• Lisa Hanly

Restaurant week: DC

Exploring a city's restaurants at a discount price—lots of bites in a short time? Count me in!

If you are planning a “food trip,” make sure to Google "Restaurant Week" for that city's name. If convenient, planning your trip around restaurant week can offer you a menu of great eats at discounted prices. Restaurant Week gives restaurants a chance to lure in new diners with pre-fixe menus at a special price and their goal is to make an impression that will bring diners back at full price. Often Restaurant Week takes place during a time that may not be the most popular months for dining out, for instance, January or August.


In August 2021, I was lucky that my trip to Washington, D.C. fell during Restaurant Week. The hardest part was deciding where to dine — D.C. Restaurant Week features options to satisfy every kind of appetite, including brunches, lunches and dinners at more than 100 locations. We enjoyed the bargain and bounty of these three restaurant deals during our trip.


BRUNCH

Brasserie Liberté in Georgetown

Our brunch at Brasserie Liberté was absolute perfection—starting with plenty of cool air-conditioning to escape from a sunny, humid 100+degree day. Our waiter, in a sharp looking suit, explained that Restaurant Week portions were half the regular portions…which was just right since three courses were included with brunch. The servings were generous French (aka reasonable), so we left happy but not overly stuffed.

First course was salad, soup or paté. We opted for the chilled peach soup with chèvre, garlic croutons and garlic oil. The second course was a selection of Eggs Benedicts: regular, lox or Florentine with home fries and a petite salad. And then dessert was a decision dilemma with so many choices: pot de crème au chocolat, flan, pie, ice cream/sorbets or Ile Flottante (Floating Island). Ooh la la, very French, all for only $22 per person!


The outdoor seating looks charming on a cooler day and the indoor atmosphere oozes romance (check out that booth!). I fell in love with Brasserie Liberte and would go back at any opportunity.

Brasserie Liberté in Georgetown — 3251 Prospect Street NW, Washington, DC — 202.878.8404



DINNER

Alta Strada in Mount Vernon Triangle

The wide variety on the Restaurant Week menu made me choose Alta Strada. I was traveling with my pescatarian daughter and I knew we would both be happy with all of the choices on the menu—from fish to pasta to pizza, it was hard to narrow down to just one entrée we each wanted.

Our first-courses included a creamy burrata with marinated tomatoes, crispy prosciutto and a Calabrian chili vinaigrette. Luckily with the hot chili, the other choice was a cooling Caesar salad. For entrees, she went for the slow-cooked salmon with Sardinian Fregola salad, fresh mozzarella with a yummy parmesan/breadcrumb topping. Sitting next to the giant wood-burning oven, there really was no choice for me but to opt for a pizza. The crispy outside, chewy inside crust was just right the right texture and the mozzarella cheese and roasted mushrooms were generous. We were eating the leftover pizza out of our hotel room fridge for the entire trip.


But we are smart and saved room for dessert – a chocolate fudge block. It was called cake on the menu, but it was a lot more fun than most cakes.


Alta Strada in Mount Vernon Triangle — 465 K Street NW, 202.629.4662



DINNER

Founding Farmers in Foggy Bottom (three blocks from the White House)


While the name is great DC wordplay, it’s true – this restaurant is majority owned by American farmers. The fresh ingredients made every dish delish and the portion sizes were doled out as if we were farm hands (in other words, massive!). This restaurant has multiple locations and even a distillery in DC. Next visit, I would love to go to their other locations: Farmers Fishers Bakers or Farmers & Distillers.

For only $35 per person, we had a three-course meal which included a first course of fried green tomatoes for my daughter and spinach bacon blue cheese salad for me. Dinner choices included chicken and waffles with white country gravy and a side of mac and cheese (and greens for our health) and Scallops Meuniere. The dessert menu was nearly as big as the regular menu and while the chocolate cake was good, the ice cream sundae was outrageous…it was a four-scoop mountain served on a silver pedestal with a vat of chocolate fudge sauce. We tried, but it was hard to make a dent in that much ice cream.


Founding Farmers in Foggy Bottom — 1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW, 202.822.8783

________________________________________________________________________________________________ Let me know in the comments where you've enjoyed Restaurant Week? And where should I travel for another special Restaurant Week?