It’s tempting to spend the next few months curled up on the couch bingeing “Scandal” and eating takeout. Though Olivia Pope makes a great evening companion, once cabin fever sets in it’s time to interact with real-life Washingtonians. Taking into account the level of heat you may desire, we found six D.C. restaurants that make going out feel as comfy as staying in.
The Red Hen
1822 First St. NW; theredhendc.com, 202-525-3021
The wood-fired grill and open kitchen are the focal point of this Bloomingdale restaurant, where burning Virginia Oak sets the restaurant aglow every evening. “It fills the air with a beautiful, campfire-y smoke burn,” chef and co-owner Mike Friedman says. The stacks of firewood above the kitchen and the brick walls add to the ambiance, while dishes like zucca pasta with butternut squash and grilled short ribs with polenta are cooked on the hearth.
What to order: Friedman’s rigatoni with fennel sausage ragu is a saucy dish that’s one of the restaurant’s most popular.
3234 11th St. NW; room11dc.com, 202-332-3234
This corner restaurant in Columbia Heights expanded three years ago, but the exposed brick walls and the cabinets above the bar make customers feel like they’re in someone’s awesome apartment. The back portion — a cafe and coffee shop known as Paisley Fig — is filled with the smells of spiced chai and fresh-baked pastries.
What to order: The Room 11 Grilled Cheese is made with three melty varieties and a thick marinara sauce.
Warmer (Outdoor lounge)
Poste Moderne Brasserie
555 Eighth St. NW; postebrasserie.com, 202-783-6060
Tucked inside the Hotel Monaco, this modern French restaurant features an outdoor winter lounge where patrons stay toasty with thick blankets, fire pits and heaters — not to mention $12 spiked hot chocolate and spiked apple cider. Feel like a kid again with the complimentary make-your-own s’mores kit.
What to order: Prefer a more grown-up indulgence? Spring for the $12 s’mores cocktail made with vodka, Godiva chocolate syrup, graham cracker syrup and a bruleed marshmallow.
Barcelona 14th Street
1622 14th St. NW; barcelonawinebar.com/washingtondc.htm, 202-588-5500
Burning wood and diners wrapped in fuzzy blankets under heat lamps draw many to the patio at the Spanish tapas spot in Logan Circle. “The patio is a big part of the facade,” general manager Andres Sweek says. “People want to be a part of it.” The atmosphere is just as warm inside, where the wood furniture, floors and walls and the dim lighting create the look of a rustic farmhouse.
What to order: The paella mariscos is a seafood dish that’s hearty and meant for sharing.
Hot (Indoor fireplace)
1734 N St. NW; irongaterestaurantdc.com, 202-524-5202
One of D.C.’s most romantic carriage houses-turned-restaurants includes bright red booths and a roaring fireplace original to the building. Book ahead if you want a spot near the action. “It’s the place people come to celebrate anniversaries and engagements,” general manager Jon Barry says. Fire pits and a 100-year-old wisteria strung with lights are on the patio, where tables and chairs are swapped for lounge seating in the winter.
What to order: Chef Anthony Chittum serves a warming, slow-braised pork ragu over polenta.
2813 M St. NW; lachaumieredc.com, 202-338-1784
It’s a full house at this 98-seat Georgetown restaurant once the snowflakes start to fall, owner Martin Lumet says. A thatched roof, stone fireplace and equestrian photos make the space feel like a country inn. Or, “like an old barn,” Lumet says. For special occasions, he says, the restaurant will easily get 300 reservations — of which 295 come with a request for a seat by the fire.
What to order: The gratinee Lyonnaise, a French onion soup topped with gooey cheese.
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