Your guide to the best restaurants on and around DC’s eclectic 18th Street
Adams Morgan is known for its millennial-friendly scene that features a diverse mix of bars and lounges along with hip stores selling clothing, furniture and records. However, the neighborhood’s burgeoning restaurant scene – which scored a Michelin star for one of its restaurants and features multiple concepts recognized in Bon Appétit's 2018 list of best new restaurants in America – adds another reason to visit the cultural hub.
Founded by three veterans of the DC dining scene, Tail Up Goat specializes in Mediterranean-meets-Caribbean favorites with a focus on breads and pastas. The menu garnered the attention of the Michelin Guide, which awarded the restaurant a highly coveted star.
Adams Morgan’s dining cred is only increased by chef Cedric Maupillier's white tablecloth restaurant, Mintwood Place. The French restaurant cooks up creative yet classic dishes that have the city’s gourmands clamoring for reservations. A little less formal, but no less delicious, Roofers Union delivers American fare inside a three-story abode that also boasts live music and a cocktail bar.
And third time’s a charm for Johnny’s Half Shell, as neighborhood favorites Ann Cashion and John Fulchino made their return to AdMo in the same space of their former and much-beloved Cashion’s Eat Place. Cashion and Fulchino have revamped this DC staple with a smaller seasonal lineup that won’t break the bank. For a true classic, order the celebrated Maryland-style crabcake with coleslaw and fries.
For top-tier barbecue visit pitmaster Rob Sonderman's Federalist Pig, where diners can feast on eight different types of meats smoked for hours on end. Make sure to come early – the melt-in-your-mouth meats are known to sell out daily.
There’s no shortage of delectable ethnic bites in AdMo. Homey Lapis treats diners to Afghanistan’s “best-kept secret” (psst … it’s veggie dishes), as well as kebabs and meat- and veggie-based dumplings. Along the 18th Street corridor: Japanese restaurant Donburi attracts diners to its small and sleek dining room for steaming rice bowls, while nearby Mama Ayesha’s dishes out authentic Middle Eastern food. And if you’re hip to the ramen craze, gather ‘round the bar at Sakuramen, which only serves variations of the popular Japanese dish.
No discussion of the nightlife scene in this bustling neighborhood is complete without a mention of Madam's Organ. The restaurant/bar/live music venue has been a staple of Adams Morgan for two decades, serving a menu of bar favorites (specials are offered nightly). Bands play and DJs spin on its two floors practically every night of the week, creating a lively atmosphere that local patrons adore.
Adams Morgan has also become go-to for bourbon lovers. Jack Rose Dining Saloon offers up one of the country's largest whiskey selections with an array of snacks and dishes that will pair perfectly with your selection. Smoke & Barrel offers a barbecue menu with brisket, pork, chicken and ribs that have been smoked for days, along with a Kentucky-centric menu of more than 100 whiskeys. At Bourbon, you can choose from 1 oz., 2 oz. and 3 oz. pours while a selection of charcuterie and cheese makes for ideal accompaniment.
The neighborhood is also home to linger-worthy casual restaurants perfect for a low-key meal the day after a big night out. The Diner and its next-door neighbor, Tryst, are under the same owner’s umbrella. Both offer comfort food and a great place to sit back and relax with the weekend paper (or your iPad). Also on 18th Street, Amsterdam Falafelshop stays open late (it’s open until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays) serving up a tantalizing, take-your-own-toppings falafel bar.
At Pop’s SeaBar, the owner’s time spent at the Jersey Shore inspired a menu of beach bum favorites like oysters, crab cakes and Orange Crush cocktails. After that, duck into Johnny Pistolas for some Los Angeles-inspired Mexican tacos (and plenty of tequila!).
In the market for bold flavors and toasty buns? Look no further than chef Alex McCoy’s globally inspired, late-night burger joint Lucky Buns, which doles out a delicious culinary trip around the world until the wee hours of the morning. The hot spot’s tantalizing creations include a runny-egg burger topped with gouda, pickled beetroot and grilled onions and pineapple, grilled tandoori chicken sandwiches and even a British breakfast burger comprised of sausage and bacon (we recommend adding bacon XO jam to that).
Eat Where Chef Victor Albisu Eats
Spend a day full of good vibes and views in the neighborhood with 2015 RAMMY Chef of the Year Victor Albisu. Stoke your appetite and tune in to this Chefs Dish DC foodie adventure as Albisu digs in to delicious breads at the Michelin-starred Tail Up Goat, savors sushi at Perry's and bolts down brats at Roofers Union.
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