My Favorite Places to Eat in DC

Summer is coming.

And hopefully, it will not be as morbid or bloody as a Game of Thrones winter! Fall is actually my favorite season, but there is something about summertime that is always so magical. It is PRIME beach season. It becomes socially acceptable to eat ice cream all the time. The fact that I can wear shorts outside and not be judged that it is not “shorts weather”.

Personal choice that shorts weather is all the time weather.

The one part of summer that I don’t love, ESPECIALLY living in a city like Washington, is the tourists. OY VEY! It is not for the reasons you probably think it is. Except it does drive me nuts when I am trying to walk home and a hoard of people are blocking the sidewalk. I’m trying to get HOME people!

Mostly because I want to snuggle in my jammies

No, what makes me sad when I see tourists lined up at chain restaurants. Now, I love Applebee’s as much as the next person, so this is not a dig . But I think to really fall in love with any city, you need to have exposure to parts of its culture. Like any city, DC has SO many different and delicious places to try. One of the number one questions I get asked are places to eat and drink in DC. So, like any friendly neighbor, I am here with my recs so that you can have a KILLER holiday!

Favorite Coffeeshop (DC): Compass Coffee   

Compass Coffee was the first coffee shop I visited when I moved to DC. When they actually asked me if I had an “h” at the end of my name, I could tell it was going to be a winner! They have three locations and they all have Wifi. My favorite shop of theirs is the Chinatown location, mostly because there is always space to get work done. I adore their cappuccinos and their chai lattes. If you’re going to get something at this coffee shop, I highly recommend trying their Nitro cold brew. I swear it is unlike anything you have had before. The top actually foams (much like a beer would) and it is creamy without any sort of milk, dairy or non-dairy.

Compass Coffee (Chinatown), 650 F St NW, Washington, DC

Favorite Coffeeshop (VA): Commonwealth Joe

If I am feeling more adventurous (ie taking the Metro somewhere to get coffee), then Commonwealth Joe is your place! Located by the Pentagon in Virginia, this coffeeshop takes cold brew SERIOUSLY They have 3-4 types on tap at all times and will let you sample each to find your perfect fit. If you’re not so much of a coffee person, I HIGHLY recommend their cascara soda. Made with the coffee berry (bet you didn’t think coffee came from a berry!) this soda is so refreshing on a hot day.

Commonwealth Joe, 520 12th St S, Arlington, VA

TOAST! (and Other Goodies): Slipstream

It is no surprise that toast has a special place in my heart. Slipstream makes all of my toast expectations a reality. The interior is snazzy, modern, and is a great place to study on the weekdays. Their French Toast for weekend brunch reminds me of a muffin. It is so cinnamon-y and sugar-y, I can’t stop thinking about it. If you’re more of a savory person, you cannot go wrong with the savory rice breakfast bowl. The preserved lemon and poached egg freaking makes it!

Slipstream, 1333 14th Street NW, Washington DC

Favorite Study Spot: Emissary 

I have to admit. It has been difficult finding a go to place that I can sit and do work in. I LOVE the vibe of this place. The exposed brick and cavernous rooms make this place so cosy on a cold day. Their matcha and espresso are unreal. I am absolutely obsessed. Not only that, but if you want to stay a while, they have some snacks that I always end up ordering. That white bean hummus just always is calling out to me. Stay a little while, and try some of their delicious cocktails while you are at it!

Emissary, 2032 P Street NW, Washington, DC

Feed Your Inner Manhattanite: Neopol Savory Smokery

Located inside of Union Market, this place has the BEST smoked fish I have ever tried. And, being Jewish and living in New York for 4 years, I have some pretty high smoked fish standards. All of their smoked fish is nitrate free and is smoked at a higher temperature to prevent foodborne illness. Sounds like a winner in my book. I always ask for the smoked salmon BLT with avocado instead of bacon. It is probably the most insane sandwich I have ever had the pleasure of eating. Also, you cannot go wrong with the smoked mussels or the egg salad.

Neopol Savory Smokery, 1309 5th Street NE, Washington, DC

Quick Brunch Place: Chaia 

It is no secret that DC is not necessarily known for their Mexican food. However, Chaia does not try to be an authentic Mexican place. And hey, they do what they do best and that is a OK with me. It is no wonder their restaurant’s description is ‘farm to taco.’ Everything is so fresh, seasonal, and the flavors are spot ON. The beet taco is by and far my favorite, especially with a fried egg on the weekends. If you like it spicy, their hot sauce is also on FLEEK!

