What to Eat in Downtown D.C.

Updated June 27, 2020.

Whether you’re waiting to tour the White House, need lunch on a business trip, or you’re just seeing the sites, you will probably need to eat while you’re in Downtown D.C.! But between all the sterile office buildings and barriers around the government architecture, it may not seem to be the friendliest—or foodiest—neighborhood. But never fear! There’s a great selection, and even a few iconic restaurants Downtown. Take a look and pack your appetite!

Teaism: Lafayette Park

There are several Teaism locations around the District, but the one on Lafayette square is conveniently located just north of the White House and across the street from the Decatur House. It’s also convenient to the Farragut West station for Metro-goers! They don’t have coffee—just tea of every sort—but they do have some hearty dishes for breakfast, and lunch.

Egg Scramble Sandwich with Asian Slaw and Bacon

Swing’s Coffee Roasters

Need coffee? Swing’s has been a D.C. coffee roaster since 1916! The one at 17th and G Streets Northwest is right in the heart of Downtown and just a few blocks from the White House, the National Mall, and Pennsylvania Avenue! They have amazing pastries and excellent coffee. The baristas are extra friendly, too!

Morning Mocha! Ready for a day in D.C.!

Sushi Aoi

This is objectively some of the best sushi in all of the D.C. area! I was craving sushi on a recent trip into the District, and I wanted to try some place new. It’s just off New York Avenue, and I can’t wait to go back and bring my friends!

Miso Soup
Chicken Gyoza with Soy Sauce
Sushi Dinner: California Roll, Eel, Salmon Roe
Tuna, Salmon, Red Snapper, Yellowtail, Shrimp, Wasabi, Ginger

Milk Bar

A friend introduced me to Milk Bar about a year ago, and now I go back as often as I can! They use cereal-infused milk to make their soft-serve ice cream, and they always have a “fun flavored” option like pie dough or fruity cereal! Like toppings? They have them! I love just plain old fudge, but you could have cereal pieces, caramel, whipped cream, and more!

Milk Bar Pie Soft Serve with Hot Fudge!

Old Ebbitt Grill

Old Ebbitt is a D.C. legend! No kidding, it’s THE place to eat in D.C. And when you walk in, you’ll understand why. With their dark wood paneling, antique decor (artifacts, really), and multiple bar areas, you’ll see that this is a true “gentlemen’s club” of yore that’s now open for all. They have amazing breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, and dessert, so you just really can’t go wrong! I recently went to Old Ebbitt for brunch with my husband and our friend Andrea, and we all agree the service, food, and experience can’t be beat!

Pro tip: Get reservations on Open Table first, and especially early for weekends!

Shrimp and Grits
Parmesan-encrusted Trout with green beans and brunch potatoes (under the Trout!) with Hollandaise and Lemon
Brioche French Toast with Vermont Maple Syrup, Candied Pecans,
and baked Apples with Bacon
Read on: Legendary D.C. Eats

Cafe du Parc

If you’re looking for a historic, refined experience, go to Cafe du Park inside the Willard Hotel. The Willard has been hosting people in D.C. since 1850, and its location on Pennsylvania Avenue just steps from the White House means it’s convenient to everywhere you want to be. Steve recently took me to Cafe du Parc for date night, and the dessert choices were the very definition of “decadent”!

Dark Chocolate Cube: Chocolate Mousse, Red Currant Compote, Caramelized Pepitas, and Sea Salt Caramel Gelato
Paris Brest: Nutella and Praline Mousseline-filled Choux Pastry with Vanilla Ice Cream

Want more? Check out all my foodie posts, itineraries, and recommendations for fun things to do on my Washington, D.C. Page!

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