On the Road Eats: Washington D.C. City Guide

The Capitol's eateries celebrate American cooking traditions with farm-to-table dinners, fresh local seafood and an extraordinary selection of the nation's finest, handcrafted beers.

Photo by: Dakota Fine ©Dakota Fine

Dakota Fine, Dakota Fine

1. Toki Underground
Up a flight of stairs, this ramen shop serves up hearty bowls like the Toki Classic Ramen that Guy describes as “a seven-course meal sitting inside of a bowl.” He also raves about the vegetarian dumplings, which feature a ginger-and-garlic-laced filling of fried tofu, shiitake mushrooms and daikon radish.  (Photo courtesy of Dakota Fine)


2. Founding Farmers
This eatery takes its cue from a group of farmers -- 42,000 to be exact. Not surprisingly, every dish embodies the restaurant’s belief in farm-fresh, seasonal ingredients. On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Robert relishes in the "devilish" deviled eggs made with crab, lobster and smoked salmon.

3. The Dancing Crab
Don't be fooled by its outside because this Maryland-style crab house has more than 35 years of happy customers. With a few lessons you can pry into the tasty steamed Chesapeake crabs served with butter, spicy seasoning and vinegar. Just ask Giada, whose weekend trip made her an expert.

4. Granville Moore's Belgian Beer & Gastropub
At Granville's, the mussels in the signature Moules Fromage Bleu double as a serving spoon, getting loaded with a delicious broth of white wine, pork belly and the unusual but oh-so-perfect ingredient: blue cheese. The Bobby Throwdown crew and legions of local fans think it's perfect too.

5. Co Co Sala
At Co Co. Sala, dessert takes center stage as diners can skip dinner and head straight to dessert. On Kid in a Candy Store, Adam Gertler marvels at Co Co. Sala's menu featuring three-course and five-course dessert plates with goodies such as espresso panna cotta and chocolate cake with rum syrup.

6. Round Robin Bar at The Willard Hotel
Located a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol, the Round Robin Bar has been serving DC socialites (and our Bobby) its refreshing mint julep since the days of Abraham Lincoln. Want another history lesson? Order from their extensive Scotch menu honoring the traditionally divided six regions of Scotland.

7. Columbia Firehouse
Built in 1883, this Alexandria restaurant began (not surprisingly) as a steam engine fire company. But 126 years later, it launched as a brasserie with a unique historic interior showcasing dark woods and stained glass. For a historically tasty bite, try Rahm Fama's fave: bison short rib stroganoff.

8. Tortilla Café
For a little spice and no DC politics, Tortilla Cafe delivers with Salvadorian pork-and-cheese pupusas. On Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy calls these stuffed tortillas "out of bounds." For more out-of-bounds flavor, try the chicken tamales made with a traditional masa and perfect blend of spices.

9. Tune Inn Restaurant
For more than 60 years, politicians and hungry tourists have ventured to DC's Tune Inn for classic, greasy dive food. Guy raved about the Bon Ton sauce used generously for such specials as Joe's West Virginia sandwich made with American cheese and the beer-battered burger, dripping with flavor.

10. Chocolate Decadence at The Ritz Carlton
As Giada learned on her weekend trip to DC, for less than two Jacksons ($40) you can experience buffet-style chocolate elegance. Every Saturday evening The Ritz Carlton opens their bar to a night of sumptuous chocolate flavors right down to the drinks, including dark chocolate and raspberry martinis.

11. Jaleo
As a famed ambassador of Spanish cuisine, Chef Jose Andres's multiple Jaleo restaurants have become a DC institution. With more than 30 "small plate" tapas to consider and as home to Marc Murphy's favorite paella (stated on The Best Thing I Ever Ate), Jaleo gets a hearty "Ole!" from DC locals.

12. Comet Ping Pong
Swing by Comet Ping Pong for ping pong and pizza made with sustainably farmed ingredients.

13. Clyde's of Georgetown
Since opening in 1963, Clyde's of Georgetown has attracted tourists and bigwigs alike. Even Rachael Ray said Clyde's had "bipartisan support" after feasting from their seasonal menu with stellar prices. Vote for yourself with the local fave: Crab Tower made with a coconut-curry rice cake.

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