Eat Seeker

Where to Eat in Washington DC Right Now

Making a decision about where to eat these days is a serious ordeal. On top of the normal analysis paralysis of what you’re in the mood for, there are the added COVID-19 considerations. Are they still open? Do they deliver here? Can we eat outdoors? What’s their menu now? If all of that is actually making you lose your appetite, we’re here to help. We have updated our restaurant bible for pandemic times, featuring a few brave newcomers from 2020, plus our never-fail favorites that have been chugging along these past five years. Whether you need quick and comforting weeknight takeout or a safe place to go where you can still experience a sense of occasion, you’ll find something on this list that fits the bill.

Reveler’s Hour

Adams Morgan
The gist: The Tail Up Goat team opened a sister restaurant -- a pasta and wine bar -- that has survived both a freak fire and a pandemic in 2020 so far. 
The food: The space is now open for dine-in service, but they’ve also converted part of the operation into a casual and fun wine shop, where you can get sandwiches, bottles, baked goods, or a full dinner for takeout. The menu changes regularly, but stars housemade breads and lots of pasta, like bucatini with tomatoes and anchovy or corn and ricotta ravioli. 
The cost: Dinner is available as a tasting menu for $45 per person or a la carte between $12-26 per dish. 
How to order: Make a reservation for indoor dining on Resy or order takeout on the website.


Penn Quarter
The gist: This restaurant and sake lounge by a Catalonian chef explores the intersections of Spanish and Japanese cuisine through Mid-Atlantic ingredients. 
The food: The Spanish kaiseki menu combines unique flavors in multiple formats -- a six-course omakase, tapas and a la carte dishes, and bento boxes. The dishes change regularly, but highlights include shiitake mushroom croquetas, duck and water chestnut gyozas, and cold capellini with hazelnut-lime dressing with tororo kombu.
The cost: Omakase is $88 per person with an optional $45 beverage pairing. Tapas and a la carte dishes are $3-28.
How to order: Make a reservation for indoor dining on OpenTable or order takeout and delivery on Tock or various delivery platforms.


Navy Yard
The gist: The Middle Eastern chef behind Albi pulled from his own heritage and the traditions of the Levant for both the restaurant and the sister cafe next door, Yellow.
The food: Much of the food comes from the coals of the hearth, like prawns with harissa garlic butter and smoked chicken with corn succotash and pepper tahini. Pair these with refreshing mezze, including puffy pita and creamy hummus, addictive batata tots, and crispy rice. Don’t skip the brown butter knafeh or the halva and labneh soft serve ice cream for dessert or the Middle Eastern wines and cocktails.
The cost: Dishes range from $6-48.
How to order: Make a reservation for indoor and outdoor dining or order takeout on Tock.


Navy Yard
The gist: The chefs who opened Maydan set their sights on a new project inspired by their travels through the Caribbean. 
The food: The offerings draw from the chefs’ experiences in Jamaica, Trinidad, and Barbados.  The namesake dish is a Jamaican staple -- a cassava root flatbread marinated in coconut milk and fried until golden brown. It’s perfect for soaking up the vibrant flavors on your plate, like goat curry, stewed chickpeas, jerk sauce, and collard greens in coconut milk. 
The cost: Dishes range from $5-20.
How to order: Make a reservation for outdoor dining on Resy or order takeout and delivery on Toast.


Multiple locations
The gist: This Jersey-style, Italian-American joint comes from the folks who brought you The Red Hen and Boundary Stone. 
The food: Pizza is the focus, and the crust hits all the right notes, striking a balance between sweet and savory and crispy and chewy. Choose from more traditional Italian preparations like the Sicilian marinara, or nontraditional interpretations like the Duke #7 with ‘nduja. Plus, on the weekends, try the pop-up Delikatessen menu from the Shaw location.
The cost: Dishes range from $6-20.
How to order: Order takeout and delivery on Toast.
The gist: After years of planning, this forward-thinking, plant-centric restaurant and bar is finally a reality, changing the DNA of a kitchen and a menu, all with sustainability in mind. 
The food: Mid-Atlantic vegetables take center stage, with an opening menu of farm dinners for two and casual handheld offerings, all available for takeout only. The four-course vegetarian or vegan farm dinners are available Thursday through Sunday, with rotating hyper-local and micro-seasonal offerings. On Wednesdays, grab king mushroom cheesesteaks and lentil veggie burgers in compostable to-go packaging. Pair it all with organic and biodynamic wines.
The cost: Farm dinners for two are $65. Wines range from $22-33.
How to order: Order takeout on Tock.
Courtesy of Anju


