The Ultimate Culinary Journey Through DC's Waterways

By Michael M. Clements & Aparna Krishnamoorthy | January 2, 2019 | Food & Drink

Float through a 32-hour culinary journey down the newfound vibrancy of Washington's waterways.

the-wharf.jpgThe Washington area is experiencing a river renaissance. Since opening, The Wharf DC, pictured here, has become an essential entertainment destination. Georgetown Harbour, the Capitol Riverfront and National Harbor also offer exciting dining and nightlife options.

8 a.m.: Morning Roast

blue-bottle-coffee.jpg

After a sunrise jog along the Potomac, run over to Blue Bottle Coffee (1046 Potomac St. NW, DC). This California-born roaster specializes in artisan blends and baristas who happily brew cuppas of your choosing. With the aroma of organic coffee and quaint views of the Georgetown canal, this is the liquid kickstart you crave.

10 a.m.: You Had Me at Brunch

sequoia.jpgExclusively on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sequoia offers an All-You-Care-to-Enjoy Brunch with an endless selection of hot and cold buffet-style items, inspired by brunch traditions from around the world.

You’ve worked up an appetite, so board your yacht and cruise to Georgetown Harbour for brunch at Sequoia (3000 K St. NW, DC). Try the You Had Me at Sangria Brunch offered every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ($50 per adult). It includes an endless selection of tapas plates with free-flowing sangria and brunch cocktails. The All-You-Care-to-Enjoy Sunday Brunch ($65 per adult) is even more over-the-top thanks to its decadent Chocolate Fountain station.

1 p.m.: Mangia Mangia

officina.jpgThe wine list at Officina is excellent, but if in the mood for water views and vintage spirits, try the second-floor amaro library, or cozy up by one of the rooftop fire pits overlooking Washington Channel and sample an amaro cocktail.

Hop a Wharf Water Taxi ($10) from Georgetown to Southwest and make a beeline to the multilevel Officina (1120 Maine Ave. SW, DC). Before lunch, shop the first-floor mercato for premium dry-aged steaks and game at the butcher counter, imported ancient grains, olive oils, prepared sauces, Sicilian pistachio spreads and provolone not found anywhere else in the U.S.

3 p.m.: Afternoon Delight

milk-bar-0001.jpgFounded by award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi, Milk Bar opened its doors in NYC’s East Village in 2008 and has been named “one of the most exciting bakeries in the country” by Bon Appétit magazine.

Cap off your Italian culinary exploration with an espresso, then saunter along the waterfront to Milk Bar at the Wharf (49 District Square SW, DC) for a sugar fix. The main dilemma here is choosing. We recommend you get your hands on some birthday truffles or the signature cereal milk soft serve. You’ll soon see why Milk Bar has a cult of loyal followers.

7:30 p.m.: Dinner and a Scene

chloe.jpgChloe’s 103-seat interior features counter seating for 14 at an open kitchen with another 27 in the bar. In warmer months, the patio space offers water views with gourmet dining.

Use your Barton & Gray Mariners Club membership and motor over to the crown jewel of the Capitol Waterfront—Haidar Karoum’s dynamic Chloe (1331 Fourth St. SE, DC). Aside from the ingenious mix of Western European and Southwest Asian flavors, you’ll appreciate the buzzy vibe and creative cocktails. Score a seat in the open kitchen and order the chile-glazed sablefish ($22) with celery root puree, baby bok choy and gochujang emulsion.

5 p.m.: Sunset Seduction

del-mar.jpgDel Mar celebrates co-owner Maria Trabocchi’s Spanish heritage and her family’s traditions from their home on the island of Mallorca. The menu features paella, seafood favorites and hand-carved 5J Ibérico ham.

A rollicking riverside romp isn’t complete without sultry Del Mar (791 Wharf St. SW, DC). A Sunset Menu is offered Tuesday to Sunday, 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the bar, but if you intend to dolce vita like a Mallorcan it’s best to book a terrace table and enjoy sunset with Krug Grande Cuvée 164ème Brut NV ($65) and arroz meloso de bogavante ($75 for up to two) featuring Mallorcan-style simmered rice, Maine lobster and calamari.

10 a.m.: Hangover Cure

mgm-national-harbor.jpgMGM National Harbor’s latest dining addition, Osteria Costa, is near the Potomac, but it has the feel of the Amalfi Coast thanks to approachable fare, bright colors and rustic touches reminiscent of Italian coastline villages.

Wake up to sweeping water views in an MGM Resort Potomac View King Room ($400). When you are ready, mosey downstairs to refuel with coffee, pastries and a floor-to-ceiling chocolate fountain at Bellagio Patisserie. Afterward, rejuvenate in the 27,000-square-foot oasis that is The Spa at MGM National Harbor. By 5 p.m. you’re ready for limoncellos, wood-fired pizzas and handmade pastas at Southern Italian eatery Osteria Costa (101 MGM National Ave., National Harbor, Md.).

9 p.m.: Showtime!

pearl-street-warehouse.jpgBoth The Anthem and Pearl Street Warehouse at The Wharf DC have a full slate of shows in January and February along with extensive drink selections and quality comfort food.

Need to burn calories? Catching the Disco Biscuits at The Anthem (901 Wharf St. SW, DC) on January 26 should do the trick. During the show enjoy cocktails and The Wharfle ($8)—a Belgian Liège waffle covered in chocolate sauce. For more intimate musical experiences, try Pearl Street Warehouse (33 Pearl St. SW, DC). The folk, blues and jazz lineups and delicious late-night bites here are food for the soul.

3 a.m.: Late-Night Hangout

mgm.jpgWith access to the casino plus imaginative drinks, an upbeat Vegas vibe, snacks and a closing time of 6 a.m. on the weekends, Blossom Cocktail Lounge in MGM National Harbor is the place to extend your evening and lounge around.

Wake up the captain it’s time to take this boat downriver to MGM National Harbor (101 MGM National Ave., National Harbor, Md.). Start (or end) your night in Blossom Cocktail Lounge, which stays open until 6 a.m. on weekends, or saunter between hands of high-stakes poker from the casino to cocktails at Felt Nightclub. Hungry? Order from the snack menu anytime.



Photography by: WHARF DC PHOTO COURTESY OF HOFFMAN-MADISON WATERFRONT; COFFEE PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE; BRUNCH PHOTO BY JACKIE MARIE; OFFICINA PHOTO BY SCOTT SUCHMAN; DESSERT PHOTO COURTESY OF MILK BAR; CHLOE PHOTO BY SCOTT SUCHMAN; DEL MAR PHOTO BY GREG POWERS; MGM PHOTOS COURTESY OF MGM NATIONAL HARBOR; PEARL STREET WAREHOUSE PHOTOS BY JOY ASICO