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Where to Eat in Washington, D.C. – a food and dining guide

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Fittingly for a city with such an influence on the world, Washington, D.C. boasts a vibrant, global cuisine culture. A mix of both affordable and fancy Thai and Chinese restaurants fill the central streets, providing no shortage of soy-dappled, lemongrass-infused delights. Washington also has its fair share of Mexican and Italian eateries, and more than a hint of sumptuous home-style Southern cooking. For a quick bite, there’s a wealth of inexpensive tasty chain takeaways too.
Typical dishes



For an upscale business brunch, flash-fried strip steak with fresh salsa verde and crispy patatas bravas makes for delicious dining. For a late night meal, head to a sushi bar.

Dupont Circle


Dupont Circle is an upscale neighborhood in northwest D.C. The streets are full of enormous 19th Century mansions and Romanesque rowhouses, and in contrast to this old school genteel charm you'll also find an energetic arts scene and the city's gay community. As for food, you can head to Little Serow for some modern Thai flavors that aren’t too tough on the pocket - enjoy the stripped-back decor, bar-style seating, and dig into a bowl of spicy cured catfish. If you’re after classic all-American cuisine, from peppered steak and eggs to lemon chicken with whipped potatoes, try 2100 Prime.


• Little Serow, 1511 17th Street NW, Washington, D.C.

2100 Prime, The Fairfax at Embassy Row, 2100 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C.; Tel: +1 202 8352 100




Georgetown is a handsome historic area set on the banks of the shimmering Potomac River. While the side-streets house some of D.C.’s most interesting architectural sights - such as the Gothic-style Oak Hill Cemetery Chapel and Georgetown University buildings - its main strip buzzes with energy. You’ll find a high concentration of sublime American fare in Georgetown, from the modern menu at Bourbon Steak to the sublime seafood of 1789 Restaurant, which is set within an old Federal building.


• Bourbon Steak, Four Seasons Hotel, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C.; Tel: +1 202 9442 026

1789 Restaurant, 1226 36th St NW, Washington, D.C.; Tel: +1 202 9651 789




Washington's Chinatown is on the small side and situated a few blocks east of Downtown. What it lacks in size it makes up for in spirit, with countless bustling independent and family-run boutiques and eateries, art galleries, and a couple of Smithsonian Museums. The area is marked by an lavish blue-gold gate where you'll probably want to have your photo taken. For some inexpensive but otherworldly authentic Chinese food, stop by the no-fuss, sit-down or takeaway stylings of Chinatown Express - a family restaurant of 25 years - and grab a bowl of sweet and sour pork. For some divine Thai-Japanese hybrid cuisine, head to the ultra-cool eating spot Toki Underground.


• Chinatown Express, 746 6th St NW, Washington, D.C.; Tel: +1 202 6380 424

Toki Underground, 1234 H St NE, Washington, D.C.; Tel: +1 202 3883 086


The National Mall


The National Mall is the vast sweeping green park in central D.C., crowned by the towering Washington Monument toward the western end, and the grand Capitol toward the eastern end. In between, tree-lined walkways criss-cross past Smithsonian Museums and art galleries, creating a tranquil slice of cultured heaven. While the National Mall gives off the impression of endless affluence, there are a number of cheap eats around to satisfy the thrifty traveler. Head to District Taco for some fine, inexpensive Mexican food made with the freshest ingredients. If you do want to spend big, book a table at Fogo De Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse, where they carve the meat at your table.


• District Taco, F St NW, Washington, D.C.; Tel: +1 202 3477 359

Fogo De Chao, 1101 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C.; Tel: +1 202 3474 668