Best Breakfast

After being displaced by a fire last April, Market Lunch (307 Seventh St. SE; 202/547-8444; breakfast for two $15) moved to this temporary location—and hungry regulars followed. Join the queue for blueberry-buckwheat pancakes and egg sandwiches studded with bacon.

The Powerbrokers’ Lair

Capitol Hill’s lunch spot of the moment is banquette-lined Charlie Palmer Steak (101 Constitution Ave. NW; 202/547-8100; lunch for two $80); politicos dig into chilled oysters, aged rib eyes, and a list of wines from every state.

Best Ethiopian

The winner in a competitive D.C. field, tiny Etete (1942 Ninth St. NW; 202/232-7600; dinner for two $35) is a family affair: Mom cooks spongy injera and rich vegetable stews, which her sons serve in the apricot-hued room.

A Taste of Spain

One of the first restaurants to open in the reemergent Penn Quarter, chef José Andrés’s brightly colored Jaleo (480 Seventh St. NW; 202/628-7949; dinner for two $60) has an all-Spanish wine list and dozens of tantalizing, authentically executed tapas.

The Institution

Since 1958, no-frills Ben’s Chili Bowl (1213 U St. NW; 202/667-0909; lunch for two $17) has satisfied the faithful with cheese fries and chili “half-smoke” sausages (Bill Cosby’s favorite).

The Big Ticket

Even after a decade, James Beard Award–winning chef Michel Richard at Citronelle (3000 M St. NW; 202/625-2150; dinner for two $170) still wows the city’s cognoscenti with haute French cooking that’s at once witty and precise (like a vichyssoise made with potato flakes and leek-infused milk).