Everyone knows that Washington, DC is full of history. But something you might not know is that DC is full of cultural diversity, which means it’s full of delicious foods as well!
Living in Washington, DC for a semester was a privilege that I will never forget. I not only got to live in one of the busiest, most historic cities in the country, but I got to eat some of the best food at the same time! I may not be a local, but I’m determined to give you a guide to the best food in DC.
Best bar: CopyCat Co. Bar
This bar is so cool! It’s located on the end of H street, and has a speakeasy vibe with all kinds of unique cocktails. You can go on their website and order any of the past drinks they’ve offered, or whatever is on the chalkboard that day. They’re also, surprisingly, home to the best Chinese food in DC, with skewers, potstickers, bao and more. Despite having a Chinatown, Washington, DC is shockingly devoid of good Chinese restaurants.
Best brunch: Ted’s Bulletin
SO GOOD. It’s not just some of the best food in DC, it’s one of the best brunches of my life. It’s not anything fancy—in fact, their brunch is fairly simple. But they execute everything so perfectly, that you don’t need bells and whistles. I recommend eating here and taking a stroll through Eastern Market. Try the hashbrowns for sure, and pick up a homemade Pop-Tart too!
Best burger: Good Stuff Eatery
Not just the best food in DC, but the best, period. I mentioned them in my 3 day itinerary of DC, and they’re consistently the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life. Please note that many burgers in Washington, DC are actually pretty small, but they’re delicious! Their milkshakes of the month are amazing too!
Best cafe: Je Ne Sais Quoi
This quiet French cafe in Dupont Circle is a perfect place to grab a pastry and a coffee. I had a professor that came here almost every day, because the food was delicious and it has a relaxing atmosphere necessary for busy Washington, DC days. I personally loved the meringue cakes, and my professor recommended the croissants almost every day.
Best cupcakes: Baked and Wired
I have to make a point about this. Georgetown Cupcakes are not the best in DC, Baked and Wired is. Baked and Wired cupcakes are huge and have some fun and well-executed flavors. Georgetown Cupcakes is average, and truly spoilt from the fame. Go to Baked and Wired, seriously!
Best dessert: Milk Bar
Momofuku Milk Bar isn’t unique to Washington, DC, but it’s amazing! I went there as often as I could to try cookies and eat as much cereal milk ice cream as I could. If you’ve ever tried Milk Bar’s desserts, you understand why they had to make an appearance on this list.
Best happy hour: The Hamilton
Everybody in Washington, DC talks about the Hamilton’s happy hour. They have half-priced sushi rolls every day from 3 PM to 6 PM and after 11 PM, and everybody raves about them. I’m not a sushi person though, so I can’t attest to them personally!
Best food market: Union Market
Okay, so this is kind of cheating. But Union Market has the best food in DC for foodies! The market has all kinds of food like barbecue and Belgian waffles. I do highly recommend this place if you can make it out, as it is out of the city center. Note: it’s a bit sketchy to walk here at night. You may prefer a Lyft instead.
Best lunch: Farragut Square food trucks
Another cheat! What can I say, DC makes it hard to choose. The best lunches are by far from the Farragut Square food trucks every weekday, because you have so many options! It’s so good, that the entire area spills out to eat here, so keep in mind the wait times.
Best Middle Eastern food: Kabob Bazaar
Technically this is Virginia, but whatever. Located right next to the Clarendon station is Kabob Bazaar, a delicious and authentic Persian restaurant to get all your Middle Eastern fixings. You can even try some more traditional and out-there foods, such as Dizi, if you want to try something new!
Best pizza: We the Pizza
There are two locations of We the Pizza, and each are next to a Good Stuff Eatery (conspiracy!?). How is it possible that two restaurants with the best food in DC are always located next to each other? We the Pizza serves up mindblowingly simple and mouthwatering pizzas, that you won’t even understand what hit you.
If you’re looking for other cuisines, Washington, DC actually has great options for everything. There are dozens of gyro places everywhere you go, plenty of Chinese restaurants and great amounts of Italian restaurants as well. You really can’t go wrong in DC, but hopefully this guide helped narrow down your options!
Did I miss anyone? Are you a lifelong Georgetown Cupcakes fan? Let me know in the comments!