How often do you quickly pull your phone out to snap a pic of your plate or the gorgeous decor of the restaurant you are at? If it isn’t on Instagram then it didn’t happen, right? Well, I definitely consider how Instagram-worthy a spot is before deciding if I’ll go unless it’s a celebratory event that I was invited to… So, it’s important to know when planning where to eat, just how instagrammable the restaurant will be so you can share the experience with your drooling followers. Choosing the most instagrammable DC restaurants can get pretty tricky.
Washington DC is full of unique restaurants — some aren’t five-star expensive restaurants, but win in either the food, service or decor/presentation categories. And then, you also have your choice of five-star restaurants that may offer stellar food and service with white/black linen tablecloths, but the design and food presentation just leave something to be desired. But, of course, you also have those diamonds in the rough… those instagrammable DC restaurants offering five-star dining in an enchanting space with food and service that will make you slap your momma.
I find that when planning an event at a restaurant — birthday dinner, anniversary, etc, I often forget those restaurants that had a gorgeous setting just because the food is phenomenal. Then I hesitate to take photos there because I don’t feel like my followers will appreciate the food or service without a perfectly staged photo to go with it. That’s where this list comes in handy.
So, get your phone cameras and/or DSLRs ready when you plan to visit these most instagrammable DC restaurants for dinner!
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Del Mar de Fabio Trabocchi
This pricey restaurant does not offer average-sized portions for the high-end price, but the service at least attempts to be five-star. My food experience for dinner here was “OK”, but the interior design is very thoughtful and elegant — I would say Mediterranean traditional with coastal and modern accents.
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734 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 | www.saxwdc.com
An ornate supper club and cabaret that specializes in French hor ‘d oeuvres and craft cocktails, Sax offers unique burlesque shows from a glass-enclosed loft above the bar. Keep in mind that on Saturday nights there is a minimum $75 spend per person. This spot is not really for elaborate dinners (or even really tasty ones), but the ambiance alone keeps people coming back for more.
Taberna del Alabardero
1776 I St. NW, Washington DC | alabardero.com
Enjoy old-world Spanish charm with vibrant, colorful decor at this venue perfect for an intimate gathering or large party of up to 50 guests in La Granja — Taberna’s beautiful semiprivate room. This spot is known for its tapas menu and paella.. with over 300 wines for pairing.
900 16th Street NW, Washington DC | www.mirabelledc.com
Visit Mirabelle for classically French mid-century glamour like solid walnut, hand-stitched leather and imported marble. The lighting is perfect Instagram-worthy food photos and the cuisine is stupendous.
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Executive Chef Keith Bombaugh hails DC ready to bring guests, “a modern expression of the global influence on contemporary French cuisine that is designed to transport the diners through invoking an emotional connection.” His Pacific Abalone dish is a whimsical depiction of Pacific Oceans, bringing him back to his East Coast childhood. #chefsofdc #chefsofinstagram #DCEats #DCDining #MirabelleDC #EATDC #french #newengland #seafood #abalone
922 N Street NW Washington DC | www.tigerforkdc.com
Dragon-covered walls, ornamental China, Oriental art and vibrant colors make this underground Hong Kong-styled spot Instagram-worthy. Food is a bit over-priced, but you are paying for the ambiance.
Zaytinya701 9th St NW Washington, DC 20001 | www.zaytinya.com
Consistently rated as a top restaurant on any foodie site, Zaytinya is a diamond in the rough. Try a bunch of different small plates with the Mediterranean tapas menu and enjoy stunning romantic decor at night or get drenched in natural lgiht through its many windows during the day. This place is always packed and the lighting is killer for food shots.
Various locations | www.jaleo.com
Eating at renowned chef Jose Andres’ Jaleo ensures your taste buds will thank you and your Instagram feed will be buzzing with top-notch photos of impeccable food plating. But the bright, fun colors and funky geometric decor is why it’s on my list.
Masseria1340 4th St NE Washington, DC 20002 | masseria-dc.com
Masseria is a Michelin starred restaurant with an upscale, but casual flare featuring fine Italian cooking. Rustic with excellent lighting, you’ll want to check out the restaurant’s cozy patio, open kitchen, and exciting interior flooring. Try their 5-course tasting menu for a photo shoot, but don’t be swayed by the run-down exterior or neighborhood.
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2650 Virginia Ave NW, The Watergate Hotel, Washington DC, DC 20037-1906 | https://www.thewatergatehotel.com/washington-dc-restaurant-kingbird
The rooftop bar at the sleek Kingbird restaurant in the Watergate Hotel (famous for the Nixon scandal) offers panoramic views of DC and good food as well as a decent happy hour when you can grab some shots of their craft cocktails. Although it isn’t known for great service, you just can’t beat the photo ops of the plating and elaborate, shiny interior decor.
Instagrammable DC Restaurants: Honorable Mentions…
122 Blagden Aly NW, Washington, DC 20001 | thedabney.com
Enjoy small plates, desserts and wonderfully-presented cocktails at this expensive Michelin starred bar close to Downtown DC. Due to the lighting, we don’t recommend this spot so much for food photos, but Instagrammers rave about the fabulous bathrooms perfect for a selfie or primping.
1501 K St NW, Suite 100, Washington DC, DC 20005-1401 | www.claudiassteakhouse.com
I haven’t been to this steakhouse personally but heard the service, food, and decor was stellar. The fare is Latin American-influenced and the decor is comfortable but modern with pops of red throughout the food presentation and interior.
1015 Seventh Street NW, Washington DC | metierdc.com
A bit too dark (no natural light for optimal photos) with a minimalistic design for my liking, but many love the elegant modern decor and traditional touches like Candelabra centerpieces. Take tons of photos while enjoying their seven-course tasting menu with cocktails and wine pairing.
Estadio1520 14th St NW Washington, DC 20005 | estadio-dc.com
This review sums it up:
“The atmosphere is so beautiful, with dark wood, lots of heavy wrought iron light fixtures and trims, beautiful Spanish tile and carved woods and a glorious red ceiling. Very Spanish feeling, with a bit of industrial chic added in the form of exposed brick and pipes.”
The food is great and so is the decor, but competitor, Jaleo, listed above wins in the Instagram-worthy category.
Pineapple & Pearls715 8th Street SE Washington, DC | www.pineappleandpearls.com
If you are looking for great food and drink presentation, you’ve found it, but the ambiance is lacking for the price and Michelin rating.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to the Most Instagrammable DC Restaurants for Dinner!
Thanks for reading and sharing,
P.S. Did I miss a spot? If you’ve been to Washington, DC and discovered some Instagram-worthy dinner spots, put them in the comments below so that I can add them to this list of most instagrammable DC restaurants!