‘Hand in hand’
courtesy of ‘Pianoman75’
Dining out, especially in a city like DC, can be a daunting task. More so when you’re trying to impress someone, like maybe someone you’re trying to get your kiss on with. Or maybe you’ve nailed down the right person for you, and you’re just looking for some creative food to keep you on your toes. Or maybe you’re ready to pop the big marriage question but are unsure of where to do it.
Well, lucky for you, I’ve got a round-up of perfect restaurants for any point in your relationship. From first dates, to a late night married take-out place, I have you covered. Read on, romancer, and let me guide you.
courtesy of ‘M.V. Jantzen’
First Date: In my opinion, a first date shouldn’t be in a fancy restaurant. I know, that’s confusing, since I’m a foodie, and you probably think I need impressing. Well, I do want quality food, but I also don’t want some hushed quiet corner when I’m trying to get to know you. So a first date deserves a casual, fun and affordable (but still delicious) place, that is also in the middle of a bustling part of the city, so if the date goes well and you want to go somewhere to get drinks or dessert elsewhere, you don’t have to go far. So my first pick is newbie Eatonville. Casual, cheap, and delicious, the interior vibe is relaxed yet vibrant enough to edge off any awkwardness caused by first date jitters. Plus when you’re done you’ve got all of 14th and U street at your disposal. If you’re not up for a sit-down date, grab burgers at Good Stuff Eatery or Ray’s Hell Burgers and head for the park. If your potential boyfriend or girlfriend isn’t up for getting burger juice down their chin and into their laps, then I’m not sure you really want to waste your time on them anyways.
Defining-the-Relationship Date: So you’ve been dating for a while. You like her. You think he’s great. You are going to have a DTR, but first you really need to impress the apple of your eye. You’re ready to step it up. This is when I’d tell you to head over to Penn Quarter. There you’ve got a few different choices, and since you’re going out fancy, your price point is somewhere in the $20 plates. Zaytinya is a great spot for someone you’re comfortable with (since you share the tapas) and a fun atmosphere with a bit of extra class. If tapas aren’t your thing, try Poste. The patio is fabulous, and the food is fun. Then afterward hit up any of the surrounding bars for a classy celebratory cocktail.
The Anytime Date: So it’s a random Wednesday night, and you’re in a steady relationship. He’s pretty much everything you ever wanted, but right now you’re both cranky and can’t decide where to go to dinner. He’s not changing out of his UVA tee shirt, and you’re in flip flops, but you want something interesting to the palate. Sticky Rice is your answer. Casual, delicious, and a great hang-out place, you two won’t get mad if the service is crap, and you’re happy to throw back sake while you down some tots using chopsticks. At this point in the relationship, who cares that you don’t really know how to use chopsticks, it doesn’t matter, he’ll love you anyways.
The Anniversary: It’s big guns time. Get them out, cause now is the perfect situation for the fancy. The little black dress fancy. A ways out in Virginia, 2941 is a perfect anniversary spot. It’s not cheap (by any means) but it’s perfect for the couple that’s ready to celebrate themselves, get dressed up, valet the car, and enjoy the scenery. Pretty low light, high ceilings, impeccable service and an extensive wine list. Not to mention creative, complicated food from Chef Chemel. All the perfect libations for a night all about the two of you. Oh, and don’t skip dessert – those pastries are some of my favorite inside the Beltway. Plus, you deserve it.
The Engagement Date: Now, I for one, do not want to be proposed to in a restaurant (WHAT? How can that be? I am a foodie, you say! But no, people, just no.) but some people find that popping the question over food or in a champagne glass is the way to do it. And who am I to stop you? Just cause it’s not right for me, doesn’t mean it’s not right for you. So, I’d suggest Little Fountain Cafe. I reviewed it about a year ago, a little hidden romantic spot on18th with only 13 tables. Ideal if you want a bit of privacy while still having a night out. Alternately, I saw someone get proposed to at Minibar. Fun choice! Everyone clapped and the bartenders busted out the champagne. Creative food, lovely atmosphere. If only the woman didn’t keep smacking her new fiancee asking him if he was serious, it would have been perfection.
The Keeping-the-Spark Alive Date: So you’re married. HEY! CONGRATS! You have two incomes (hopefully) and lucky you, you can now afford a better price point than us singles (right? right.) so let’s step out to the tune of $20 a plate. Head on over to Dupont’s Firefly. I adore Firefly for it’s swanky casual – adorable interior, gorgeous porch, and fun location. Perfect for a date where you leave the kids at home, and want something chill and quiet. Jeans and heels will do, for guys a collared shirt and khakis.
The Don’t-Leave-The-House Date: So you’re looking for good food when you just want to stay in and watch a DVD. You’ve been out enough, and tonight, you just want some cuddling on the couch. Perfect. Despite what some haters may say, there is some great pizza in this city. Call ahead, and grab it to go. In Virginia, dial up Lost Dog or Piola. In the city check out Pizzaria Paradisio, 2 Amy’s, or Matchbox. Grab a bottle of wine from the corner store and call it a date.
The 80-Years-Old-And-Still-Kickin’ Date: You’ve made it to old age. All of this fuss about going out and getting dressed up is so last decade. You just want some simple food, and a milkshake (what is it with old people and milkshakes?) so you head to the diner. The Silver Diner, that is. They’ve even got a senior citizens discount. You’ve got each other, all you need now is fries, a burger, and a strawberry milkshake. Two straws, please.
Did I miss any relationship milestones? Did I omit your favorite date spot? Let me know in the comments.