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  • Writer's pictureDani Sauter

3 DC Restaurants I Tried in February

To be honest, I'm loving this new series I kicked off in 2022. One- it is some new content in the mix of fashion and beauty, but, two, it encourages me to try new places I haven't been. I tend to visit the same places over and over (what can I say, when I like something, I like it!), and this reminds me to go places for new experiences that I may enjoy just as much. If you, like me, find yourself going to the same places again and again, then these posts are definitely for you! Below are 3 restaurants I tried during the month of February that I had never eaten at before!

Location: Chinatown

Ever heard of Wafu Italian? Neither had I before looking up Tonari, which is DC's first Wafu restaurant which is a blend of Japanese and Italian cuisine. Tonari is by the famed Daikaya restaurant group so I knew it was going to be a treat. When we went, they were operating with the Valentine's Day menu, so the selections offered now may differ from what you see here, but let me tell you- what an experience! The menu is a 5 course pre fixe menu with two options per course and an optional $35 wine pairing (I recommend doing the wine pairing!). While the menu can look intimidating at first for picky eaters (trust me- I'm a picky eater!), Tonari is the type of place you let your guard down and try everything. My husband joined me for dinner, so we ordered one of everything from the menu selections so we could split and try a bite of all the plates.

The presentation of each dish is absolutely stellar and added to the entire ambiance. The dishes were unique and unexpected - I loved all the tastes and the twist of the two cuisines combined as one. My favorite dishes were the Pesto and the Ricotta dessert which was a play on a cheese course - it was innovative and delicious and I will never forget how cool I thought it was! You can expect a full on culinary performance at Tonari- from the presentation of the dishes to the familiar, yet unfamiliar flavor of the delicious Wafu Italian!

Location: The Wharf

My girlfriends and I ended up at ilili after another restaurant within close proximity did not honor a standing reservation we had. I was annoyed and upset at the situation- especially as it was prime dinner time so options were limited with availability on the whim. ilili was so nice and welcomed us to their bar area and offered their full menu specializing in Lebanese cusine, which I appreciated so much and I will always remember!

For starters, the inside is absolutely stunning and elegantly designed. My girlfriends and I each tried cocktails (the Thyme After Time) and Lebanese wine (the Sauvignon Blanc was a delight!) and ordered a handful of items to share as ilili offers small plates. We tried the hummus, falafel, brussel sprouts, kebab kerez, and olives...and everything was so good- especially the pita bread which they generously refill (that is major, IMO!!). I highly recommend ilili for a elegant and stylish dinner!

Location: Georgetown

Believe it or not, I had never eaten at this DC staple until a few weeks ago! I know it sounds wild as this is an ultra talked about place and has been around for years, but I was seriously missing out. My family and I went for my Aunt's birthday and it was just fantastic! The staff was friendly and the food was *chef's kiss* delicious! For starters we shared the Fiori di Zucca and Salumi "Terra di Siena". For the main course, I had the Tonnarelli Bulgari which is their version of Cacio e Pepe and dare I say it was better than the original dish I had while in Italy?!

The entire experience was delightful and I can't wait to go back! Major bonus- I love how the pasta dishes are named after famous Italian designers! Also they treated my Aunt to a beautiful birthday dessert, complete with a sparkler which was a nice, personal touch!


Blonde in the District


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