8 Great Waterfront Restaurants in DC

For sticking to the river that you're used to.
8 Great Waterfront Restaurants in DC image

photo credit: Courtesy of Christian Horan

When the weather’s nice, there are few things more gratifying than looking out to the Potomac and imagining you’re somewhere far, far away. And though you’re not sitting seaside on the shores of Cancun—the text you just got from your boss and the staffers having a breakdown two tables away are clear reminders of that—even our blue-brown-gray water can help you find hope again. So here are a few spots for the next time you’re in the mood for a mini waterfront vacation.


photo credit: Top of the Gate


Foggy Bottom

$$$$Perfect For:Outdoor/Patio Situation


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Rooftop and waterfront? Sign us up. Top Of The Gate at the Watergate Hotel in Foggy Bottom has panoramic views of the Potomac and the city—and some of our favorite views outside of the National Cathedral’s bell tower. Post up on giant all-weather wicker patio furniture that can accommodate a table for two or group of ten. And many of the American restaurant's tables have gas fire pits for when the wind starts to pick up after sunset. If you’re trying to impress a significant other or an out of towner, this place has the views to do it. The truffle fries are a good option to soak up your $25 cocktails.

$$$$Perfect For:Outdoor/Patio Situation

The Slip Inn Waterfront Restaurant at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling is one of the most exclusive waterfront restaurants in DC. The seasonal American restaurant opens in early May and lasts through the summer and, because it’s on base, you can avoid the usual seasonal water-seekers and instead share the space with current and former service members. You will have to be able to get on base, whether that’s on your own or with someone you know, but these unobstructed views are top tier.

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

Fiola Mare is the type of place where people who own boats pull up for a quick dinner after a lap on the water. And whether you're a member of the boating community or a lowly land dweller like most of us, the Italian seafood spot's patio view of the Washington Harbour is a great way to watch the sun set over crudo and pasta (which is outstanding). The restaurant is an incredibly fancy place, with a formal dress code and a suited up staff and the menu has cocktails averaging around $20-$30.

The decor at Moonraker, a rooftop bar at the Pendry Hotel, is incredible—so incredible in fact that you almost forget about the sick waterfront view. As soon as you walk in, you’ll be enveloped by the rays of light that seep through the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the harbor and the skyline. In the evening, the room glows from an assortment of pendant lights that fall dramatically from the ceiling and hover over the circular bronze bar sitting in the center of the room. It’s upscale and classy, romantic and elegant, and great whether you’re looking to impress your date or just to decompress over a glass of Japanese whisky by the patio fire pits.

If you're not particularly fussy about the quality of your pizza, All Purpose Pizzeria is one of the best ways to watch the sunset in DC. The Navy Yard restaurant is a few steps away from Nationals Park and if you stick with the basics like the buona pizza made with tomato, mozzarella and basil, you'll be nearly as satisfied with your dinner. Grab a seat at the outdoor patio or the rooftop tables overlooking the Anacostia River and trick yourself into believing you're somewhere where you can actually swim in the water.

The Point is always a solid choice because there are so many ways to enjoy the Navy Yard seafood restaurant’s waterfront views. Sit by the fire pits or on the patio for the clearest looks at the river. Grab one of the orange leather booths if you’re snuggling up, or at a table out back if you need a safe distance from the new coworker in your group—all of which give you at least a sneaking glance at the water.

Waterfront dining is often outside, sun shining down, humidity slowly increasing the size of your hair. But at Nara-Ya, you’ll find yourself surrounded by breathtaking views while you’re shielded from the elements, allowing you to enjoy them year-round whether it’s the perfect summer day or wintry flurries. The Japanese restaurant, located on the third floor, has a wall of glass windows that overlooks the Wharf and the Potomac, and the food, like the tender miso glazed salmon covered in a creamy dashi miso creme, is delicious, which you won’t find at many Wharf restaurants.

Right across from Fiola Mare, you’ll find Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place, another restaurant that has graced the Washington Harbour for decades. While the seafood consistently misses some essential seasonings and flavor, the patio’s waterfront views are even better than the ones at Fiola Mare because it's unobstructed by boats parked in front of the restaurant. Settle in, munch on your could-be-better mussels, and ponder how this ended up being the highlight of your week.

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