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I am two things — extremely type A and a creature of habit. While I love trying and experiencing new things, it’s hard not to stick to places we already know and love when it comes to planning a date night. To inspire us to get out of our comfort zone and venture somewhere other than our tired and true spots, the control freak in me made a Google Doc with all of the places I want to try in the city, complete with the type of cuisine the restaurant serves and down-to-the-minute details of how long it would take to get there from our apartment — both in terms of walking and hailing a ride share. Like I said, I’m a control freak.
The doc has come in handy quite a few times when trying to figure out where to go with friends, which is exactly how we ended up at District Winery for our latest double date. I just sent the doc to our friends and had them pick since I knew I’d be happy with any of the choices!
If you don’t have a dining bucket list, consider this your jumping off point and start your own! Below are some of our favorite spots to go, and you can always check out my main DC Dining Guide for more inspiration!
If You’re Feeling “Sceney” | District Winery
Situated in Navy Yard, the winery has a tasting bar and full-service restaurant and doubles as an event venue. We kicked off the evening with a wine tasting (orange wine is actually amazing!) and then had a great meal at their restaurant Ana. Head over to Bluejacket Brewery after dinner if you want to continue your evening!
If You’re Too Tired To Go Out | Beau Thai + Netflix
I knew I had a problem when I added Beau Thai as a contact in my phone. Gerald and I order from here at least once a week — usually right before we settle in for a few episodes of whatever show we’re watching (this month, it’s Ozark Season 2). We’re lucky enough to live right around the corner from the traditional Thai spot, but they also have a location in Mount Pleasant and deliver! I always go for the Pad Pik King Tofu and G alternates between the Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles.
If You Want a Traditional Date Night | Ghibellina + a movie
While we love our Netflix shows, we actually prefer to go to the movies! I got us MoviePasses in the spring and one of our favorite things to do is hit up Ghibellina’s happy hour and then walk it off by catching a flick at E Street Cinema or Atlantic Plumbing. Ghibellina has happy hour every day and they have pizzas on their happy hour! We both can eat a lot, so we usually order our own pizzas, but the walk to the movie theater (about a mile each way) helps us feel less guilty.
For When You Want a Good Meal and Solid Service | Red Hen
Red Hen is one of my top three favorite restaurants in the city and we love bringing our friends here. My dad is a super picky eater and even he loved it! Red Hen’s menu changes seasonally and I’ve never tried something I didn’t like there. They always have one vegetarian pasta on the menu (obvi my order) and the burratta appetizer is always the first thing we ask for.
I know it’s not chic or forward-thinking, but Lauriol Plaza is seriously my favorite restaurant in the city. Every year for my birthday I ask that Gerald takes me to happy hour at The Riggsby (a 1960s-inspired supper club in Dupont Circle) and then we walk over to Lauriol Plaza for dinner and a pitcher of margs. The Riggsby’s happy hour is on point — I literally think about their gimlets on the regular — and it has a fun yet intimate vibe despite being in a hotel.