D.C., Food, Hidden Gems, New Student Guide 2018

August 20, 2018

Guide to Dining in DC

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While you’re at Georgetown, do remember that you don’t live in a bubble: Washington, D.C.’s food and dining scene is a burgeoning giant — and there are plenty of options for you once you get tired of crusty Leo’s burgers and sad salad bar spinach.

Venture off campus for a quick bite in the Georgetown neighborhood with trips to Wisconsin Avenue and down to M Street — and remember to Instagram your D.C. food explorations with #DCFoodPorn or #DCEats.

Quick Bites in Georgetown
Just about every Georgetown student swears by a Hot Chick or Chicken Madness sandwich from Wisemiller’s Grocery & Deli (1236 36th St. NW) — better known as Wisey’s. These classics feature chopped spicy chicken tenders, cheese and spicy mayo in the Hot Chick and provolone, peppers and diced grilled chicken in the Chicken Madness. Pick up a bagel or cookie on your way out, and don’t forget to sign your receipt!

On Wisconsin, take a stroll to Boulangerie Christophe (1422 Wisconsin Ave. NW) for a Parisian flair: This cafe offers a range of salmon, ham and vegetarian sandwiches, as well as quiche and classic baguettes. Grab an iced coffee and idle in the open-air patio with views of a faux French town painted on the walls.

While on Wisconsin Avenue, venture into Kung Fu Tea (1529 Wisconsin Ave. NW) for reasonably priced milk or fruit teas — with a boba topping as well. This spot is the go-to place for tasty bubble tea and offers a range of size, ice and sugar options, as well as flavored slushies and warm teas. Our recommendation: the classic milk tea with boba with light ice and regular sweetness. For a more adventurous taste, try the Italian Mocha slush with boba.

If you’re looking for the go-to cheap eat, you must stop at Falafel, Inc. (1210 Potomac St. NW): Its $3 falafel sandwiches cannot be beat this side of Rock Creek. Plus, you’re contributing to a good cause with every purchase: The shop was founded to contribute aid to the refugee crisis in the Middle East and donates a day’s worth of food to a refugee for every $10 of profit.

For a cup of coffee, stop by Baked & Wired (1052 Thomas Jefferson St. NW), where you can also grab a monstrous cupcake — or as they call it, a “cake cup” — biscotti or a range of baked goods. We recommend these cupcakes the most but do visit Georgetown Cupcake (3301 M St. NW) for an adorable Instagram.

For more cheap eats, check out Eater D.C. or Washingtonian’s Cheap Eats 2018 list for delicious and affordable options.

Healthier Options South of the Canal
So you want a lighter bite and want to do some walking? Venture down to Grace Street under the C&O Canal for a mecca of health foods. Just 10 minutes from campus at a faster walking pace, Grace Street features healthy-eating spots like vegetarian taco joint Chaia (3207 Grace St. NW), acai and smoothie fixture South Block Juice Co., artisanal coffee shop Grace Street Coffee Roasters and globally inspired sandwich company SUNdeVICH (3210 Grace St. NW).

If you’re going up or down Wisconsin, you might also consider a stop in the biggest Sweetgreen (1044 Wisconsin Ave. NW) salad shop in the District. This two-story storefront is the latest Georgetown iteration of the national chain founded by Hoyas.

Classic Georgetown Destinations
Share a pitcher and a sandwich with friends at Booeymonger (3265 Prospect St. NW) — or Booey’s for short — once you’re 21. Beer pitchers start at around $6 during happy hour and the breakfast sandwich — Chicken Little — is a filling option with bacon, egg and cheese on your choice of a bagel.

No other Georgetown tradition compares to a dinner or drink at The Tombs (1226 36th St. NW). An underground college bar featuring classic pub food and a delicious Sunday brunch, this space underneath a classier sister restaurant is the place to go at midnight for your 21st birthday, and tradition holds that a Georgetown student’s first official drink be conducted here. Pro tip: Call it “Tombs” and never “The Tombs.”

So you want cheap drinks and acceptable Thai food? Mai Thai (3251 Prospect St. NW) is the Asian fusion joint for you. Affordable, filling and a boisterous social scene for freshmen, Mai Thai is a great restaurant to grab dinner with friends and still have leftovers for lunch the next day. You can’t go wrong with the Red Curry, and don’t forget happy hour for the $4 sushi rolls and $15 cocktail pitchers. Tip: Come for your birthday and receive a hefty discount on any dinner entree.

Have a hunger for spice and rice? Visit Curry & Pie (1204 34th St. NW) for a flavorful, inventive combination of Indian and Italian cuisine. Traditional Indian dishes are served in one of two ways: on a pizza pie or presented with a side or rice. Definitely get the flaky samosas while you’re here, and top it off with a Mango Lassi, a sweet, rich and creamy mango-yogurt drink.

Of course, for the authentic Italian experience, you must slip into Il Canale (1065 31st St. NW), a classic Italian restaurant with delicious pizzas. Stop by for a margherita pizza or tasty lasagna while looking out for possible Hoya love interests — it’s a popular date spot — or the Clintons.

Treat-Yourself Brunch
So you got a little extra money or your parents are in town? Take a trip to the classic D.C. restaurant: Le Diplomate (1601 14th St. NW) for a French-American taste unique to D.C. The city’s best French onion soup can be found here, as well as the best omelet and Eggs Norwegian in the D.C. metro area. “Le Dip,” as the locals call it, is also a great dinner spot.

Farmers Fishers Bakers (3000 K St. NW) by the Georgetown waterfront is the most popular spot for brunch. The all-you-can-eat weekend and holiday brunches are pricey ($32.50 per person) but worth it on a special occasion. The name says it all: plenty of poultry, plenty of seafood and plenty of starch — this place has it all, including a long wait, so make a reservation using the application OpenTable well in advance

The Sovereign (1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW), tucked into an alley at the crossroads of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, is a Belgian bar and bistro that also boasts a mouth-watering weekend brunch menu. A range of delicious meals can be topped off with a Belgian waffle and two bubbly or savory brunch cocktails for an additional $10.

Making a Day of It
Appreciate the street vendors and yummy brunch spots that line the streets of Seventh Street in Southeast with an afternoon trip to Eastern Market (225 Seventh St. SE), an old school indoor market building surrounded by outdoor stalls and fresh fruit and vegetables from local farmers. After a morning of shopping, the best place to grab a bite is at Market Lunch (225 Seventh St. SE), a small vendor inside the market’s building. Its weekend shrimp and grits are popular, as are its blueberry buckwheat pancakes.

For cheaper bites while still out in the city, swing by Union Market (1305 5th St. NE) for the essential indoor food hall/market experience. Artisanal vendors can prepare you Venezuelan arepas, Ethiopian fast-casual, jerk chicken empanadas and so much more. Grab a bite and swing by the new Politics & Prose bookstore or watch a movie at Angelika Pop Up, all within walking distance of a Metro station.

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