|Perhaps the best way to gauge Washingtons ethnic diversity
is to examine the menus of its fine international restaurants. Many
have observed that as more and more countries suffer political unrest,
the dining scene in Washington expands. With the abundance of Vietnamese,
Afghan, Salvadoran and other ethnic restaurants, its difficult to
dispute that theory.
From Embassy Row to Capitol Hill, Washington is a city of people
with tastes as varied as the opinions of Congress. At
Washingtons restaurants, diners will find everything from
regional American specialties to varied ethnic food.
American cuisine ranges from California Asian-fusion to
specialty dishes such as New England Clam Chowder and blackened
catfish from New Orleans. If you're looking for barbecue, you
might sample variations from North Carolina, Memphis or Kansas
City; or perhaps the original American fusion-cuisine from New
Washingtons suburbs have their unique contributions to the
dining scene. Maryland crab cakes are legendary, but if you
don't mind working a bit, roll up your sleeves and order steamed
crabs. You crack the shells open with a mallet and pull out the
succulent meat yourself. In Virginia, you can sample colonial
fare including peanut soup, oyster stew, and famous Virginia
Much as the United States is a "melting pot" of
nationalities, Washington is a melting pot of international
cuisine. And what delights this pot holds. From upscale to
casual, continental, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern,
restaurants are abundant. Additionally, among the nations best
Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and Ethiopian restaurants are found
here. If you want to stretch your taste buds a bit further, try
Burmese, Jamaican or Egyptian. Whether you're looking for a
great meal to make you feel at home, or far away from home,
Washington is the place to find it.
An area that has gone through a number of changes over the years,
Adams-Morgan is now one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods
in the city. This is reflected in its eateries, which include the
wonderful Thai restaurant, Star of Siam, where you can eat on the
rooftop. If you want to try Ethiopian, Meskerem and Red Sea are good
bets, and Mixtec is a great Mexican place. The Grill from Ipanema
is as good as its clever name suggests for fun cocktails and Brazilian
food. Numerous bars and coffeehouses are open late for after-dinner
conversation and people watching.
Adjacent to the recently opened MCI Center, Chinatown is a great area
to have a bite to eat before or after a sporting event or concert.
You won't go wrong with most restaurants here, but especially notable
are Hunan Chinatown and Tony Chengs Mongolian Barbecue.
Seventh Street, once a fashionable shopping district, is emerging
as an arts and culture center. For tapas and sangria, head to Jaleo.
Or if you're in the mood for Irish stew and a Guinness, visit Fado.
There are lots of wonderful restaurants in the downtown area that
cater to office workers. Whether you're going for a power lunch, a
business dinner or just want to have a great meal, Old Ebbitt Grill
and Les Halles are Washington favorites. Looking for seafood? Kinkeads
boats the best ocean fare in town. For something more casual, try
the southwestern Red Sage.
With its many restaurants, shops and bars, Dupont Circle is a fun
area to be on weekend evenings. Most of the bars above Massachusetts
Ave and P St are gay bars. If you're in the mood for upscale Southern
food, try Vidalia. At The Palm you might catch a glimpse of a Sunday
morning TV political pundit as you enjoy your steak and martinis.
For a more calming environment, Teaism is an Asian teahouse with small
meals and, of course, a wide selection of exotic teas. Sesto Sento
is an Italian restaurant that transforms into a disco in the later
hours. If you'd rather browse books and have a coffee after dinner,
Cosmopolitan and hip Georgetown is full of student-oriented clubs
and a few for the older crowd, including Blues Alley for jazz. Start
down at the harbor area at Sequoia for a drink as the sun sets over
the Potomac. Stay for dinner, or head up to Georgetown for a fabulous
Indian meal at Aditi or the best Ethiopian fare around at Zeds. Citronelle
features Californian-French cuisine, and for historical ambiance,
1789 has great atmosphere and food.
Old Town Alexandria
The town of George Washington and Robert E. Lee, Alexandria is steeped
in history. Experience its past as you sample some of Washingtons
favorite dishes at Gadsbys Tavern, where the general often dined.
For decadent Southern food and outrageous desserts, Southside 815
is a must. Cajun Bangkok offers a unique combination of Thai and Cajun
food and delights the senses. For a more relaxed atmosphere, Ecco
is where the locals enjoy pizzas, pasta and salads.
Just over the District of Columbia line in Maryland, Bethesda is a
mecca for food lovers. Tara Thai is a local chain that focuses on
fresh seafood but offers a variety of other delicious dishes. Its
a favorite throughout the area. Delray Vietnamese Garden is a hidden
treasure with low prices and some of the best Vietnamese food around.
Bacchus is popular for its Lebanese mezze and kebabs, and Bethesda
Crab House is the place to go for some of those famous Maryland crabs.