Best

Eater’s Guide to Dining in D.C

Washington, D.C., has a lot of restaurants to offer with the most popular being Ben's Chili Bowl, Founding Farmers and The Source.
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Best food places in dc

Outsiders could consider D.C. as a metropolis of stodgy politicos, however its meals scene boasts a hotbed of creativity for the individuals who work, reside, and journey right here to take pleasure in. Contemplating the wood-burning Levantine cooking happening in Navy Yard, the lengthy traces forming for Filipino-American quick meals and creative Asian-American doughnuts at a downtown meals corridor, or the diners sweating from scotch bonnet-spiked Trini takeout on H Avenue NE, the Washington space has one of the crucial vibrant restaurant scenes in the US. Right here is Eater’s usually up to date information to the neighborhoods and meals each aspiring D.C. aficionado must know.

—Up to date by Gabe Hiatt

Reading: Best food places in dc

Welcome to a Land of Range

Because the stereotype goes, D.C. is a world of energy breakfasts and steak homes. However one of the best factor about consuming in D.C. is the number of worldwide delicacies discovered across the metropolis and its surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia.

Southeast Asian meals are notably robust. Longtime standard locations embody Unhealthy Saint for Filipino, Little Serow and Baan Siam for Northern Thai, and Maketto for Taiwanese and Cambodian cafe meals. The household that sparked the #LaoFoodMovement with a secret menu at their Thai restaurant in Falls Church (now Padaek) has eating places scattered throughout the world, together with Thip Khao in Columbia Heights and Sen Khao on the Tysons Galleria. Yet another latest addition, Thamee affords a rave-worthy introduction to Burmese meals for individuals unfamiliar with the delicacies of a rustic as soon as dominated by British India and influenced by neighbors equivalent to China and Thailand. Malaysian specialties filled with candy, spicy, bitter, and funky flavors at Makan make the Columbia Heights restaurant one of many buzziestin the town. A lot of the world’s wealthy Vietnamese meals tradition is centered across the Eden Heart in Falls Church, Virginia, however for a extra upscale, up to date take, diners can try Moon Rabbit on the Southwest Waterfront.

Two high-end, wood-burning Center Japanese eating places have attracted nationwide discover over the previous few years: Albi, in Navy Yard, and Maydan, simply north of the U Avenue hall. On H Avenue NE, Trinidadian chef Peter Prime’s Canepackages up takeout containers filled with pimento-smoked jerk hen wings, entire fried snapper escovitch, and doubles (fry bread, stewed chickpeas, spicy chutneys) that supply a high-end model of the Caribbean specialties present in carryouts alongside Georgia Avenue NW.

D.C. is house to among the largest populations of Ethiopian and Salvadoran expats within the nation. Ethiopian favorites equivalent to beef or lamb tibs and stewed hen doro wat on the Habesha Market or Dukem within the Little Ethiopia space of Ninth Avenue NW, at Chercher a number of blocks south, or at important Zenebechin Adams Morgan. At Mélange in Mt. Vernon Triangle, French-trained chef Elias Taddesse is mixing Ethiopian traditions into an American burger store with gadgets like a berbere-marinated fried hen sandwich. Discover Salvadoran pupusas at Gloria’s in Columbia Heights, El Tamarindo in Adams Morgan, or El Rinconcito close to the conference middle.

No journey to D.C. can be full with out achili-cheese half-smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl. The historic, Black-owned restaurant sits on a U Avenue hall as soon as often called “Black Broadway.” Close by soul meals staples equivalent to Henry’s Soul Cafe — well-known for its candy potato pie — or breakfast go-to Florida Avenue Grill have been comforting clients for many years. Oohs and Aahs is one other must-visit for crunchy wings, collard greens, and gooey mac and cheese.

In the meantime, Georgetown’s iconic Cafe Milanois a vacation spot for people-watching (particularly for bold-faced names). One other only-in-D.C. spot is the pink velvet-wrapped Off The Document bar, hidden away within the basement of the Hay-Adams lodge. Diners can search for well-known faces at high-profile locations equivalent to Bourbon Steak and Fiola Mare, bask in high-end Indian meals at Rasika (remember to order the palak chaat), and get to know the delicacies of well-known humanitarian José Andrés at Jaleo, Zaytinya (or the flowery BarminiandMinibar).Evena bagel store, smash hit “Jew-ish” deli Name Your Mom, could get a go to from the president on any given Sunday.

