Not everyone who loves wine is fortunate enough to transform that love into a viable career, much less a successful business. But Christopher Spann did just that with Wine Market Bistro, whose numerous accolades stand as testament to his achievement. More than 25 wines can be savored by the glass in the loft-like dining room, while the adjoining wine shop stocks more than 800 bottles ranging in varietal and region. These bottles can be enjoyed in the bistro for a small corkage fee. The wine-friendly menu fills the rustic-chic dining room with the aroma of house-made mini brats, diver scallops, and dry-aged ribeye. And in warmer months, diners can take their meals on the courtyard patio and cool off by piling ice block after ice block onto their laps.
Gitan Bistro Cru has the personality of a romantic neighborhood gathering spot, plus the food and drink to match, making it a great destination for dates. Its wood floors and mustard-colored walls envelop visitors, who stop by to fill up on the restaurant's French- and Lebanese-inspired dishes. The menu features sandwiches, soups, and a roster of Lebanese-style small plates, including hummus accompanied by warm pita bread. From behind the bar, servers dish out specialty cocktails, as well as rare, hard-to-find wines.
Fresh made-from-scratch ingredients collide in Mia Carolina's culinary carburettor, decorating plates and dazzling diners with a tasty fusion of New World and Old World Italian cuisine. Complement nibbles of its crisp bread with a faithful reading of its lunch or dinner menus, which yield appetite- and mind-stoking antipasti such as the cozze marinara's touching seafood anthology ($9 lunch, $10–$12 dinner) and the involtino di prosciutto di Parma's hearty paean to herbed goat cheese, grilled asparagus, and Italy's twinkling ham rivulets ($10). Pie jockeys can saddle up to the flavorful pizza margherita ($9 lunch, $10 dinner) or the veggie-infused capricciosa ($10 lunch, $12 dinner), and pasta promoters can treat their belly to the fettucine alfredo ($9 lunch, $12 dinner). Each tender cut of the veal marsala comes with fortifications of mushrooms, pearl onions, and roasted-garlic mashed potatoes ($23 dinner).
Crush Kitchen & Winehouse
In addition to its elegant, warmly decorated lounge and hand-selected stock of wine, Crush Kitchen doubles as an intimate gathering place?a place that lets groups connect over small plates and test pairing tips doled out by knowledgeable servers. The wine list features premium, uncommon wines crafted by small producers from around the world, and wine-tasting events give patrons a chance to learn about pinot noir or American varietals from wine experts. Crush also makes all of its breads, dressings, desserts, and soups in-house everyday, and daily specials encourage patrons to try out new dishes.
Slate Wine Bar + Bistro
Slate Wine Bar + Bistro, carries on the family tradition of pouring fine wines in welcoming surroundings. A carefully curated selection of bottles?with an emphasis placed on wines?pairs with brunch, lunch, and dinner menus of New American cuisine. The wait staff offers insight so guests can perfectly match their meals of pan-seared duck breast with a red wine cherry sauce, grass-fed burgers, or seasonal risotto, and wine experts provide in-depth information in curated tasting events.
Like a United Nations of varietals, some of the world’s tastiest wines from countries such as Argentina, Chile, Italy, and France are well-represented within Jackie’s Wine Bar. Connoisseurs savor the unique notes of each pour while investigating the black-framed pictures on Jackie’s coffee-colored walls and the shelves of wine bottles that vie for attention behind the bar by wearing chic designer labels. On Thursday evenings, free salsa lessons invite patrons to set down their glasses and grab their dance partner’s hand; Saturday nights feature live bands that serve dulcet melodies as aromatic bouquets serenade olfactory receptors. Fresh air courses through Jackie’s outdoor patio, where visitors can alternate between sips of wine or beer and bites of sandwiches, desserts, and appetizers.
Acacia Bistro & Wine Bar is located in the corner of a blocky office building in the decidedly uncharming Van Ness stretch of Connecticut Avenue. The interior is modern, neat and tidy, leaving the focus on the contents of the huge wine list and the creative menu. The underlying theme is Mediterranean--so you can find a variety of tapas, charcuterie and cheese plates and fresh pasta dishes. At lunch, paninis and burgers are the stars of the show, along with a few, well-chosen entrées. With so few decent restaurants in the immediate area, Acacia Bistro is the one place where you can depend upon a solid meal and a fine glass of wine. There’s also an ample patio area for outside dining.