Washington Restaurant Guide: Where to Eat in the Nation’s Capital
Washington, D.C. offers a delightful mix of cuisines, atmospheres, and price points that cater to every palate. As you explore the nation’s capital, let this guide lead you to some of the best dining experiences the city has to offer. From popular local favorites to hidden gems, prepare to embark on a culinary journey through Washington, D.C.
1. Fine Dining: Top-Notch Restaurants for a Luxurious Experience
The D.C. dining scene offers a range of upscale establishments that showcase innovative dishes and impeccable service. Here are a few top picks:
a. The Inn at Little Washington
A visit to the three-Michelin-starred Inn at Little Washington is a must for those seeking an exquisite fine dining experience. Located just an hour outside of D.C. in the picturesque town of Washington, Virginia, this renowned restaurant offers a decadent tasting menu that changes with the seasons. With a focus on local and sustainable ingredients, Chef Patrick O’Connell creates an unforgettable culinary journey for each guest.
Nestled in the heart of the city, Métier is a hidden gem that offers a unique and intimate dining experience. Boasting a seven-course tasting menu, this Michelin-starred establishment focuses on contemporary American cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients. Expect impeccable service and a romantic atmosphere.
2. International Flavors: Explore the World Through Your Taste Buds
From savory Ethiopian stews to vibrant Peruvian ceviche, Washington, D.C. is a melting pot of global flavors. Take your taste buds on a trip around the world with these standout international restaurants:
a. Zenebech Injera
Experience the rich flavors of Ethiopian cuisine at Zenebech Injera. This family-run eatery is renowned for its authentic and delicious dishes, such as doro wat and kitfo. The warm, welcoming atmosphere and friendly service will make you feel right at home.
b. Oyamel Cocina Mexicana
Head to Oyamel Cocina Mexicana for a modern take on Mexican street food. This José Andrés restaurant offers a lively atmosphere and delectable small plates, including ceviche, tacos, and guacamole prepared tableside. Don’t forget to sample their extensive tequila and mezcal selection!
3. Casual Eats: Quick Bites for the Busy Explorer
For those on the go, Washington, D.C. offers a myriad of casual dining options that don’t skimp on flavor. Check out these local favorites:
a. Ben’s Chili Bowl
No visit to D.C. is complete without a trip to the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl. Established in 1958, this beloved eatery serves up mouthwatering half-smokes smothered in their famous chili sauce. With a rich history and a vibrant atmosphere, Ben’s is a must-visit for anyone seeking a true taste of D.C.
b. District Doughnut
Satisfy your sweet tooth at District Doughnut, where you’ll find handcrafted gourmet doughnuts in a variety of unique flavors. From classics like glazed and chocolate to inventive creations like brown butter and cherry blossom, there’s something for everyone at this beloved bakery.
4. Local Gems: Unique Dining Experiences in the Nation’s Capital
Washington, D.C. is brimming with distinctive dining spots that offer unforgettable experiences. Venture off the beaten path to discover these hidden treasures:
a. Iron Gate
Located in a historic building with a romantic ambiance, Iron Gate offers a Mediterranean-inspired menu that celebrates local ingredients. The enchanting outdoor patio, adorned with twinkling lights and lush greenery, provides the perfect setting for an unforgettable meal.
b. The Dabney
The Dabney, situated in a restored row house, is a farm-to-table gem in the heart of D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. Chef Jeremiah Langhorne’s menu is a tribute to Mid-Atlantic cuisine, featuring dishes cooked over a wood-fired hearth. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a meal at this warm and inviting eatery.
5. Vegetarian and Vegan Delights: Plant-Based Dining in Washington, D.C.
From dedicated vegetarian restaurants to menus with extensive plant-based options, D.C. has a lot to offer those seeking meat-free meals. Check out these delicious destinations:
a. Fare Well
Founded by the owner of the popular Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, Fare Well is a haven for plant-based diners. Serving up vegan comfort food like mushroom “steak” frites and chickpea “tuna” melts, this H Street hotspot also offers a wide selection of vegan baked goods and craft cocktails.
For a quick and healthy plant-based meal, look no further than Shouk. This Israeli-inspired eatery offers an entirely vegan menu, with options like falafel-stuffed pita and roasted cauliflower bowls. With multiple locations throughout the city, it’s an easy and delicious choice for a satisfying meal.
6. Food Halls and Markets: Savor the Flavors of D.C. in One Stop
Food halls and markets offer an array of culinary options under one roof, making them the perfect destination for groups with diverse tastes or those looking to sample a variety of dishes. Don’t miss these popular spots:
a. Union Market
Located in the NoMa neighborhood, Union Market is a bustling food hall that showcases a diverse range of vendors. From artisanal cheese and oysters to Indian street food and Korean tacos, there’s something for everyone at this lively destination.
b. Eastern Market
As one of the oldest continuously operating public markets in the country, Eastern Market is a must-visit for food lovers. Browse the fresh produce, seafood, and meats on offer, or stop by one of the prepared food vendors for a delicious meal on the go. The market also hosts a popular outdoor flea market on weekends, perfect for finding unique souvenirs.
With a wealth of dining options to choose from, Washington, D.C. is a food lover’s dream. Whether you’re seeking upscale cuisine, global flavors, or casual bites, the nation’s capital has something to offer every palate. Enjoy your culinary journey through Washington, D.C., and happy eating!