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The Best Places to Eat in Dupont Circle

Your guide to the best restaurants in one of DC’s most vibrant neighborhoods

Your guide to the best restaurants in one of DC’s most vibrant neighborhoods

The cosmopolitan nature of Dupont Circle makes it one of DC’s most popular neighborhoods, with its focal fountain and surrounding benches serving as a gathering spot (often for friendly chess games), while shops and museums provide something for every taste. Dupont’s restaurants and bars radiate outward from the central circle and include a diverse mix of marquee restaurants, casual bistros, brunch hot spots and late-night dining options.

Bucket List Meals

Dupont Circle's fine dining scene features exceptional restaurants that warrant their premium pricing. The neighborhood has gained increased recognition with the presence of DC's Michelin Guide. Notable establishments include ala, a beacon of Levantine cooking, Obelisk, a five-course Italian meal served in a 1930s row home and Residents Café & Bar, a casual-chic cocktail and dining experience paired with show-stopping greenery for the perfect ambiance.


Chef Christian Irabién is behind Amparo Fondita. The upscale Mexican restaurant takes guests on a culinary journey through the coastal regions of Mexico while using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The menu is seafood-oriented but also offers vegetarian options and dishes that celebrate the traditional Mexican agricultural system.

Sushi Taro, one of the District’s best Japanese restaurants, offers fresh fish in a serene setting. Chef Nobu Yamazaki’s kaiseki, or tasting menu, is not to be missed.

Social Tables

Dupont Circle’s neighborhood feel lends itself to low-key dining rooms that attract those who want to break bread and share long conversations with friends. Kramers is a neighborhood institution. Patrons love to browse the book selections and then settle in for a meal with friends at the cafe.

The Dupont Circle Hotel, a cherished destination in the neighborhood, is home to the Pembroke, also in the Michelin Guide, offering globally inspired cuisine crafted with farm-to-table ingredients. Whether you're in the mood for brunch, post-dinner drinks or anything in between, the Pembroke and its accompanying 1950s cocktail bar, Doyle, can cover your every craving in style.

This Italian gem Certo!, located inside the Royal Sonesta Washington DC, is home to flavorful Italian coastal cuisine, an extensive wine list and craft cocktails. The restaurant’s romantic digs make it a great place to linger over a meal with your date. 

PLANTA Queen has sushi selections, small plates, dumplings and noodle dishes created with plant-based ingredients, like ahi watermelon, hearts of palm “crab” and beetroot tuna tartare. The upscale, Asian-influenced hot spot also features lunch, brunch and weekly discounts.

Food Network named the now brick-and-mortar Fava Pot "One of America's 26 Best Food Trucks." It is best known for serving healthy, home-style Egyptian cuisine. Try their goulash, Egyptian-style beef pie, made with buttery layers of flaky phyllo dough and stuffed with ground beef, onions and spices. Other noteworthy menu items include their signature falafel which is made entirely from scratch and their famed lava beans, slow-cooked for 12 hours in secret spices. Aside from their delicious cuisine, they give back to Egyptian orphans with every purchase made.

Nightlife Noshing

Explore the hidden gem beneath DC's streets: lush mini-golf, a 1920s clubhouse, cocktail bars and gourmet street food at Swingers. Elevating mini-golf with local epicurean bites, craft cocktails and live music, it's the ultimate social hotspot for unwinding after a day of exploration or making unforgettable memories. Relax, socialize and have a blast at Swingers.

Right on Connecticut Avenue in a comfortable, rustic setting comprised of reclaimed wood and steel is City Tap House Dupont. With an extensive craft beer list and a lengthy late-night menu that doles out Korean short rib tacos until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, this bar-gastropub is the best bet for nightlife neighborhood dining. 

Located inside the Ven at Embassy Row, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Fred & Stilla serves as a coffee shop by day and a social gathering spot by night. Nightlife-loving locals and savvy travelers come together to converse over bottled cocktails and interesting small plates. Choose from a wide variety including potato and cheese pierogies or the Nigerian Embassy-inspired suya chicken skewers.

Elected “Favorite Gathering Place of the Year” in the local RAMMY Awards, Casta’s Cuban Rum Bar (and cerveza garden) offers many Havana-worthy delicacies: an extensive rum list, cigar menu and even café Cubano. However, the other element that sets Casta’s apart is its vibrant social scene, with live music, happy hour cocktails, salsa lessons and all-day Sunday brunch.