Where to eat: Best Restaurants in Washington DC
Are you looking for the best restaurants in Washington DC? You’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re looking for exciting nightlife, unique dining experiences, or a romantic evening out, Washington DC has it all. From classic favorites to hidden gems, there’s something for everyone when it comes to great places to eat in this vibrant city. In this blog post we’ll take an expert tour of some of the area’s most popular restaurants and find out why they have become so beloved by locals and tourists alike. So get ready- your taste buds are about to embark on a delicious journey through some of Washington DC’s tastiest culinary secrets!
The versatile basement shop is part of the 3-piece project of chef Darren Norris which includes an upstairs cocktail bar and Zen middle floors for shamba shabi. In Shibuya Eatingery, Norris prepares sushi rolls sashimi, and nigiri combining North Pacific tuna and yellowtail brought in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish Market. A few succulent Short Rib skewers are also available and have been barbecued on charcoal. Noodles with warm and cold Dashi chopstick-thick udon or matcha tea-green sob. Guests can take a walk through the basement of 15 seats on the upper floor of Death Punch bar and outside the building, where there is a similar menu of food.
The Italian family restaurant focuses mainly on pasta antipasto and tasty mains that leave everyone happy. Start off by drinking the grapefruit Aperol spritz (or a bottle if shared). You can order some antipasto: the dried beef Carpucco and the house-made Burrata offer an excellent salt-savory combination. For main dishes, the plates of pasta are difficult to avoid: from thick creamy pasta to rigatoni and lamb you will find them all over the pasta. Guests can enjoy the “Bambini” menu for children and the lush patio overlooking the Eastern Market, which makes this a relaxing and energizing place to rest.
Maydan sets up an Arabic-inspired dining room with communal plates like zucchini baba ghanoush, chicken shish taouk kebabs, and ribeye seasoned with blue fenugreek. Several condiments accompany it: safer Maydan surrounds the alley leading to the entranceway with carpet that gives its outdoor setup a warm feel.
Appioo African Bar & Grill
Descend an elevated staircase to discover this ancient West African treasure at Shaw. Prince Matey, Chef-owner, draws inspiration from the Ghana-inspired recipe of his grandmother as the chef and creates flavors that meet the Washington, D.C. residents’ needs. Slow-cooked seafood okra is the destination dish. However, Matey’s hearty Egusi soup, lentil rice, and red (dried black eye pea seeds with palm oil) should also be missed. Most of the menu is well served with his expert preparations of goats, ox, and fowl, a staple of Ghana flour. Diners who have a taste for vegan cuisine flock to this restaurant.
Chef Rob Rubba places vegetables above everything else, so oyster Oyster’s presence at Shaw is perfect for diners who don’t consume meat but want an upscale taste. Chef of the Year in Food and Wine in 2026, whose work first attracted D.C. critic’s attention when he was a chef for Hazel, collaborated with Estadio owners Maxkuller to promote the company — a company that prioritizes sustainable development. Imagine bird nests of roasted celery roots topped with smoked tofu and shiitake-chip cookies. The $60 wine pairing is included with the $95 meal. Reservations can be made on this site.
Casey Patten (Grazie Grazie) with Gerald Addison (Mammy’s) are throwing up pizzas in this red sauce restaurant. The newest development at the Midtown Center in downtown Washington is an oasis from the bustling downtown. It offers outdoor pizza gardens and extensive negronis menus. Choose the green Goodness with collard greens, provolone, pecorino cheeses, Clarbian chilis, and the drunken love with vodka sauce stuffed with seasoned mozzarella and provolone, basil, and garlic powder. The main dish will be shared and contains a complete branzino or Chicago chicken Vesuvio.
A long-awaited sequel for Cane’s crew, which included Jeanine Prime and chef Emma Hernandez, provides a taste of the Caribbean with African, East Indian, Portuguese and French influences. You’ll likely find several island staples on the menu, such as Callaloo soup with pure shredded spinach, chilies, and coconut milk stuffed with shredded crabs. Larger plates have been designed to share and include a trio-style taro dumpling and a pepper shrimp accompanied by a scotch bonnet topped with pomegranate chili and a creamy corn mixture called Coo.
