Washington D.C. is the capital city to the United States. It is home to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Kennedy Centre, Lincoln Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. D.C. also holds the highest LGBT population per capita of any U.S. city per Gallup polling. And of course D.C. is home to the three branches of the United States government.
With all of the politics, culture and diversity in Washington, it undoubtedly needs a food scene to match. And of course a gay restaurant scene to show a contribution to the capital city as well. Listed below are the best gay restaurants in D.C. More from Washington Blade...
Best Ethnic Restaurant
Popular Indian restaurant in Penn Quarter. Also won in 2015.
633 D St., N.W.
Editor’s choice: Thai Tanic
Best Bottomless Mimosa/Bloody Marys
Brunch is served a la carte every Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
1639 R St., N.W.
Editor’s choice: Commissary
Best Place in Union Market
Salt & Sundry
Editor’s Choice: Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.
According to the store’s social media, food writer Amanda McClements is proud to bring her passion for stylish entertaining to life at Salt & Sundry in D.C.’s bustling Union Market. She opened the shop in November, 2012 to share her love of cooking, entertaining and design, and says that she and her team “are constantly on the hunt for new pieces that reflect the shop’s urban bohemian aesthetic.”
According to McClements, “our ever-changing collection of goods for good living features handcrafted furniture, dinnerware, linens, covetable vintage finds and a pantry stocked with small-batch foods and craft cocktail ingredients.” She is also proud to offer farm tables hand-made by her father, a North Carolina craftsman who creates furniture out of salvaged and locally milled wood. She brags that, “his pieces are one-of-a-kind and showcase the rustic beauty and patina of aged wood.”
The store also hosts special events and demonstrations with local chefs, mixologists and food personalities. In addition to the Union Market location, Salt & Sundry has added stores in the Logan and Shaw neighborhoods and has been featured in such notable publications as “Better Homes and Gardens,” “The Best of Southern Style,” “Southern Living,” “House Beautiful, “Food & Wine,” “Washingtonian” and “Martha Stewart Living.” (BTC)
Salt & Sundry
1309 5th St., N.E.
Best Locally Made Product
Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.
Approachable, affordable and portable Southern staples.
2301 Bladensburg Rd., N.E.
Editor’s choice: Compass Coffee
Best Michelin Star Restaurant
Pineapple and Pearls
Editor’s Choice: Inn at Little Washington
In a time when fast casual is king, Pineapple and Pearls chooses to reign supreme in the realm of special occasion restaurants — the kind of place where you go with the love of your life to celebrate a milestone.
The details are worthy of true fine dining, from fine china to edible parting gifts, and the acoustics are so good that you’ll even be able to hear your special someone cooing at you across the table. You’ll splurge, of course, but Chef Aaron Silverman and his stellar staff will make it worth every penny, with a sumptuous 11-course tasting menu that will absolutely live up to the hype.
Expect to pay $280 per person when seated in the dining room, which includes wine pairings, gratuity and tax, or $180 per person at the bar, where drinks can be ordered a la carte. Past menu highlights have included roasted potato ice cream with caviar and crispy potato threads, sweetbread tacos on handmade tortillas, and a playful PB&J made with foie gras butter and cherry preserves.
If the price tag is too rich for your blood, go ahead and reserve a spot on the patio, where you can order a few snacks and drinks at more modest prices of about $16 each. Because Pineapple and Pearls is usually not open on Saturday, it also means that weeknights just became cool again. (KH)
Pineapple and Pearls
715 8th St., S.E.
Best Food Festival or Event
Taste of D.C.
The largest culinary festival in the mid-Atlantic ran Oct. 7-8.
Editor’s choice: RAMW Restaurant Week
Best Craft Cocktails
Editor’s Choice: Five to One
The moment you enter the hushed environs of Columbia Room, you’ll immediately know that this is no ordinary bar. Recently named America’s best cocktail bar at the 2017 Spirited Awards, Columbia Room offers drinks that hover somewhere between intellect and fantasy — playful twists on classics, from a Manhattan crafted with “zombie vermouth” to a Sazerac spiced with roasted star anise.
The cozy Spirits Library is a perfect spot to curl up with a cocktail and a friend or two with a jazzy soundtrack, and there’s a fun punch garden out front for hanging with a crowd, but the gem is the elegant tasting room tucked away in the back. Go for either a three- or five-course tasting menu ($79 and $108, respectively, gratuity included) of cocktail and snack-sized food pairings — the themes change with the seasons, offering an interesting little flavor journey that turns an ordinary night at the bar into something a little more elevated. (KH)
124 Blagden Alley, N.W.
Best Fast Casual Dining
Editor’s Choice: Ted’s Bulletin
It’s no secret that fast casual dining has taken over the restaurant landscape, but few have done it better than CAVA, the offshoot of Cava Mezze, which got its start right here in the region.
If there’s a secret ingredient that accounts for the chain’s success, it’s that the flavors taste authentic, probably because they are a true reflection of the Greek roots of the company’s founders. The assembly line format so popular these days works well with the fresh ingredients, from grilled meatballs spiked with lemon and oregano to garlicky braised lamb, topped off with some of the standouts that originally appeared at Cava Mezze, like the spicy Crazy Feta and the roasted eggplant and bell peppers mixed with tangy Greek yogurt.
Garnishes like pickled banana peppers from locally owned Gordy’s Pickle Jar and fresh mint provide just that touch of brightness that makes lunch at your desk feel a little less sad. (KH)
Various locations across DC, Maryland and Virginia
Best Local Brewery
“Popular craft brewery offering free tours and tastings.” Third win in this category!
3178-B Bladensburg Rd., N.E.
Editor’s choice: Right Proper Brewing
Best Local Distillery
District Distilling Co.
Reclaimed barn doors and brick walls are the backdrop for American fare and drinks crafted from spirits made on-site.
1414 U St., N.W.
Editor’s choice: Republic Restoratives
Locations in Dupont Circle, F Street and Union Station.
Editor’s choice: Duke’s Grocery
Rocklands Barbecue and Grilling Company
Editor’s Choice: Patrick Vanas Events
Craving something big and beefy for your next event? Look no further than Rocklands Barbecue, which dishes up stacks of wood-smoked baby-back ribs, brisket, chicken and leg of lamb, not to mention their Mason-Dixon macaroni salad, homemade apple compote and barbecued baked beans.
Their full-service catering operation offers everything from table rentals to ice cream sundae bars, and you can get as refined as you like with passed appetizers of brown sugar bacon skewers or avocado toast, or go whole hog and literally opt for a whole smoked pig to anchor your holiday table. (KH)
Locations in Washington, Arlington and Alexandria.
Beat Cheap Eats
Third consecutive win in this category!
1215 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
1250 U St., N.W.
1400 K St., N.W.
Editor’s choice: Amsterdam Falafel