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Where to Eat in DC

We’ve been living near DC for almost 3 years and I do not feel like we’ve even made a dent in all the delicious places we could eat. But here is a lineup of some of our favorites!

Near and Around Alexandria, Virginia

Swing’s Coffee Roasters: I love their cold brew and they have really fun seasonal drinks like an Apple Honey Cascade Latte. Right across the street is a beautiful park to walk around in. 

Sunday in Saigon: Absolutely delicious Vietnamese food. They are known for their brunch on Sundays. Also, you can dine in or they are great with takeout!

What to Order:

  • Banh Knot (delicious appetizer)
  • Wonton in Spicy Sate Sauce
  • Pho Soup Dumplings
  • Chicken Pho 
  • Chicken Banh Mi
  • Lemongrass Flank Steak with Vermicelli Noodles 

They also have a coffee shop attached to their restaurant and they sell Boba tea!

Currently they are only open Thursday – Sunday. 

Thanida Thai: Delicious Thai takeout! After spending time in Thailand I have been ruined for Thai takeout, and this place makes me feel like I am right back in Thailand. 

What to Order:

  • Crispy Veggie Roll
  • Crispy Wonton
  • Gyoza
  • Tom Yum with Chicken
  • Larb Gai
  • Chicken Pad Thai
  • Panang Curry 
  • Drunken Noodle
  • Gai Bod

Stracci Pizza: This place started out as a food truck and they would sell out of their to-go orders in one day for a full week. Now they have a permanent building! They have amazing outdoor seating and the inside is cute too. They also do amazing seasonal cocktails.

What to Order:

Literally all of their pizzas. Our favorite is the Brooklyner. 

Ada’s on the River: If you are looking for a restaurant with a view, this is the place as it overlooks the Potomac river. It’s also in downtown Alexandria which is such a fun place to walk around with lots of fun shops!

What to Order:

  • Wood Fired Chicken Thighs
  • Coal Oven Fired Oysters
  • Fried Chicken Sandwich
  • Seared Salmon

Hank’s Oyster Bar: They just opened a new location and it is adorable. They have an amazing rooftop patio so snag a seat there if you can (the inside can be very noisy). 

If you’re into shots, they have some fun ones. Try their Peanut Butter & Jelly Shot (just trust me). 

What to Order:

I can only attest to the oysters and they are delicious! My favorites are the Hog Island BBQ Oysters. There’s garlic and butter, need I say more?

Chop Shop Taco: This is the cutest taco shop specializing in street tacos with the most delicious margaritas! You cannot go wrong with any of the menu items!

In and around DC

Maydan: This restaurant specializes in Moroccan and Lebanese. The way the restaurant is decorated is so fun!

What to Order:

  • Whole Chicken with Turmeric, Coriander and Toum
  • Spreads
  • Tawle experience (if you’re hungry and up for an experience, this is the best way to try all that Maydan has to offer!)
  • The Dead Sea (a cocktail) 

Rooster & Owl: The executive chef, Yuan Tang, conceptualized Rooster & Owl to develop inventive, contemporary American cuisine in a fun environment. We actually ordered to-go from them for our anniversary in the height of the pandemic and the food was so good delivered, I cannot imagine how good it is right in the restaurant. 

What to Order:

  • Pineapple Buns
  • Pig Ears (trust me!)
  • Scallion Pancake
  • Pork Belly
  • Steak Diane

Rasika: This Indian restaurant has won so many awards and people from all over the world come to visit. It is probably my favorite restaurant in the DC area! 

What to Order:

We did the chef’s tasting menu with wine pairing and I have never been happier in my dining choice. The whole experience was magical and absolutely delicious. And their tasting menu has very sizable portions. I left so stuffed with delicious food. Be sure to go hungry. 

If you go a la cart, order:

  • Palak Chaat (this is a must!)
  • Chicken Pista Korma
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Biryani
  • Naan with three chutneys 
  • Goat Cheese Kulcha 
  • Cucumber Raita
  • Eggplant Kuzhambu

Le Diplomate: I heard about Le Diplomate before I even got to DC and I could not wait to try it! Truly some of the best French food! You definitely need a reservation, even if you are popping in on a Tuesday at like 4:00pm. What we always get:

  • Half dozen oysters
  • French Onion Soup
  • Mushroom Tart
  • Beef Bourguignon
  • Steak Au Poivre

They also have the most amazing wine list featuring delicious wines from France!

Reveler’s Hour: If you are a pasta lover you cannot miss Reveler’s Hour! This is an Italian restaurant specializing in homemade pasta and small plates. They also have the most fun wine list I’ve ever seen (bonus! they also sell the bottles of wine for you to take home!). The vibe is quirky (you will love the hand drawn sketches in the bathroom and around the restaurant) and romantic.

We have opted to sit at the bar every single time because the bartenders are so engaging, know a lot about wine, and are always up to give you tastings of the wine they’re currently pouring.

