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 Salvadoran to Ethiopian, despite the lack of true ethnic neighborhoods in the city. You can now also sample cooking from some of the country’s hottest new chefs, find already established celebrity chefs who have just made their D.C debuts, and sip craft cocktails on par with some of the world's best.

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. Colada Shop

    $ | U Street | Cuban

    Escape to Cuba via a cafesito at this spot, which has a two-floor patio and is situated just off lively 14th Street. If you'd like something...Read More

  • 2. Good Stuff Eatery

    $ | Capitol Hill | American

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

  • 3. Seylou Bakery and Mill

    $ | Shaw | American

    Skip the chains, and head to this beloved local coffee shop and whole-grain bakery offering fresh sourdough creations, whole wheat almond croissants...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Amsterdam Falafel

    $ | Adams Morgan | Middle Eastern

    Here you can garnish your authentic falafel balls with a choice of 21 toppings. ...Read More

  • 6. Brothers and Sisters

    $ | Adams Morgan | American

    The lobby of the Line Hotel in D.C. is vibrant unlike any other, entirely on account of this restaurant, which celebrates the multicultural...Read More

  • 7. Busboys and Poets

    $$ | American

    The name pays tribute to American poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel during the 1920s. Today, this popular...Read More

  • 8. El Rinconcito Cafe

    $ | Shaw | Latin American

    A trip to D.C. is not complete without tasting pupusas, the El Salvadoran tortillas filled with chorizo, cheese, and chicharrón. El Rinconcito...Read More

  • 9. El Tamarindo

    $ | Adams Morgan | Latin American

    With almost 40 years in operation, El Tamarindo, an El Salvadorean and Mexican restaurant, has weathered the neighborhood's many changes. Guests...Read More

  • 10. HipCityVeg

    $ | Dupont Circle | Vegetarian

    Vegans and carnivores alike will rejoice over HipCityVeg's creative, plant-based, fast-casual menu. The Philadelphia-born company serves a popular...Read More

  • 11. Immigrant Food

    $ | Foggy Bottom | International

    A global menu representing the different flavors brought to D.C. by immigrants is the motif behind this casual eatery near the White House....Read More

  • 12. Jimmy T's Place

    $ | Capitol Hill | American

    Known for its boisterous owner and throngs of talkative regulars, this D.C. institution is tucked into the first floor of an old row house only...Read More

  • 13. Kafe Leopold

    $$ | Georgetown | Austrian

    As Euro-trendy as it gets, Leopold has an all-day coffee and drinks bar, olive-and-onion tarts, crisp schnitzel paired with arugula, and a to...Read More

  • 14. Little Sesame

    $ | Dupont Circle | Israeli

    For those craving the flavors of Israel, Little Sesame is the place. This fast-casual spot in the Golden Triangle serves bowls of creamy hummus...Read More

  • 15. Lucky Buns

    $ | Adams Morgan | Burger

    As the name suggests, Lucky Buns focuses on burgers and sandwiches. Indulge in a decadent double-patty burger or a spicy chicken sandwich, a...Read More

  • 16. Manna

    $$ | The Mall | Mediterranean

    This museum restaurant is a foray into the past with a menu full of dishes with biblically inspired names like A Taste of Canaan, Revelations...Read More

  • 17. Moby Dick House of Kabob

    $ | Georgetown | Middle Eastern

    This casual spot with Persian fare and a focus on high-quality ingredients will steal your heart. Whether you're craving kebabs, falafel, baklava...Read More

  • 18. PAUL

    $ | Downtown | French

    This Parisian-style café is fast and casual yet sophisticated. The puff of its cheese gougeres , the heft of its salty-sweet croque monsieur...Read More

  • 19. Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company

    $ | Georgetown | Barbecue

    The original branch of the popular local barbecue chain now has a dining room, so you can sit and enjoy the baby back ribs and tender smoked...Read More

  • 20. Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar

    $$ | Capitol Hill | Wine Bar

    This chic, multilevel wine bar has pours aplenty (in both tasting portions and full glasses) along with well-thought-out charcuterie boards...Read More

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