Delve into Vinifera's award-winning wine list to plumb the garnet depths, or peruse the menu and try the expert wine-and-food pairings of the sommelier. Executive Chef Bo Palker taps into fresh ingredients, some of which can be traced back to his patio herb planters. Diners can start dining on dinner with a cheese-board appetizer, featuring four specially selected cheeses, toasted Marcona almonds, and Muscat grape marmalade ($12). For the main course, try a pan-roasted sea bass with wild-mushroom risotto and wilted spinach ($30) and teamed with a glass of Whitehaven sauvignon blanc ($11), or enjoy the individually grilled lamb chops with pomegranate sauce, lime risotto, and fig marmalade ($29) with a Red Rock reserve merlot ($9). The celebrated Vinifera paella, with jumbo shrimp, scallops, mussels, free-range chicken, and chorizo ($28) pairs well with Bodegas Julian Chivite’s Gran Fuedo Rosado from Navarra ($9).
Saigon Saigon's immersive Vietnamese menu features pho noodle soups, spicy curries, and entrees of lemongrass chicken or roast pork. Diners sip wine while nibbling small plates of shrimp-topped baguettes, mushroom-stuffed spring rolls, or skewers of marinated chicken satay. Main courses appease appetites with stir-fried noodle dishes, or Chef Vu's specialties of rice topped with Saigon sausage and lemongrass pork, flank steak in sizzling hot pots, and filets of ginger-infused salmon. Chefs garnish dishes with colorful fresh veggies and fragrant herbs, and diners enjoy their feasts amid the warm-colored walls and sprigs of bamboo of the interior or in the open air of the patio.
Named one of Northern Virginia's 25 Best Restaurants of 2007 by Northern Virginia Magazine, Eleventh Street Lounge impresses palates with a streamlined menu of small plates and innovative entrees suffused with organic ingredients. Dining duos can begin with the marcona almonds (a $6 value), plate of artisan cheeses (a $15 value), or pan-seared petite kalamata steak (a $14 value) served alongside a skewer of vegetables and nestled into a pillow of jasmine rice to dream of Kalamata's olive-oil rivers. Entrees expand dish diameters with succulent selections such as the peppery tuna steak anointed in five spices (a $17 value) and the petite tenderloin medallions, grilled and served with fried potatoes and mixed greens (a $15–$20 value).
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.
Organic. Fair trade. Sustainable. Microroasted. Plenty of adjectives describe the coffee at Pound The Hill, but the staff is most concerned about one in particular: delicious. They partner their carefully curated brews with breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. Breakfast sandwiches—such as the Italian Elvis, smothered with Nutella, bananas, and honey—segue into lunchtime ones piled with veggies, feta cheese, pesto chicken salad, and pulled-pork barbecue. At dinnertime, chefs switch sandwich bread for small plates and entrees, such as organic chicken breast stuffed with blue crab. The restaurant also hosts daily happy hours, which happens to be what clowns call each credit they need to graduate from clown college. During this time, guests sip wine and beer while noshing on discounted appetizers.
For the Goldilocks oenophile, wines are available in three sizes—wee baby tastes, glasses, and bottles. Pours are organized according to taste and include full-bodied reds and light, crisp whites, with prices starting at $3 for a taste and glasses ranging from $7 to $20. Pair sips with a selection of cheeses ($15 for three), or a charcuterie board served with grilled focaccia. Small plates include grilled calamari ($11), house-made meatballs ($8), and meaty scallops with baby Swiss chard, spring onion, and gingered vanilla velouté sauce ($13). For heavier hunger pains, try a pizza ($12) or a locally raised, dry-aged beef burger ($15). Sonoma also serves moderately portioned pastas, salads, and a smattering of sides. View a complete menu and wine list here.