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10 special occasion-worthy restaurants in Washington, DC

A photo of Red logo
by Christabel Lobo
Updated December 18, 2023

An epic night out in the country’s capital can mean dining where the Beltway bigwigs do—but it doesn’t have to. Washington, DC’s signature diversity trickles down to its special occasion spots, too.

These restaurants in and around the District have what it takes to uplevel any occasion—even if it’s just a midweek dinner. Read on for a guide to the 10 best special occasion spots in Washington, DC, right now.

A photo of Bourbon Steak - Four Seasons Washington DC restaurant
4.5
4.5 (3689)
$30 and under
Steakhouse
Georgetown

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

This stylish Four Seasons Hotel steakhouse is a special occasion spot fit for presidents. Case in point: the Obamas hosted their 20th wedding anniversary dinner here in 2012. You’ll find DC’s elite gathered to celebrate major moments over chef Michael Mina’s world-class filet mignon and Maine lobster pie—plus one of the most impressive bourbon collections in town. Even though the restaurant is part of a national chain, Mina knows how to make each location shine, and the swanky five-star hotel backdrop gives his DC edition a leg up.


Top review
AustinV
Dined 4 days ago
Delicious food and great service. Pricey so best for special occasions or business. Steak and swordfish good choices , but not crusted sole.
A photo of Das Ethiopian - Georgetown restaurant
4.8
4.8 (1447)
$31 to $50
Ethiopian
Georgetown

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

Das’s shareable and spice-forward Ethiopian dishes make it ideal for intimate special occasions. A milestone meal in this cushy townhouse isn’t complete without a bottomless basket of injera (spongy flatbread), made for dunking in tender chicken stew. But the MICHELIN Bib Gourmand recipient is also a go-to for its spectacular meat-free options. Sleek, elegant lines and lush fabrics dial up the luxe factor and explain why this Georgetown staple is a highly sought-after celebration spot.


Top review
MelMvip
Dined 3 days ago
Excellent food and wonderful service. Lovely restaurant.
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A photo of Equinox - DC restaurant
4.6
4.6 (3343)
$31 to $50
Contemporary American
Downtown

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

Wife-and-husband duo Ellen Kassoff and Todd Gray are behind this plant-forward fine-dining legend. When Gray debuted Equinox’s vegetarian tasting menu circa 2011, the move gave the restaurant an edge in DC’s competitive fine-dining scene. An always-changing selection means you’ll try something different every time you mark a special occasion here. The best part: Equinox’s nearly zero-waste kitchen composts and regrows ingredients used in day-to-day operations, so you can feel good about celebrating here.


Top review
CarloBvip
Dined 4 days ago
Thoroughly enjoyed the vegan menu. Great service.
A photo of Elizabeth's Gone Raw restaurant
4.9
4.9 (1179)
$50 and over
Vegan
Downtown

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

If your occasion calls for a full-fledged vegan feast, head to this elegant Federalist townhouse. Elizabeth’s Gone Raw was singled out as one of the best vegan restaurants in the world by the Evening Standard, and it takes just one bite of chef Francisco Hernandez’s artistic creations—watermelon skin tartare with nori confetti for the win—to understand why (a fully raw feast is available upon request). Note that the restaurant is only open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays evenings, so plan your special night out accordingly.


Top review
Rcepuch
Dined 2 days ago
A gem! Superb food and wonderful service in a beautiful space. Every detail just right! The pink pineapple sorbet dessert was out of this world.
A photo of Mala Tang restaurant
4.6
4.6 (518)
$31 to $50
Asian
Arlington

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

Mala Tang is a cook-your-own Sichuan food star tailor made for large and lively gatherings. It’s named for the distinctive hot pots served across China, and you’ll find groups digging into plenty of excellent versions on its many round tables. Go with friends or family to do justice to the spectacular soups, which come with dippable ingredients like prawns, fish balls, and more. Multiple broth types—ranging from mild to tongue-numbing spicy (Sichuan peppercorns and chile oil)—let you and your crew order mains according to heat tolerances. Bonus points for the customizable dips, which you can mix and match at the dedicated sauce bar.


