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 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. Start scheduling those dates, ladies’ nights, and family dinners now to enjoy some wintry fun dining!
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 (January 16 – 22, 2023).
2. Bar a Vin: The wine bar at darling French bistro Chez Billy Sud (currently under renovations for the season) 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. 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!
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Bourbon Steak: Once again, the restaurant located in The Four Seasons Hotel Georgetown is delivering an over-the-top experience, Apres-Ski style, with private dining chalet suites on the lovely patio. The restaurant’s full menu is available, and a minimum spend, plus booking and gratuity is part of the deal. A splurge option, you can go in as a group (the chalets accommodate up to parties of six).
12. 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.
13. 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).
14. 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.!