D.C. restaurants serve romance

Nathan’s
3150 M St. N.W.
(202) 338-2600
www.NathansLunch.com

This Georgetown classic is usually ignored by the college crowd more concerned with the bar scene, but it’s perfect for a date. The back room is all about romance with dim lighting, and the dark wood and white tablecloths put you and your date at center stage.

The menu is limited, featuring standard pub food, but a lot of upgrades including seven different kinds of twin filets – which are cut from the center of the filet mignon, making them filling but not huge. The horseradish-crusted twin filet is delicious, but pack the breath mints. Each steak is $18.95 to $22.95, and chicken and seafood entrees are also available.

For dessert, the choices are again standard. Cheesecake, chocolate cake or key lime pie are each easy to split with that special someone. The price is reasonable for the meal you will get – expect to pay about $40 per person.

Mimi’s American Bistro
2120 P St. N.W.
(202) 464-6464
www.MimisDC.com

For anyone single out there without a date this Valentine’s Day, band together. Mimi’s American Bistro is the perfect place to go with a group of single friends to enjoy a night of flavored martinis and Broadway tunes. That’s right, you can sing along to your favorites while the wait staff belts them at the piano in the middle of the restaurant.

The food here is good, and apparently governed by the kitchen’s love of goat cheese, which seems to accompany more than half the choices on the menu. The surprisingly good Mimi Burger is served with farm-fresh goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Expect to pay about $10 for a sandwich and $20 for an entr?e.

For dessert, the cr?me brulee is delicious, as is the banana white chocolate bread pudding. Pick one and share it with your fellow singles. What you won’t want to share, however, is your martini. Dubbed “chic-tinis,” make sure to ask for the menu. With names such as The Floridian and The 007, each drink isn’t as strong as a standard vodka martini but has the sweetness some are craving.

Old Ebbitt Grill
675 15th St. N.W.
(202) 347-4801
www.Ebbitt.com

The Old Ebbitt Grill is just steps away from the White House and has been favored by more than a few presidents. But despite its close proximity to the Oval Office, the restaurant is surprisingly laid-back. Its casual dress code is more like an anything-goes dress code, so this restaurant is an excellent choice for a new Valentine.

The food is consistent and dependable, and as part of the Clyde’s Group – owners of Clyde’s, 1789, J. Paul’s and others – diners can expect a quality meal. The menu changes daily but always includes sure bets such as jumbo lump crab cakes, lobster and New York Strip Steak. If you enjoy salmon, opt for the Atlantic Salmon Salad. The fish is grilled and then laid upon a bed of spinach with lemon vinaigrette. And don’t miss the raw bar. From oysters to clams to huge pieces of shrimp, Old Ebbitt has the best in town.

For dessert, the blondie sundae is delicious and the peanut butter pie is a good choice for nut lovers. For a three-course meal, expect to pay about $35. For those trying to impress, buy wine by the glass because if you choose to bring your own bottle, there is a $15 corkage fee.

Bistro Francais
3128 M St. N.W.
(202) 338-3830
www.BistroFrancaisDC.com

While French is the language of love, very few of us are whisking our valentines away to Paris. However, you can still speak le langue d’amour at Bistro Francais, in the heart of Georgetown. On Valentine’s Day, the restaurant is offering a fixed price special from 5 to 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., which includes three courses and a glass of wine for only $19.99.

To start, the escargot is some of the best in town. But if you want to treat your date to more than the special, there are two dishes that probably lured you to the Bistro in the first place. One is the steak tartare, which is perfectly seasoned and comes with shoestring French fries. But be careful – as your server will inform you, the meat is raw.

The second-best dish at Bistro Francais is eggs benedict. Most claim that it is the best in town, so even if they aren’t featured on the menu, ask your waiter and you won’t be disappointed. On weekends, the restaurant is open until 4 a.m., so these eggs continually hit the spot. At about $60 for two diners, Bistro Francais is a great choice for a date.

Sequoia
3000 K St. N.W.
(202) 944-4200
www.arkrestaurants.com

Located at Washington Harbour, Sequoia offers a great view of the Potomac River and Roosevelt Island. The restaurant is most popular for its patio bar and great people-watching location and the high ceilings and cozy lighting make a great setting for a casual date any time of the year.

The food here is standard American cuisine. Some will say it is overpriced; however, this restaurant remains a D.C. favorite. Even if the view is the best thing on the menu, there are still some other high points – namely, gourmet burgers, linguini and crab cakes. For something a bit more high-class, try the duck or the rack of lamb, which is extremely tender.

Despite a typically 30-minute wait, Sequoia is a great choice for a laid-back date at about $35 per person.

Al Tiramisu
2014 P St. N.W.
(202) 467-4466
www.Altiramisu.com

If you want a romantic setting and great Italian food, Al Tiramisu is the reservation to make. The restaurant is charming; from its bright yellow walls to the china plates serving as decoration, it is hard not to feel cozy and at home here. The goal of every player – the chef, the waiters, the food itself – is to provide diners with the most enjoyable experience and memorable food.

From start to finish your meal is made with detailed preparation. Al Tiramisu is most famous for the fish – it is flown in fresh daily from all over the world. The flavor of the grilled fish dishes is perfectly punctuated with a hint of olive oil, and the fried calamari is delicious.

But you can’t forget the pasta – split an order with your date so you can sample two different entr?es. Each dish, whether it is the beef tenderloin, salmon or grilled chicken breast, is accompanied by an orange, rosemary or wine sauce that makes a perfect accompaniment. For dessert, the classic tiramisu is a must.

For $45 each, Al Tiramisu is a great spot for a large meal, exceptional service and, as the name says, a place to get close.

Sea Catch
1054 31st St. N.W.
(202) 337-8855
www.SeaCatchRestaurant.com

Even with an entrance on M Street, Sea Catch Restaurant is easy to miss, as it is tucked away from the busy sidewalks of Georgetown. But it is a must-try.

The raw bar is complete, but if you order the raw bar special, make sure to order some shrimp cocktail, as it is not included.

There is a variety of fresh fish that is always available and served grilled with a side of basmati rice pilaf, vegetables and white wine butter sauce. The Chilean sea bass is delicious, as is the swordfish steak. The salmon filet is juicy, yet still flakes away with a fork. If you want to show your date who’s boss, order a live Maine lobster, ranging from one to five pounds. All of this comes to a bill of around $50 per person.

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