When you think of the best foodie cities in the world, you’d be forgiven if Washington D.C. isn’t the first place that springs to mind. That said, however, D.C. is fast becoming a bit of a mecca for gastronomes, with top chefs opening up great new restaurants and eateries all over the place, taking advantage of the great local produce from around the local area.
In the last year in particular, the restaurant scene has exploded, which means the only difficult part of your culinary tour of Washington D.C. is knowing where to start. So, to give you a bit of a helping hand, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best places to grab a bite to eat at any time of day, for all budgets.
Filter Coffeehouse and Espresso Bar
Locations in Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, and Brookland
The guys at Filter Coffeehouse and Espresso Bar have been supplying the local population of Washington D.C. with truly outstanding coffee since 2010. They use local roaster Ceremony Coffee to supply their blends, and take time and care over every cup they serve. There are a couple of branches dotted around the city, making it convenient to get your early morning caffeine fix no matter where you’re staying.
Don’t miss the pastries on sale from local Hawthorne Fine Breakfast Pastries. They only use natural ingredients, and you can tell. Their Danishes are exemplary.
Kingbird at The Watergate Hotel
2650 Virginia Ave, Washington, District of Columbia
Located within the hotel synonymous with the country’s most notorious political scandal, Kingbird at The Watergate Hotel is a great choice for breakfast whether you’re staying in the hotel or not. What better way to start your day than with a hearty breakfast of a Three Egg Omelet and a cup of joe whilst imagining what must have been going on inside Room 214 on the 17th June 1972.
Don’t miss the American Breakfast. At just $28, it includes all cold buffet items as well as one hot entrée, making it really great value.
Mitsitam Native Foods Café
National Museum of the American Indian, Fourth Street & Independence Avenue SW, Washington, District of Columbia
Another culinary delight housed within a tourist attraction, the Mitsitam Café in the National Museum of the American Indian has something of a unique menu, offering customers the chance to sample a wide range of foods and cuisines indigenous to North America. Executive Chef Freddie Bitsoie, who is actually Navajo himself, has divided his menu geographically to reflect the different intricacies between regions.
Don’t miss the Northern Atlantic clam soup, with sun chokes (Jerusalem artichoke) and leeks from the Northern Woodlands menu, which is an old Nova Scotian version of clam chowder.
Various locations around Washington, District of Columbia
The farm-to-table restaurant trend has really taken off in Washington D.C., which goes hand in hand with the rise in popularity of local farmers’ markets celebrating seasonal produce. Not only are they great sources of raw ingredients for the city’s top chefs, one of the most popular being the FRESHFARM Dupont Circle Market, you can also find plenty of great food stalls serving light bites perfect for a cheap and tasty lunch.
Don’t miss the Union Market – a real food hall destination. We recommend pulling up a stool at the Rappahannock Oyster Bar for some of the best and freshest Chesapeake oysters in town.
717 Eighth Street SE, Washington, District of Columbia
You know that the food served at Rose’s Luxury is something special because, years later, you can still find yourself queuing for hours to get a seat at one of their tables. The fact that this restaurant doesn’t take reservations doesn’t seem to put people off, and in fact, there is even a popular cocktail served at a nearby Lola’s bar called Waiting for Rose’s. Executive Chef and Owner, Aaron Silverman, keeps people coming back for his exquisitely executed small plates perfect for sharing, and is known for often sending out complimentary dishes to his diners.
Don’t miss the ‘Family Style’ smoked brisket with white bread, horseradish and slaw. The pastas are also all fantastic, and there is plenty on the menu that is vegetarian, or can be easily adapted to be so.
122 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, District of Columbia
Chef Jeremiah Langhorne’s menu at The Dabney focuses on Mid-Atlantic cuisine, with Southern accents subtly woven in, all set in a warm, cosy environment. Browse the menu of expertly executed small sharing plates against the backdrop of an impressive 10-foot-long hearth in the middle of the open kitchen. You may be pleased to know that The Dabney take reservations, unlike so many other D.C. restaurants, and you can book your table up to two weeks in advance.
Don’t miss the ember-roasted carrots, served with whipped ricotta, sumac, fried garlic, & spicebush. It’ll change the mind of even the most anti-vegetable eater you know. Promise.