive Chef Joe Gurner and Pastry Chef Kendra Stephens have been catching the attention of critics recently (including the Post's Tom Sietsema). The summer menu at this Kennedy Center restaurant features dishes like scallop crudo and goat's milk ricotta gnocchi. Brunch is also a draw.
2700 F St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20566

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