Over the years on more occasions than I can even remember, I have enjoyed dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, DC. Thinking about this restaurant always makes me smile.
Old Ebbitt Grill Washington, DC Review – Always A Solid Choice
I lived in Washington, DC for portions of 2005-2007 and cannot even remember how I found Old Ebbitt Grill. There was probably an ad printed in one of those hardcover hotel city guides (remember those?) that used to be in every hotel room.
Called the city’s “oldest saloon,” Old Ebbitt Grill opened in 1856 as not only a restaurant and bar, but a boarding house. Over the years, it hosted a number of prominent Americans:
President McKinley is said to have lived there during his tenure in Congress, and Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt and Warren Harding supposedly refreshed themselves at its stand-around bar.
It moved to its present location just around the block from the White House about a century ago.
My history at this restaurant dates back to my days as a Capital Hill intern. Whenever family or friends would visit me, we dined here.
My favorite dish here is cannelloni, filled with ham and spinach and topped in cream sauce, a dish that is usually on the menu (though not always) and a dish that I have enjoyed for many years. The menu changes daily.
Quite candidly, I’ve never regretted any of the food I’ve tried here, like a steak topped with gorgonzola cheese and served with Brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes.
Salads are always refreshing:
…and the bread is worth the calories and carbs.
Leave room for dessert as well…
This place is consistently crowded. Book a reservation on OpenTable (ideally more than a week in advance) unless you are willing to eat quite late (the restaurant is open past midnight) or wait quite long.
Years ago I was chatting with a United Airlines lounge agent in San Francisco (SFO) named Rosemarie. She knew I was headed to DC and suggested I try a restaurant.
“It’s called Old Ebbitt Grill. Go sit at the oyster bar. My son JT works there.”
I laughed. Of course I’m going to Old Ebbitt Grill! I got to know him over many future visits and he was always hospitable (though I am not an oyster fan…). The staff there are excellent as well.
I realize District residents might find this restaurant a little touristy or kitschy, but I love it…I’ve had so many excellent meals over the years here and never a bad one. Consider checking out Old Ebbitt Grill next time you’re in DC.