Chaia, 3207 Grace Street NW, Washington, DC

Hole in the Wall for the Adventurous: Keren

If you have never had Ethiopian food, then you are definitely missing out! It is one of the most flavorful cuisines I have ever had. This place probably has the deal of the century as far as dinners go. It is definitely a hole in the wall and at first, you might be confused how such a small place can serve delicious food. For less then $15, you can have injera (that is the delicious, spongy bread), a drink, and a HUGE spread of different vegetarian dishes. Make sure you grab a bite of the yellow split peas and the cooked greens. They are my absolute favorites!

Keren, 1780 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC

 Dip for Lunch: Little Sesame

When I was in college, I would buy a container of hummus, a bag of baby carrots, and call it dinner. Little Sesame makes my college-style habits socially acceptable. I know a lot of you will think a bowl of hummus, a piece of warm, fresh from the oven pita, and a fresh salad does not seem filling, but, dear friends, that is where you are sadly mistaken. They customize toppings based on the season and have such flavors as mint pesto, charred ramps, and roasted artichokes. This place is only open Monday-Friday for lunch, but you need to make the trek to Dupont to try this place yourself.

Little Sesame, 1306 18th Street NW, Washington, DC

Post Saturday Night “Cleanse”: Beefsteak Veggies

There are those mornings when you wake and all you want is something green. For those mornings, I also happen to find myself at Beefsteak. Even if you are not a vegetarian, this place will get you to eat your vegetables. They are always changing up their sauces and toppings (the Frieda Kale with the black bean sauce is my absolute favorite). Also, if you want to channel me to the extreme, you can also ask for the seaweed salad on the side. It is life CHANGING

Beefsteak Veggies, 800 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20036

 Lunch/Dinner with Your Parents: Zaytinya

There is nothing that warms my heart, both figuratively and quite literally, the way that warm bread does. At Zaytinya, the bread keeps coming fresh from the oven, so now is not the time to hold back on your carbo loading. The baba ganoush and Brussels sprouts are some of my favorite things on the menu. If you are trying to live your best life on a budget, their four course lunch special is definitely not one to be missed. Trust me.

Zaytinya, 701 9th Street NW, Washington, DC

Sweet Treat (That Can Double As Lunch): Ice Cream Jubilee

I kid you not. I got SHIVERS eating this ice cream. Now, you might think it is because it is so cold, but this is seriously my favorite ice cream place in Washington. And that says a lot because I love ice cream. The owner of Ice Cream Jubilee actually left her government job to pursue her passion of creating unique and delicious ice cream flavors. And y’all know I love my boss ladies. Started in the Navy Yard, their recent move to NW allows me to indulge myself all the more frequently (for better or worse!). I love all of the unique, delicious flavors you can get. My personal favs are the Thai Iced Tea and the Earl Grey Lavender. They even have boozy options that are so freaking delicious, so if you’re feeling adventurous, I recommend the Dark and Stormy. Also, sprinkles are free. Always

Ice Cream Jubilee, 1407 T Street NW, Washington, DC 

Picnic Tables and Food for Everyone: Indigo

I have been invited over for a lot of authentic Indian food. I also love spicy food more than life itself. So, whenever I go out for Indian food, I’m usually sadden to see that the flavors have been “dumbed down.” The food at Indigo is not only as authentic as you’re going to get, but it is affordable and casual as well. There are too many options to list, but I personally love the spicy pumpkin, the palak paneer, and the roti. On a warm summer night, the patio is the best thing that will ever happen to yo.

Indigo, 230 K Street NE, Washington, DC

Bonus: Dupont Circle Farmers Market

If you have been following me for more than a second, you know that I am OBSESSED with the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. While it is not a restaurant so to speak, it is definitely a DELICIOUS place to grab some goodies (and eat plenty of snacks). Some of my favorite eats include the kombucha from Hex Ferments, the handmade ravioli from Cavanna Pasta, and the sauerkraut and kimchi from Number 1 Sons. It is open all year round, so check out the seasonal produce from four different states! I swear you will never be bored!

Dupont Circle Farmers Market, 1500 20th Street NW, Washington DC

Now go forth! Eat your heart out!

4 comments

  1. So perfect for me! I haven't experienced a D.C. summer yet so I'm excited to try all these places out and walk around in the nice weather. I have a lot of family coming in too so I have plenty of excuses to try these out. You're amazing! Thank you!
    1. Ahh thanks! Let me know what you think!
  2. Ahh, these all are fabulous. I've never tried nitro coffee, so I think I might have to add a little morning trip to Compass Coffee to my weekend plans after seeing this! By the way, have you ever been to Thai X-ing over in Shaw? I think it might just have been the most delicious, fresh, interesting Thai food I've had here, plus it's BYOB, which reminds me of date nights in Philly and makes me happy :)
    1. Oh wow! I've heard of it, but I've never tried it! I will definitely have to check it out!

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