Where to Eat in Washington, DC

April 05, 2019

By Laurel Brooks and Michelle Morris

As one of the premiere food cities in America, Washington, DC offers limitless options of cuisines that are sure to tempt your appetite. Whether you're craving some good ol' American fare or a variety of international delicacies, the District has something for everyone. You can also find happy hour options offered at nearly every restaurant and bar in the city.

Where's the food?
You can find just about everything throughout the Washington Metropolitan area from a local mom and pop wing shop to a 4 star fine-dining restaurant. In fact, D.C. is home to 16 Michelin Star restaurants, and The Inn at Little Washington received the coveted three-star ranking this year! If you are looking for hotspots frequented by locals and tourists alike, check out the offerings in these neighborhoods:

You can't miss this:
There are certain food experiences you just can't miss. You have to eat deep-dish pizza in Chi-town, New York-style pizza in NYC, and tacos in LA. The District is no different. Places like Ben's Chilli Bowl, home of the famous half-smoke (a half pork, half beef hot dog), Old Ebbitt Grill, and Clyde's have been around for decades and have hosted presidents, politicians and locals for just as long. Here's a list of 18 restaurants that opened before 1970 and are still going strong, the oldest dates as far back as 1906!

The D.C., Maryland, Virginia area (DMV) is famous for staples like the half smoke and mumbo sauce in D.C, Chesapeake blue crabs and oystersin Baltimore, and korean barbeque in northern Virginia. D.C. is also home to a huge international community that brings delicious food from every corner of the world, so you'll never have to search far for some yummy papusas, spanakopita, kibbeh, lomo, or a good hearty bratwurst.

Food Halls are also becoming trendy and are on the rise in Washington, DC. You'll find a plethora of locally sourced foods and goods at Eastern Market and Union Market,. Both venues often host special events including live music, and you won't want to miss out on the weekend farmer's markets. Recent additions to the scene include Pan-Asian eateries like The Spot in Rockville and The Block in Annandale (a second location opened recently in Bethesda). Another new hit restaurant is Kith & Kin (located at the Wharf) which fuses African and Caribbean fare such as “Crab Jollof Rice” and “Whole Fried Red Snapper.” If you're looking for a thrilling culinary experience with a big city feel, be sure to check out these spots!

Happy hour isn't really an hour…
No matter what day of the week, there will always be a happy hour special somewhere. Fun fact: D.C. residents consume the most wine per capita in the United States. Here are a few of our favorite spots for happy hour:

Need I say more?
The D.C. food scene is hot! Hot! Hot! If you're anything like us, Instagram is the new Yelp. There's no better way to find out what the locals are eating today than by following accounts dedicated to showing you exactly that! Check out these 7 foodstagrams we love to follow.


Laurel BrooksLaurel Brooks is the program coordinator for the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program at Howard University and Local Arrangements Team (LAT) communications co-chair for the NAFSA 2019 Annual Conference & Expo.

Michelle MorrisMichelle Morris is the program coordinator for the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University (@HUBuncheCenter) and Local Arrangements Team (LAT) communications co-chair for the NAFSA 2019 Annual Conference & Expo.


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