It’s a great time to be a college student in DC right now because Washington’s food scene is on fire. With super trendy restaurants like Momofuku (and a connected Milk Bar) opening downtown, it can be beyond tempting to hop in an Uber to get some of those good eats – but luckily, you can still satisfy every craving without ever leaving Georgetown. Read on for the most legit student guide to DC eats out there:
1. When you can’t spend five more minutes in the library: Saxbys
Maybe it’s finals season, maybe it’s the first week of the semester – everyone has their particular limit on Lau time. Ditch the cubicles for a place with better atmosphere and a bigger coffee selection where you can commiserate with other students about the paper you should have started a week and a half ago. Tables fill up fast so be sure to show up early if you’re set on claiming a study space.
What to Order: You can’t go wrong with basic coffee, but after your third cup, try a cinnamon latte for a change in your caffeine routine.
2. When you’re at the farmer’s market: Swizzler
Wednesdays have never been the same since the farmer’s market came to the Hilltop. The 18+ vendors parked in Red Square every week can tempt you to drop some major $$$ between classes, but most are worth passing on in favor of Swizzler’s gourmet hot dogs. If you’re in a rush, make sure to get there before noon to score a spot at the front of the line.
What to order: The Leonardo Dog Vinci is the ideal hump day lunch. A spiral-cut hot dog, drizzled with pesto and studded with fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes, is a dream tucked inside a warm pretzel bun. Add a side of parmesan truffle fries for a combo that will make you feel like you’re way off campus.
3. When you want in on the DC brunch scene: Peacock Cafe
Farmers Fishers Bakers gets all the hype as the #1 Georgetown brunch spot, but you can only visit a $30 fixed-price all-you-can-eat-buffet a few times before you swear off cinnamon rolls forever. With a smaller menu and more intimate atmosphere, Peacock Cafe is ideal for a more low-key, less binge-y brunch experience.
What to order: The All-American, with eggs, bacon, and potatoes, is everything you could want on a breakfast plate.
4. When your parents are paying: 1789
If you want a chance of seeing Leonardo DiCaprio over your cheese plate, 1789 is your place. Only a block off campus, you’ll have plenty of time to see the monuments, go shopping, and take a walk on the waterfront all before dinner. Make sure you take advantage of the five-course menu to get your fill of everything you can’t afford the rest of the year.
What to order: The dinner menu is ridic, but dessert is where it’s really at. The chocolate espresso tart is a decadent choice, but lighter options like coconut sherbet and roasted pineapple sorbet are just as delicious.
5. When you’re too broke to eat out: Wisemiller’s
Not to be confused with “healthy Wisey’s” on Wisconsin, the OG Wisey’s is the birthplace of the Hot Chick & Chicken Madness sandwiches, which may or may not have actually won the GUSA elections of 2016. And with only one $ on Yelp, this is the place to go if you want off-campus delicious without bringing your bank account even further into the red.
What to order: The Hot Chick. Duh.
#SpoonTip: If you’re seriously that broke, recreate the sandwich with this guide.
6. When you’re eating for the Insta: Chaia
Ice cream and donut-filled feeds are played out, so pump yours up with a different kind of food porn. Chaia’s bright, light wood & window-filled interior is the perfect backdrop for taco shots that are sure to rake in the likes. Plus, the menu is entirely vegetarian, without a trace of tofu – bring veggie-loving and carnivorous friends alike to enjoy some farm to taco goodness.
What to order: The taco trio is the perfect size for a meal. The options change seasonally, but some all-stars are the butternut squash, skillet corn, and roasted carrot tacos. If it’s a weekend, be sure to put an egg on top for the ultimate money shot.
7. When you want something sweet: Baked & Wired
There are tons of dessert options in the neighborhood, from super-famous Georgetown Cupcake to more local gems like T. Sweet’s, but Baked & Wired is most Georgetown students’ top pick for a reason. We’ve got the munchies for any of the shop’s cupcake flavors, but the coffee bar is good enough to justify making the trip down to the waterfront. This place is getting more well-known, and the line can be brutal, so try to go earlier in the day.
