I’ve spent a ton of time in this awesome city and if there’s one thing I can tell the average tourist it is this: Don’t get so caught up in visiting all of the historical monuments that you miss out on all of the cultural vibrancy and loads of fun that this town has to offer. Don’t get me wrong – the museums and art galleries are all great and some of the best in the nation – so I completely understand why places like the Smithsonian and the Washington Monument and African American Museum make it to the top of everyone’s list. But we’re interested in food and the diverse culture of DC here. Whatever it is you’re in the mood for you can trust that this beautiful city has about ten different restaurants that serve it. Russian, Turkish, Ethiopian, French, Peruvian, Indian, Mediterranean – the list goes on and on. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially given the fact that so many of the restaurants and fine dining establishments are award winners.
Georgetown’s Peacock Café, Sequoia and Fiola Mare are popular and trendy upscale establishments that come alive in the evening, especially during the summer months when the harbor is bustling with energy. Fourteenth Street is popular for having a lot of clubs such as The Park on 14th and is a great place to head if you want to dance the night away. Garden District is one of my personal favorites and is a quaint little hangout that has great beer and is always packed in the warmer seasons.
Areas like Adams Morgan are popular for the younger crowd and are popular for their endless rows of dive bars like famous Madame’s Organ and more. Or, head to U Street Corridor which is the newest hip and trendy are of them all. This place is full of bars, clubs, and awesome lounges. Spots like gastropub The Fainting Goat, Church Key and Café Saint-Ex are local favorites and are sure to be packed every weekend evening. Take my advice and just Uber to wherever you are going. The parking rates get crazy and you never know which garage will close before your evening is over and street parking will take you at least 30 minutes or more to find on a weekend night.
One of my personal favorites is a place called Café Milano which is a beautiful Italian restaurant hidden away on Prospect Street in the Northwest district in Georgetown. Café Milano is where you go when you want private dining, fine wine and refined Italian cuisine and is frequented by notable figures in the area.
The absolute best kabob that I have ever had in my life is located just outside of the heart of DC in Crystal City. Kabob Palace is that place you and your friends head to when you’ve spent the entire night dancing it away at a club and you’re starving because you spent all week prepping to fit into that brand new killer dress you bought for your night out. This place has the best chick peas and chabli kabob I’ve ever had in my life. Last but not least – Ben’s Chili Bowl is a local favorite with even people like Barack Obama hitting it up for a chili dog. It’s more of a landmark than a restaurant and a definite must-see for any incoming traveler.