The place to Begin on Eater’s Greatest Maps

Eater D.C. is the place to go for ceaselessly up to date guides to the whole lot from daring new eating places to particular dishes like succulent roast hen — charred Peruvian birds are one other native specialty — the pizza that makes up the town’s Neapolitan renaissance, or world-class sushi and delectable dim sum. Right here, Eater narrows the sphere to focus on among the best possible locations within the space.

Hottest Eating places

Eater’s heatmap, up to date as soon as a month, is a go-to information to the buzziest openings within the space. Pogiboy, a meals corridor stall downtown that serves fried hen seasoned in bitter tamarind powder and different Filipino-American fast-food innovations that pay homage to Jollibee, is attracting lots of consideration as a result of it’s the primary follow-up mission for founding Unhealthy Saint chef Tom Cunanan. Martha Expensive, a Mount Nice pizza store with ethereal, naturally leavened dough and a topping checklist that leans Greek, has taken the hype-fueled ready line to the world of on-line preorders. For individuals in search of one thing somewhat fancier, chef Enrique Limardo has adopted up tropical, pan-Latin sizzling spot Seven Causes with Imperfecto: a West Finish vacation spot for dressed-up crowds that throws Mediterranean flavors onto the chef’s summary fine-dining canvas, leading to dishes like a ricotta-and-harissa ravioli. Dauphine’s, a Mid-Atlantic-meets-New Orleans restaurant downtown, has additionally been attracting a number of buzz for throwback cocktails, uncooked bar fare, and Creole cooking with native bent. Lovers of old-school Italian-American pink sauce joints ought to comply with their noses to the vodka sauce-splashed eating room at Caruso’s Grocery in Capitol Hill.

Magazine Dining Column on Imperfecto
An artsy burrata from Imperfecto
Scott Suchman for The Washington Put up by way of Getty Photos

The Important 38

When narrowing down the Eater 38, one must-visit is Albi, the place chef Michael Rafidi’s refined tackle dishes from Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, and different international locations all through the Mediterranean embody za’atar dusted pita that includes labneh and potato into the dough, lamb kefta cooked with a cinnamon stick deal with, a crunchy urfa-chile condiment, and hummus that’s smoother than Lando Calrissian.

A plate of ground duck sfeeha (meat pies) served with pine nuts, lemon, and a side of whipped garlic toum at Albi
A plate of floor duck sfeeha (meat pies) served with pine nuts, lemon, and a aspect of whipped garlic toum at Albi
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

At chef Amy Brandwein’s Piccolina, the wood-fueled oven leans informal Italian, roasting off omelets in long-handled pans, a superlative eggplant Parm, and all kinds of bread and pastries.. For one more all-day choice, Ellē is a neighborhood cafe and bakery in Mount Nice that morphs right into a restaurant and bar at night time. Guava turnovers and smoked brisket breakfast sandwiches served on candy potato rolls are the transfer within the morning. Seasonal dishes like like carta di musica crackers — embellished with sungold tomatoes, preserved cherries, labneh, and holy basil — will dominate most dinner conversations. Marjorie Meek-Bradley has designed subversive steakhouse fare — assume a wonderfully seasoned salmon collar — on the St. Anselm tavern in Union Market. If Michelin-starred tasting menus are your bag, D.C. has lots.

Bars

If there’s solely time to cease at one bar throughout a go to to D.C., make it Columbia Room. The all the time creative consuming den (and backyard) is a perennial contender for nationwide awards. Discover extra of D.C.’s standout bars right here, together with the Inexperienced Zone, a vacation spot for Center Japanese-themed mixology in Adams Morgan; big whiskey bar Jack Rose Eating Saloonclose by, reasonably priced cocktail spot Service Baron U Avenue NW, and Union Market rum distillery Cotton & Reed. There’s additionally the bar heatmap, which chronicles the brand new sizzling consuming spots round city.

