Washington D.C. is one of the most diverse and international cities in the United States.
Not only is it home to 175 embassies, it is also the center of American politics which explains the constant influx of globetrotters visiting from around the world. To reflect upon D.C.’s international nature, here’s an eating guide with ten restaurants that draws cuisines from various countries and cultures. You don’t always have to leave America to try new foods and experience foreign cultures. I hope that you broaden your worldview and palette while exploring these vibrant and delicious eateries.
1601 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Bon appetit! Le Diplomate is D.C’s go-to French restaurant, especially if you are longing for a Parisian-style brasserie or classic escargot…Le Diplomate has you covered. One meal here will inspire you to book a flight to France or dust off that old French novel. At the moment, it is open for outdoor dining and takeout at its 14th St NW location.
1346 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009
Once you enter Maydan you will immediately immerse yourself into a unique culinary experience that brings Middle Eastern cuisine to the forefront of D.C.’s dining scene. The interior space is absolutely gorgeous and inviting. From the menu, you can enjoy an exquisite family-style cuisine with iconic Middle Eastern and North African dishes, including: kebabs, hummus, and baklava.
Old Ebbitt Grill
675 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
Old Ebbitt Grill is a D.C. classic located right by the White House and Treasury Department. If you are looking for local cuisine specialities, such as: Maryland Crab Cakes, Old Ebbitt Grill is the place to be. During lunch hours on weekdays, it is packed with professionals in business attire chatting away with their colleagues. Whenever I am showing someone around D.C., I always try to bring them here so they can truly experience a signature D.C. dining scene.
243 K St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Indigo is D.C.’s best family-owned Indian restaurant. It focuses heavily on fresh ingredients and grandma’s secret homey recipes. Indigo’s ambience is laid-back, colorful, and fun with big picnic tables laid out in a courtyard surrounded by string lights. If you want a relaxing environment and a healthy international meal, Indigo is the place for you.
1780 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009
The D.C. area is home to one of the largest Ethiopian populations in the US, so it would be a big mistake to skip out on Ethiopian food while you’re in the area. Keren is celebrated for its authentic Ethiopian cuisine. For those who are not familiar, Ethiopian food is made up of a special spongy bread called: injera, accompanied by various sauces and curries. My go-to is Doro Wat with some mango juice.
1436 Park Rd NW, Washington, DC 20010
Pho 14 is my personal favorite and I believe it is one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in the D.C. area. It’s located in the bustling Columbia Heights neighborhood and has special deals on Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) every day of the week. Vietnamese food is fresh and comforting, a perfect way to end a long day at the museums.
505 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
Homemade Pop Tarts?! Milkshakes?! Ted’s Bulletin is a culinary marvel with an impeccable location. Along with its homemade pop tarts and pastries, I would highly recommend trying the all day breakfast menu where you can find French toast, omelettes, milkshakes, and much more. Ted’s Bulletin is an American and D.C. restaurant landmark.
Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana
3714 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010
Mezcalero chef, Alfredo Solis, and his sister, Jessica, present authentic street-style Mexican food in the hub of D.C.. My personal favorite is the cricket tacos which are crunchy, unique, and absolutely delicious! Other than Mezcalero’s classic street tacos, you can eat some flavorful ceviche, chilaquiles, fajitas, and loads more. There is a dish for everyone at this amazing restaurant!
Negril the Jamaican Eatery
2301 Georgia Ave NW Ste. G, Washington, DC 20001
If you are looking for the local grub spot, Negril is the place. Whenever I am in a rush or just looking for an inexpensive and delicious snack, I always visit Negril. Its Jamaican patties, cocoa bread, and plantains are affordable and to die for. Also, don’t shy away from the jerk chicken.
Ben’s Chili Bowl
1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Last but not least is the most famous restaurant in all of D.C., Ben’s Chili Bowl. Icon, including: MLK Jr., Anthony Bourdain, Barack Obama, and many more have visited this hotspot in D.C.’s U St. neighborhood. My usual order is a half-smoke with cheese fries. If I am dining in, I love to queue up some classic jams on the jukebox. Be sure to also check out the iconic mural by the restaurant’s alley. It features local celebrities, such as: Wale, Chuck Brown, and Dave Chapelle.