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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..
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.
Oohh’s & Aahh’s, 1005 U St NW, Washington, D.C., USA +1 202 667 7142
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.
Georgia Brown’s, 950 15th St NW, Washington, D.C., USA +1 202 393 4499
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.
Vidalia, 1990 M St NW, Washington, D.C., USA +1 202 659 1990
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.
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.