What to order: Forget clean eats at the place – the dirty chai is the way to go, in both cupcake and latte form.
8. When you’re tryna pig out: Good Stuff Eatery
Take a break from Shake Shack and have your cheat meal at Good Stuff: whether you want to get down and dirty with a classic bacon burger or go more bougie with a banh mi-inspired patty, you can get it here with a shake and fries on the side.
What to order: The Spike’s Sunnyside burger is a classic – pair with an unconventional shake flavor like toasted marshmallow for a not so well-rounded meal.
9. When you want something healthy: Sweetgreen
Recover from your Good Stuff (or real) hangover with some clean eats from Sweetgreen, which recently amped up its health initiative by banning bacon and Sriracha from the menu. As if you needed another reason to feel good about eating at Sweetgreen, the chain was founded by two Georgetown grads, so you support a fellow Hoya while eating healthy.
What to order: Anything seasonal; it’s impossible to get stuck in a rut with a menu that changes every few months.
10. When you can’t decide on a type of cuisine: Curry & Pie
Indian? Italian? American? Okay, mostly Indian, but you can get your chicken tikka masala on non-naan pizza crust, so it’s a little ambiguous. Tucked away on 34th Street, it’s still a well-kept secret, but be sure to visit soon before it blows up like Buredo and the few small tables get harder to claim.
What to order: Once, a table of six girls ate 5+ orders of naan (2 flatbreads per order, you do the math). Don’t pass it up.
11. When you want #draaanks with dinner: Los Cuates
Whether it’s for GNO or a Tinder date that would be unbearable without alcohol, Los Cuates is the place to go if you want a pitcher (or ten) with your chips. But FYI, be careful with fakes – they got raided about a year ago and can be selectively strict.
What to order: Chips and guac with a classic marg makes every day feel like Cinco de Drinko.
12. When you want to postgame: Quick Pita
There’s nothing like warm pita at 1 am to soak up all those shots in your stomach, and the restaurant’s proximity to bars like Piano Bar, Chinese Disco, and The Tombs make it perfect for those times when you needed food, like, an hour ago. But no worries if you’ve already made it back home because they still deliver late into the night.
What to order: You want drunchies, not another dinner, so keep it light with a hummus sandwich. Bonus: they did the dipping for you, so you’re less likely to end up a drunken, chickpea spread-stained mess.
13. When you’re hungover: Jaco Juice & Taco Bar
There are two types of hangovers: the ones where you swear to only drink green juice for the rest of your life, and the ones where you really want something with more grease than your middle school self’s forehead. But no matter how you handle the morning after, you can find something at Jaco to bring you back to life. Plus, the sunny, California-inspired atmosphere helps you to (almost) forget your pounding headache.
What to order: If you’re the BEC hangover type, embrace your true self with the aptly-named Hot Mess burrito, which packs sausage, potatoes, onions, and cheese into an egg-filled tortilla. But if you’re desperate for a detox, order a Mean Green juice.
14. When it’s Valentine’s Day: Martin’s Tavern
JFK proposed to Jackie in one of the booths here – if that doesn’t get you in a romantic mood, you probably should rethink your Valentine’s Day date. With cozy, old-timey atmosphere and a menu full of comfort food, this place will put you, and hopefully your date, in a cuddly mood.
What to order: The shepherd’s pie and bread pudding are perfect to share with a date on a cold February night.
15. When it’s Galentine’s Day: Pinstripes
Not that you need a reason for a Friday night friend date, but it’s about time that you and the girls find yourselves a restaurant that can do both (read: A+ food and 10/10 entertainment). Nothing goes better with bowling and bocce than a dope app menu and $4 wine, amirite?
What to order: $4 wine. Four. Dollar. Wine. FOUR DOLLAR WINE. Also, the flatbreads are amazing. But in case you couldn’t tell, you should really get the ($4) wine.