This is an open letter to John — who commented on my blog (thanks for reading) — wondering what is the restaurant he shouldn’t miss when he’s in DC next week.

John, I have been contemplating and working on drafting such an entry, so thanks for the prompt.

To sum it up, I don’t think there is just “one” restaurant that is DC.  But I do think, depending on your mood and how often you’ve visited, there are some outstanding options.  I am keeping the suggestions only to within DC-proper and metro accessible. 

With that in mind, here’s the quick personal list (with many more additions to come).  But readers, please chime in!  Before you chastise me for forgetting a “duh” restaurant, remember I typed this bad boy up in 15 minutes.  So it’s seriously a list off the top of my head!

  • Cheap but real DC — Ben’s Chili Bowl.  Everyone goes here.  Anthony Bourdain to Bill Cosby to Bill Clinton.  If you go and you’ve never been, must get the half smoke and fries. 
  • Organic and sustainable — if the environment is your #1 priority or you’re looking for a light but absolutely phenomenal meal, go to Hook.  Although Barton Seaver has left so not sure if it’s still as amazing. 
  • Indian with a twist — RasikaI haven’t reviewed it because it’s been more than a year since I’ve gone.  I’ve been and here’s the review — still love it!  They offer this popcorn at the bar which is sweet and spicy and amazing.  I loved loved loved that popcorn. 
  • Authentic Mexican — Mixtec.  Simple yet good. 
  • Cart food — For lunch, I would honestly recommend the Bulgogi cart.  Unless you’re from NY, you don’t see a lot of carts with options other than hot dogs. 
  • Mussels and frites (and beer) — My new favorite place is Brasserie Beck.  Seriously.  Drool.
  • Thick crispy fries, delicious crab cakes, and beautiful atmosphere — Blue Duck Tavern.  Between Brasserie Beck and Blue Duck, I’m not sure who has the better fries.  It’s definitely a toss-up!
  • Pizza — Hands down it’s 2Amys.  Not metro accessible (really) but so worth the cab fare. 
  • Wine bars — I haven’t been to Cork so I don’t know if it’s cool, but I love Veritas
  • Vodka bar — There’s only one (I think) – Russia House
  • Real Greek food — Mourayo, then you can go to Russia House and Veritas after dinner!
  • Bagels — I really like So’s Your Mom bagels.  Plus their Reuben is delicious.
  • Breakfast — If you want to sit down for breakfast, I think The Diner is quintessential DC.  You’ll see everything from families to cops to hung over people eating here. 
  • Sushi — Sushi Taro if you don’t mind the wait, Tono Sushi especially if you want it delivered or want to hit up a sushi happy hour, or Kaz Sushi
  • Caribbean/Trinidadian — Islander Restaurant.
  • Grocery store listing — Sometimes, you just want to buy a big gallon of water.  To find the closest grocery store to you, visit here.