Summer restaurant week 2022 guide: D.C. and Alexandria

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The next few weeks are big ones at area eateries. Between Aug. 15 and 21, around 250 restaurants are participating in Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week. While much of the focus is on D.C., discounted multicourse meals, which include $25 lunches and brunches and $40 and $55 dinners, can be found from North Bethesda to Vienna to National Landing. Just as that restaurant week is winding down, more than 60 restaurants in Alexandria start celebrating the city’s own Restaurant Week, which begins Aug. 19 and continues with prix fixe meals for $25, $35 or $45 through the 28th.

No matter where they’re held, restaurant weeks can be love-it-or-hate-it affairs. Some diners are looking for “bargains” at restaurants where $35 might be the usual cost of an entree, rather than a multicourse meal. Others use the event as an excuse to try somewhere new. But there are always grumbles about limited menus, or crowded dining rooms, or whether it would be cheaper to go to certain restaurants outside of restaurant week.

With this guide, we’re suggesting ways to make the most of restaurant weeks: Bringing the whole family to dinner? Let us steer you to a kid-friendly participant. No rain in the forecast? Head to one of these patios. From Belgian beer pairings to lavish brunches, there’s something for everyone — even the haters — to enjoy.

Immigrant Food Plus: Make a day of it by touring the high-tech and highly interactive Planet Word, then heading to the museum’s lower level to refuel at Immigrant Food Plus. Chef Enrique Limardo’s cafe is a more casual counterpart to his D.C. restaurants like Seven Reasons and Imperfecto, with nods to cuisines from Vietnam, West Africa, Iran and India. The restaurant week lunch menu here includes such starters as crispy yucca fries or harissa hummus, followed by a bowl for a main course and a cookie for dessert. (The Immigrant Food location near the White House is participating in restaurant week as well.) $25. 925 13th St. NW. immigrantfood.com. Also offering $40 and $55 dinner menus.

Mi Vida at the Wharf: Tourists and locals alike who find themselves in the mood for margaritas and chips at the Wharf development would do well to make a beeline to Mi Vida. The lunch menu for restaurant week is served family-style for a minimum of two guests. Find starters to share such as guacamole and green pipian deviled eggs, then order up pasilla-marinated skirt steak tacos or chicken enchiladas in a creamy tomatillo sauce for the main course, with churros for dessert. (Mi Vida’s brand-new location on 14th Street is also serving its own restaurant week menu for lunch.) $25. 98 District Square SW. mividamexico.com. Also offering a $40 dinner menu.

Boqueria: This Spanish restaurant born in New York is a fixture in D.C., too, with lively locations in Dupont Circle and Penn Quarter. The lunch menu during restaurant week is a greatest-hits version of tapas: Dishes include blistered shishito peppers, garlicky shrimp, crispy patatas bravas, lamb meatballs in tomato sauce with sheep’s milk cheese and mushroom croquettes with truffle aioli. There’s another Spanish classic for dessert, with cinnamon-sugar-dusted churros served alongside thick hot chocolate. $25. 1837 M St. NW and 777 Ninth St. NW. boqueriarestaurant.com. Also offering a $40 dinner menu.

Bar Chinois: French wine and spirits collide with modern Chinese cooking at the newish Bar Chinois in Mount Vernon Triangle. Brunch here during restaurant week includes main dishes such as breakfast fried rice with shrimp and pork sausage or a Cantonese soft scrambled egg on jasmine rice. That’s in addition to starters like wonton soup or French onion beef gyoza and such desserts as matcha crème brûlée. Throw in an extra $20 for two hours of free-flowing mimosas. $25. 455 Eye St. NW. barchinoisdc.com. Also offering a $40 dinner menu.

Dauphine’s: Brunch at this New Orleans-themed restaurant is always a lavish affair, and that’s true during restaurant week, too. The three-course brunch menu begins with bananas foster yogurt or lemon poppy seed scones as a starter, then you’ll choose either fried fish and grits with summer squash or an eggs Benedict with brown butter hollandaise, country ham and pickled peppers. If you really want to feel like you’re in the Big Easy, opt for powdered-sugar-covered beignets for dessert. $25. 1100 15th St. NW. dauphinesdc.com. Also offering a $55 dinner menu.

