During my year abroad, I had time to discover everything about Washington D.C, which basically became my second home. My friends became my family and Washington my home away from home. Even after 4 years, I still have a clear vision of the city in my head as well as all the places I went to. That unbelievable and exciting year will always be a part of me, that’s why I’m still able to tell you about my favorites dining venues in D.C.
Even if at university I could enjoy the benefits of a full meal plan, I liked to savor a nice lunch with my friends, escape campus and just enjoy the moment, you know ? Here is my selection of nice restaurants in Washington D.C.
Top 6 favorite restaurants in Washington D.C
Tandoori nights – the best Indian place
The first time I ate Indian food was at 19 years old in Washington D.C. After this culinary discovery, I can say that I’m now completely in love with this cuisine. To be honest, I’ve never been able to find anything like Tandoori Nights back in France. The personnel is responsive and welcoming and you’ll be sure to get an impeccable service. Food is also jaw-dropping and it’s good value for money. Margaux’s favorite ? Cheese naans and a tasty chicken Tikka Masala. You can never go wrong with the basics, right ? You’ll find this restaurant in a pretty little town called Bethesda which is accessible by metro.
Mon ami Gabi – a bit of France in the US
Staying one year in the States makes you crave French food. I remember, all that I could think about was eating a good baguette. It was torture not to find proper bread ! However, you can go to this amazing French restaurant, also located in Bethesda, just across Tandoori nights. Actually, I remember one time I got lunch at Tandoori Nights and crossed the street to savor a delicious salted caramel tart for dessert at Mon Ami Gabi. A really fun memory, but that’s another story.
Mon Ami Gabi is an absolutely great place if you want to try French food, and don’t hesitate to sit outside on the terrace where you can enjoy the nice weather.
Nandos – for chicken lovers
Do you know the Portuguese-South African restaurant chain Nandos ? I’ve never heard of it before living in the States. They offer burgers, chicken wings, wraps, steaks, salads, but more importantly grilled chicken. If you are a big fan of lemon like me, then rush to Nandos and try there grilled lemon chicken with their delicious lemon and herbs sauce. Besides, their customer service is beyond reproach, the cashiers are always smiling and you won’t wait long to get your food.
Zaytinya – great Mediterranean cuisine
I went to this restaurant to celebrate one of my friend’s birthday in a warm and cheerful atmosphere. Located downtown, it’s a nice placeto try out if you like mezze and Mediterranean cuisine. At Zaytinya you will find Turkish, Greek as well as Lebanese food. If you take starters, you have to try the falafels with some labneh, it’s de-li-cious. Even though the restaurant is quite huge, the service and quality remain perfect. If you are a big group (max 16 people), try to book the Olympus table located on a little and intimate mezzanine, it’s the best spot.
Iron gate – simply addictive
If you’re looking for a contemporary and upscale restaurant then rush to Iron gate. This place offers a fine dining experience and an original menu. Among the must try: the Maryland shell crab and the caramelized ricotta gnocchi. Real delicacies ! You’ll have to prepare a little budget for this restaurant if you want to enjoy the best dishes. Count between 6 and 49€ for the dinner menu, but if you don’t want to spend too much, I would advise to go for brunch as they serve a nice selection of sweet and salty dishes.
Chef Geoff’s – a must try
This restaurant is situated in Tenleytown, right next to the American University campus. There is a bit of everything on the menu, which is great if you feel like taking a pizza, a salad or a spicy crispy shrimp bowl. I usually took the Chef Geoff’s burger, because I can’t live without burgers and that one is simply divine. Also, make sure to try their cocktails during the happy hour, they create new ones every now and then. You’ll also love the ambience on the patio at night, fairy lights are hung in the trees and give a nice romantic touch to the place. Therefore, if you decide to visit American University you know where to go for an affordable lunch or a delicious brunch.
You can find on the map below additional restaurants that are worth taking a look at !