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Food & Dining in Washington

From Embassy Row to Capitol Hill, Washington is a city of people with tastes as varied as the opinions of Congress. At Washington's restaurants, diners will find everything from regional American specialties to varied ethnic food.

West African delicacies such as moi-moi, a jumble of black-eyed peas, tomatoes, and corned beef; feijoada, a rich Brazilian casserole of black beans, pork, and smoked meats; bouillabaisse, the fish stew from France; Italian favourites such as pasta carbonara; succulent lamb kababs or crisp falafel (vegetable fritters) from the Middle East; crunchily addictive Vietnamese spring rolls; spicy Carolina shrimp with steaming white grits; and some of the finest marbled steaks and butter-soft prime rib this side of the Mississippi: these are just a few of the dazzling dishes you'll find in Washington DC.

Places to Dine


An area that has gone through a number of changes over the years, Adams-Morgan is now one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the city and this is reflected in its eateries. If you want to try Ethiopian, Meskerem is a good bet. For Mexican, go for Mixtec. Grill from Ipanema is as good as its clever name suggests for fun cocktails and Brazilian food. Numerous bars and coffeehouses are open till late for after-dinner conversation and people-watching.

Chinatown/Seventh Street

Chinatown is a great area to have a bite or two, make sure to try Tony Cheng's. Head to Seventh Street, once a fashionable shopping district, it is emerging as a centre for arts and culture. For tapas and sangria, head to Jaleo or, if you're in the mood for Irish stew and a Guinness, visit Fado.

Downtown/Foggy Bottom

There are lots of exciting restaurants in the downtown area that cater to office workers. Whether you're going for a power lunch, a business dinner or just want to have a great meal, Old Ebbitt Grill and Brasserie Les Halles are Washington favourites. For seafood, Kinkead's boasts some of the best oceanfare in town.

Dupont Circle

With its many restaurants, shops and bars, Dupont Circle is a fun area to be on weekend evenings. If you're in the mood for upscale Southern food, try Vidalia. At The Palm you might catch a glimpse of a TV political pundit as you enjoy your steak and martinis. For a more calming environment, Teaism is an Asian teahouse with small meals and, of course, a wide selection of exotic teas. Sesto Senso is an Italian restaurant that transforms into a disco in the later hours. If you'd rather browse books and have coffee after dinner, try Kramerbooks.

Georgetown/Washington Harbor

Cosmopolitan and hip, Georgetown is full of student-oriented clubs. The older crowd can enjoy jazz at Blues Alley. Start down at the harbour area at Sequoia Restaurant for a drink as the sun sets over the Potomac. Stay for dinner, or head up to Georgetown for a fabulous Indian meal at Aditi or for some of the best Ethiopian fare around at Zed's. Citronelle features Californian-French cuisine and for historical ambiance, 1789 has a great atmosphere and food.

Old Town Alexandria

The town of George Washington and Robert E. Lee, Alexandria is steeped in history. Experience its past as you sample some of Washington's favourite dishes at Gadsby's Tavern Museum, where the General often dined. For decadent Southern food and outrageous desserts, Southside 815 is a must.

Bethesda, Maryland

Just over the District of Columbia line in Maryland, Bethesda is the mecca for food lovers. Bacchus is popular for its Lebanese mezze and kebabs, and Bethesda Crab House is the place to go for some of those famous Maryland crabs.





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