Chiko Dupont: Local mini-chain Chiko mashes up Chinese and Korean flavors, creating hits like “orange-ish” chicken with candied mandarin. In 2021, Chiko rolled out a dim sum brunch menu at select locations, including Dupont Circle. Re-create a version of that during restaurant week, where brunch starts with appetizers like chicken spring rolls with hot Chinese mustard, cumin lamb dumplings, and pork and kimchi pot stickers. Then you’ll choose an entree like brisket with a soy-brined soft egg or bulgogi tots covered with “kimcheez-whiz.” $25. 2029 P St. NW. mychiko.com.

Baan Siam: Frozen litchi vodka cocktails are on the restaurant week takeout and delivery menu at chef Jeeraporn Poksupthong’s Baan Siam, where $70 gets you two drinks, two appetizers, two entrees and one dessert from one of D.C.’s best Thai restaurants. Pork shoulder with ginger, pickled garlic and Northern Thai chili paste as well as spicy chicken and glass noodles served in a banana leaf are two highlights from the lengthy menu (which includes plenty of vegetarian dishes). $70 for two (dinner). 425 I St. NW. baansiamdc.com.

Convivial: Bistro classics — including such complicated dishes as pâté en croûte, with ​​foie gras, duck breast and cured pork shoulder in a savory pie crust — shine at chef Cedric Maupillier’s Convivial in Shaw. Surprisingly, many of these, including French onion soup, translate well to takeout and delivery, according to Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema. The long list of choices on the restaurant week menu includes a roasted pork chop and the summer vegetable quinoa porridge, with a gorgeous poached pear drenched in chocolate for dessert. $55 (dinner). 801 O St. NW. convivialdc.com.

Taqueria Xochi: This hot-pink-hued hot spot on U Street is pickup and delivery only, slinging carne asada tacos on made-in-house tortillas from a walk-up window. Chef Teresa Padilla made a splash at Taqueria Xochi thanks to her birria, which you can try on the restaurant week menu in the form of quesabirria with either beef or lamb ($3 surcharge). Pay $40 for one diner or $70 for two for a takeout feast that includes chips and guac and tres leches cake with strawberries. The restaurant week menu is available only through Taqueria Xochi’s online ordering system as opposed to third-party apps. $40 (dinner for one), $70 (dinner for two). 924 U. St. taqueriaxochi.com.

Doi Moi: On 14th Street, stylish Vietnamese street food spot Doi Moi is offering a separate restaurant week menu just for vegetarians. The dining-in menu, available for lunch and dinner, includes three courses with gluten-friendly, vegan and vegetarian options. The meal begins with either veggie steamed dumplings or crispy spiced tofu and ends with dragon fruit and banana sherbet soft serve. The main course could be watercress salad, drunken noodles or a coconut-milk-infused ratatouille. $25 (lunch or dinner). 1800 14th St. NW. doimoidc.com.

Sababa: A salad bursting with the flavors of summer — like cucumber, tomato and watermelon with feta and onion — will be part of a five-course menu at Sababa in Cleveland Park. The Israeli restaurant from D.C. dining kingpin Ashok Bajaj includes vegetable-forward options every step of the way. You’ll start with pitas alongside dips like turmeric tahina, and other highlights include fried cauliflower with golden raisins and dill, hawaij-spiced couscous and apricot labneh-filled cake. $40 (dinner). 3311 Connecticut Ave. NW. sababauptown.com.

Kismet Modern Indian: Meat-free dishes are far from an afterthought at Kismet Modern Indian, a newish Old Town spinoff from the team behind Karma Modern Indian in Washington. One of the flashiest dishes — a puffed rice salad served in a gold cornet, available during Alexandria Restaurant Week — is game on for vegetarians. Other options include a vegetable korma with sweet corn sauce or gingery slow-cooked chickpeas. As a bonus, Kismet’s sleek dining room is just as lovely as chef Ajay Kumar’s artistic plates. $45 (dinner, Alexandria Restaurant Week only). 111 N. Pitt St., Alexandria. kismetmodernindian.com.

