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Where to Eat & Drink Around the National Mall
DC’s iconic monuments and memorials are surrounded by dining options sure to make your visit delicious
Home to Washington, DC’s iconic museums and monuments, the National Mall is also surrounded by some of the city’s best places to eat.The area stretches from the foot of the U.S. Capitol to the Potomac River, so prepare to work those legs! These restaurants will help you fuel up before, during or after sightseeing.
Located just four blocks from the National Mall and next door to the International Spy Museum, Shake Shack is the perfect place to stop in for lunch or dinner. We recommend ordering the Shack Stack (a combination of a cheeseburger and a ‘Shroom burger with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce). For something sweet, go for frozen custard.
Open from breakfast until 8 p.m., Red Apron is a locally sourced whole animal butcher and small-batch producer of handcrafted charcuterie. Stop in early for the Southern Comfort breakfast sandwich made with tasso ham, egg and spicy pimento cheese on toasted tigelle. Then, you’ll be ready to walk two blocks to the National Mall and seize the day.
Chef José Andrés has restaurants all over Penn Quarter. We love the ambience at Oyamel, an upscale locale with Mexican tapas, street food and creative cocktails. If you don’t feel daring enough to try the grasshopper tacos, go for the seared mahi-mahi or pork belly tacos instead. Order a bunch of plates and pair them with an impressive selection of tequilas and mezcal.
Wolfgang Puck’s The Source is adjacent to the Newseum and just one block from the National Gallery of Art. Sit in the lounge and enjoy happy hour specials from 4 - 7 p.m. and an array of small plates all night. Dumplings, whole roast duck for two or grilled Sichuan sausage, anyone? Visit on Saturdays for a special dim sum brunch.
For another fast-casual option, try Taylor Gourmet on E St. NW, about ten minutes from the Mall on foot. The team behind Taylor makes standout Philly-style hoagies, and there’s no such thing as ordering incorrectly here. The risotto balls and City Hall hoagie (breaded chicken cutlet, honey BBQ sauce, smoky bacon, blue cheese) are two of our favorites.
Old Ebbitt Grill is one of DC’s most iconic restaurants, located steps from the White House. The restaurant opens early and closes late. Head there with a group and ask for the Orca Platter. The dish stretches two tiers and comes with lobster, Jonah crab claws, clams, oysters and shrimp. Presidential, indeed.
Teaism, the long-time Penn Quarter institution, is a solid choice for breakfast, lunch or (as you can imagine), tea. We’re fans of the chicken curry and the salmon bento. Teaism also serves brunch early on the weekends (9:30 a.m.) for those looking to start their sightseeing sooner rather than later.
Mitsitam Café serves seasonal, gourmet Native American fare at the National Museum of the American Indian. The café features native foods found throughout the Western Hemisphere, including places like the Northern Woodlands, Mesoamerica, South America, the Northwest Coast and the Great Plains.
It’s about a 10 minute walk, but the famous fried chicken at Art and Soul on Capitol Hill is totally worth it. You can even order the dish for two. We just can’t resist the spicy collards, buttermilk mash and gravy.
There are multiple PAUL locations within a few blocks of the sights (by the Archives-Navy Memorial Metro station and on 13th St. NW), making it a great place to grab a cup of coffee and one of its famous French-style sandwiches.
Now that you have your food options, learn more about the Mall's world-renowned museums and continue your adventure.