Pizza

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Is pizza D.C.’s robust go well with? Perhaps not, however there are many high-quality pies to select from. New York transplants will really feel most at house on the divey however genuine Wiseguy in Mt. Vernon Triangle or Rosslyn. Just a few newer choices are giving Wiseguy a run for its cash: Andy’s Pizza (Shaw, Navy Yard, Tysons Nook), Della Barba in Ivy Metropolis, and Capitol Hill meals corridor stall Slice Joint. Neapolitan pizza is probably the most distinguished type round city, with glorious variations at 2 Amys, Pupatella, Etto, and Pizzeria Orso. In the meantime, AllObjective — which has a second location in Navy Yard — and Timber Pizza Firm entice followers in search of an identical type of pizza with barely extra artistic toppings and trappings. Union Market district’s Stellina Pizzeria is drawing consideration for its cacio e pepe pie and creative panini just like the one filled with fried octopus and burrata.

Ice Cream

Gelato is big right here, with a ton of native corporations like Dolcezza, Pitango, and Dolci Gelati. At one level, custard store the Dairy Godmotherin Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood most likely had the largest cult following of D.C.’s ice cream choices (President Barack Obama was recognized to cease by). Now are loads of locations to get a chilly deal with, from quirky mini-chain Ice Cream Jubilee to liquid nitrogen-enhanced Nicecream. Mount Nice’s Mt. Desert Ice Cream is one other recognized favourite of Obama. Desire different desserts? Try this information to just about 20 completely different dessert-focused maps for D.C.

Sushi

D.C.’s standout omakase eating places are Sushiko and Sushi Taro. The latter makes a imply ramen as soon as a month, too, and earned a Michelin star final 12 months. Union Market’s O-Ku, which originated in Charleston, South Carolina, options quite a lot of uncooked fish certain to fulfill sushi aficionados. Final 12 months additionally noticed the arrival of lengthy awaited New York import Sushi Nakazawa, a partnership between restaurateur Alessandro Borgognone and Daisuke Nakazawa. Discover different sushi necessities right here.

Beer

Any checklist that Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s beer director Greg Engert performed a job in creating (Shelterin Capitol Hill, Bluejacket Brewery in Navy Yard) is value a go to. Town’s most well-known brewery is arguably DC Brau (3178 Bladensburg Highway NE), however there are tons of formidable breweries each contained in the District and close by as nicely, from 3 Stars Brewery to Atlas Brew Works (Ivy Metropolis, Navy Yard) to Port Metropolis Brewing Firm (3950 Wheeler Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia). Newcomers embody LGBTQ-friendly Pink Bear Brewing Co. in NoMa and an Ivy Metropolis outpost of Brooklyn brewery Different Half. Cider followers acquired a brand new choice in July with the arrival of Petworth’s Capitol Cider Works. Discover the most recent breweries right here. Town is filled with outside beer gardens (like Dacha or Wunder Garten).

Brunch

D.C. loves day-drinking, as evidenced by the recognition of brunch right here. Standout brunches embody egg-topped pizzas and Sicilian disco fries at All-Objective, the brasserie fare at Le Diplomate, and the unconventional diner meals at Unconventional Diner.

Ramen

D.C. is a big ramen city, with new noodle outlets opening up consistently — even within the stifling-hot summer season. Toki Underground, Ren’s Ramen and Daikayaare among the many established gamers, whereas Haikanand Bantam King are including to the scene as nicely. Hatoba in Navy Yard is the most recent flashy newcomer.

Neighborhoods to Know

Listed here are the important thing food-centric areas of the town to discover, in addition to what to eat in every.

Touristy areas

D.C. is nothing if not a vacationer vacation spot, whether or not it’s households visiting the nation’s capital, college students right here on faculty journeys, or simply these in search of a cool and reasonably priced place to go to (do not forget that monuments and plenty of museums are free right here). Vacationers in D.C. are inclined to flock to the Nationwide Mall — walkable to notable eating places equivalent to Central and Hill Nation —in addition to the historic neighborhood of Georgetown, house to locations like bistro Chez Billy Sud, modernist fine-dining restaurant Reverie, and Brasserie Liberté. Discover different can’t-miss eateries across the Conference Heart as nicely. The Wharf, a waterfront improvement on the Southwest fringe of the town, is an attraction in and of itself. Whereas reside music on the Anthem nonetheless feels far off, the InterContinental lodge has up to date Vietnamese restaurant Moon Rabbitas a draw, together with huge cocktail bar/rum distillery Tiki TNTand expensive Spanish spot Del Mar.

