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10 Best Restaurants in Washington DC

Even though The Federal City might not be known for its culinary extravagance, it certainly has a lot to offer. If you’re a fan of eating out and exploring new tastes, then moving to Washington DC should be your choice. Just visit some of the best restaurants in Washington DC and try some of the capital’s specialties.

Mangialardo’s Is One of the Best Restaurants in Washington DC to Try Something New

The Federal City serves the best subs, and you can choose between different places in this district that offer great sandwiches. But, one of the best sandwich joints is hidden in Southeast DC. Mangialardo is a small unassuming spot with great counter-service and delicious sandwiches.

Antonio and Anna Mangialardo opened the place in 1953, with the third generation of the Mangialardo family being in charge today. They have continued their family’s tradition and kept the sandwich recipes. There’s no seating and delivery, so you can just come and pick-up the food. But, what do they offer?

They serve both hot and cold subs, with toppings and homemade bread of your choice, as well as tuna salad, chicken salad, and Italian sandwiches. Their most famous sandwich is The G-Man. The sandwich comes in a thick-cut Italian bread filled with mortadella, salami, ham, fontina, pepperoni, oregano, provolone, and hot peppers if you want them.

What Else Can You Try in Washington DC?

As the capital of the nation, DC is a popular spot for tourists that come from all over the world. Because of that, the town is filled with restaurants everybody will enjoy – even the locals.

One of the most famous things to try is a half-smoke. The food is similar to a hot dog but larger with more meat and spices. It is often made from smoked meat – half-pork and half-beef, that is served with onions, herbs, and chili sauce. You can get the best half-smoke at the Meats & Foods.

Butter, eggs, and cheese – what more could you want? Well, by ordering Khachapuri, you get exactly that. This Georgian food is made of fluffy homemade bread, different types of cheeses, and a runny egg in the center of it all. The food is so delicious and cheesy, and it’s definitely worth a try.

Another local specialty is chicken wings made with Mumbo sauce. What is Mumbo sauce? This spice was developed in Washington DC, and it has remained popular even today. It’s similar to plum or barbecue sauce, except it is tangy and sweet. It’s best put on chicken wings, fried rice, french fries, and jumbo shrimp.

Check Out Washington DC’s Food Trucks

Although food trucks are not so popular, they do have delicious food to offer. The ones that persisted are some of the most popular and tastiest food stops in the city.

One of the best-known places is the Swizzler Hot Dog Truck. It is known for its corkscrew-shaped hot dogs, which are sourced with completely grass-fed beef and unique toppings. Their most popular menu choice, the Feast Mode, offers a great sweet and spicy combo with caramelized onions, candied jalapeños, black pepper honey, and whipped goat cheese.

For fans of Vietnamese food or those who want to try something completely new, PhoWheels is the place to go. This iconic graffiti-laced truck offers Vietnamese staples with a modern American twist. Their menu has excellent pork belly tacos, chicken pho, and beef pho.

A good place to enjoy mac & cheese, you can go to CapMac. Apart from that, their menu offers fresh produce, great and tasty sauces, and some unique flavors. Their signature meal is The Classic Mac that has macaroni noodles with a lot of cheese on top of it. They also have salads and seasonal pasta like Cacio E Pepe and Bolognese.

Martin’s Tavern Is a Historic Place That Has Been Around for Decades

The oldest dining spot in Washington DC and a Georgetown landmark is Martin’s Tavern. It was opened in 1933, on the day Prohibition ended in the US. During its long history, it served John F. Kennedy at booth 1, Harry and Bess Truman at booth 6, Richard Nixon at booth 2, President George W. Bush and his family at table 12, and it was even the place Kennedy proposed to his wife Jackie.

As Martin’s turns 87 in 2020, it has remained a family-owned business. It is proudly owned by the fourth generation of the Martin family, who has kept its traditional look and food. Even though many tourists come to the spot, it has still maintained the feel of a neighborhood tavern.

And tavern is exactly what can be used to describe both the restaurant and the food. Their menu offers hearty and classic American cuisine, which includes eggs Benedict, Shepherd’s pie, burgers, fries, steaks, Guinness mussels, Brunswick stew, lobster risotto, Welsh rarebit, lamb pops, and crab cakes – to name a few. Their most famous meal is Martin’s Delight, which includes roasted turkey on toast with rarebit sauce.

Eating and Drinking in Historic Georgetown

Apart from being one of the best neighborhoods in Washington DC, Georgetown is filled with a lot of historic places you can eat and drink. One of them is High Street Cafe, a place that combines American classics with a Hispanic bent. You can enjoy their whole roasted lechón or Spanish pork and lobster mofongo, while you drink their minty mojitos.

If you want a restaurant that offers seasonal fine-dining, then 1789 is the place for you. Located on a quiet residential street in Georgetown, it has a feel of a historic country inn. Their seasonal menu combines the flavors of fresh ingredients to give unique and delicious dishes that everybody enjoys. And it also has a welcoming lounge atmosphere.

One of Washington’s most popular spots for both its visitors and residents is the Occidental Grill and Seafood Restaurant. Established in 1906 just around the corner from the White House, it served Amelia Earhart, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Robert Frost, and many other DC’s most famous residents. You can come to this historic place, enjoy its historic atmosphere and refined American cuisine with some iconic cocktails.

The city's Historic Georgetown has many great places to eat out.

Old Ebbitt Grill Has a Great Story

Another historic landmark The Federal City has to offer is Old Ebbitt Grill. It was founded in 1856 as a boarding house, only to become Washington’s first saloon and later move to a different location. It moved near the White House in 1983, which is its current location. Today, it’s a Victorian-style restaurant that is filled with different antiques and memorabilia that have attracted many celebrities, journalists, politicians, and theater-goers.