Hill East Burger
Sloppy Mama & Republic Cantina have opened DCs latest burger shop. The mood is western. Think about Texas or New Mexico as our country’s capital. The menu plays to that theme and offers green chili burgers (The Puebla), similar to Santa Fe. A stackable Smashburger known as Lancaster has a grilled beef burger with bacon, smoked cheddar, sourdough, arugula, and tomato. All the hamburgers contain premium beef trim and Roseda Farms dry-aged beef. Pair it with the zero-proof beverages available on tap, for instance, orange oregano sodas.
The recently launched new Italian concept of restaurateur Hakan Ilhan offers breakfast and dinner service and an approachable Mediterranean and classical Italian cuisine. It’s an interesting starter with cooked pear topped with roasted walnut, goat cheese, balsamic dressing, portobello mushrooms, and gorgonzola cheese. Entree offers Italy-friendly comforts, including Milanzana pimento, Milanzana, eggplant parmesan, and Maltagliati al Funghi, flat pasta topped with ricotta truffles, and varying mushrooms in the sauce.
Daikaya 1F + Daikaya, The Izakaya 2F
This is a major dining venue for Daikaya Group, the largest noodles manufacturer in Washington. The ground floor houses the first ramen restaurant in Sapporo that sells bouncy noodles. On the 2nd floor, its experimental Izakaya offers chef Katsuya u.s.a. a place to showcase playful cuisine, including fresh wagyu meat tartare with rice crackers, kimchi, and steamed eggplant, and miso rice. The firm had much thought into takeouts during a pandemic and continues to offer this as a possible solution.
These Italian-Japanese restaurants were originally credited with introducing Japanese-style pasta and pizza to Washington. After almost a year-long Pandemic Pause, the hotel has now re-opened. Tonara offers a variety of pasta made in Japan in Sapporo, which includes several options to choose from: These can be noodles coated in XO Sauce served on a bun and spam or tagliatelle bolognese with nduja. Katsuya Fukushima is among Japan’s most respected chefs, and his team remains loyal to wood-burning oven wafu-like pizzas.
This flashy Mexican restaurant from Mexico City-based chef Alam Méndez Florián opened in Logan Circle last autumn. It piqued interest with tangy ceviches, cactus dishes, and cilantro-flavored salads. Blue corn in Tlaxcala, Mexico, creates a tortilla to accompany a suckling pig terrine taco, and a Tuna tostada relies on white corn topped with vegetables. Head down into an illuminated mezcal cave and pair rare Pours of a grasshopper taco dish. There is also serves Brunch dishes.
Philotimo is one of the best Michelin-star Washington DC restaurants. Chef Nicholas Stefanelli is best known for Italian food at Officina and the Michelin-starred tastings at Masseria. His recent opening concept of a Philotimo is rapidly winning the hearts and minds of Washington D.C., food enthusiasts. Five-course meals based on Greek cuisine are served in a fine dining room that makes you feel transported to Milos. The restaurant also imports special cheeses, wild herbs, and olive oils from the natives and offers a large wine menu based in Greece.
The trendy reboot of Georgetown classic Cafe Bonaparte features chef Matt Conroy adopting an understanding of the marketplace produce, so all ingredients shine on the plate. French Gnocchi and grilled octopus are among seasonal and revolving dishes offered by “neo-bistro.” Their four-course menu is highly recommended. Reservations for a restaurant-style tasting menu ($90) include four courses with a view of the kitchen ($85 a person).
Thip Khao Restaurant
This Khao is Michellelin-star Lao cuisine located in Columbia Heights, DC. This restaurant serves hot dishes with fermented fish sauces, a large dose of chilies offal, and cured meats. Populated items include crunchy grilled wings with lemongrass and grilled pork shoulder with lemongrass and a spicy Lao Papaya salad. The restaurant offers lunch and outdoor Dining on a tented garden patio.
Marjorie Meek-Bradley breaks the conventions of the big steakhouse in Chicago for an upscale menu at the union market. Her butter-packed biscuits made of pimento cheese have become legends, and salmon collars are almost melting in butter-lemon baths. Ribeye and chop are sold by ounce at communal feasts. Meat eaters would impress with the steak. Similar to the sister town of Le Diplomate, St. Anselm built neat dining rooms on the street. The blockbuster NYC bistro Pastis was planned in partnership with Saint Anselm.
