Top Winter Dining Spots Around D.C.


The true winter season is finally upon us here in the D.C. area! These long, colder evenings call for cozy meals, but if you’re like me, cabin fever hits hard. Here are some of the best places for winter dining spots around D.C.. With warm hearths, fun igloos, and themed chalets, there’s something on this list for every occasion. Even better, some of these are participating in D.C. Winter Restaurant Week (this year, January 15 – January 21). Start scheduling those dates, ladies’ nights, and family dinners now to enjoy some wintry fun dining!

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Hearths and Heaters:

1. Iron Gate: This popular spot conveniently located near DuPont features an enticing Mediterranean menu that lands it in the “Top 100” every year, and boasts a romantic patio that stays cozy during the winter months with plentiful, strategically placed firepits. If you prefer indoor dining, the main room features a welcoming and toasty hearthside experience.  Iron Gate is participating in D.C.’s Winter Restaurant Week.

2. Bar a Vin: The wine bar at darling French bistro Chez Billy Sud is “the coziest little wine bar in the heart of historic Georgetown.” It’s the perfect place to enjoy an intimate fireside glass of wine, along with a few small plates. Not a fan of wine? Have no fear: they offer beer, cider, and have some delicious cocktails on the menu as well.

3. Mi Casa: Another winter dining spot in the Dupont neighborhood, this Tex-Mex restaurant offers an indoor patio that is fully heated so that you can forget about the cold before you’ve even ordered that first margarita.

4. Queens English: D.C. winter dining may not evoke thoughts of “modern Hong Kong-style plates,” but this spot located in Columbia Heights seems to have a bit of a cult following for its good quality, good value food that is sure to surpass your regular Chinese takeout. Reserve a spot early for the small but fully heated patio that allows for plenty of people watching.

5-6. Seven Reasons, and sister spot Immigrant Food: With innovative menus, both of these sound like great places to try. Seven Reasons winterized their vibrant garden-style patio with a heater and retractable roof. Immigrant Food (I love this name) has an outdoor space that includes not only heaters, but blankets and rugs.

7. The Bombay Club: While The Bombay Club may does not have a fireplace or outdoor dining during the winter months, I’m including it because the dining room is usually festive, and Thursday through Friday has live piano that provides a cozy ambience for you to enjoy while tucking into tasty, elevated Indian dishes that will warm you up. (Note: this isn’t a kid-friendly place, as they don’t offer highchairs or allow strollers.)

8. Albi: A warmly enclosed winter garden sounds like the perfect way to enjoy delicious Levantine flavors with a party of family and friends at this welcoming place, where you can taste the love in the food!

Winter Dining in Igloos:

9. La Vie: These igloos come with a view! On the penthouse level, they overlook The Wharf, river and beyond. Reservations are available for brunch or dinner. For a novel ending, I recommend their baked Alaska surrounded by cotton candy (more for fun than flavor)! SEE BELOW!

winter dining options dc le vie

10. King & Rye: Located in charming Old Town, Alexandria, King & Rye has set up a “Winter Wonderland” in their courtyard outfitted with decorated, heated igloos where you can cozy up in parties up to eight while nibbling from Southern style small plates and seasonal libations.

11. The Next Whiskey Bar: The outdoor patio of the bar inside The Watergate features igloos inspired by the Swiss Alps, with a choice between Raclette and Fondue for the full experience, along with seasonal dishes and specialty cocktails.

Winter Dining Chalets:

12. Bourbon Steak: Once again, the restaurant located in The Four Seasons Hotel Georgetown is delivering an over-the-top experience, this year with private Macallan-inspired chalets on the lovely patio. They are offering exclusive pours paired with a new seasonal tasting menu. A splurge option that could be great for special occasion party of folks who like whiskey, you can go in as a group.

13. Bresca: A more affordable, still adorable option are the whimsical clear “lodges” at this well-recognized spot. These are heated and have blankets so that you can enjoy alfresco dining sans the shivers. The Michelin-starred chef at this spot has also winterized the menu, with homey dishes such as red-wine braised lamb, and venison. Bresca is also offering a Winter Restaurant Week menu.

14. Stable: The Swiss know raclette, and what better way to enjoy warm, cheesy goodness than in one of Stable’s intimate Swiss chalets on H-Street. Call ahead to give 24hours notice for the Stable’s raclette experience. They are participating in DC’s Winter Restaurant Week.

15. Dirty Habit: The restaurant’s winter chalet is found within the Kimpton Hotel Monaco’s courtyard, and boasts cozy heating, international fare, and imaginative cocktails surrounded by a wintry theme. No reservation is required: walk-ins are welcomed to enjoy this chalet experience on a first-come, first-served basis!

16. Hook Hall: Not exactly a chalet, but this spot is offering “winter cabanas” for various group sizes in a new Northern Lights-themed garden. While they have event venue options for larger parties that even include a winter hot tub cabana (!), garden tables are available for walk-in parties of 1-8, where guests can order drinks from the outdoor bar and choose food from the kiosk while enjoying the atmosphere.

S’more fun:

17. Urban Roast: Dine-in customers can partake in interactive s’more making for two. Aside from the classic, you can opt for some out-of-the-box combinations such as salted caramel, nutty buddy, grasshopper, Samoa, or an Elvis (peanut butter and banana). This year, they have transformed the interior into an Instagrammable winter wonderland cocktail bar.

18. Camp Wharf: If you’ve spent any time on The Wharf, you’ve seen the cute retro Airstream. You can pick up s’more kits to go from its window, and roast up these nostalgic treats at the nearby firepit overlooking the water. Hint: this would be a great ending to a night out with the kids!

Wherever you choose for a meal out this season, happy winter dining in and around D.C.!

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Catie Misleh
Catie has lived in the DC area since 2012 and currently resides in McLean, Virginia with her husband, and their son Basil (2020). She spent most of her childhood in California, and then Hawaii before leaving to attend school on the mainland. Like many, after graduating from law school she moved to the DC area for work opportunities and began exploring right away. Now that it is the place she has lived longest, she officially calls it home. Catie describes herself as a hybrid stay-at-home-working mom: she recently started homeschooling her toddler, and also works part-time remotely as a contracts consultant for a nonprofit healthcare system. Favorite things include spending time with her family outdoors, reading, cooking, travel, and exercising. She really, really dislikes being cold, prefers tea over coffee, and enjoys board games as much as binge watching mindless shows after a long day. One of the best parts of momhood for her has been rediscovering all the awesome things this area has to offer through the eyes of her little boy!


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