18 Mistakes You’re Making at DC Restaurants

Laura Hayes/Thrillist
Laura Hayes/Thrillist

Eating seems simple enough. Get food, bring to mouth, chew, swallow, repeat. No problem, right? WRONG! Here are 18 common DC restaurant mistakes you’re probably making.

1. Trying to fit the whole Proper Burger at Duke’s Grocery in your mouth

No one will judge if you knife and fork your way through this beast, especially if you’re wearing something stupid like seersucker. The tall stack has two patties, Gouda, avocado, charred red onions, sweet chili sauce, dill pickles, arugula, garlic aioli, a duck egg, and chicken liver pate.

2. Opening OpenTable at 6pm on a Friday

Same-day reservations went out the window when we started kicking ass at food in the past few years. People come here just to eat now, so plan ahead. That being said, you can now use RESY and pay for a coveted primetime reservation.

Laura Hayes/Thrillist

3. Wussing out on the “Let’s Go to the Jungle” menu at Thip Khao

Stopping short of the most authentic Lao cuisine at Thip Khao is like folding with a pocket pair. Of aces. Test your strength by ordering the “extremely spicy papaya salad” or a dish containing pork-blood cakes.

4. Showing up at Izakaya Seki on a Tuesday

The Japanese restaurant expounds upon its quirky personality by being closed on a super-random day of the week.

Laura Hayes/Thrillist

5. Failing to ask for your grilled cheese “Freddy style” at Stoney’s

You’ve already asked for your grilled cheese to arrive as a super grilled cheese with bacon, tomato, and onion. Now drop “Freddy style” ensuring they’ll also stuff it with chicken tenders.

6. Ruling out Panda Gourmet because it’s in a skeevy hotel

Or because you’re confusing it with Panda Express. It may well be the best Chinese within the borders of the District. Peter Chang has jurisdiction over Maryland and Virginia. So go ahead and drive to the Days Inn and order mapo tofu.

Laura Hayes/Thrillist

7. Not ordering a slushito at Estadio

A beer? What are you THINKING? Trust us, you want a boozy slushie. No one will think you’re a kid with a sippy cup because the seasonal drinks are sophisticated. We like this summery/spa-like concoction containing cucumber, white pepper, manzanilla sherry, gin, and basil.

8. Instagramming the pork lychee salad at Rose’s Luxury AFTER you mix it

The before shot looks like food porn, the after shot looks like cat food. Do the right thing!

Rey Lopez

9. Ruling out the vegetable ramen at Daikaya because you eat meat

The loaded vegetarian bowl is the best, so don’t skip it just because pork has its own level on your personal food pyramid. Also don’t forget to pay a little extra for an egg on top.  

10. Ending up at the wrong acronym restaurant

You were supposed to meet your friends for gourmet grilled cheese at GCDC but you ended up at DBGB, GBD, GRK, DGS, or STK. By the time you can correct your error, your friends will be finished with their poutine tots.

G by Mike Isabella

11. Eating something other than a G sandwich at Nationals Park

Be a breadwinner by ordering a G by Mike Isabella sandwich at the ballpark instead of a soggy hot dog. More specifically you want the Italian hoagie.

12. Not knowing the restaurants that require you to queue

The only person that can waltz into Little Serow, Rose’s Luxury, and sometimes Toki Underground is the president. And maybe Bono, but we can’t be sure. Complaining about waiting in said lines is also passé.

DCity Smokehouse

13. Dining in at DCity Smokehouse

These guys make the best BBQ in the city. Don’t ruin it by grabbing one of the four wall-facing seats and attempting to eat brisket in a space hotter than a tanning bed in hell. Take it to go and pray that bigger location opens soon.

14. Stuffing your face before the ribs come at Little Serow

Pacing is more important than anything else at this Thai gem. If you consume sticky rice and the first six courses without restraint, there’s no chance you’ll have real estate for pork ribs marinated in Mekhong whiskey.

Laura Hayes/Thrillist

15. Not hitting the sauce bar at Maki Shop

The super-fast sushi spot that uses Japanese technology to roll and wrap maki is a solid B+ unless you hit the sauce bar which takes it to an A. That’s because you can sub standard soy sauce for Sriracha mayo, yuzu mayo, or other creamy, caloric awesomesauce.

16. Going to Sign of the Whale during guest bartender night

Be very afraid of the phrase, “Come live the dream, one cocktail at a time on any Wednesday! No experience necessary.” It’s hard enough to get a drink there when professionals are behind the stick.

Laura Hayes/Thrillist

17. Skipping the ice cream luge at Pop’s SeaBar

We’re confident no one else dares to run amaro down the side of a mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich, creating the potential for your sexiest selfie to date.

18. Overcomplicating things at 2 Amys

You don’t need a pie topped with anchovies, cockles, or polpettine at 2 Amys, though they’re offered. Stay true to the three simplistic pies that have D.O.C (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) status. This basically means Italy gives the marinara, margherita, and margherita-extra pizzas official stamps of approval.

Sign up here for our daily DC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.