All year round, Mount Pleasant is bustled by early risers looking for La Tejana’s delicious breakfast tacos. A pair of Mexican Tex-Mex restaurants created a menu that usually sells out within a few minutes of opening. One popular selection is a BBQ breakfast taco that came about through a collaboration with two-fifty BBQ. However, people that prefer a vegetarian solution can try the Super Migas with onions, poblanos, scrambled eggs and topped with sliced tomatoes, quesadilla
Chercher Ethiopian Restaurant & Market
This decade-old Ethiopian food store is famous for its standout vegetarian meats and vegetarian trays and by the owner Alemayehu “Alex” Abebe. The comfortable, unpretentious hideaway draws mainly customers to Injera and other Ethiopian staple products and imported beers. A longtime fan is now celebrity chef & Top Chef Judge Kwames Onwanachi. This year, the couple decided to take a trip to Washington. Another Chercher was inaugurated in the city of Bethesda.
The ChiCha Lounge was converted into a stylish Peruvian hotspot last summer. Typical starters are teriyakis, smoked shrimp gambas or ribeye yakitori, and steamed chicken wings. Any of these spicy ceviches will impress, but the hit since its first days is Mercado, which mixes grilled acai, rocoto chile, Mahi, and other ingredients. Cristian Granada creates room for creativity through unique special dishes such as lobster ceviche and savory grilled beef hearts.
At the Malaysian restaurant in Columbia Heights, Chef James Woznuk navigates the balance between hot-sweet and funky flavors that vary in intensity and never lose control. Wozniuks condiments: sambal made from chicken eye chiles with palm sugar tamarind and fried anchovies. It also mixes complex tropical cocktails like Blackstrap Rum and pineapple Junglebird. Order online for takeout. Tables may be purchased in sheltered rooms or on patios.
Ryan Ratino’s buzzing bistro on NE 14th Street whips up prix-fixe meals featuring tuna Crudo with Calabrian chili, wild fennel, Makrut lime, and foie gras gateau. A classic French duck press commissioned by Gourmet Supply supplier D’Artagnan forms a stage-setting menu. The team has received Michelins’ “Exceptional Cocktail Award” this year for its bar program, which pushes bar boundaries. Seasonally-themed tasting menu starts at $85.
The bar Spero is an eponymous concept by the chef behind Reverie Johnny Sper. The restaurant offers an ocean-centric menu inspired by local destinations from the Mid-Atlantic to Basque countries. Menu highlights include imported Spanish turbot and pork from autumn olive farms in the Hernandoah Valley. Then the guest can enjoy a carefully curated wine list, regional beer on tap, craft cocktails, and a wide selection of vermouth.
Shilling Canning Company
Shilling’s acclaimed seasonal menu offers a sustainable selection of mid-Atlantic fruits and vegetables and several house-made preserves to suit the season. The Shilling Canning Company offers its own tasting menu at its kitchen table, similar to the three-course menu served in the dining hall and the terrace. A weekly tasting menu changes and includes local fishers from the Chesapeake region and partnership farms from Maryland and Virginia.
Honeymould chicken sits in the former Formica countertop Diner called Slims. The menu has now been changed by a new chef, Rob Sonderman, the Pitmaster of The Federalist Pig. The Fried Chicken Restaurant’s motto is where fun meets elegance. It offers buckets stuffed with delicious crispy fried chicken sandwiches such as honey garlic chicken banh mi and a crispy vegetarian-friendly mushroom sandwich. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike will feel catered to, thanks to a set menu that
Rania is one of the best Indian restaurants in the nation’s Capital. The Punjab Grill is fine dining famous for its luxurious Indian food that blew the District by storm in 2019. Punjab Grill reopened this year. Rania retained its opulence to serve unusual Indian food in a fine dining room with elegant finishes, including Onyx, a cocktail bar, and a bone-encrusted table. Chef Chetan Shetty selected rare ingredients from Delhi and Maharashtra. The spices include garlic and chilies.
Anju served Korean bars with a refined taste from the restaurant groups behind the casual hit Chiko. James Beard Award nominee Angel Barreto is the head chef in the kitchen, serving the top dishes from pork-kimchi mandu and smokey gochujang grilled chicken to pulled pork. The weekday brunch brings breakfast sandwiches and some great dishes inspired by Juk.
