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One of the city’s top tables, the 1789 is the standard-bearer for Old World charm. The restaurant’s six dining rooms occupy a renovated Federal-period house on a back street in Georgetown. Equestrian and historical prints, tables laid with Limoges china and silver, and antique furnishings throughout add touches of elegance. Women usually dress up and men are advised to wear jackets (the staff have lender attire for those who forget). Romancing couples like Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, world leaders like President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and locals celebrating birthdays and anniversaries are among those who dine here for the sense of momentousness the 1789 confers upon any occasion.

The kitchen has seen chefs come and go in the past few years, but the 1789, at nearly 60 years old, is an old hand at handling change. Its cuisine has always been and always will be American, the emphasis more and more on produce grown on local farms and meats, seafood, and poultry bought “direct from their native regions.” As classically formal as the 1789 is, the menu is thoroughly modern—for instance, the swordfish is served with sunflower seeds and chorizo beurre blanc, and the spring asparagus soup comes with Parmesan brittle. One thing you can be sure of is that your meal will be luscious.