If you could only eat at one place in DC, where would it be? I’ll be in DC in early October. I am looking for great food. I’m not talking about fancy restaurants. I’m talking about food that when I eat it, I won’t forget it.
Here are the 20 best places recommended by other Trippy users:
1. Old Ebbit Grill
Lee from Brandon wrote:
You need to eat at Old Ebbitt Grill right next to the white house. Start with some oysters and then pick a good dinner. Make sure you finish up about 30 minutes before sunset so you can walk next door and watch the sunset over the White House from the top of the W. Best way to do one night in DC.
Washington Post called Old Ebbit Grill, a “mouthwatering monument” in DC. Founded in 1856 by innkeeper William E. Ebbit, but no one can know the exact location of the original boarding house with the stand-around bar. Old Ebbit Grill’s current location is a Beaux-Arts building located one block from the White House and sits 567 people.
2. Founding Fathers
Trippy user Nars from Boston liked Founding Fathers. Founding Fathers restaurant is owned by more than 47,000 family farmers of the North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU). Known as the “greenest restaurant” in DC, every dish at the Founding Farmers is made from scratch. You won’t find warmed up frozen food or food made weeks ago served on your plate. It’s an upscale restaurant and be prepared with business casual attire.
DC native Maretta’s absolute favorite is Founding Fathers:
One of my absolute favorite places to eat is Founding Farmers. It is over in the GWU area near Foggy Bottom area. The food is all farm to table, they have craft cocktails and its got a lively bar scene full of people doing business dinners. It may not be the place to eat by yourself but definitely if you’re with a group. Reservations are needed if you go around seven, but if you go earlier for happy hour, you usually can get a table walk in around 5. I recommend the popcorn of the day, the bread and any of their burgers/pasta dishes.
3. Little Serow
Terry from DC recommended Little Serow. He wrote:
Not sure how you feel about Thai food, but one of the most memorable dinners I’ve had recently was at Little Serow. Just be aware that they do not take reservations, so I recommend having an early dinner and showing up at 5:00 pm.
Located a few steps below street level, this northern Thai food establishment offers a non-fancy environment where the focus is food. You won’t find signs outside or on the door, and the restaurant doesn’t have a phone number.
4. Oohhs & Aahhs
Dan suggested a hole in the wall eatery called Oohhs & Aahhs:
Oohhs & Aahhs on U Street is a wonderful hole in the wall with some of the best soul food known to man. Guy Fierre often visits for the Mac and cheese, but the fried chicken and shrimp and grits are AMAZING. Open late on weekends. For something a little fancier, anything from Jose Andreas, but especially Jaleo, you won’t soon be forgetting.
It’s the place for good soul food that won’t break your pocketbook. Try the fried chicken, blackened catfish, collard greens and macaroni and cheese.
5. Rose’s Luxury
Liz from DC highly recommended Rose’s Luxury. She wrote:
Rose’s Luxury – both an experience and a delicious meal, but you need to get in line early to get seating, but that will give you time to wander Capitol Hill.
If unique flavor combinations and creative dishes sound good to you, go to Rose’s Luxury. The restaurant is open for dinner only from Monday to Saturday. It is closed on Sundays.
6. Bistrot du Coin
Trippy user Matt suggested Bistrot du Coin for those who like French and Belgian cuisines. He wrote:
Depending on what type of food you guys are looking for, I might give Bistrot Du Coin a try. It’s a Belgian/French restaurant with an energetic atmosphere, good food (think, Steak Frites, and wine and beer), just get a reservation ahead of time.
Located in Dupont Circle, this original French restaurant offers a taste of authentic French dishes without the need to travel to Paris. Imagine foods like escargot, French onion soup, Nicoise salad, braised chicken in red wine sauce, and an array of French desserts.
7. Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe
Justin from Phoenix liked the uniqueness of Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe in DC. This was what he said:
This is kind of strange, but the Mitsitam Cafe. It has all sorts of dishes inspired by ingredients Native American tribes used. What’s strange is that this is pretty much a museum cafeteria. But it’s really fun and unusual.
Other than that, the food in DC is really pretty uninspiring (and I’ve spent a combined total of about six months of my life working there). I’ve had better Ethiopian, Italian, Vietnamese, Thai and plain ol’ pub food just about everywhere … and I have yet to find a good coffeehouse there.
Its beer scene has improved quite a bit over the years. But overall, DC and the surrounding area is not a destination for great food.
For a taste of Greek, check out Zaytinya said Max from New Jersey:
It’s a Greek tapas restaurant. It’s by DC’s native celebrity chef Jose Andres who has about five restaurants in the city. I don’t care for many of them, but this one is far and away the best.
Liz from DC agreed. This was what she pointed out to Trippy users:
Zaytinya is a long-time DC staple, and the food doesn’t disappoint. It is better with a couple of people because the food is small plates.
