So many choices, so little time. The Ten is your guide to the best of the best that D.C. has to offer.
More than half the windows on our Advent calendar are opened as we enter the home stretch to Christmas. When we want to take a break from wrapping presents, baking cookies and putting up our Nativity scenes, we put on our blinking antlers and hit up one of these festively festooned eateries.
The lobby in front of the restaurant is consumed with a life-size gingerbread toy shop handcrafted by pastry chef Rebecca Clerget. Look inside the dollhouse perched in the edible boutique’s window and you’ll spot a picture of the hotel’s executive chef, Mark Timms.
Almost every surface in this historic space is blinged out with festive decorations, antique ornaments and fresh garlands (see above). As if that wasn’t enough, the a cappella group, the Georgetown Chimes, visit the restaurant every night from December 15th onwards to sing classic carols.
This French bistro’s dazzling decorations practically scream, “Oui wish you a merry Christmas.”
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
These guys take Christmas more seriously than Clark Griswold. The hotel is decorated with more than 2 million lights, not to mention a 60-foot tall synthetic tree and an indoor snowfall.
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
Deck the walls with boughs of holly is the theme of this year’s decorations at the 14st Street oysteria.
Mini Christmas trees sit on the bar, stockings are hung on the walls with care and the overhead lamps are decked out with tinsel. Even the bathrooms exude holiday cheer – the normal soap dispensers have been switched out for Papa Noel themed ones.
The Carolina Kitchen
Everywhere you look, there’s a little bit of the Christmas spirit – from brightly painted standing nutcrackers to a colorful cavalcade of giant ornament balls hanging behind the bar.
The hotel is dotted with one-of-a-kind artist-designed Christmas trees, which are ultimately auctioned off to benefit the pediatric oncology programs in Georgetown’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Julia Water and Brian Fell crafted the one standing in front of the restaurant (seen to the left), which is the perfect complement to the Santa’s workshop scene set up nearby.
This South of the Border favorite has adopted a North Pole sensibility. Light bedecked garlands hang in front, while giant ornaments and wreaths add a festive air inside.
Nopa Kitchen + Bar
The Penn Quarter bistro shows off its holiday hutzpah with tabletop trimmings, a wreath hanging over the cheery carmine booths, and piney branches brightened with red ribbons.
Is your favorite missing? Disagree with one (or more) of my choices? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @nevinmartell.