Located directly across Lafayette Square from the White House, Bombay Club has been a favorite of one administration after the other since it opened in 1988. This was Ashok Bajaj’s first restaurant in D.C., and though he has added other well-reviewed dining rooms since, most notably Rasika, Bombay Club is special, a gracious veteran that seems to appeal to everyone. A pianist plays nightly in the dining room, which is decorated in hues of pale pink and yellow. You don’t have to be Indian to appreciate the cuisine (although the Indians I know say it is the real thing). Among the popular dishes are the crispy spinach and arugula chaat, a savory snack served with date-tamarind chutney; the chicken tikka, prepared with coriander, cumin, garlic, black pepper, and yogurt; and tandoor-oven roasted eggplant served with sauteed onions, ginger, and yogurt. If you like spicy, try the chili- and ginger-infused duck kebab appetizer. To sample an assortment of tastes, order a house thali.
- Elise Hartman Ford