Duke’s Counter: If burgers, fries and a trip to the zoo sounds like the best day ever for your little one, plan for an excursion to Duke’s Counter in Woodley Park. The Connecticut Avenue entrance to the National Zoo is directly across the street from this gastropub, which is known for its Proper Burger with melted Gouda on a brioche bun. You’ll find that on the restaurant week menu, along with “posh” BLTs and strawberry shortcake. (There’s a mini-version of the Proper Burger on the Duke’s Counter kids’ menu). $25 (lunch), $40 (dinner). 3000 Connecticut Ave. NW. dukesgrocery.com.

Pennyroyal Station: A colorful floral mural by artist Yulia Avgustinovich covers the side of Pennyroyal Station’s building, making the Mount Rainier restaurant’s patio feel like a magical spot for a kid-friendly meal. During restaurant week, you’ll be able to mix and match and create your own three-course meal from the full menu (excluding the family-size platter options). The options include freshly baked biscuits topped with pork and pickles, crabby deviled eggs, brisket-flecked mac and cheese, and Maryland striped bass with peanut-miso grits. $40 (dinner). 3310 Rhode Island Ave., Mount Rainier. pennyroyalstation.com.

Piece Out: Set your crew free at the massive playground at Mount Vernon Community School, then head across the street to this laid-back Italian American restaurant in Del Ray. The set menu at Piece Out will appeal to grown-ups: Dinner includes a glass of wine, salad and pasta dishes like baked spinach manicotti. Kids can go for cheese or pepperoni pizza by the slice, and maybe you’ll let them share a bite of your tiramisu or cannoli. $35 (dinner, Alexandria Restaurant Week only). 2419 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. pieceoutdelray.com.

Evening Star Cafe: This long-running neighborhood favorite in Del Rey offers a variety of dining spaces, from the cozy dining room with its tin-lined ceilings to private outdoor cabanas or a perch on the Front Porch for people watching. The dressed-up comfort food at Evening Star is just as big a draw: During restaurant week, try such dishes as panzanella, meatballs pomodoro or a “star” fish sandwich topped with toasted fennel, followed by panna cotta or a citrusy olive oil cake. $40 (dinner, Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week), $35 (dinner, Alexandria Restaurant Week). 2000 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. eveningstarcafe.net.

Moon Rabbit: Chef Kevin Tien’s imagination runs wild at Moon Rabbit, a modern Vietnamese restaurant that looks out on the Wharf waterfront from within the InterContinental Washington, D.C. During restaurant week, his creations include cassava coconut cornbread to start, followed by a choice of dishes like shrimp toast on brioche with yellow curry, black-pepper-glazed skirt steak, tom yum fried skate wing and a chocolate ganache tart that’s a play on Vietnamese coffee. $55 (dinner). 801 Wharf St. SW. moonrabbitdc.com.

Daikaya Izakaya: Katsuya Fukushima is a huge fan of Japanese cult-classic movie and television show “Midnight Diner,” so much so that it became the inspiration for a special restaurant week menu at his dimly lit hideaway in Chinatown. Binge the show on Netflix and you’ll get the backstory behind dishes eaten by characters on “Midnight Diner” — such as ochazuke (green tea over rice), takoweena (tiny octopus-shaped sausages) and tamago sando (a type of egg salad sandwich). $40 (dinner). 705 Sixth St. NW. daikaya.com.

La Bise: Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj replaced his decades-old Oval Room with a fun French power player that debuted last year. La Bise’s revamped dining room evokes Paris — but its location near the White House is exciting in its own right for cable news junkies. Normally, entree prices at La Bise are around $35, but for $20 more during restaurant week, you’ll get a three-course dinner with such dishes as cucumber-buttermilk vichyssoise, olive-oil-poached salmon and a blueberry tart for dessert. $55 (dinner). 800 Connecticut Ave. NW. labisedc.com.