Dupont Circle
The gist: The team behind CHIKO reinvented the original Mandu space with a contemporary Korean restaurant and pub. 
The food: Anju’s menu is inspired by the traditions of street markets, pub fare, and dynasty-era cuisine, but it’s not afraid to bring the unexpected. The restaurant is currently offering a little bit of everything in tasting menu format, from chilled noodles in spicy chili dressing to fried chicken and ssam platters. Plus, for dessert there’s lemon pound cake with yakult gelato or buttermilk panna cotta with watermelon ice.
The cost: The tasting menu is $60 per person with an option to add a $30 beverage pairing.
How to order: Make a patio reservation on Resy or order takeout and delivery on Toast or Caviar.
Bresca | Rey Lopez


U Street
The gist: Sustainability meets luxury at this Michelin-starred hotspot, which is also the city’s first carbon neutral Zero FoodPrint member. 
The food: Bresca recently renewed its dine-in operations in the intimate upstairs space that will soon become sister restaurant Jônt. Guests can order from a progressive, five-course menu of reimagined French fare like a courgette tart and dry-aged duck a la presse. On Sundays, there’s a special lunch menu inspired by European high tea with canapes, caviar, and lobster.
The cost: The prix-fixe tasting menu is $75 per person, but is also available a la carte, with dishes ranging from $8-$60. Cocktails are $15-20 and wines start at $12 a glass.
How to order: Make a reservation for indoor dining or order takeout on Tock.

Call Your Mother Deli

Multiple locations
The gist: The pandemic hasn’t slowed this bagel empire one bit -- it now has three brick-and-mortar locations (in Park View, Capitol Hill, and Georgetown), plus a trolley parked in Bethesda.
The food: As a Jew-ish deli, the menu offers the expected bagels, schmear, and fish fixins, but also riffs on traditional fare with unusual bagel sandwiches like one with herb cream cheese, bacon, jalapeños, and purple cabbage slaw. The wood-fired bagels are a unique mix of New York and Montreal-style bagels -- with just the right amount of chew and a hint of honey. 
The cost: Bagels and sandwiches range from $4-10. Coffees are $3-5.
How to order: Order takeout on Toast.
Cane | ABBY GREENAWALT/Thrillist


H Street
The gist: This Michelin Bib Gourmand-recognized restaurant showcases Caribbean street food by Trinidadian siblings. 
The food: Cane’s menu has tried and true favorites from the chef’s former venture, Spark, as well as new specials. Think jerk wings and a whole fried snapper, plus an oxtail pepper pot and paratha tiffin boxes, which are stacked stainless steel tins filled with assorted curries and flatbread. Doubles are the ideal street food snack, consisting of bread topped with cumin-spiced chickpeas. 
The cost: Dishes range from $6-45.
How to order: Order takeout and delivery on Doordash or Caviar.

Colada Shop

Multiple locations
The gist: The colorful Cuban café that started on 14th Street now has a brand new location at The Wharf.
The food: The original menu focused on flaky pastelitos, stuffed empanadas, pressed sandwiches, and plantain chips, but has now expanded to add a larger breakfast menu and customizable rice and salad bowls at its second outpost. Cocktails are very rum-focused, with mojitos and Cuba libres, plus a few frozen options as well. The coffee program has classic espresso drinks alongside specialties like café Cubano and café bon bon.
The cost: Food ranges from $3-15. Coffee is $3-6. Cocktails hover around $10.
How to order: Visit for limited capacity indoor and outdoor dining or order takeout and delivery on Toast.
The gist: This hardcore hyper-local restaurant is on a mission to define the Mid-Atlantic region’s culinary identity. 
The food: You won’t find imported olives or Alaskan king crab on the menu at this Michelin-starred spot, but instead the dishes sing the praises of seasonal ingredients that can be grown or foraged in the area. The restaurant is currently offering a rotating prix-fixe menu to-go, with dishes like sweet potato rolls with fried Chesapeake catfish, chilled melon salad, grilled North Carolina trout, and more. Plus, there’s an outdoor pop-up in Blagden Alley with a more casual version of the Dabney experience. 
The cost: The set menu is $45 per person. Dishes on the pop-up menu range from $6-26.
How to order: Make a reservation for the pop-up or order takeout on Tock.


