Ten great Washington D.C. restaurants

All that political activism (or running, as the case may be) is making you hungry. But since traditional “best” lists focus almost exclusively on the expensive, we thought we’d provide a more rounded-out list of a few of our favorite Washington D.C. restaurants, striving for variety in both location, type and price point. If we’ve left off your favorite, leave it in the comments, below – and stay tuned for tomorrow’s list of bars and nightlife destinations.
New Favorite:
Looking for a place to carb-load pre marathon? Search no further. D.C.’s largest restaurant stormed into town earlier this fall to much fanfare – the New York-based chain offers generous (and delicious) family-sized portions of classic Italian favorites like spaghetti and meatballs, eggplant parmesan and tiramisu. Be sure to come with a group – each entrée serves three to four hungry adults!
Old Standbys:
With two locations (Chinatown and Capitol Hill), this local go-to dishes out wood-fired pizzas, to-die-for mini burgers and a selection of classic American faves for lunch and dinner daily (plus a great weekend brunch). They don’t take reservations, but try your luck and you’ll find an affordable and delicious dining experience.
Opt for the Georgetown or Chinatown outpost of this DC staple, which serves up classic American fare that’s filling, delicious, and affordable. Sample chicken n’ waffles for brunch, or fuel up for a night on the town with a burger and fries.
Quick & Casual:
Stalk this Brooklyn-based lobster truck on Twitter (@lobstertruckdc) for their daily location. Then, prepare to wait in line for fresh hunks of lobster meat packed Maine (with mayo and lemon) or Connecticut (with butter) style into a toasted, buttered bun. This delicious treat rolled into DC just a few months ago but has already found a loyal following among locals.
Good Stuff Eatery
When the First Lady dines here, you know it’s worth the hype. Chef Spike Mendelsohn (of Top Chef fame) has turned out a Capitol Hill burger joint that allows even us average Joes and Janes to sample his goods. Don’t miss the house-made milkshakes (the marshmallow is amazing). If you’re more of an Italian lover, head next door to his second shop, We, The Pizza, for delish by-the-slice options.
Late Night Nosh:
Everyone from the lowest intern to the President of the United States has stood in line for the famous ‘dogs of U Street staple Ben’s Chili Bowl’s. Try the half-smokes, DC’s famous grilled meat that tastes like a cross between a hot dog and a polish sausage. Cover it with chili, onions, or cheese, and of course – opt for a side of fries.
For years, D.C. lacked the deli culture that could be found in abundance in other major cities. Taylor Gourmet not only rectified the situation – they created a phenomenon, shipping in their breads daily from Philly and crafting hoagies and subs named after streets in their hometown area. Snag one of their delicious sandwiches until 3:00a.m. most weekend nights.
Bottomless Brunch:
Fuel up with a little hair of the dog after a long night of rallying. Our top pick? Beacon Bar & Grill, where you can enjoy unlimited Bloody Marys, Champagne and mimosas, plus a brunch buffet featuring both savory and sweet options.
Sweet Tooth:
The line usually wraps ’round the block for customers lined up to sample the sweet treats of Georgetown Cupcake, made even more famous since the shop’s debut on the TLC show “DC Cupcakes.” Flavors rotate daily, but you can expect favorites like Chocolate Lava Fudge, Red Velvet and Vanilla Birthday to be on the menu often.
Boasting the distinction of being D.C.’s only “chocolate restaurant,” those with a serious sweet tooth should search no further for a decadent treat. Offering both to-go and sit-down options, you can sample a selection of desserts or opt for a tasting menu that features chocolate in every course.