Old Ebbitt Grill - The Place for Oysters in Washington, DC

By Rand Hoch, Travel Editor

When I was a student at Georgetown back in the 1970s, every now and then friends and I would gather at Old Ebbett Grill near 14th and F Streets, Northwest.  While the restaurant had been a local institution since the 1850s, by the time I arrived in town, it had fallen on hard times.  Still, we would sit at the great mahogany bar, enjoy burgers and beers, and relish in the history of Washington’s oldest tavern.

So when a friend and I were attending a White House conference last week (I just love saying that!), he suggested we stop by Old Ebbet Grill for lunch. 

I didn’t know what to expect and started to head over towards 14th Street.  Steering me in another direction,  he informed me that the restaurant moved in the early 1980s.  It is now conveniently located in a beautiful Beaux-Arts building on 15th Street, across from the Treasury Department.

The restaurant, which is now flourishing, is simply amazing and its Oyster Bar is Washington’s best place for oysters. 

Once seated, our waiter handed us the Oyster Menu, which he explained changes daily. 

Today’s menu featured six northeastern varieties, so we ordered two of each – a dozen for $23.95.

As can be expected, Wellfleets were on the platter and ours were just perfect, quite plump and briny.

Ever since last summer’s road trip to Prince Edward Island, I have become extremely partial to the island’s oysters.  So I was pleased to find Rocky Bays, Conway Royals and my favorite Raspberry Points on the platter.  They were all almost just as sweet as they were last summer when we would get them fresh from the water. 

New Brunswick was represented on the platter by two small, brown-shelled St. Simons, which slightly less briny than the PEI oysters, but tasted almost as sweet. 

The final selections were nicely sized East Beach Blondes from Ninigret Pond in Rhode Island.  These were crisp, with a sweet buttery finish.

If we did not have to head back to the White House, I would have spent a little more time exploring more of the menu, and the restaurant.  But that will have to wait until my next visit.

Old Ebbitt Grill
675 15th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20005-5702
(202) 347-4800