President Barack Obama walks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel follwing their dinner at 1789 restaurant in the Georgetown. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Aides said Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel met at 1789 Restaurant in Washington’s historic Georgetown neighborhood, a gourmet establishment modeled after an elegant country inn.

The private dinner adds a personal touch to the pomp of the German leader’s official visit, an unusual gesture that underscores the importance of the relationship with Europe’s economic powerhouse.

The 56-year-old Merkel is the first woman and the first East German to lead a unified Germany.