Suresh Sundas and Dante Datta (formerly from Rasika) collaborated to create this restaurant that celebrates showcasing Indian culture and cuisine. The menu features classics like chicken Tikka Masalaa, lamb shoulder, and mushroom biryani. But several other “Indian-based” versions have also inspired other regions, like wok-fried cabbage or Zaatara olive naan.
Ambar Capitol Hill
Ambar Capitol Hill features various Balkan Cuisine (Mediterranean and Eastern European dishes). This authentic sit-down restaurant is cozy, and it is very popular. Be advised you should call ahead to make a reservation, regardless of what time you want to eat. They serve all you can at small plates, but the a la carte menu is available.
Farmers Fishers Bakers
Farmers Fishers Bakers Restaurant is the ultimate farm-to-table experience. All the food is sustainably sourced from local growers and fishermen. The restaurant is conveniently located at Georgetown Waterfront. It is one of the best seafood restaurants but also offers soft shell crab, New Orleans-style duck Jambalaya, Chesapeake bay wild-caught fish, and other seafood plates. They also have a raw bar offering Sushi and light seafood appetizers. They are open for brunch, lunch, and dinner with convenient hours 8 am – 9 pm (daily) / Brunch on Sat-Sun: 8:45 am – 2 pm.
The Unconventional Diner offers an unexpected twist on classic comfort foods. Not your typical selection of entrees and sides in this restaurant. So, if you want a unique dining experience for a change, check out this place. They offer inside and outside dining. They are open Mon – Fri: 11 am – 9 pm / Sat-Sun: 9 am – 9 pm.
Zaytinya Restaurant brings Eastern European favorites, including Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese-style dishes. The cook staff uses authentic cooking techniques to prepare the food and has created some original dishes in the same Eastern European flare. They are open daily Monday – Friday at 11:30 am (11:00 am on Saturday and Sunday) and close at 10 pm Mondays, Tuesdays – Thursdays at 11 pm and 12:00 am Fridays and Saturdays, and Sundays at 10 pm.
Le Diplomate Restaurant brings the French Cafe to feel directly to Washington D.C; no passports are needed. You will immediately get the feeling that you walked off an American street and entered a small cafe in Paris, France. The menu reflects authentic French cuisine, and you can enjoy a relaxing cappuccino or glass of wine as you dine on great food. The extensive dinner menu features roasted duck, including onion soup gratinée, steak frites, and a light fair. Make sure to also save room for dessert. They are open for lunch daily at noon, and the dinner menu runs from 5 pm – 10 pm and open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 am.
The Lincoln Restaurant pays homage to our 16th US President uniquely. The entire floor of the restaurant is covered in pennies. They offer all-American cuisine with different menus for Lunch, Dinner, Saturday Lunch, and Sunday brunch.
Founding Farmers DC
The Founding Farmers Restaurant is quite a popular place at all hours of the day. It is even a favorite stop for eating on Saturdays and Sundays. It is not unusual to have a line waiting for a table inside and outside. The menu features American cuisine and is referred to as the original farm-to-table restaurant in Washington, D.C; most of the menu items are made from scratch using local sources. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday-Thursday from 7:30 am to 10:00 pm and stay open an extra hour on Fridays. They’re open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 am-2:00 pm.
District Taco Restaurant is for those who love food truck Mexican food in Multiple locations. Its story is probably what many food truck businesses hope to happen to them. They started on the street and owned several brick-and-mortar restaurants in the Washington D.C. area. The hours they are open vary depending on which DC location; some are open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Monday-Friday and 10:00 am-10:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
El Centro D.F
El Centro D.F. is a traditional Mexican restaurant with great-tasting food and fast-paced nightlife. They are open for dinner hours, 4 pm to 10 pm Monday-Thursday, 5 pm to 10 pm Saturday and Sundays, and the kitchen stays open until 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays. For those looking for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, they open for a bottomless brunch from 11:00 to 4:00 pm.
Sushi Taro Restaurant features fresh-caught fish and sushi prepared in an open-kitchen setting where the chef cooks right before you. The menu features a wide range of seafood, and a sushi bar including oysters, and other dishes. Sushi Taro opens from 5:00 pm-9:30 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays and is closed on Mondays and Sundays.