Adams Morgan

Recognized for its eclectic, worldwide taste and its standing as a bar crawl vacation spot, this neighborhood has landed among the metropolis’s most revered eating places lately. Go to Keren for Eritrean breakfast, Fortunate Buns for top-notch burgers, Lapis for refined Afghan dishes, the Recreation for Filipino bar meals, Inexperienced Zone for Center Japanese-flavored cocktails, and Tail Up Goat for Mediterranean toasts and recent pasta. Newer additions embody pasta and wine bar Reveler’s Hour and a three-piece Japanese complicated that holds Shibuya Eatery.

Shaw

Restaurateurs and consuming execs proceed flocking to this welcoming neighborhood. Standbys embody Espita Mezcaleria (get the mole), AllObjectivepizzeria, the Seylou bakery, Buttercream Bakeshop, and the Dabney, for hearth-fueled Mid-Atlantic cooking. Different standbys embody wine bar Maxwell Park and “urban garden” Calico.

14th Avenue/Logan Circle

Earlier than the Shaw renaissance happened, 14th Avenue NW was the placement to be for D.C. eating places, and it is nonetheless an vital place to discover a concentrated variety of sizzling spots. Right here, discover tapas restaurant Estadio, Stephen Starr mega-bistro Le Diplomate(get the duck salardaises), worldwide small plates place Compass Rose(house of important worldwide drunk meals khachapuri), and rather more. Nightlife pleasure stretches into the neighboring areas of U Avenue and Columbia Heights (Unhealthy Saint, Queen’s English, Makan) as nicely. A stretch of 14th Avenue simply north of Columbia Heights has three of one of the best conventional Mexican eating places on the town, Taqueria Habanero, Mezcalero, and seafood-focused newcomer Anafre.

Union Market

Town’s preeminent meals corridor is the primary attraction at this previously wholesaler heavy stretch of Northeast D.C. However the space bordering Union Market has turn into a sizzling spot for eating places, too, boasting heavyweights equivalent to St. Anselm, coastal Italian tasting menu restaurant Masseria, and light-hearted, island-style newcomer Coconut Membership. Rum distillery Cotton & Reed is a great cease for a cocktail, A. Litteri is a timeless Italian grocery with traditional subs. La Cosecha, a Latin American market with the Serenata cocktail bar, Grand Cata grocer and wine store, and a number of different meals distributors promoting Salvadoran pupusas, Peruvian sandwiches, and Venezuelan sizzling canine, has slowly come collectively over the previous two years.

H Avenue NE

One in every of D.C.’s densest restaurant corridors, H Avenue attracts a rowdier crowd that likes to social gathering late into the night. Thamee and Cane are the brand new standout points of interest, however standbys embody Toki Underground for ramen, Maketto for Southeast Asian cafe fare, Fancy Radish for vegan fine-dining, and Ethiopic for Ethiopian.

Capitol Hill

That is the place elected officers and advocacy teams hash out their variations. That mentioned, the world proper subsequent to the federal government’s workplace buildings is not actually one of the best phase of Capitol Hill for eating (although you will discover some old-school lobbyist haunts like The Monocle, Charlie Palmer, and Spike Mendelsohn’s mini empire of eating places, amongst different decisions). The trick is to stroll somewhat additional in the direction of Japanese Market and Barracks Row to search out the true vacation spot eating, together with chef Aaron Silverman’s trend-setting Rose’s Luxurious, its siblings (tremendous luxe Pineapple and Pearlsand extra budget-friendly Little Pearl) and creative Chinese language-Korean counter Chiko.Inside Japanese Market itself, the place to go to is Market Lunch (225 seventh St. SE), which pulls lengthy traces for crab muffins and blueberry buckwheat pancakes. Discover one of the best of the neighborhood right here.