You can enjoy a great story with your meals.

Ambar Capitol Hill Is an Excellent Place to Have Dinner

Located on Capitol Hill, Ambar is a great place to try some international Balkan cuisine. It offers a blend of tradition, heritage, and modern design. It was established in 2013, and since then, it has won over the hearts of the American public.

Because of its refined Balkan cuisine, it offers an unforgettable visitor experience with delicious food, a comfortable atmosphere, first-class service, and a unique interior. Apart from delicious Balkan cuisine, you can also taste some of the finest Balkan rakias.

Apart from DC, it is also located in Clarendon and Belgrade.

Ambar is a great place to have a nice dinner.

Try Different Meals at the Compass Rose

Speaking of international food, Compass Rose is a great place for you to try out some meals from all over the world. It is a neighborhood bar and restaurant that is focused on creating international street food, along with crafted cocktails and boutique wines.

Their menu is filled with street foods from different parts of the world. By going here, you will have an opportunity to try many rare dishes you wouldn’t be able to try without going outside of the states. You can try Hawaiian poké, Georgian khachapuri, Jamaica’s spicy lamb curry, Denmark’s steelhead-trout smorrebrod, and Argentinian asado, among others. The dishes are all great separately, but they can also go well together, so there’s no need to be afraid to get many different cuisines.

Explore New Tastes at Some of the Best Restaurants in Washington DC

DC is filled with many international joints where you can try tastes from all over the world. Even though you might not find great Italian places as you would when moving to Chicago, you can still find delicious meals from The Boot, like the Nonna pasta from Filomena Ristorante or gnocchi from Casa Luca.

For a taste of French cheese, coq au vin, pastry, or wine, you can go to Le Diplomate, an all-authentic Parisian bistro spot. If you’re looking for some spicy Mexican meals, you can grab a 12-course tasting menu at Poca Madre or some exquisite tacos at Bandit Taco.

How about some taste of exotic and warm Middle-Eastern food? You can try some authentic Turkish cuisine at Meze Restaurant or go to Agora to get some Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese meals. There are also some tremendous Indian spots like Rasika or Indigo, where you can get both meat and vegetarian meals.

The city is filled with many tastes and dishes that you should try.

Have a Taste of Pork and lychee Salad at the Rose’s Luxury

The pork and lychee salad really out Rose’s Luxury in the spotlight. The unique taste of an even more unique meal has satisfied many customers. This magic meal contains plump lychees, pork sausage, habanero peppers, creamy coconut, and various herbs. IT should surely be on your list of meals to try once you move to the capital.

DCity Smokehouse’s Pit Smoked Wings Need to be On Your List

Along with the hot-sauced smoked turkey and the soft garlicky brisket. the DCity Smokehouse’s menu also has many sandwiches including a terrific torta with marinated chicken, queso fresco, and mashed avocado.

However, the best meal you can get here is the Pit Smoked Wings. These wings are dry-rubbed with very magical spices and sauces that are applied before being smoked with two kinds of wood. And you can choose whether you want to drench them in chipotle aioli or cilantro ranch.

DCity Smokehouse’s Pit Smoked Wings are made with some kind of magic that make them so delicious.

Eat for $5 at Well Dressed Burrito

Looking for some cheap places to eat in the capital? You can consider going to the Well Dressed Burrito and enjoy some great meals for $5. The restaurant’s signature meal is a burrito that will cost you between $5.25 and $5.75. You can get marinated chicken ($5.50), marinated beef ($5.75), or bean & cheese/sautéed veggie ($5.25). They are filled with Mexican rice, lettuce, black or refried beans, tomatoes, sour cream, and shredded cheese.

The Well Dressed Burrito has great budget meals you will enjoy.

Take Advantage of the Taco Tuesday Deal at Smoke & Barrel and Eat for $5

Another great meal that you can have on a budget is the Taco Tuesday deal at Smoke & Barrel. On Tuesdays, the restaurant has a special menu until 11 pm that allows people to get 3 tacos and a side at a special price. Just like the Well Dressed Burrito’s meal, this special offer also costs $5.

You can choose between pulled chicken, pulled pork, veggie chili, or smoked tofu, and decide if you want them in BBQ or traditional style. And you can also choose sides like cheddar grits, mashed potatoes, and coleslaw.

Take a Bite of Super Grilled Cheese at Stoney’s

Stoney’s Super Grilled Cheese is a great crowd-pleaser, even though it is considered as an after-school snack that was turned into bar food. The Super Grilled Cheese offers a combination of the bread’s buttery crunch and melty American cheese.

Another thing you can get at Stoney’s is “Freddy Style” grilled cheese. The regular grilled cheese comes with tomato, bacon, and onion, while the “Freddy style” comes with stuffed chicken tenders.

You wouldn't want to miss out on having grilled cheese at Stoney’s.

Busboys and Poets Is the Best Vegetarian-Friendly Place

Busboys and Poets is considered as the original hipster enclave. It was named after the American poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy before being recognized as a poet. Today, it is located in six locations from Takoma to Shirlington. The place is part vegetarian restaurant and part alt-bookstore, which is why it has become so popular nowadays. Aside from its unique interior, it also has some great vegetarian meals.

Vegans Will Enjoy a Visit to the Soupergirl

How about some vegan food? Soupergirl is a great place to try some unique vegan meals. It offers an entirely vegan menu with a mix of breads, salads, fresh soups, and desserts made with local ingredients.

Vegetarians and vegans also have many options to dine out.

Go to the Federal City and Experience Something New

If you love eating out and exploring new tastes, then Washington DC is a great place for you. The city’s capital is filled with great and interesting restaurants that offer unique and tasty meals you shouldn’t miss trying. So don’t waste any time you could spend enjoying some great dishes and start your relocation process by getting moving services as soon as possible.