Do not skip:

  • The Pickle Plate
  • Beef meatballs
  • Bucatini with spicy pork ragu
  • Garlic knots
  • Emmer spaghetti alla chitarra with wood roasted mushrooms, shallots, chive mascarpone and calabrian chili oil

Georgetown:

Lutéce: we may have gone to Lutéce more than any other restaurant. It is our favorite place to go for date night and it is in Georgetown which is filled with great shops so it is always fun to walk around before or after dinner. Lutéce has a rotating seasonal menu serving modern and simple French food. It is also insanely adorable inside. Every time we’ve gone there has been a line at the door so be sure to make reservations!

The two items on the menu that never change are the steak and the burger and they are MOUTHWATERING! Also, they always have seasonal cocktails which are delicious!

If you love brunch, they do a weekend brunch which is also so yummy!

Clyde’s of Georgetown: this restaurant is an institution in the DC area. Clyde’s opened in 1963 and it was the first restaurant to come to the neighborhood (which is hard to imagine because now this street is PACKED with shops and places to eat). If you like an old timey saloon feel you will love Clyde’s.

They make the perfect gin martini. Also, must try:

  • New England Clam Chowder
  • Buffalo Chicken Wings
  • Crispy Roast Chicken
  • Clyde’s Classic Burger
  • Catfish Bahn Mi
  • Fried Chicken
  • Reuben

Honestly you cannot go wrong 😅

Baked and Wired: Skip all the touristy DC cupcake shops and go directly to Baked and Wired. There might be a line out the door but it is so worth it! All of their coffee, teas, and pastries are absolute perfection!

Navy Yard:

Chloe: Chloe is in one of my favorite pockets of DC, Navy Yard! If you are looking for a nice meal out, this is the place! 

What to Order:

  • Hamachi Crudo
  • Whipped Chicken Liver Mousse (the best I’ve ever had)
  • Caramelized Cauliflower 
  • Potato Gnocchi Braised Beef Short Ribs

The Salt Line: This seafood restaurant is also in Navy Yard right by the water! It has great outdoor seating for the summertime.

What to Order:

  • Oyster shooter (it’s really fancy and so delicious!)
  • Shrimp cocktail 
  • Fresh oysters
  • Kampachi Crudo 
  • New England Smash Burger

Philz Coffee: If you are walking around Navy Yard and need a caffeine boost, you must try Philz! All their coffee is delicious but I especially love their Iced Mint Mojito coffee (there is no alcohol in this). I was skeptical of fresh mint in my coffee but I am so glad I tried it. 

11 comments
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  • AshleyApril 26, 2022 - 7:43 pm

    Have you been to Rose’s Luxury? This is a great list but Rose’s is my all time fave. ReplyCancel

    • Bri McKoyMay 10, 2022 - 7:19 pm

      I have not even heard of it but we just made reservations for June (they book far out😯). Cannot wait to try! ReplyCancel

      • KariMay 12, 2022 - 4:22 pm

        This is excellent news! Rose’s Luxury is the best meal I’ve ever had in my life. I was actually coming here to add it as a recommendation to your list.ReplyCancel

  • JamieMay 12, 2022 - 10:46 am

    I have dreams about the roast chicken at Le Diplomate! ReplyCancel

  • SarahMay 12, 2022 - 11:46 am

    If Little Serow ever returns to dine-in (currently takeout only), it is not to be missed! You would adore it. https://littleserow.com/ReplyCancel

  • AlisonMay 12, 2022 - 11:50 am

    Little Serow (Thai set menu- it’s a whole thing), Compass Rose (international street food (original restaurant of Maydan owner/chef), Lapis (Afghan food). I feel very strongly about you experiencing these! DC’s food scene is so good! ReplyCancel

  • MeredithMay 12, 2022 - 11:50 am

    I’ve lived in DC for a long time and am embarrassed how many of these I haven’t tried. (Can I blame not eating out much during the pandemic??)  Thanks for the great list- can’t wait to try them! PS- Rose’s Luxury is fantastic! 
    Also…try 3 Blacksmiths in Sperryville, VA.  It’s an incredible culinary experience! They only seat 20 people a night and it’s a preset menu.  The staff is friendly and knowledgable.  It’s a memorable night! It’s about an hour outside the city.  There is a cute B&B called Hopkin’s Ordinary a few blocks away.  Makes for a great quick getaway. They book about 9 months out.  Don’t be scared- totally worth it!ReplyCancel

  • AliMay 12, 2022 - 6:01 pm

    Have you been to Black Salt? In between Georgetown and Palisades. The single best seafood meal of my life!
    And you are spot on with Baked and Wired!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda TMay 12, 2022 - 10:05 pm

    What I took away from this list: Bri loves oysters 😂 Seriously though, I’m having some real date night FOMO looking at this list & would love to make a trip to try them ALL. ReplyCancel

  • Ida ShawMay 13, 2022 - 12:26 am

     1789 & Zaytinya – are my  faves!!!!!!!!!   and . . .  I 2nd the motion for Rose’s Luxury. ReplyCancel

  • CarrieMay 13, 2022 - 2:47 am

    Zaytinya and Jaleo are not to be missed!ReplyCancel

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Welcome! I'm Bri! Accidental home cook. Lover of gathering people around a table over a meal. Author of Come & Eat (September 2017). What I really want is to pull out a chair for you at my table. But until then, I hope you stay awhile and enjoy my stories + recipes!

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