Virginia and Maryland

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The Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs are an integral a part of the D.C. space’s total eating scene. For one factor, they’re a hotbed for a lot of the world’s greatest worldwide eating, together with Vietnamese, Chinese language, Salvadoran, Korean, and extra.

It is vital to be taught the main neighborhood names throughout Maryland (Wheaton, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Rockville) and Virginia (Clarendon, Ballston, Outdated City Alexandria, Del Ray, Falls Church, Tysons Nook) as space cooks are playing increasingly on areas outdoors D.C. Vacation spot eating places embody Readability, 2941,andPeter Chang’s eating places — make a beeline to Mama Chang for home-style Chinese language in Fairfax.

Simply north of the Beltway, Wheaton, Maryland, packs in an enormous number of tastes equivalent to shawarma from Max’s Kosher and fried watercress salad from Ruan Thai. Up in Rockville, Kuya Ja’s Lechon Stomach has turn into a vacation spot for Filipino meals.

A cross section of rolled pork belly lechon complete with bronze, crispy skin, juicy pale meat, and a lemongrass and garlic stuffing at Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly.
Pork stomach lechon from Kuya Ja’s
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

A D.C. Glossary of Phrases

Half-smoke

Made well-known by Ben’s Chili Bowl, the half-smoke is a spicy sausage, typically made with pork and beef, and normally grilled and served in a sizzling canine bun. Ben’s tops its model with chili; many extra artisan variations of the charcuterie traditional will be discovered round city.

The unique Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Avenue NW.
Photograph by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

Jumbo Slice

The large slices of pizza that D.C. drinkers are infamous for ordering after a night out in Adams Morgan. Late-night go-to Pizza Mart serves a ton of ‘em, though other Adams Morgan pizzerias and a few out-of-the-neighborhood spots also carry a version.

Picking crabs/eating crabs

Get that mind out of the gutter — this is the D.C. and Maryland phrasing for either purchasing a pre-cooked bushel of blue crabs, or heading to a restaurant to demolish at least a half-dozen blue crabs, which are steamed with Old Bay seasoning. Here’s how to do it, and here’s where to go do it locally.

Rickey

This rather basic cocktail, a highball made with gin or whiskey, lime, and fizzy water, allegedly got its start in D.C. The bar that “invented” it no longer exists, but the Marriott hotel (1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW) that stands there now celebrates the cocktail in its lounge. During Rickey Month, bars across the District put their spin on the classic.

The Mall

Nope, not somewhere to shop — the National Mall, run by the National Park Service, is the large expanse of open area near several of D.C.’s monuments, as well as several Smithsonian museums. The adjacent Tidal Basin is where the cherry blossoms bloom each spring. Here’s a guide to grabbing a bite near the tourist-packed promenade.

ThinkFoodGroup

This is José Andrés’s D.C.-based restaurant company, operator of such destinations as Jaleo, Oyamel, and Minibar— an experimental, ultra-luxe modern kitchen that has two Michelin stars.

NRG

Neighborhood Restaurant Group: another prolific hospitality outfit. it operates Navy Yard brewery Bluejacket, restaurants like Iron Gate and Evening Star Cafe, and — most recently — Capitol Hill food hall the Roost. There’s additionally Neighborhood Provisions, a supply and pickup service that sells every kind of pre-packaged items and groceries, together with meats from Pink Apron Butcher.

Mumbo Sauce

A tongue-teasing condiment with a particular sweet-and-sour twang, mumbo sauce displays the affect predominantly Black neighborhoods had on D.C.’s Chinese language carryouts. Some locals argue it originated right here, although Chicago additionally lays declare to it. Generally additionally known as “mambo sauce.”

Ashok Bajaj

Rammy Award-winning restaurateur Ashok Bajaj operates the Knightsbridge household of eating places. A number of locations fall below his supervision, however his his most well-known operations are Bombay Membership and Rasika/Rasika West Finish. He launched Cleveland Park to Indian avenue meals and Israeli delicacies, respectively, at Bindaas and Sababa. He has lately rebranded Bibiana as ModenadowntownandbroughtJames Beard award-winner Frank Ruta on board to create the trendy American menu at Annabelle in Kalorama.

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