Last updated on: May 26, 2020

(Last Updated On: May 26, 2020)

While Washington, DC, is most known for national monuments, politics, and the seat of the U.S. Government, it’s also a surprisingly great city for food, hosting a myriad of restaurants that serve global and regional cuisines.  For foodies, DC is also the place to be!  Here are the must eat places in DC.

Related post: The 4 Best Activities During the Cherry Blossom Festival

Fine Dining:

Plume – Housed in the Jefferson Hotel, the Monticello-influenced décor of this Michelin-star establishment sets the stage for an amazing dining experience. Each dish is an expression of creativity, a real chef d’oeuvre (masterpiece).

Fiola Mare – Situated on the Georgetown waterfront overlooking the river makes this restaurant a great spot for romantic dinners. The menu offers a variety of dishes, from chickpea tortellini to Adriatic brodetto. There’s even a sunset menu for those interested in a culinary golden-hour experience.

Lafayette Restaurant – This upscale restaurant at the Mayfair Hotel seamlessly blends European and American culinary influences in an elegant atmosphere. The Sunday Brunch is a standout as are the views of the Washington Monument.

Casual Dining:

Zaytinya – With a name meaning “olive oil” in Turkish, you can’t go wrong ordering anything from this hip restaurant. I frequently visit this quaint spot for its small-plate offerings, which allow you to sample a variety of Mediterranean dishes.  And any time I can eat grilled halloumi cheese, I’m totally there!

Rasika – Year after year, this Indian fusion restaurant racks up the accolades. With specialties using a variety of cooking methods, including tandoor, tawa griddle, and sigri barbecue, there’s something for everyone.  Its tandoor dishes are amazing, and don’t leave without trying the palak chaat!

Founding Farmers – This farm-to-table concept restaurant serves an extensive menu of regional American dishes and has no microwave ovens or frozen foods, except for ice cream. The devil-ish eggs, skillet corn bread, and fried green tomatoes are just a few of the restaurant’s signature side dishes. The restaurant also offers its own cold-pressed juice cleanse.


Ben’s Chili Bowl – A DC culinary landmark, this restaurant’s is a must eat place in DC with a history as rich as its food. Offering an assortment of chilis, burgers, and hot dogs, this restaurant has long been a favorite stop for many celebrities and dignitaries, from Miles Davis to President Obama.

Georgetown Cupcake – The founders of this bakery definitely have the formula for some of the best cupcakes on the planet and have even appeared on the TLC show, DC Cupcakes. The seasonal cupcakes, such as the Cherry Blossom cupcake, are amazing, but you can’t go wrong with the classic and special cupcakes, either.

DC-3 – This restaurant is not your ordinary hot dog stand and boasts creative specialties, which include Tuscan Sonoran and Philly Cheesesteak-style beef hot dogs as well as a collection of creative toppings, such as Chicago neon relish.


Ivy City Smokehouse – Located in the up-and-coming Ivy City neighborhood, this “tavern” is the place to try some of the best smoked seafood in DC. The restaurant also sells fresh fish, offers weekly live music, and has a nice rooftop for summer gatherings, making it a very hip and enjoyable place to hang out.

Maydan – Craving some North African and Middle Eastern cuisine? Maydan gives you a taste from Tangier to Tehran. And its drinks are as appealing as its meals. For example, the Quahwa coffee blends Jamaican rum with vermouth, Turkish coffee, honey, and cardamom.

Have tried these must eat places in DC? What are your favorite restaurants in the city?

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Taryn White
With 75+ countries and all 50 U.S. states crossed off her list, Taryn's wanderlust and wanderlist continue to grow! She loves historic places, off-the-beaten paths, and beautiful beaches. Follow her pursuits on Instagram and

28 thoughts on “Must Eat Places in DC”

    1. Hi Theresa,

      Leggo!! It’s a really great place to visit. Food is overshadowed as some think it’s all about chain restaurants, but there are some great eateries.

  1. This is really a nice coincidence you wrote an article about where to eat in DC. I will go there on May and its good to know about it. I definitely will check out one of those. Thanks for it!

  2. This has come a great time! I visit DC often and always try to find places to eat. I’ll make sure to refer to your guide next time!

  3. I have been to DC once or twice and loved it each time! I never got around to eating much there as the first time was with a class trip and the second time we had a picnic! I’d love to go back and try out some of the places you suggested!

  4. Thanks for sharing some great places to eat in DC. This is going to really help a lot of people who visit get a great idea of where is good to eat.

  5. These are some amazing places on this list, great compilation. I would love to check the ones for newcomers when I am in DC, I like smoked seafood and middle eastern food.

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