Celebrity chef Jose Andres has a massive influence on DC’s dining scene. He brought the spirit and flavors of Spain to DC at Jaleo. Tapas, paellas, Iberico ham and sangria are just some of the Spanish treats you’ll find at Jaleo.
Trippy user Dan who suggested Oohhs & Aahhs, the hole in the wall restaurant said:
For something a little fancier, anything from Jose Andreas, but especially Jaleo, you won’t soon be forgetting.
10. Minibar by Jose Andres
Andrew, a Trippy user wrote:
Jaleo is Jose Andres’ famed tapas, and paella restaurant is worth the hype and Minibar By José Andrés is his other place that’s pretty much a lab for Avant-Garde cuisine, where every bite is a work of art. With only six seats, be sure to make a reservation in advance.
Annemarie suggested Urbana:
There are probably a gazillion restaurants in DC, but every time I visit I go to Urbana at Kimpton Hotel Palomar Washington DC. It’s modern Italian food with a killer wine list and enough medium-plate appetizers that you never even have to see an entree if you go with friends or family. I’ve enjoyed both solo and group dinners at this place, and I love their drink menu. It’s my favorite restaurant in the entire city.
Urbana is a casual Italian restaurant offering house-made pasta and pizzas, and also an array of skillfully concocted cocktails.
12. Doi Moi
Trippy user Alisa suggested Doi Moi for those who like southeast Asian cuisine. The restaurant offers Sri Lankan, Thai, Burmese, Laotian, Indonesian, East Timor, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Malaysian and Singaporean dishes. Get a taste of 10 countries in one place.
13. China Chilcano
If you’ve been to Peru, you’ll know Chifa, Criollo and Nikkei dishes. Chifa is a fusion of Chinese and Peruvian flavors and ingredients. And Nikkei features Japanese-inspired dishes. At China Chilcano, a restaurant by Jose Andres, there is lomo saltado (known as Peru’s national dish), ceviche, Sui Mai, fried rice and of course Pisco Sour, Peru’s favorite cocktail.
14. Cafe Bonaparte
Everyone says you should follow the lead of a local for restaurants that are away from the touristy places. Trippy user Laura, a DC native had this to say:
I lived in DC for a few years, and these were my favorite spots: Café Bonaparte in Georgetown. Best crepes in town, in my opinion. 2 Amys is more on the casual side but has the best Neapolitan pizza in town. Consistently ranked a top spot.
Cafe Bonaparte, a family-owned cafe, is a place to go if you haven’t tried crepes in Paris and if you have no intention to fly to Paris. Cafe Bonaparte makes the best crepes in DC.
15. Jam Doung Style Cuisine
For the absolute cheap eats, go to Jam Doung Style Cuisine. Terry from DC shared:
My favorite places are a little out of the way in DC but for a true cheap eats Jamaican food check out Jam Doung Style Cuisine on North Capitol. It’s a very small carryout place so be prepared to eat outside or take it to go.
16. Farmers Fishers Bakers
Located by the Potomac is the urban farmhouse called Farmers Fishers Bakers. Farmers Fishers Bakers is the type of restaurant you should go with friends to enjoy a healthy and casual brunch. You have a choice of indoor or outdoor seating. Vegans and vegetarians won’t go hungry when visiting DC. There’s a wide selection of meatless dishes, and when possible you can get modified dishes as well.
17. Market Lunch inside Eastern Market
Tiffany suggested Eastern Market for pancakes. She wrote:
For a delicious and cheap breakfast, go get pancakes at Eastern Market. You’ll find many things to tempt you there, but the pancakes are a local rave.
The Eastern Market, a National Historic Landmark, has been in continuous operation since 1873. Go to Market Lunch for blueberry buckwheat pancakes during breakfast hours and crab cakes for lunch. This no-frill eatery is our pick for the most affordable in DC. Check out the menu.
18. Daikaya Restaurant
Daiyaka serves Japanese cuisine that won’t blow your budget. This no-frill restaurant has two floors. The first floor specializes in ramen and the second floor has the bar and a full-service restaurant. Ramen lovers have a choice of shoyu, miso, shio, and vegan broth. But a Trippy user, Liz preferred the upstairs menu. She said:
Go upstairs to the restaurant not downstairs to the ramen shop. The menu is really unusual, and it is very tasty.
19. Blue Duck Tavern
Blue Duck Tavern is the place to go if you wish to dine in a Michelin-starred restaurant in the nation’s capital. It’s the type of restaurant to go for special celebrations with friends and family and an ideal place for five-star ambiance and exquisite food. Blue Duck Tavern uses the freshest ingredients with the names of the artisans and purveyors listed on the menu. You don’t have to second-guess where cheese, potatoes or the beef came from.
20. Ambar Capitol Hill
DC has no lack of Asian, Southern, Caribbean, European-influenced restaurants but if you want something different go to Ambar Capitol Hill. Ambar is the first Balkan restaurant in DC. Get the Ambar Experience package for $49 per person. The price includes unlimited tapas-style (small plates) and selected drinks.