After several visits to the District from your family over the past four years, you may be stumped on where to dine after graduation. But these spots for lunch or dinner will offer meals that satisfy the entire family.
Georgetown’s il Canale is the only D.C. restaurant to receive the top culinary honor from the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce and the National Institute of Tourism. Located only a few blocks away from the Georgetown waterfront, il Canale’s rustic brick walls are decorated with large paintings of red and purple flowers.
With imported Italian ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala, each bite will leave you wanting more.
You can start your meal with bruschetta to share ($8) or prosciutto with imported buffalo mozzarella ($17).
For the main course, choose from an array of pizzas like a classic margherita or a meat lovers variety. il Canale also serves gluten-free pizzas and a simple pizza with tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, basil and no cheese for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan.
You can also choose from a selection of pastas. The gnocchi is served with either cherry tomato sauce and Buffalo mozzarella or a fresh meat sauce ($19). For seafood lovers, il Canale serves lobster ravioli ($24) and penne al salmone ($23).
The kid’s menu includes organic pasta pomodoro ($7), grilled chicken with potatoes ($8) and meatballs with roasted potatoes ($8).
End your celebratory meal with panna cotta al cocco ($8) – coconut milk-flavored Italian pudding with a chocolate sauce and coconut shavings – or an authentic Sicilian cannoli ($9).
il Canale, 1065 31st St. NW. Open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
In a large space with a modern interior and long wooden tables, Momofuku offers Asian-inspired American dishes that will suit a large crowd.
A private dining room with industrial cement floors and colorful, abstract wall art is available for reservation for lunch, dinner or standing receptions.
For a tasty appetizer, order bing bread ($5 to $17), a wheat flour-based Chinese food with a disk-like shape. You can order bing bread with several toppings and dips like path valley cultured butter ($5), salted chili pimento cheese ($7) or French onion dip ($14).
For the main course, the branzino ($28) is served with spicy ginger scallion, herbs and bean sprouts, and the braised lamb noodles ($28) comes with pickled peppers, horseradish and mustard greens.
Momofuku’s menu also offers family-style dishes like heritage pork shoulder chop ($69) – spiced pork sausage seasoned with farro verde, rapini and pumpkin seed romesco.
Complement the meal with a hot sake like the Honjozo Akitabare Momofuku “Lucky Peach” – served in a glass for $12 or a carafe for $48 – or a cocktail like the “Jungle Bird” ($12) with rum, concerto, lime and pineapple.
After the meal, walk next door to Momofuku Milk Bar and indulge in a birthday cake ($50) with layers of frosting, cake crumbs and cookie dough on top. If you are looking for something lighter but still sweet, try the bite-size cake truffles ($25 per dozen).
Momofuku, 1090 I St. NW. Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner is served Sunday through Wednesday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Thursday though Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m.
Oyamel Cocina Mexicana
Head over to Penn Quarter for Mexican tapas and street food at Oyamel Cocina Mexicana. Oyamel is a lively restaurant with walls decorated with butterfly prints and bright blues and oranges.
If you want a post-Commencement brunch, Oyamel serves brunch every weekend from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Brunch includes breakfast dishes like chilaquiles con chorizo y huevo estrellado ($10) – handmade tortilla chips with chorizo, salsa ranchera, Chihuahua cheese, cilantro, red onion and a fried organic egg – or huevos rancheros ($8) – a fried egg served on tortillas stuffed with mashed Rebosero beans with sliced avocado, seared queso fresco and a salsa roja de Rosa.
The brunch menu also offers a fresh fruit salad ($8) with chile pequin seasoned lime, tacos with vegetarian and meat options, marinated seafood salads, vegetables, salads and soup.
Most of the brunch menu items are also available to order for dinner. There are countless taco dishes like crispy masa tempura-battered mahi-mahi ($4.50) or grilled marinated chicken thigh ($4).
Make a toast to the last four years with a classic margarita ($11 for a glass, $55 for a pitcher) or the special Oyamel margarita ($12.50 for a glass, $63 for a pitcher), which includes Milagro blanco, Combier L’Original, lime and pomegranate. Share a pitcher with the table and celebrate your achievements.
Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, 401 Seventh St. NW. Open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.