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Foodie Adventures in Downtown Washington DC

by Brain Gate

Mar 20, 2018 - The food-ventures that you can experience in downtown Washington DC is, literally, endless. Whether you’re wishing for a waterfront dining experience, would like to experience fine dining in a five-star hotel, or sample an exquisite, innovative culinary concept, it’s all right here in DC. ‘Chocolate City’, as it is sometimes fondly called, has seen a rush of incoming International-style diners in the past decade and some would argue that no other city within its vicinity has seen the same level of explosion.

Here, you’ll find hip renaissance-style eateries, local pop-ups, unique coffee shops and creative cafes dotting the downtown dining scene. This says a lot about the growth the historic city’s experienced through the years.

Below is a short list of favorite diners and restaurants located in various neighborhoods in D.C.

restaurants diners eating in Washington DC

Georgetown - At The Intersection Of The Old And New

Boasting of a unique historic charm, Georgetown, one of Washington DC’s oldest neighborhoods, has a smattering of chic locations throughout. Upscale, modern bars along M Street, quaint cafes are strewn across Wisconsin Avenue, while celebrated diners with five-star ratings to their names have diverse menus of options for people of all ages. 

There are indoor and outdoor seatings overlooking the stunning Potomac River, Kennedy Center, Watergate and Key Bridge available at the Sequoia Restaurant, traditional American fares at the family-owned Nick’s Riverside Grille, and a delightful experience to be had at the award-winning, flagship restaurant of Founding Farmers. The restaurants have the ability to attract tens of thousands of regular locals and new tourists rain or shine. Some charm the socks off their patrons with delectable dishes, while others leave a lasting impression because of its authentic, family-friendly urban farmhouse feel. 

  • Sequoia Restaurant
    The Washington Harbour
    3000 K St NW, Washington, DC 20007
    (202) 944-4200
    Highlights: Sunday brunch buffet, wedding venue, and live jazz entertainment
  • Nick’s Riverside Grille
    3050 K St NW, Washington, DC 20007
    (202) 342-3535
    Highlights: relaxing atmosphere, authentic pasta dishes, fresh-out-of-the-water seafood and scrumptious steaks
  • Founding Farmers DC
    1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006
    (202) 822-8783
    Highlights: authentic recipes, farm-to-table feel, classic and chic atmosphere

Shaw - A Conglomeration Of Hip Foodie Stops

It’s been a long time coming that Shaw made a name for itself as one of the chicest neighborhoods in Washington DC. Charged with an eclectic feel, the streets are lined with raved-about restaurants, brag-worthy bars, and cool jazz lounges. If you’re looking for fast food and quick eats, you’ll soon be disappointed. Because it caters to foodies who demand exceptional service, florid designs, and slates of culinary masterpieces, it has a mish-mash of must-visit neighborhood restaurants that are all unique in their own ways.

Rows of 19th-century buildings now house family businesses, modern retail outlets and swanky theaters like Lincoln Theater and Howard Theater. It was, after all, famously called the ‘Black Broadway’. While rustic ‘The Pig’ has walls lined up with fun pig-centric and historic signs, there are also quaint eateries at The Shay apartment building. The iconic Old Ebbitt Grill with its mahogany woodwork and classic beveled glass decor, located merely steps away from the White House, you'll get to sample authentic traditional American saloon food.
  • The Pig
    1320 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
    (202) 290-2821
    Highlights: delicious sandwiches and large portions of food, a full bar with happy hour, and kid-friendly menu
  • The Shay
    1924 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
    (855) 419-4683
    Highlights: wide variety, chic atmosphere, kid-friendly cafes and bakeries
  • Old Ebbitt Grill
    675 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
    (202) 347-4800
    Highlights: patronized by President Grant, Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt and Harding, journalists and celebs alike. Serves the best traditional upscale American saloon food that will bring you back in time

Diners and Restaurants Near The National Mall

Seeing The Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol Building will evoke all types of patriotic emotions about the country’s history. Even when you’re surrounded by such majestic structures around America’s front yard, tourists in their Washington D.C. charter buses are easily tempted with delicious aromas wafting in from neighboring restaurants, diners, and cafes. The iconic structures’ weight of importance are not outdone by but are complemented by the vast array of available memorable meals in town.

With Taylor Gourmet offering freshly-baked loaves and starters, fire-roasted meats, home-grown vegetables and ingredients and off-the-wall desserts to satisfy every palate, Occidental Grill & Seafood Restaurant, a walk from The White House, has everything from fresh oysters to classic traditional American cuisine. Occidental dates as far back as 110 years ago when it was founded by Henry Willard and it has become a staple stomping ground for foodies since then. You’ll also be sending your taste buds on an adventure with a trip to China Chicano, or while savoring the diverse soul food offered by Sweet Home Cafe which is a fancy food court located on the grounds of the National African-American regional museum.
  • Taylor Gourmet
    1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002
    (202) 684-7001
    Highlights: delicious sandwiches, seasonal ingredients, gluten-free options, freshly-tossed salads
  • Occidental Grill & Seafood Restaurant
    1475 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004
    (202) 783-1475
    Highlights: romantic, high-end ambiance, delicious wines, a short distance from The National Theater, is wheelchair-accessible and is perfect even for Presidents
  • China Chilcano
    418 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004
    (202) 783-0941
    Highlights: an authentic cuisine that reflects Peruvian culture and traditions with a touch of influence from Chinese and Japanese cooking styles. Delicious cocktails, flexible menu and kid-friendly.
  • Sweet Home Cafe
    at The National Museum of African American History and Culture
    1400 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20560
    (202) 633-4751
    Highlights: moderate prices, a wide selection of dishes, sides, and desserts based on various regions in the United States.
There is plenty more where that list came from and we’ll definitely be writing up more about the new finds as we go along. Even as you get on and off the rented charter bus from museums to art galleries, historic sites to iconic landmarks all around Washington D.C., there are quaint gems to be found at every corner. When they say you’ll be spoiled for choice, they’re right.

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