The doldrums of summer have set in, and everybody is looking for a good time. We've checked out four places where you can beat the heat.

Buddha Bar

Whether it's drinks or a great meal, Buddha Bar will keep you cool and full until 1 a.m. Not only does the bar offer great cocktails, but you also can order from the amazing sake menu. The Ryo Junmai Ginjo is very smooth and will complement your meal. Cold appetizers like spicy tuna tartar and green papaya salad are tasty and summery. Among the hot appetizers, the beef satay with Thai basil cream is incredibly flavorful. Two must-try main courses are the black cod with miso and yuzu sauce and the Thai-style red curry shrimp.

Location: 455 Massachusetts Ave. NW

Occidental Grill & Seafood

The Wednesday night New England Clambake at Occidental is the best way to enjoy a summer evening in Washington right now. Held outside the expansive patio overlooking the Washington Monument, it offers seafood classics like Maine lobsters, clams and mussels. Add the live music and cocktails, and you'll have a perfect night. Each week, executive chef Rodney Scruggs alternates among grilled favorites such as bison burgers, prime New York strip steak and yellowfin tuna. The new summer lunch menu is not to be missed. Highlights include the "ceviche"-style Alaskan halibut and the fried oyster or rock shrimp "Po Boy."

Location: 1475 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

CommonWealth Gastropub

Take one of Washington's most successful chefs and give her a pub to run, and out comes a menu that will make you want to go back until you've tried everything. Jamie Leeds' gastropub will delight vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Vegetable dishes, salads, sandwiches and main courses make for creative and assorted menu. Start with the butcher board, a terrific selection of cured ham, house terrine, deviled sweetbreads, chef's rilettes, pork belly, cacciatorini and finocchio. The delicious cheese board includes creamy, semihard, stinky, blue, goat and cheddar cheeses. From the starters, the crispy lemon fried olives and the Scotch eggs are both winners. Another favorite is the super-juicy lamb burger with green sauce. Leave room for dessert. The sticky toffee pudding will melt in your mouth.

Location: 1400 Irving St. NW


If healthy, fresh Mediterranean food is your vice, run to Agora. Executive chef Ghassan Jarrouj has put together a Turkish-Greek-inspired menu that's perfect for summer. Kick things off with cacik, a delicious blend of yogurt and cucumber and spices that will whet your appetite for what's to come. Don't miss the grilled octopus, spiced with parsley capers, onions and olive oil (made by guest chef Hasim Guler's family farm). Two must-have dishes include the grilled branzino (a fish) and the hunkar begendi, a braised lamb shank with egglant-gruyere puree.

Location: 1527 17th St. NW