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Washington D.C is a diverse town bursting with people from all walks of life and from all over the world. It's is no wonder that its food selection is also a melting pot with eateries covering virtually every cuisine imaginable. With so many restaurants catering to different cuisines of various nationalities and cultures, visitors will have a hard time picking where to eat.
One of the advantages of visiting Washington D.C is that there are good restaurants in almost every nook and cranny of this culturally-diverse city and plenty of variety to fit any budget. Almost every neighborhood in D.C encompasses restaurants from every continent, allowing you to enjoy any kind of food, wherever you may be.
While the number of excellent restaurants in Washington D.C numbers in the hundreds, here is a top ten list of restaurants that are a must try for anyone coming into town, as rated by Zagat, the Washingtonian and Opentable.
Visitors planning to enjoy a show at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts may benefit from a three or five-course pre-theater dinner at Marcel's, a French restaurant which is currently the top-rated restaurant in the city. The cuisine is French with a touch of Flemish thanks to the Belgian heritage of its owner, Robert Wiedmaier. The restaurant is expensive, but offers a fine dining experience, and also a complimentary car ride for its customers to the nearby Kennedy Center.
Another excellent frequently top-rated French restaurant is Citronelle. Like Marcel's, it's located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, and serves delicate French cuisine by renowned chef, Michel Richard who is known for his sense of humor. The restaurant is very expensive, but the food is otherworldly, and Citronelle remains a Washington D.C favorite for locals and visitors alike.
If French cuisine is not your thing, head over to Zaytinya, which offers a fresh Mediterranean culinary experience. While the Chef, Jose Andres comes from Spain, the dishes he serves up are authentically Turkish/Greek/Lebanese and in the form of mezze or small plates. Vegetarians can eat their fill here with the grand assortments of Vegetarian dishes, and fish lovers can try out the unique Salmon Shawarma sandwich. This moderately-priced restaurant is located in mid-town.
Dying for more Middle Eastern food? Head over to Amsterdam Falafel Shop on 18th Street for a great takeout meal. This little restaurant has become an Adams Morgan institution and serves up delicious Falafel sandwiches with as many toppings as you can handle and French fries with garlic mayonnaise. This place is a D.C favorite for cheap late-night meals.
If you're a Mexican food lover, every savvy Washingtonian will point you in the direction of Penn Quarter's Rosa Mexicano. This restaurant right next to the Verizon Center offers authentic contemporary Mexican cuisine in an upscale setting. The restaurant is expensive, but worth it.
CityZen prides itself on being the only restaurant in Washington D.C with a AAA 5 Diamond rating, and for good reason. Food and Wine Magazine recently rated its chef Eric Ziebold as one America's best new chefs and CityZen as one of the hottest restaurants in the world. This restaurant located on 12th Street serves up contemporary American fare and is expensive. It provides an intimate setting even with its 20-foot high ceilings and the service is outstanding.
If you want a restaurant that provides a mix of different but equally delicious American/ Italian/ French cuisines than head over to Cleveland Park's Palena restaurant. The chef there, Frank A. Ruta was sous-chef at the White House during the Regan and first Bush administration, and will make your dining experience unforgettable.
Craving Indian food? Satisfy your craving by going to the highest-rated Indian food in town, Rasika restaurant. This moderately-priced restaurant in Penn Quarter offers intensely flavorful contemporary Indian cuisine that is sure to keep you coming back.
If you're into Japanese food, you must not leave Washington D.C before trying Makoto on McArthur Boulevard. It is the best Japanese restaurant in town, and is priced accordingly. It serves up the city's most highly-rated sushi and provides diners with a very authentic Japanese dining experience.
You can't leave Washington D.C without eating Ethiopian food. The area has the largest Ethiopian community in the United States, and there are enough Ethiopian restaurants to prove it. Mesekrem Restaurant in Adams Morgan is affordable and offers a multitude of perfectly-spiced meat, vegetarian and seafood platters that can be shared.