Washington, D.C., Culinarily Speaking

AAA/Sherry Mims
By AAA Travel Editor Sherry Mims
September 20, 2018
Eating out at a well-known local restaurant, particularly for brunch, is what to do in Washington, D.C. From the powerhouse area around the White House to the cultured Dupont Circle, these food places impress with good service and creative cuisine.
BGR offers cooked-to-order burgers and a variety of sides at its Dupont Circle location. This is a veggie burger with asparagus.
AAA/Sherry Mims
BGR The Burger Joint
1514 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
AAA Inspector Rating
(202) 299-1071
This small chain offers juicy cooked-to-order burgers and several sides, such as fries, sweet potato fries or asparagus. The chain also offers a healthful burger alternative, which has been mentioned in many local restaurant guides for vegetarian picks. The Dupont Circle location, which is close to the Metro, has many things for couples to do, so consider this one if you’re out and want a quick bite.
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Dessert, Strawberry Charlotte
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Le Diplomate
1601 14th St. N.W.
AAA Inspector Rating
(202) 332-3333
Reputation precedes this eatery that’s reminiscent of a brasserie in Paris. Steak frites, skate and scallops niçoise are among the standout dishes, which you can enjoy with a specialty cocktail or a glass of wine from the extensive menu. Because it’s such a destination, make reservations in advance.
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Interior of Old Ebbitt Grill, Washinton D.C.
Courtesy of Old Ebbitt Grill
Old Ebbitt Grill
675 15th St. N.W.
AAA Inspector Rating
(202) 347-4800
History comes alive at this historic local restaurant, which is close to the White House. The “saloon” has welcomed such U.S. presidents as Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt over the years, and is still where locals and tourists go in Washington, D.C. Make your reservations early—brunch, if you’re looking for things to do this weekend—and enjoy a “Bennie,” or specialty eggs Benedict with a mimosa.
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This longtime restaurant in Penn Quarter offers tacos and a variety of Mexican favorites. Order the guacamole en molcajete (tableside guacamole in a special bowl) and vegetarian "Hongos" tacos. This restaurant is near the Capital One Arena.
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Rosa Mexicano
575 7th St. N.W.
AAA Inspector Rating
(202) 783-5522
Celebrate Taco Tuesday at this Penn Quarter restaurant; it’s near the Capital One Arena and the International Spy Museum. A great appetizer is the tableside guacamole (aka guacamole en molcajete), artfully prepared and so good you’ll have to save room for your entrée. Pescado Baja (fish taco) or the vegetarian “Hongos,” featuring portobello mushrooms, black beans, corn and salsa, are among the tasty choices.
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Georgetown's Washington Harbour complex features a number of fun things to do, including Tony & Joe's Seafood Place. Ask for outdoor seating, which will allow you to see training crew teams, sightseeing boats and fascinating Roosevelt Island.
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Tony & Joe's Seafood Place
3000 K St NW, Suite 10
AAA Inspector Rating
(202) 944-4545
Located in Washington Harbour, this waterfront establishment is where to go for seafood in tony Georgetown. Be sure to ask for outdoor seating as you’ll get to appreciate views of Roosevelt Island, a recreational wonderland that’s slightly off the beaten path. When deciding what to order, consider the oysters, which are half-priced but fully delicious.
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Visitors can find fresh produce, meats and one-of-a-kind restaurant concepts at this foodie-friendly market in Washington, D.C.
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Union Market
1309 5th St. N.E.
(301) 347-3998
Don’t miss this cavernous food hall in the restored Union Terminal Station. Quirky booths with fresh produce and meats stand side-to-side with pop-up shops and full-fledged restaurant concepts. It’s not unusual for patrons to share their favorite menu suggestions, be it kombucha (a fizzy fermented tea) or a crêpelike dosa. Cotton & Reed, a rum distillery, is a short walk away if you are looking for other fun things to do with friends.
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