Top review
Marina66
Dined on Feb 14, 2024
We had a nice Valentine's Day lunch. I would recommend
A photo of La Bise restaurant
4.7
4.7 (781)
$31 to $50
French
Downtown

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

Restaurant vet Ashok Bajaj (Bombay Club, Modena) is a pro at standing out in a city full of special-occasion hotspots. His latest took over the famed Oval Room in 2021, but it’s a far cry from the buttoned-up American restaurant it used to be. Instead, celebrations at La Bise are all about revamped French food made with surprising ingredients like pineapple and blood orange. Get the knockout pistachio mille-feuille for dessert and you’ll definitely score bonus points with the person you’re celebrating.


Top review
CaptainConnoisseurvip
Dined 7 days ago
Amazing. Start to finish. Delicious cuisine. Service impeccable. Great ambiance.
A photo of Nama Ko restaurant
4.6
4.6 (301)
$31 to $50
Japanese
U Street Corridor

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

From anniversary-worthy omakase service to bottomless dim sum brunch for freewheeling group celebrations, this gold-curtained sushi bar can do it all. Nama Ko is James Beard Award winner Michael Schlow’s take on Japanese dining, District style. The nigiri and sashimi lean traditional—and there’s plenty of luxe wagyu—but the spicy tuna tacos show off Schlow’s experimental side. To toast, there’s a generous sake and Japanese whiskey selection, plus top-notch zero-proof cocktails like the Matcha Colada and the grapefruity Sumo Spritz.


Top review
CristalBvip
Dined 2 days ago
Tasting menu was fantastic, cocktails were creative, and service was amazing, as usual!
A photo of Filomena Ristorante restaurant
4.8
4.8 (16289)
$31 to $50
Italian
Georgetown

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

Meet one of the District’s most-loved Italian hubs. Since opening in 1983, Filomena has established itself as a Georgetown celebration staple and been profiled by Forbes, the Travel Channel, and more. The chicken parmesan is the special-occasion MVP, as are the varied bolognese and lasagna options (gnocchi, fettuccine, and eggplant). Filomena also keeps the crowds flocking for its over-the-top holiday decor—come December, it morphs into a winter wonderland adorned with hundreds of twinkling lights and nutcrackers.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 4 days ago
It’s one of our favorite restaurants. We actually make a special trip to come to Washington DC just to go there. And yes, we eat lunch and dinner there at five times before we go home back to Philly
A photo of China Chilcano restaurant
4.6
4.6 (3362)
$31 to $50
Peruvian
Penn Quarter

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

China Chilcano is where you come for a pisco party with friends. The menu is just as festive, featuring a blend of Chinese, Japanese, and Criollo accents that pop up in dishes like king salmon tiradito in white ponzu or lomo saltado stir-fry with fried potato sticks. A boldly designed dining room—high ceilings, red glass lamps, and neon lights—provides a striking photo backdrop. But what truly sets China Chilcano apart is the staff’s attention to detail and willingness to accommodate special requests—even the biggest celebration is a stress-free affair here.


Top review
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined 2 days ago
We had all the specials for the day and they were all excellent, as we’ve come to expect. Service was particularly excellent, with our server Alissa(Allie) being not only attentive but pleasant and accommodating. We had 3 of the four desserts offered, and each were spectacularly delicious and impressive, created with a multitude of separate components and touches.
A photo of Truluck's - Ocean's Finest Seafood & Crab - Washington, D.C. restaurant
4.6
4.6 (1616)
$31 to $50
Seafood
Mount Vernon Square

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

Soft lights, wine-colored leather booths, and sparkling chandeliers set the tone for extra-elegant celebrations at this surf-and-turf haven. The Houston transplant stays true to its everything-is-bigger-in-Texas ethos—it’s got 400 seats spread out over two stories, for starters. The menu is equally massive, featuring global seafood, expertly broiled steaks with roasted garlic bulbs, and solid vegan options like plant-based bolognese pappardelle. Add flaming desserts and a deep wine list, and you’ve got one of the swankiest special-occasion spots in town.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 2 days ago
I loved the restaurant, and the server was good too. It is more of a special occasion location. I would definitely recommend it and I will be going back.
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