Mount Pleasant
The gist: This all-day café comes from the Paisley Fig baker and is situated in the former Heller’s Bakery space. 
The food: Pre-pandemic, Ellē offered an inventive dinner menu, but for now it’s focused on daytime offerings -- coffee, quiche, sandwiches, salads, and a unique selection of sweet and savory pastries and breads, from scones and hand pies to country sourdough and caraway rye loaves. The cafe also has grocery and retail offerings like pickled, cured, and fermented goods.
The cost: Food and coffee ranges from $2-32.
How to order: Order takeout on Square.

Fancy Radish

H Street
The gist: Philadelphia’s Vedge Restaurant Group sprouted a new concept in DC that’s all about plant-based cooking.
The food: With influences from both Vedge and V Street, the Fancy Radish menu features unique preparations that elevate produce, like rutabaga fondue with a soft baked pretzel or dan dan noodles with spicy sesame sauce, Sichuan peppercorn, and five-spice glazed mushrooms. The bar offerings include vegetal cocktails (the cucumber gimlet is refreshing for summer) and natural wines. 
The cost: Dishes range from $9-16. Cocktails are $10-12.
How to order: Order takeout on MobileBytes.

Little Sesame

Multiple locations
The gist: This Israeli-inspired hummus shop has become a cult-favorite and has stayed busy working as an emergency kitchen during the pandemic.
The food: The original Golden Triangle location is open for business again, with a menu of hummus bowls and pita sandwiches. Choose from seasonal combinations like sumac-marinated tomatoes with roasted garlic, tahini, pine nuts, and za’atar or standbys like cauliflower shawarma with everything spice. Don’t skip the two flavors of dairy-free soft-serve: vanilla tahini or dark chocolate Turkish coffee.
The cost: Food ranges from $5-12.
How to order: Order takeout or delivery on Toast.

Mama Chang

The gist: The latest restaurant in the Chang empire honors the women in the family with home-style cooking.
The food: The menu is about comforting, traditional cuisine from the provinces of Hunan, Szechuan, and Hubei. Many of the dishes are ones that the Changs frequently enjoy at home and that have been passed down through generations. Signatures include fish ball stew, dry fried cauliflower, farmer’s stir fry, and sesame shaobing.
The cost: Most dishes range from $5-35.
How to order: Order takeout on KwickMenu.


14th Street
The gist: A fresh culinary team is breathing new life into this fiery Michelin-starred restaurant that showcases the flavors of the Silk Road. 
The food: Maydan is currently offering a prix-fixe “Tawle” experience. Meaning table in Arabic, this family-style menu is intended to be shared with a group. It features spreads, small plates, vegetables, and meats from the hearth, and a center plate choice of whole grilled fish, ribeye, or lamb shank. Everything pairs beautifully with the assortment of spice-laden condiments and fresh Georgian bread.
The cost: The menu is $65 per person. Drinks range from $7-15.
How to order: Make a patio reservation or order takeout on Tock.

Rooster & Owl

Columbia Heights
The gist: The farmers’ market dictates the menu at this build-your-own tasting menu restaurant where sharing is encouraged. 
The food: The offerings change based on what’s in season, but each guest gets to choose their courses for the tasting menu from a selection of vegetable-forward dishes. Right now, highlights include watermelon with green curry and herbs, ravioli with grilled corn and lemon beurre fondue, seafood paella, and a cornflake bakewell tart.
The cost: The tasting menu is $75 per person with add-ons and beverage pairings available.
How to order: Make a reservation for indoor and outdoor dining on Resy or order takeout and on Tock.

Taco Bamba

Multiple locations
The gist: This popular taqueria now has five locations in Northern Virginia and added an additional four satellite drop zones to expand access to great tacos. 
The food: The menus at each location differ slightly, but they all have a selection of breakfast items, traditional tacos, specialty tacos, tortas, and miscellaneous additional options like nachos, Mexican street corn, tostadas, and tamales. Go for the unusual signature items -- especially the Temple of Doom taco with butter chicken, cucumber, and cilantro.
The cost: Tacos are $3.50-4.50 each and prices for other items range from $3-17.
How to order: Order takeout and delivery on their website.
April Greer/Thrillist


H Street
The gist: The mother-daughter team formerly behind Toli Moli is continuing their mission to share Burmese food and culture at their new full-service restaurant. 
The food: The food draws from Burmese family traditions, and right now the restaurant is offering a limited menu of dinner box sets and meal kits, as well as offerings from partners. Check out the Black farm bag, BIPOC pantry, and Tex-mex breakfast tacos. 
The cost: Sandwiches are $20, dinner boxes start at $78, and breakfast tacos are $15 for 3.
How to order: Order takeout on Toast or delivery on Skip the Line.