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The Best Places to Eat in Brookland
Your guide to the best restaurants in DC's Little Rome
The concentration of Catholic churches and monasteries surrounding the campus of Catholic University in this leafy neighborhood earned it the nickname of “Little Rome.” In addition to the attendant Italian restaurants that come with that suitable nickname, Brookland is also home to a handful of worth-the-trip restaurants buoyed by the recent addition of an arts and retail center.
The largest Catholic church in the U.S., The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the serene Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land of America, both call Brookland home. The Italian theme continues with the authentic Menomale Pizza Napoletana, serving up wood-fired Neopolitan pizzas and other Naples-inspired dishes. The owners, Ettore and Maria Rusciano, are both certified to make authentic pizza by the (and yes, this is a real thing) Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana in Naples, Italy. At Nido, the menu serves up Mediterranean fare from both Italy and Spain inspired by the owner’s time traveling in both countries.
The opening of Monroe Street Market, a mix of residences and retail, also introduced the Arts Walk to Brookland. Twenty-seven artists’ studios line an alleyway and welcome Washingtonians to observe, shop and engage as local artists get creative. A stroll along the Arts Walk followed by a meal in a nearby restaurant makes for an inspiring afternoon or evening. No place embodies the artful spirit as Busboys and Poets, a cafe and bookstore inspired by African-American poet Langston Hughes. Steel Plate is a casual American bistro serving up unfussy fare, while Brookland’s Finest serves seasonal, locally sourced food in a casual setting.
New to the area is Primrose, straight from the wine-and-design-oriented minds of restaurateur Sebastian Zutant and his wife Lauren Winter. The whimsical French bistro greets diners with feathered chandeliers and a baby blue bar boasting 70-plus wines, many from France’s lesser-known regions. Combine the extensive drink list with a small-but-mighty menu of French classics and you have a recipe for the coziest Parisian-inspired evening.
Brookland also makes it easy to sit back and relax with a good, old-fashioned beer. At Smith Public Trust, explore the craft beer selection while you listen to some live music or soak in the sun on the deck in the summer. Brookland Pint is another al fresco option, and serves its suds with sustainability in mind. Only American craft beers are on the menu to eliminate transatlantic shipping and most beers are on draft to cut down on the use of recyclable bottles. The pairing menu is also reducing the restaurant’s carbon footprint with locally sourced entrees, appetizers and cheeses. And if a pick-me-up is what you’re looking for, gear up for an espresso at Filter Coffeehouse, which shares a space with indie cycling shop, The Bike Rack.Check out our guides to all the best places to eat in DC's happening 'hoods.
Brookland Dining Map
Where to eat in Little Rome