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Best place to propose: Iron Steaks
This intimate, dimly lit restaurant features spacious booths and excellent service. Settle in, order her a lobster and an expensive glass of Chardonnay, and pull out that pretty rock.
Best place to take the in-laws: Chops
Here, the folks can admire views of the Capitol before stepping inside for a stiff round of Kentucky Sidecars, a plate or two of baked oysters Rockefeller and the fantastic beef Stroganoff.
Best place for a hot date: La Provence
Set among oak trees and lavender, this gorgeous country French restaurant oozes romance. For a sweet ending to the evening, order a slice of the kitchen’s tarte Tatin.
Best place worth the wait: The Kitchen
Part supper club, part theater, part cocktail party: An evening here is a gastronomic adventure. Patrons reserve months in advance. The Kitchen offers one seating per night for 50 guests total.
Best place for a romantic dinner: Ambience
This intimate Carmichael restaurant has several small dining rooms and an atmosphere so quiet, you’ll find yourself whispering.
Best place for a man date: Streets of London Pub
Challenge your bud to a game of darts and relish a pint or two of the pub’s finest. Hungry? Order the enormous Big Ben burger or a deep-fried pickle.
EAT WITH YOUR HANDS
Best fish ’n’ chips: Ocean Fish & Chips
With their crusty outsides and tender insides, these chunks of deep-fried fish are guaranteed to satisfy. Just add a few squirts of malt vinegar.
Best mushroom cheeseburger: Plan B
After being topped with mushrooms, jambon de Paris and Emmental cheese, the burger is blanketed with silky béarnaise sauce. Hello, cellulite.
Best fish tacos: Beto’s Tacos
Crispy fried fish is crammed into a soft taco shell and served with excellent housemade salsa.
Best hot dog: Capitol Dawg
A swig of cold beer never tasted so good as when paired with the Hornets Dog, slathered with Tabasco yellow mustard, cheddar cheese sauce and sliced jalapeños.
Best salmon sandwich: Cafe Bernardo
After 10 years of eating the grilled salmon BLT, we always want more. It’s simple: grilled salmon, basil mayonnaise-smeared sourdough wheat bread, lettuce, tomatoes and thick bacon slices. The combination is nothing short of terrific.
Best nonbeef burger: Cookie’s Drive-In
Fancy it ain’t, but this ramshackle mom and pop establishment offers an ostrich patty on a freshly baked bun.
Best place to be charmed by a chef: Mulvaney’s Building & Loan
Expect a grin and a handshake from the garrulous chef/owner, Patrick Mulvaney.
Best place for locavores: Grange
Sourcing local, farm-fresh ingredients is a fervent mission for chef Michael Tuohy, who shops at the farmers market across the street.
Best place to meet a chef on his night off: Kru
You know a chef is talented when his colleagues frequent his restaurant when they’re off duty. Come find out what makes Billy Ngo’s food so enticing. (Hint: Try the lobster tempura.)
Best place to watch the action: Tulí Bistro
If you’re a Food Network nut, you’ll dig sitting at the counter, where you’re mere inches away from the restaurant’s nimble, fast-cooking chefs. Some are chatty, others aren’t, but it’s always fun to watch.