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The Best DC Restaurants For Your Birthday Dinner

The best places for an excellent birthday dinner around The District.

9 Spots
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11 Spots
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A lot of factors come into play when you’re planning a birthday dinner. You need a place that fits your entire group, isn’t too expensive for your friend in grad school, and has at least a dozen sparklers to decorate the cake you had custom-made in the shape of your face. We can’t help you out with all those, but we have put together a list of all the best places that fit the first two categories.

Throw on your birthday sash (just kidding - please don’t do that), and put the “BDAY PLANS!!” email thread at ease. Pick any spot on this guide and then move onto the important things, like how to spend that $20 Radio Shack gift card your aunt got you.

the spots


$$$$ 480 7th St NW

Tapas are a good idea for a large group, and few places in the city do them better than Jaleo. Check it out for excellent Spanish food and drinks in a funky space - the walls look like a bag of Skittles exploded onto them, and you may end up eating on top of a refurbished foosball table. Consider choosing one of the three tasting options, which all get you a table full of tapas.

Lupo Verde

$$$$ 1401 T St NW

If you want to go out around 14th Street after dinner, start your night at Lupo Verde, on the corner of 14th and T Streets. The brick-walled, two-story space has a fun atmosphere for groups and solid Italian food. Get a few pastas, pizzas, and charcuterie boards for the table.

Black Jack

$$$$ 1612 14th St NW

For a more casual birthday dinner (but one you can still reserve a table for), try Black Jack. It’s a classic DC spot above Pearl Dive on 14th Street with red velvet walls and booths and prices reasonable enough that none of your guests will need to double check their bank account balance before ordering another round of drinks. As for food, we recommend the bucket of fried chicken, the BLT sandwich, and any of the pizzas.

The Red Hen

$$$$ 1822 1st St NW

You can’t go wrong with The Red Hen for a birthday, as long as your group is small (there won’t be room for Diane to bring the guy she’s been seeing for three weeks). This Bloomingdale Italian restaurant serves excellent food at not-outrageous prices. All the pastas are good, and the stacks of firewood above the open kitchen will make you feel like you’re hanging out at a cabin in the woods. Except with many more bars close by.

Momofuku CCDC

$$$$ 1090 I St NW

We could eat the noodles, steamed buns, and Korean fried chicken at Momofuku CCDC most nights, but the drinks are what push this place into birthday-dinner territory. In particular, the watermelon punch, which comes in a frozen, hollowed-out piece of fruit. Drinking it will absolutely result in a hangover, but it will be worth it. Desserts here are from Milk Bar, so don’t leave without getting some cereal milk soft serve.

The Partisan

$$$$ 709 D St NW

The Partisan is connected to a butcher shop (Red Apron), which is a solid clue that this isn’t the place for your vegetarian friends. But for people excited about meat, there are beef fat fries and a massive burger, but also smoked lamb shoulder and crispy pork pata. Most of the food here is good for sharing, so order a lot and pass it all around the table.

El Centro D.F. Georgetown

$$$$ 1218 Wisconsin Ave NW

The food at El Centro won’t blow your mind - it’s simple Mexican food, and that’s fine. This spot is more about having a good time than eating food you’ll tell your grandkids about. There are two locations (Georgetown and 14th Street), and both have big rooftops that you and your crew can easily stumble up to after having some guacamole, enchiladas, and margaritas.


$$$$ 2305 18th St NW

If celebrating at an underground Korean bar/restaurant in Adams Morgan with private karaoke rooms sounds like a good way to distract you from the fact that you’ve aged another year, you’re in luck. We’re pretty sure this is the reason Muzette exists. The Korean food isn’t the best in DC, but it’s not why you’re here. You came to sing “Walking on Broken Glass” with your friends at an ungodly volume in the privacy of your own lounge.

Green Pig Bistro

$$$$ 1025 N Fillmore St

Your dinner started as an intimate gathering, but somehow your coworkers, coworkers’ significant others, and dog walker got involved. Go to Green Pig Bistro, one of our favorite spots in Arlington. There are tables big enough to accommodate your new group, and it’s in a prime location for going out after. The Southern menu is meat-heavy, but it’s the fried pimento cheese you’ll want to make a new birthday tradition out of.

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