Washington, D.C. Restaurants

Washington has long benefited from a constant infusion of different cultures, making it a stellar culinary host for visitors and transplants from around the world, but recent years have made the fifth or sixth banana of American haute cuisine into a foodie town in its own right. You can find almost any cuisine here, from Salvado
Washington has long benefited from a constant infusion of different cultures, making it a stellar culinary host for visitors and transplants from around the world, but recent years have made the fifth or sixth banana of American haute cuisine into a foodie town in its o
Washington has long benefited from a constant infusion of different cultures, making it a stellar culinary host for visi

Washington has long benefited from a constant infusion of different cultures, making it a stellar culinary host for visitors and transplants from around the world, but recent years have made the fifth or sixth banana of American haute cuisine into a foodie town in its own right. You can find almost any cuisine here, from Salvadoran to Ethiopian, despite D.C.'s lack of true ethnic neighborhoods. But now you can also sample cooking from some of the country’s hottest new chefs and sip craft cocktails that could be mistaken for Manhattan’s. Just follow your nose.

Although most neighborhoods lack a unified culinary flavor, make no mistake: D.C. is a city of distinctive areas, each with its own style. Chinatown, for example, is known for chic small plates of various origins. You'll find Japanese noodle shops next to Mexican taquerias and Indian bistros. These spots wax and wane on the popularity scale with each passing season; it's worth taking a stroll down the street to see what's new. Downtown, you'll find many of the city's blue-chip law firms and deluxe, expense-account restaurants, as well as stylish lounges, brewpubs, and upscale eateries that have sprung up to serve the crowds that attend games at the Verizon Center.

Wherever you venture forth in the city, there are a few trends worth noting: artisanal cocktails, charcuterie-and-cheese plates, and back-to-basics New American cuisine are in vogue. You'll find tapas-style portions pervasive, whether you're at a Greek, Asian, or American restaurant. High-end restaurants in town also have begun to add bar menus with smaller plates that are much less expensive than their entrées, but created with the same finesse.

Though Italian, French, and fusion spots continue to open at a ferocious pace, Washingtonians are always hungry to try something new, whether it's Chinese smoked lobster, fiery Indian curry, or crunchy and addictive Vietnamese spring rolls.

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  • 1. Sweetgreen

    $ | Dupont Circle | Eclectic

    When three Georgetown University graduates carved out a closet-size niche to sell freshly made salads and tart frozen yogurt almost a decade...Read More

  • 2. Taylor Gourmet

    $ | U Street | Café

    Sandwiches crafted with attention to detail and fine ingredients are the hallmark of this Philadelphia-inspired classic. Taylor's substitution...Read More

  • 3. Zaytinya

    $$ | Chinatown | Middle Eastern

    This sophisticated urban dining room with soaring ceilings is a local favorite for meeting friends or dining with a group. Zaytinya, which means...Read More

  • 4. Beau Thai

    $ | Shaw | Thai

    This dream of a local haunt was founded by an experienced Thai chef and two American entrepreneurs inspired by her flair for spice. The drunken...Read More

  • 5. Ben's Chili Bowl

    $ | U Street | American

    Long before U Street became hip, Ben's was serving chili. Chili on hot dogs, chili on Polish-style sausages, chili on burgers, and just plain...Read More

  • 6. El Camino

    $ | Mexican

    The up-and-coming Bloomingdale neighborhood is still long on pubs and short on reliable, quality food, but this California-style taco temple...Read More

  • 7. Full Kee

    $ | Chinatown | Chinese

    Many locals swear by this standout from the slew of mediocre Chinese joints in the area. The style-free interior can be off-putting to some...Read More

  • 8. Good Stuff Eatery

    $ | Capitol Hill | American

    Fans of Bravo's Top Chef will first visit this brightly colored burgers-and-shakes shack hoping to spy charismatic TV chef Spike Mendelsohn...Read More

  • 9. Jimmy T's Place

    $ | Capitol Hill | American

    This D.C. institution is tucked in the first floor of an old row house only five blocks from the Capitol. Sassy waiters, talkative regulars...Read More

  • 10. Oohhs & Aahhs

    $$ | U Street | American

    No-frills soul food is what you can find at this friendly eat-in/take-out place where the price is right and the food is delicious. Ultrarich...Read More

  • 11. Sakuramen

    $ | Adams Morgan | Japanese

    After the small plates, artisanal burgers, and cupcake fads, gourmet versions of Japanese ramen soup became the latest trend to storm the city...Read More

  • 12. Seventh Hill

    $ | Capitol Hill | Pizza

    When this hand-tossed-pizza spot first opened, it seemed like a risky bet given the high bar set by capital favorites such as Matchbox and 2...Read More

  • 13. Teaism

    $ | Downtown | Asian

    This informal teahouse stocks more than 50 imported teas (black, white, and green), but it also serves healthful and delicious Japanese, Indian...Read More

  • 14. Ted's Bulletin

    $ | Capitol Hill | American

    This cheeky homage to mid-20th-century diners is styled after a newspaper office, with menus printed in broadsheet format and specials mounted...Read More

  • 15. The Market Lunch

    $ | Capitol Hill | American

    For a perfect Saturday morning or afternoon on the Hill, take a walk around the Capitol, a stroll through Eastern Market, and then dig in to...Read More

  • 16. Burma

    $ | Downtown | Asian

    Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, is bordered by India, Thailand, and China, which gives a good indication of the cuisine at this...Read More

  • 17. G Street Food

    $ | Downtown | Eclectic

    Like Washington, D.C.'s layout and architecture, this upscale cafeteria takes a cue from Europe. The cosmopolitan menu echoes the best of the...Read More

  • 18. Malaysia Kopitiam

    $ | Dupont Circle | Malaysian

    The style of this subterranean hideaway may be Gilligan's Island meets Kon-Tiki, but the voluminous menu has Malaysian treasures to spare. Though...Read More

  • 19. Etete

    $$ | U Street | Ethiopian

    Among the most well-loved spots in "Little Ethiopia," a mini-corridor of expatriate-run restaurants, Etete doesn't hold back on the spices....Read More

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