The 10 Best Places For Soul Food In Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of Acadiana
Soul food is synonymous with the big, hearty, comforting flavors of Southern home cooking. Its roots are in African-American cuisine, Native American cooking, and the flavors of the Bayou and Gulf Coast. Think lots of fried chicken, mac ‘n’cheese, hushpuppies, game, chitterlings, and pig’s feet and you have yourself a classic soul food menu. Here’s our list of the best places to find soul food in America’s capital, Washington, D.C..
Restaurant, Soul Food, $$$
The Hitching Post serves traditional Southern soul food. It’s famous for one dish in particular: the Hitching Post fried chicken. You can get eight pieces as a main course or go for classics like fried or steamed shrimp, crab cakes, or pork chops – all served with mac ‘n’cheese, coleslaw, fries, or mashed potatoes.
Oohh’s & Aahh’s has a reputation for serving hearty soul food. Located close to the African-American Civil War Museum, it has served celebrity guests like Jay-Z, LeBron James, and Angie Stone. On the menu are appetizers such as chicken wings, fried shrimp, and Caesar salad and entrees that include turkey wings, fried or grilled whiting, beef and turkey meatloaf, beef short ribs, blackened catfish. For dessert, there’s apple pie, fudge cake, or hummingbird cake.
Soul food and live jazz make a pretty enticing combination at Georgia Brown’s. Just a couple of blocks from The White House on McPherson Square, Georgia Brown’s offers a taste of lowcountry cuisine inspired by the cooking styles found in South Carolina and Georgia. Expect lots of fried green tomatoes, chicken, and peach cobbler for dessert. The entrees offered include catfish with Carolina red rice, Frogmore stew, Carolina crab cakes, gumbo, shrimp and grits, and Shenandoah chicken.
A Washington institution, the Florida Avenue Grill is a welcoming restaurant serving good home-cooking. On the menu are breakfasts of ham and eggs, bacon or sausage and eggs, and hot cakes off the grill. For dinner you can try BBQ pork ribs, baked chicken with cornbread dressing, chitterlings, and steamed pig’s feet.
Eatonville is owned by the artist and activist Andy Shallal. There’s a distinct Harlem Renaissance literary theme that runs through the restaurant. On the Eatonville menu are dishes including maple-peppered salmon, jambalaya with shrimp and andouille sausage, and BBQ pork ribs. One distinguished fan is Michelle Obama.
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Marvin is a bistro and roof bar named for and inspired by the great soul singer Marvin Gaye. The soul food of his youth and the pared-back lifestyle of his time in Ostend, Belgium, away from the glare of publicity, are the influences behind the cuisine and culture of Marvin. On the dinner menu you’ll find a blend of Southern cooking with Continental dishes. The appetizers include chicken fried oysters, beef tartare, shrimp and grits, and Brussel sprouts with crème fraîche. You can follow with a course of moules marinières and entrées of pan-seared salmon, chicken and waffles, pork chops, and pepper-crusted steaks.
In central Washington, D.C., close to Dupont Circle and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel is Vidalia. There’s a five-course tasting menu and appetizers include soused shrimp with smoked trout roe and jumbo lump crab cakes with shiitake mushrooms, preserved apricot, and creole mustard. For mains, you can try bison short ribs, parsnips, watercress, and persimmon butter or bacon-wrapped rabbit loin with chestnut puree and smoked carrots.
Also known as SoHo DC and based in the fashionable, culturally rich Adams Morgan neighborhood, Southern Hospitality has a growing reputation for top-quality soul food. On the highly regarded menu you’ll find plates of shrimp and grits with Cajun cream sauce, hushpuppies, fried green tomatoes, and mac ‘n’ cheese. Entrées include filet mignon with crispy kalettes and mashed potatoes, chicken and waffles, fried chicken with mac ‘n’ cheese, and short ribs braised in tomato sauce.
At Acadiana the flavors of Louisiana are given a contemporary twist. The menu takes old Bayou classics and adds a little modern refinement and edge. You can get oysters on the half-shell with fresh horseradish, duck jambalaya with Tasso ham and tomatoes, crawfish étouffée, gumbo, and beef tenderloin.
Beuchert’s Saloon serves classic, old-fashioned American fare by Executive Chef Andrew Markert. All of the produce is brought in from the Saloon’s own organic farm in Poolesville, Maryland. The Saloon was established in 1880 by local businessman John Ignatius Beuchert and was used as a speakeasy during the Prohibition era. The farm-to-table philosophy ensures only the best ingredients are used in dishes such as bone marrow with parsley salad, deviled egg plate with radish slaw and toasted shallots, pork belly and shoulder, and braised rabbit with chanterelle mushrooms.