My one and half years living in DC were full of delicious food. DC is a great city for eating. There’s a vibrant food truck scene, great Ethiopian food, plenty of fancy Penn Quarter restaurants, as well as a lot of cheap places that are delicious. It’s a great place to be vegetarian or vegan, as well. But this post isn’t going to be about the best veg-friendly places or even about any places in the metro area (I’ll do those later). Instead this is a list of my top 5 all-time favorite DC restaurants.
I have only been to Jaleo once (the only one on the list that is true for) but it made a strong impression on me. It’s a tapas place by José Andrés, who is kind of a big deal round these parts (I also love Oyamel, another of his places). I came for brunch with a big group of family so I was able to try many different dishes. Everything is incredibly delicious. Go here!
Price range: Each small plate runs $7-13. You’ll need two or three per person (note – the salads are big).
Location: Penn Quarter – 480 7th St NW, close to Archives and Gallery Place/Chinatown metro stops.
4. 2 Amys
2 Amys is a fantastic pizza place with authentic (D.O.C. labeled) Neapolitan pizza. It is wonderful. I can also recommend the suppli a telefono – little fried balls of cheese and risotto. But by far my favorite thing to eat here is the Ripieno Basilico stuffed pizza (aka a pesto calzone). To die for.
Price Range: Pizzas are $8-13 and are personal sized in my opinion (I eat a lot when it comes to pizza though).
Location: Cleveland Park-ish – 3715 Macomb St NW, 15 minute walk from Tenleytown/AU station.
There are only a couple of things you need to choose when ordering at Amsterdam Falafel. What size do you want, and white or wheat pita? Also, do you want fries or a drink? That’s about it. I usually get a small because that’s enough for me. Once you get it your decision really begins – what toppings do I put on it from the toppings bar? Every time can taste a little different depending what you put on it. Anything you pick though, it’ll be tasty. Oh, and definitely get the fries.
Menu – just kidding, there’s no online menu.
Price range: $5-6 for the falafel, about $2 for fries.
Location: Adams Morgan – 2425 18th St NW, not too far a walk from the Woodley Park/Zoo station.
Busboys gets points for having a great funky vibe in addition to delicious food. There are open mic nights and poetry slams and author talks among other things. The U Street location has a bookstore and the 5th & K one has a fair trade gift shop. But they all have amazing food options. I can almost never resist ordering the nachos. The portobello sandwich is awfully tasty too. This and Amsterdam Falafel are also veg and vegan friendly. This is the place on the list that I’ve been the most.
Price Range: Most things are $8-10.
Location: U Street Corridor – 2021 14th St NW (14th & V), about a block from the U Street metro station. 5th & K – 1025 5th St NW, not far from Gallery Place/Chinatown or Mt. Vernon Square stations.
Rasika is one of the top restaurants in the city. It’s consistently in the top 10 of Washingtonian’s 100 Best Restaurants. And yet, the average human being can actually afford to eat here (though not often). I like to order off the vegetarian section because it’s cheaper and, their Paneer Makhni is probably the tastiest thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. If it’s off the menu at the moment you should probably order it anyway.
Menu – oops, can’t link to it, because their website is a terrible flash monstrosity.
Price range: meat dishes run $17-20, but the vegetarian stuff is around $12.
Location: Penn Quarter – 633 D St NW, quite close to Archives station.
A note: I kind of erratically shortened (or didn’t!) the names of metro stops, because they have gotten a little out of hand (come on, really, U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo?). But you should be able to figure it out.
There are many other places that might have made this list if I’d made it longer – like Himalayan Heritage, Oyamel, Casa Oaxaca, Founding Farmers, etc. But these are my absolute favorites.
What’s your favorite DC restaurant?