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King Street Oyster Bar at City Ridge

The Best Places to Eat in Upper Northwest DC

Your guide to dining in DC’s tree-lined, off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods

Your guide to dining in DC’s tree-lined, off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods

As you explore DC’s Upper Northwest neighborhoods, you’ll discover tree-lined streets and family homes as the city’s urban vibe turns suburban. Cleveland Park, Friendship Heights, Glover Park, Van Ness, Tenleytown, Chevy Chase and more can all be found in Upper Northwest, and attractions like Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens and the Washington National Cathedral dot the landscape. And of course, there are plenty of enticing dining options in the area. Hillwood, the former home of Post Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, houses a lush collection of Russian Imperial art and boasts expansive, gorgeous gardens. The Merriweather Café serves up a lunch menu inspired by the museum’s current exhibition, with outdoor, tented and picnic seating.

Cleveland Park & Van Ness

Sababa peppers


There are plenty of great places to eat along Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park and nearby Van Ness. James Beard Award-nominated restaurateur Ashok Bajaj's Sababa, which means “cool” in Hebrew, dishes out Israeli cuisine from the Land of Milk and Honey and sits adjacent to its sister spot Little Blackbird Wine Bar, named after the "approachable yet versatile" grape that creates Merlot. If wine isn't your style, Irish pub Nanny O'Brien's awaits just down the block. 

Dolan Uyghur celebrates Central Asian culture with excellent service and specialized menu items such as fresh and chewy noodle dishes, kawa samsa (baked buns), goshnan (stuffed fried bread), floral teas and baklava. Two storefronts over, three generations of the Siri family serve up flavorful Thai cuisine at Siam House

Sfoglina pasta

At pasta-first Sfoglina (pro tip: the ‘G’ is silent) in Van Ness, dig in to seasonal takes like casarecce, a partially narrow tube-shaped pasta served Amalfi-style with lobster and octopus. Enjoy classic dishes you’ll only find in Rome, thick tangles of tonnarelli noodles are served with sheep’s Pecorino, black pepper and walnuts.

A bit further up the block you'll find James Beard Award-winner Mark Furstenberg's Bread Furst – a neighborhood bakery, café and specialty market with a delightful history. While the menu rotates daily, highlights include gravlax bagels, messy egg sandwiches, canelés or croissants of any variety. 


King Street Oyster Bar at City Ridge

King Street Oyster Bar

In Tenleytown, terrific tacos abound at Bandit and New England-style seafood and summer vibes prevail all year long at Millie's

green lawn outside of Taco Bamba with two pincers

Taco Bamba © John Rorapaugh, Leading DC

City Ridge's dynamic campus features a number of food and drink offerings in one central and scenic location: King Street Oyster Bar, Taco BambaTatte Bakery and Rooftop Kitchen, where you can enjoy a burger or pizza overlooking a poolside panorama of the city.

Cathedral Heights & Glover Park

barbecue tray with sides of Mac and cheese and potato salad

Rocklands Barbeque

Visitors will find the wondrous Washington National Cathedral and a host of satisfying restaurants in the surrounding area. Don't miss 2 Amys pizza for a laid-back neighborhood vibe and unpretentious quality, exemplified by flour milled in-house, homemade mortadella and carefully crafted cannoli. On the corner is Cactus Cantina, where diners can enjoy top-notch fajitas and observe the tortilla-making process in a family-friendly setting.

Just off of Observatory Circle in Glover Park, there are a number of gems not to be overlooked. Local favorite Dumplings and Beyond touts an incredible selection of fresh Chinese dishes in a low-key space. Up the block at Rocklands Barbeque, all of the ingredients for a perfect barbecue experience are present: Ribs. Chicken. Pork sandwiches. Beef brisket. Cornbread, baked beans, coleslaw. The eatery also features a “Wall of Fire,” where you can unlock even more flavors via an incredible array of hot sauces. All meats at Rocklands are made using only wood and charcoal, a rarity in the area.

Friendship Heights

Steak n Egg

Steak 'n Egg Diner

Nestled on the border of DC and Maryland, Friendship Heights and Chevy Chase are home to high-end and independent retailers and plentiful restaurant options.

In Friendship Heights, Le Chat Noir transports diners back to La Belle Époque with French classics like galettes and profiteroles in a bistro-style, Art Nouveau setting. Another neighborhood staple is Steak 'n Egg, an unassuming diner operating since 1931 where, on Saturdays, customers can satisfy their breakfast cravings all night long. 

Chevy Chase

Sushiko spread


Chevy Chase is home to Sushiko, one of the area’s most popular Japanese restaurants, serving fresh sushi in a sleek environment. Brothers and sushi chefs Handry and Piter Tjan are in charge, coming up with new sushi roll creations on a regular basis.

The Den, hidden in the lower level of beloved bookstore Politics and Prose, serves locally-sourced breakfast items, sandwiches, salads and small plates in addition to espresso, beer and wine. On that same block, Comet Ping Pong draws crowds from families to alt rockers for not only its wood-fired pizza but its free ping pong and frequent live music. 

A little farther up the road, you can experience award-winning, "hyper-seasonal" cuisine at Opal or treat yourself to pizza and cupcakes at Little Beast, best combined with a flick at the 100-year-old Avalon Theatre