Drunken falafel is the quintessential D.C. experience, but it’s also pretty delightful to eat while sober. The fast-casual joint welcomes hoards of locals eager to receive its freshly cooked falafel and lets customers add their own toppings at the self-serve topping bar. The falafel is crisped to perfection, and is of better quality than most upscale restaurants in the area. The original location is nestled in an iconic bar strip, and the line is typically out the door past 2 a.m.
This dish will be the most delicious burrata to ever meet your taste buds, and it’s not even real burrata! Made from cashew and almond milk, the faux mozzarella is creamier, richer and less fattening than the more conventional kind. Served on toasted baguette slices (with gluten-free bread available), customers lick the plate clean and don’t even feel bad about doing so.
Bar, Restaurant, American, Japanese, Asian, Soup, Ramen, $$$
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The customizable ramen bowl at this full-service restaurant will far surpass your expectations. Select your spice level on a scale of 1-8, pick your broth (pork, chicken or vegetarian), and add toppings. Who knew cheap noodles could taste like a gourmet dish when you add just the right spices?
Perry’s tuna tartare is life changing, and that’s only a slight exaggeration. The decadently rich, perfectly raw meat melts on your tongue, and the stellar presentation will leave you dreaming about dead fish for months to come. The dish is accompanied with light, perfectly salted rice cakes to add balance and a crispier texture.
D.C.’s own taco chain offers a delectable and healthy breakfast taco. Fill your taco with egg whites, potatoes, tomatoes, and sprinkle on a little extra at the toppings bar. There are optional proteins like bacon, chorizo or cane asada, for those who prefer a meaty start to the day.
This neighborhood Jewish bakery offers an assortment of breads and pastries, and they all taste like heaven. Signs around the bakery prohibit laptop and cellphone use and instead urge you to have a conversation with someone nearby. The policy works, because the freshly baked English muffins and cinnamon chocolate monkey bread will leave you singing praises to anyone who will listen.
You wouldn’t expect a barbecue joint known for its bacon to offer tasty vegan options, but Smoke & Barrel is an enigma. Not only does it offer a wide variety of vegan options, but it also has vegan wings! The wings, cooked from seitan, are coated in barbecue or buffalo sauce just like your average wing — all the yum, none of the guilt.
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Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie at Pie Sisters
The unique flavor combo, the crisp pastry crust and the all around decadency make for an unforgettable, mouthwatering experience at Pie Sisters. Owned and operated by a trio of Washingtonian sisters, the local pie shop is a necessary stop for your palette while in the District. The bourbon chocolate pecan pie is truly genius, managing to balance flavors and create a delicious treat that is tamed down on the sweetness.
Dupont Circle’s local bagery is the quintessential hole in the wall spot for unbelievable food. The quaint eatery offers some of the freshest bagels available in the city for not-so-D.C. prices. Bagels Etc is a narrow, easy to miss spot on a busy street, but the friendly-family staff and loyal cliental keep the business thriving. Order a super bagel for $5 and you’ll get plain cream cheese, sprouts, tomato, onion and optional avocado.