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The Best Places to Eat in Mount Vernon Square
This bustling neighborhood near the convention center is home to international flavors, quick bites and everything in between. Dig in to our flavorful dining guide.
A sea of high-rise apartment and office buildings make up Mount Vernon Square, a small neighborhood in Northwest DC where everyone always seems to be on the move. Admittedly, on the surface this may not seem like the ingredients that make up a go-to dining destination, but the blocks of Mount Vernon Square are packed with noteworthy places to eat. Check out our flavorful neighborhood dining guide and discover neighborhood joints, swanky eateries and so much more.
It’s a bountiful day in the neighborhood
As the owners of A Baked Joint (as well as Georgetown’s Baked & Wired), the Velazquez family is baked-goods royalty in the nation’s capital. This casual neighborhood eatery churns out some of the city’s best breakfast sandwiches on organic breads made daily in-house, before switching the menu to a delightful array of sandwiches and salads for lunch.
The Velazquez family recently opened their latest venture, La Betty, a no-reservations eatery that focuses on fresh, simple food. The limited menu means decision-making is kept to a minimum, while still showcasing their mastery of dough and the oven.
The revolution will come with a pickle, or so says the rebellious folks at The Capital Burger, a gourmet burger joint that transforms the all-American classic into a fine dining artform. The restaurant’s proprietary beef blend makes for some serious burger masterpieces, like the namesake patty sandwiched between Wisconsin gruyère, caramelized onions and a shallot aioli.
Prather’s On the Alley is one of the neighborhood’s newest farm-to-table restaurants, with a menu that focuses on the bounty from local purveyors and a space flooded with natural light. Creamy white lentil hummus is artfully presented with fragrant dukkah and dressed in a lemon vinaigrette – an ideal way to start off your dining experience before chowing down on the fan-favorite roasted local chicken.
Part distillery and part all-day restaurant, Farmers & Distillers pays homage to George Washington, who was, as you may have guessed, both a farmer and a distiller. The menu is filled with everything from early morning classics (small-batch donuts and runny-egg breakfast sandwiches) to hand-pulled noodles and Chinese chicken that remain a delicious tribute to nearby Chinatown.
Busboys and Poets is Andy Shallal’s restaurant-bookstore-community gathering space that has become a DC institution since first opening its doors near U Street in 2005. The 300-plus seat Mount Vernon Square location makes for a great post-work happy hour (the half-off lamb sliders and mezze spread are can’t-miss) and pays special attention to vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dietary restrictions.
Plan a swanky night on the town
RPM Italian is a hot spot ideal for celebrities from celeb couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic, so it's no surprise that the likes of Kourtney Kardashian and Drake have enjoyed meals here. Grab a table before a show or theater performance (the Capital One Arena and Shakespeare Theatre Company are just down the street) and try a wide array of pastas made in-house, fresh seafood and even a $165 prime, dry-aged, Tuscan porterhouse steak for you and one to three of your closest friends.
Trade in tagliatelle for tandoori at the upscale Karma Modern Indian, an ambitious, contemporary take on Indian classics. Lobster masala is adorned with a halo of beet poriyal and lamb roganjosh stars tender lamb bathed in a chili-ginger-tomato sauce. Fear not, Karma dishes out classics like chicken tikka and butter chicken for the Indian cuisine traditionalist.
Around the world in a block
It’s all meat, all the time at Texas de Brazil, a Brazilian churrascaria that emphasizes good old fashioned Texan hospitality. Just flip the card at your table to green and a bevy of tender Brazilian meats will appear tableside, ready to be carefully carved onto your plate and washed down with a signature caipirinha cocktail.
From the Italophiles who brought you Osteria Morini comes Nicoletta Italian Kitchen, a neighborhood spot dishing out classics from the Boot. The delightful aroma of freshly made pastas and pizza on the “signature three-day dough” wafts through the space, while the meatballs – a perfectly-paired trio of chicken, beef and pork spheres bathed in pomodoro sauce – and the simply-grilled branzino are also must-haves.
At Alta Strada, chef Michael Schlow’s homage to Italian cooking, expect a no-frills menu filled with house-made pastas and thin-crust pizzas to go along with a mozzarella bar. Italy’s influence doesn’t stop there: wines and cocktails all have distinctive flavors that match the menu perfectly.
Restaurateur Hakan Ilhan’s Ottoman Taverna explores the wonders of his native Turkey with a wood charcoal grill that churns out incredible kebab, while savory flatbreads and an array of meze make for ideal accompaniments. This space serves up enough deliciousness that Michelle Obama and friends even paid it a visit.
Travel to the land of milk and honey without stepping on a plane at Shouk, a popular fast-casual eatery specializing in Israeli street food. The menu is entirely plant-based, but you won’t miss meat when you bite into the delightfully crispy Shouk burger or oyster mushroom shawarma stuffed in a fresh-baked pita and topped with hummus.
Get in, get out
Plant-based tacos are the name of the game at Chaia, which is probably the first time you’ve heard a restaurant described as “farm to taco.” Each handmade tortilla is loaded with flavorful veggies, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention its roster of fresh cocktails for under $10.
It’s a British invasion of the best kind at LEON, the affordable, healthy, all-day cafe. Dishing out what they call “naturally fast food,” this London-based chain offers fresh, sustainably sourced food for any diet. We’re talking gluten-free chicken nuggets, a Moroccan meatballs hot box and even vegan sweet potato falafel. The best part? Everything on the menu is under $10.
As leaders of the locavore revolution, sweetgreen lets you build your own salad or try one of its signature creations from ingredients sourced from nearby farmers. The evergreen menu features favorites like the Guacamole Greens and kale caesar, but also consider a selection of rotating seasonal creations. Best of all, you’ll get your salad quickly and be on your way in no time.
Head your pizza cravings at Wiseguy Pizza, where you’re likely to find the best Buffalo chicken slice (also known as “buff chick”) outside of the tri-state area. The garlic knots are also not to be missed, and with so many signature slice options you’ll find yourself back for more ‘za in a New York minute.Dig In To DC's Dining Scene With Even More Culinary Content.