The last several years have seen a boom in Washington restaurants. D.C. is attracting both top talent and celebrity chefs. Couple that with some legendary institutions and you can get yourself some good eats.
The city is broken up into four quadrants: Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast. Numbered streets and lettered streets often have similar addresses, but they may lead you to a different part of the city if you have the quadrant wrong.
The area immediately surrounding the convention center offers some great lunch options, and just a few blocks south you'll find Gallery Place/Chinatown.
Aeadiana. This upscale Cajun restaurant serves Louisiana classics such as crab cakes, mauffaletta, and shrimp and grits. Acadiana also has a large, comfortable bar area with a full menu. Reservations recommended. $$$. L Sun.-Fri., D daily. 901 New YorkAve. NW. 202-408-8848.www.acadianarestaurant.com.
Chinatown Express. This diamond in the rough has some of the best noodles and dumplings in town. You'll be able to tell it from the other Chinese restaurants by the chef preparing noodles in the window. The service is brusque, but the dirt-cheap prices cannot be heat. $. L, D daily. 746 6th St. NW. 202-638-0424.
Clyde's. This D.C. staple has two locations within city limits, serving traditional American fare in addition to more creative offerings. Reservations recommended. $$. B Sat.-Sun., L, D, daily. Clyde's of Gallery Place: 707 7th St. NW. 202-349-3700. Clyde's of Georgetown: 3236 M St. NW. 202-333-9180. www.clydes.com.
Corduroy. A top choice for a fresh, gourmet meal. If the soft-shell crab is on the seasonal menu, don't miss the opportunity to try one of the mid-Atlantic's best-loved dishes. Reservations recommended. $$$$. D daily. 1122 9th St. NW. 202-589-0699. www.corduroydc.com.
Ella's Wood Fired Pizza. A casual crowd-pleaser with thin-crust pizza and several entree-sized salads. This restaurant may seem busy, but tables turn over quickly. A personal favorite is the margherita pizza with buffalo mozzarella, basil, and tomato sauce. Yum! $. L, D daily. 901 F St. NW. 202-638-3434. www.ellaspizza.com.
Jaleo, Zaytinya, Cafe Atlantico, and Oyamel. Jose Andres, the chef behind the PBS series Made in Spain, offers four restaurants within walking distance of the convention center. The Spanish tapas reaturant, Jaleo, has great happy hour specials from Sunday to Friday. Zaytinya features Mediterranean-style small plates like lamb kebabs, hummus, and stuffed grape leaves. Cafe Atlantico serves Latin American fare, and is the home of the six-seat, reservation-only Minibar. Oyamel focuses on traditional Mexican food, with such delicacies as grasshopper tacos. Jaleo: $$$. L, D daily. 480 7th St. NW. 202-628-7949. www.jaleo.com. Zaytinya: $$$. L, D daily. 701 9th St. NW. 202-638-0800. www.zaytinya.com. Cafe Atlantico: Reservations recommended. $$$$. L, D Tue.--Sun. 405 8th St. NW. 202-393-0812. www.cafeatlantico.com. Oyamel: $$$. L, D daily. 401 7th St. NW. 202-628-1005. www.oyamel.com.
Matchbox. Beware of extremely long weekend waits at this date-night hot spot. The pizza is baked in an authentic wood-fired oven, and sliders with crispy onion rings are great for sharing. For something fancier, try the prime New York strip or Creole pork tenderloin. $$. L, D daily. 713 H St. NW. 202-289-4441. www.matchboxdc.com.
Nando's Peri-Peri. This Portuguese-African fusion restaurant's specialty is chicken marinated in a peri-peri pepper sauce and flame-grilled. Another highlight is the chicken breast wrap with sweet chili jam and tangy yogurt sauce. $. L, D daily. 819 7th St. NW. 202-898-1225. www.nandosperiperi.com.
Poste Moderne Brasserie. A sophisticated option located in the Hotel Monaco. Try the house-made charcuterie and a lavender margarita in the secluded courtyard, but the service can be hit-or-miss. …