If you are visiting DC soon, live here or your parents/friends are visiting and you have no idea where to go, you will probably end up on the red line on the metro (fun fact: It’s the longest line). This list is in the order of the Shady Grove to Glenmont route.
1. Shady Grove: Rincon Peruano
This restaurant is truly the hidden gem of Shady Grove—mostly because you have to go through the Metro Beer & Wine store in order to get to it. If you can find it, you will be rewarded with good portions of great Peruvian food. Be prepared to get takeout, though, because the restaurant is relatively small.
2. Rockville: CremCafe
DC isn’t the only place that loves brunch—Maryland loves it too. CremCafe’s all-day brunch is looking out for all of the hungover students who woke up after brunch hours ended.
3. Twinbrook: Silver Diner
Silver Diner is a chain of restaurants that exist in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey (praying that D.C. is next). Each of the restaurants is open very late and the people who work there are work quickly and are incredibly nice. Speaking from experience, if it’s 2am and you’re craving a burger, Silver Diner is where you should go.
4. White Flint: Izē’s Deli & Bagelry
I’m extremely partial to New York bagels and generally consider all other bagels wrong, but Izē’s bagels are some of the best in the DMV.
5. Grosvenor – Strathmore: Grosvenor Market
This is a grocery store but with wine and amazing sandwiches, which happens to be one of the only food pairings necessary for life.
6. Medical Center: South Street Steaks
The cheesesteaks alone are worth the trip to Medical Center. But the real attraction is watching people attempt The Misteak Challenge.
7. Bethesda: Max Brenner Chocolate Bar
I wouldn’t go to Max Brenner’s for a meal, but they have the best dessert that you will ever have. From their rich milkshakes to the crepes, everything has chocolate in it (a restaurant truly after my heart).
8. Friendship Heights: Potomac Pizza
I firmly believe that pizza is one of the best things to happen to the world and the people at Potomac Pizza definitely agree based on the taste of their pizza.
9. Tenleytown – AU: Burger Tap & Shake
The six buck chuck, which is only $6 without added toppings, is flavorful and a good price. If you’re not a fan of beef or even meat at all, the alternative options are just as good, if not better.
10. Van Ness – UDC: Pho 14
This is that pho restaurant that you keep overhearing all of the cool kids talk about.
11. Cleveland Park: Medium Rare
The veggie lovers might want to sit this one out because this restaurant is all about steak. That’s fine by me because they’re very good at it.
12. Woodley Park Zoo – Adams Morgan: Open City
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me how great Open City is—well, I’d probably use the money to eat at Open City, but that’s beside the point. This is a must visit brunch spot.
13. Dupont Circle: Beefsteak
This is a José Andrés restaurant with healthy food but healthy food that tastes good. You’ll love it here if you are into the whole Chipotle “build your own meal” thing.
14. Farragut North: Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken Food Truck
All of the food trucks in Farragut Square are super cheap and amazing but Astro Doughnuts‘ food truck usually has the longest line and for good reason. The combination of chicken and doughnuts is great but the best part is that the service is pretty fast, which is important because if you’re in Farragut you’re probably at your internship on a lunch break.
15. Metro Center: District Taco
Every #tacotuesday should be spent here because the tacos are amazing. Once you get your tacos there is a bar with toppings and sauces, which are all worthy of being tasted—seriously, try them all.
16. Gallery Place – Chinatown: Oyamel Cocina Mexicana
Oyamel is an upscale Mexican restaurant that is conveniently close to both the metro and tons of museums. Also, the restaurant itself is beautifully designed, which makes eating there a fun experience.
17. Judiciary Square: Rasika
Ok, so this Indian restaurant is definitely on the more expensive side but it is worth it. Come here for a night out with bae. And make sure you have a reservation because this restaurant is poppin’.
18. Union Station: Roti Mediterranean Grill
Your train out of DC is leaving really soon but you haven’t eaten all day because you’ve been packing. Where do you go? Roti because it’s fast but tastes like they took all day preparing your food.
19. NOMA – Gallaudet: SeoulSpice
SeoulSpice is new to the restaurant scene but it’s not going anywhere soon. The Asian Fusion restaurant is Chipotle and Cava meets Korean with cool menu items like the Korrito, tacos, bibimbap-like rice bowls and salads.
20. Rhode Island Ave – Brentwood: Jersey Mike’s Subs
If you need a quick lunch, this is it. Jersey Mike’s has good and quick sandwiches for the intern on-the-go.
21. Brookland – CUA: Busboys and Poets
If you haven’t heard a trillion people recommend the food and atmosphere at Busboys and Poets, are you really in DC? The answer is no because everyone here is obsessed with it, and rightfully so. Great food in beautiful restaurants makes for incredible ambiance.
22. Fort Totten: Andrene’s Caribbean & Soul Food
I saw Caribbean & Soul Food and immediately thought, “I’m there.” Note: This restaurant is a 20-minute walk from the metro but it’s completely worth it and you can walk off all of the calories you’re about to consume.
23. Takoma: Republic
This is a seafood restaurant and bar that has an ever-changing but always good menu. The brunch here is great but get in early for dinner because it gets packed pretty fast.
24. Silver Spring: Scion
I could go on forever about all of the menu items here that are both creative and savory, but I’ll spare us all by keeping my fangirling short. Not only is the owner nice, but menu items like the fried pickles and Scion burger are must-tries.
25. Forest Glen: El Rinconcito Cafe
They have all of your favorite El Salvadorean foods that you definitely miss from home, like pupusas (they’re homemade!).
26. Wheaton: Nava Thai
Curry puffs and drunken noodles are great here but only a small part of an array of great dishes on the menu. This is some of the best Thai food in the Maryland-DC area.
27. Glenmont: Stained Glass Pub
THIS IS NOT A DRILL. This restaurant has half-priced pizza on Mondays and Tuesdays. If you’re college-student-broke, then this deal is for you.
Mcpherson Square (Blue, Silver and Orange Lines): Buredo
Buredo is a sushi-burrito restaurant with tons of equally great options. If you can’t choose, I would personally recommend the Sofie (Two words: Shrimp Tempura). I’ve actually eaten here twice in one week—yes, it’s that good. The restaurant is expanding and opening a spot in Dupont coming soon. YAAAAAS.
Foggy Bottom – GWU (Blue, Silver and Orange Lines): Founding Farmers
They take reservations and if you’re going to brunch you will definitely need them because everyone wants to eat here on the weekends.
Columbia Heights (Green and Yellow Lines): Chik-Fil-A
Tbh, you can probably find a Chik-Fil-A almost anywhere since it is a chain fast food restaurant but this is the only Chik-Fil-A in DC (at least until they build their Tenleytown location). It’s across the street from the metro and it deserves to be visited. The workers there are also very nice.
Visit any of these restaurants on a weekend adventure or coming back from your internship because they’re all super close to transportation. A major plus in my opinion.