Congress’s favorite restaurants

"Meiwah is great comfort food for me. Larry is always a gracious host and his work reminds me of the Chinese restaurants in Honolulu that my wife, Irene, and I frequent," Sen. Inouye said.

The senator often holds staff dinners and lunches at the New Hampshire Avenue location and said he particularly enjoys the Peking duck and crispy beef dishes.

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The Chinese restaurant has a two-story dining room with opulent décor such as antique wooden doors. A glass frontage with the restaurant’s name lit up in neon lights gives the venue memorable features both inside and out.

Its menu contains classic dishes from China, including General Tso’s chicken, Mongolian beef and jumbo shrimp with garlic sauce, all falling in the $10 – $15 price range. There’s even an Atkins-friendly selection.

La, who previously owned City Lights of China before opening Meiwah, has played host to an ever-increasing list of top political clients, including President Barack Obama, when he was still a senator, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former President Clinton.

Meiwah also has a second location on Willard Avenue in Friendship Heights, where suburban diners can enjoy the same menu closer to home.


Cafe Japone – Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.)

Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.) enjoys eating at Cafe Japone on P Street NW, which serves a wide range of Japanese food. 

The venue has two floors, with a sushi bar on its upper level and a quieter atmosphere on the lower level. This choice of dining appeals to the congressman, as he can choose a floor depending on his mood. 

"When I have time to relax and enjoy a bowl of ramen, my decision is easy — Cafe Japone, off Dupont Circle. With two floors of different decors and energy, I can choose my preference for that night," Rep. Honda said. 

Cafe Japone offers a selection of sushi, tempura, noodle soups and rice dishes, along with some more complex menu options like blue fin tuna carpaccio with herb wasabi crème fraiche. There are plenty of fish choices for sushi, served fresh by the chefs upstairs. 

It boasts a long happy hour, from 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., with 10 oz. of House Sake priced at $5 and 22 oz. of Sapporo at only $4. 

The eatery also holds a karaoke sing-along, where the district’s crooners come to sing their hearts out every night at 9:30 pm.


Acqua Al 2 and The Prime Rib - Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.)

Congressman John Mica (R-Fla.) has two D.C. dining favorites. First, Acqua Al 2, located in Eastern Market in Washington’s Southeast quadrant, features an Italian menu with a wide variety of dishes.  

Acqua Al 2 serves lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and serves dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm and on Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. 

Rep. Mica’s second favorite dining spot in D.C. is The Prime Rib, located on K Street in Washington’s Northwest quadrant. This “civilized steakhouse with award-winning seafood” also has restaurants in Baltimore and Philadelphia. According to Food and Wine Magazine, The Prime Rib is one of the top five romantic restaurants in the U.S. The first Prime Rib restaurant was opened in Baltimore in 1965. In 1976, The Prime Rib moved to Washington, D.C. With the restaurant’s tuxedoed wait staff and live piano and bass music nightly, The Prime Rib was designed to appear as an elegant supper club of 1940s Manhattan. As Esquire Magazine said, “At The Prime Rib, it’s always 1965 — the year it opened.”


La Lomita and Peking Gourmet Inn - Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.)

Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) has been known on occasion to treat her staff to delicious meals at La Lomita (Capitol Hill/Southeast) and, on very special occasions, the Peking Gourmet Inn (Falls Church, Va.).

Known fondly as one of the best Tex-Mex places for Capitol Hill locals, La Lomita boasts a menu offering more than standard south-of-the-border favorites like chimichangas and tostadas. Take the salmon marino, a fillet topped with shrimp, scallops, and a seafood sauce, or the Puerco Asado, pork roasted in spinach-like sauce. Plus, if you can’t get enough, there’s a second location (La Lomita Dos) 10 blocks down Pennsylvania Ave.

Peking Gourmet Inn opened more than 30 years ago when Founder Eddie Tsui wanted to open up restaurant with a unique specialty: northern Chinese cuisine. Not surprisingly, Peking duck is the restaurant’s specialty. If you wish to steer clear of eating things that used to quack, try a lamb chop prepared Peking style or another Peking Gourmet Inn specialty, Chef Fon’s Shrimp, sautéed with vegetables and Peking Inn’s secret sauce.


RT’s Restaurant – Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.)

RT’s Restaurant, located in Alexandria, Va., is not only a great place for seafood, but it’s also Rep. Hal Rogers’s favorite dining spot in the D.C. metropolitan area. According to the RT’s Restaurant website, “RT’s, Alexandria’s renowned neighborhood restaurant has been the place for fresh seafood in northern Virginia for over 25 years.” 

RT’s reasonable prices make this restaurant a local favorite. Rogers attributes the menu choices and consistently good food to his reasoning for liking RT’s Restaurant.  According to Rogers, “I enjoy Cajun, and it's consistently good.”  

Additionally, RT’s website says, “RT’s has been a fixture on the Washington Magazine’s ‘Top 100 Restaurants’ list in the metropolitan area.”  

The restaurant’s distinct menu offers a variety of Creole and Cajun specialties, some of which include their famous Jack Daniels Shrimp, Spicy She-Crab Soup, Cajun Veal Oscar and Crawfish Etouffee. Aside from having a wide variety of menu items, RT’s also offers weekly specials.

Rep. Duncan (R-Tenn.) also enjoys RT’s and has been eating there for years. Duncan is such a regular, one can find a papier-mâché likeness of him and some of his colleagues hanging on a wall of the restaurant (hint: It’s located in the Sonny Callahan room).


Ristorante Taco - Rep. Stephen Cohen (D-Tenn.) 

If you are looking for fine Italian dining, follow Rep. Stephen Cohen's (D-Tenn.) lead on Ristorante Taco. Opened in April 2001, Tosca is the culmination of shared ideas between Cesare Lanfranconi (formerly of Galileo) and owner Paolo Sacco. It’s well known for its fresh ingredients served at their peak in flattering dishes.

"They have great food and great service. The staff treat you nicely and always make you feel at home," Cohen said. "I love their grilled fish, which is marvelous.

"They also have the best Tiramisu in the world,” Cohen added.


—Compiled by Hannah Brenton, Hayleigh Colombo, Kevin Cullum and Kwaku Duncan