Michele’s: Michelin-starred chef Matt Baker’s new restaurant in the hip Eaton hotel on K Street plays around with his French culinary training and family history in Houston and New Orleans. Those varied influences translate to restaurant week dishes such as crawfish linguine dotted with lobster butter, summer vegetable étouffée, surf clam ceviche and rice pudding with pear pineapple jam. The prix fixe menu of three courses at Michele’s usually costs $85, so the $55 three-course restaurant week meal is a relative bargain. $55 (dinner). 1201 K St. NW. michelesdc.com.

Oak Steakhouse: A meat-and-potatoes dinner with three courses rings in at just $45 at Oak Steakhouse during Alexandria Restaurant Week. That’s usually the entry-level cost for a steak alone at this handsome outpost in Old Town North. The meal includes a zippy watermelon salad, hanger steak with potato puree and roasted carrots. Feeling spendy? Upgrade to a larger filet or go for additions like $5 truffle butter or a $12 slice of warm chocolate cake to share. $45 (dinner, Alexandria Restaurant Week only). 901 N. St. Asaph St., Alexandria. oaksteakhouserestaurant.com.

Cafe Berlin: The beer garden at this Capitol Hill institution, with its softly glowing white lights and ivy-covered arches, makes for a charming and romantic place to tuck into potato pancakes, braised beef or apple strudel, washed down with German wine and beer. $40 (dinner). 322 Massachusetts Ave. NE. cafeberlin-dc.com.

The Salt Line: With views of boats sailing the Anacostia and ospreys soaring overhead, the Salt Line’s waterfront patio is more of an attraction than the team that plays on the other side of Potomac Avenue SE. In addition to its three-course dinner menu, the Salt Line is offering fish sandwiches and smash burgers as part of its weekend lunch, which runs Friday through Sunday. $25 (lunch), $55 (dinner). 79 Potomac Ave. SE. thesaltline.com.

Ada’s on the River: Hanger steak with smoked onion soubise and grilled scallops with coal-roasted corn and bacon jam are the reasons that food lovers are drawn to Ada’s on the River in Old Town, but the patio’s stellar views of the Potomac River, which sweep from the Capitol dome to National Harbor, are just as rave-worthy. $45 (dinner, Alexandria Restaurant Week only). 3 Pioneer Mill Way, Alexandria. adasontheriver.com.

Cork: Cork is known for its wine selection — 50 by the glass, 250 by the bottle — so it’s no surprise the restaurant week menu at the 14th Street market and wine bar is vino-friendly. (The recommended dessert: daily selections from the cheese monger.) An optional $16 wine flight includes one pour each of red, white and sparkling rosé, so you and your dining companions can figure out which pairs best with the burrata or grilled berbere-spiced chicken. Also, diners can reserve tables on the restaurant’s back patio, a colorful oasis separated from 14th Street’s rush of noise. $40 (dinner). 1805 14th St. NW. corkdc.com.

The Sovereign: The best beer selection of any restaurant week participant is found at the Sovereign, a temple honoring the amazing variety of Belgian ales and lagers. For a $15 upcharge, the Sovereign pairs each of the three courses with a different beer — and each dish on the menu, whether beer-braised short ribs, cheese croquettes or saffron mussels, has its own recommended pour. It’s a lesson in the marriage of food and beer. $40 (dinner). 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW. thesovereigndc.com.

Tiki Bar Del Ray: For two decades, “Mango” Mike Anderson owned Caribbean-style restaurants bearing his name in both Alexandria and Bethany Beach. The Alexandria Mango Mike’s closed in 2013, but its rum-heavy spirit lives on at a pop-up on Del Ray’s main drag. Tiki Bar Del Ray features classic tiki drinks, such as the Zombie and Fog Cutter. The three-course menu includes one cocktail, a choice of coconut-crusted shrimp or jerk wings and dessert, all served in a kitschy bar environment. $25 (dinner, Alexandria Restaurant Week only). 2312 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. facebook.com/tikidelray.