Stop what you’re doing. Did you know Washington, D.C., has a super-impressive culinary scene that rivals those in New York and Chicago? Somehow, I missed that memo when I lived in Manhattan, just hours away from the nation’s capital city. Over the last year, D.C. has gotten tons of recognition for its food scene. Last year, Bon Appétit even called D.C. the restaurant city of the year. Zagat agreed, listing it as the number one hottest food city of 2016. (Seriously, where was I?)
Anyway, it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon. Especially when the District is full of great restaurants across so many different cuisines. In the mood for Italian? How about Thai or Vietnamese? D.C. has it all, and we’ve covered them here. Scroll through to see the seven restaurants where you should dine ASAP. PS: We have your weekend plans sorted too. And don't miss our definitive list of where to have brunch in Washington, D.C. You’re welcome.
Feel like Filipino food? Head over to Bad Saint in Columbia Heights where chef and co-owner Tom Cunanan’s menu is inspired by his mom’s dishes. Last year, the 24-seat spot—which doesn’t take reservations and has a line outside the door as early as around 3 p.m. (the restaurant opens at 5:30 p.m.)—was named the second best new restaurant in America by Bon Appétit.
3226 11th St. NW, Washington, D.C., badsaintdc.com
This Afghani bistro—owned by the same family behind D.C. mainstays Café Bonaparte and Malmaison—serves traditional fare replete with vegetarian and gluten-free options. Start with dishes like a sambosa trio prepared in a crispy phyllo pastry served with yogurt and chutney, and choose from vegetarian plates, rices, stews, and kebabs, which are all designed to share. PS: Enjoy bottomless mimosas during brunch on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1847 Columbia Road NW, Washington, D.C., lapisdc.com
This hip restaurant designed by Grizform Design Architects serves traditional Vietnamese street fare like pork steamed buns, Kee Mao stir-fried rice noodles, and coconut braised lamb shank. The restaurant, which is located in Logan Circle, offers vegetarian and gluten-free menus.
1800 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C., doimoidc.com
We want all of the carbs at this casual Italian restaurant. Choose from favorites including ricotta pancakes with maple mascarpone and blueberry jam for brunch to rigatoni prepared with braised wild mushrooms, rosemary oil, and Parmesan for dinner.
301 Water St. SE, Washington, D.C., osteriamorini.com/washington-dc
Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana
Chef/owner Tony Conte cut his teeth as executive sous chef at Jean-Georges in New York. At Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, his seasonal pizzas are made in a wood-burning oven and include D.O.C. Margherita with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, and basil, and a prosciutto pie prepared with lemon-braised fennel, stracciatella, and arugula.
12207 Darnestown Road, Darnestown, MD, inferno-pizzeria.com
Inside the Watergate Hotel, which underwent a $200 million renovation, is Kingbird, designed by Ron Arad. Go for brunch, and enjoy bottomless mimosas, sangria, or Bloody Marys from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for $17. Also, try the coconut buckwheat pancake with banana pudding and Nutella; and the chicken and waffles prepared with chili glaze, peanut, lime, cilantro, and pickled vegetables.
2650 Virginia Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., thewatergatehotel.com