The 'rents are in town, and you're wondering where to take them to dinner in D.C. that's classy, interesting, and delicious.
You want your parents to think you have your life together -- that you’re thriving not surviving -- so it's got to be somewhere nice. Of course, it’s also a free meal at a fancy restaurant for you, so -- win-win! Here are three favorites (in no particular order):
Rasika (Indian Cuisine)Penn Quarter location
| 633 D Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20004 West End location
| 1190 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20037
Rasika, hands down, may be one of the best restaurants in Washington. From the food to the service to the ambience, it excels in creating an intimate dining experience and preparing high quality dishes. The best thing on the menu (and something you should order at least three helpings of) is the Palak Chaat, which is fried spinach in a creamy yogurt sauce. It is absolutely to die for! Other favorites include the Chicken Tikka Masala and anything with lamb, and of course, don’t forget to get the garlic naan for dipping in sauces. If your parents are a bit on the conservative side when it comes to food, this will be the best introduction to Indian cuisine you can give them. Rasika has two locations, one in Penn Quarter (the original) and one in West End. Both are great depending on your preference: If you want a cozy feel with couches lining the walls and dimmed lighting, go for Penn. If you like more modern touches and an option to sit on the expansive patio, do West End.
701 9th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Zaytinya may also be one of the best restaurants in D.C. (clearly there are a lot of good places to eat here, and it’s hard to choose!). Completely different than Rasika, however, this place features open floor seating, a well-lit room, and some of the most mouth-watering Greek tapas around. Now, it’s important that you explain the concept
of tapas to your family before taking them here; though it may be a normalized concept among Washingtonians, other people aren’t used to small plates that cost the same as an entrée. Once that sinks in, you can begin to enjoy all that Zaytinya has to offer. The tapas menu is divided by vegetarian, meats, and seafood, and it’s good to get a little from each category to diversify the meal and fill up. You should aim to do two or three tapas per person, and then plan for everyone to share. Tapas are quick, so you can always order more, and the dishes should come out scattered so you’re not trying to eat everything at once before it gets cold. Some favorites are the hummus (of course), baba ghanoush, Kibbeh Nayeh (which is, in a sense, carpcaccio), the scallops, and the octopus. The restaurant is also known for wine, so make sure you’re suggesting that bottle to your mom and dad right away.
1201 24th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20037
This place is the definition of classy. Located on the bottom floor of the Georgetown Hyatt, it’s got a luxurious vibe the minute you walk in. It will make you want to dress up as glamorous as possible and sip a martini, while also holding one of those long cigarettes a la Audrey Hepburn. If the above restaurants are too adventurous for your parents, this place will be exactly the diamond in the rough they’re looking for. It’s classic American, with a high-end flair, and both the food and service are superior to anything else you’ll find. Order the Chef’s Selection Cheese and Charcuturie Board with house-made pickles and homemade jam to start, the Crispy Soft Shell Crab for the entrée, and don’t forget the sides. The mashed potatoes and mushrooms are both delicious.
There are a lot of food options in D.C., but it’s important to have the classics in your back pocket when attempting a classy dinner with your parents. You’ll never go wrong with these three!
Featured image of entrée at Blue Duck Tavern, courtesy of The Hyatt.