Weekday lunch service in Washington, DC, is more limited than the places that are open for dinner. Luckily, there are still a ton of options when it comes to good lunch spots in the DC area. If you’re looking for the best lunch in Washington, DC, we’ve got you covered.
Best Lunch In Washington DC 2023
From casual cafes to upscale restaurants, the nation’s capital offers a wide range of options for a delicious lunch. Whether you’re a local or a tourist visiting the city, you’ll find something to satisfy your taste buds. Let’s take a look at the best lunch spots in Washington DC.
Unconventional Diner: A Twist On Classics Near Convention Center
If you’re in the mood for American classics with a modern twist, Unconventional Diner is the best spot to try. This trendy restaurant in Washington, DC, offers a diverse menu of elevated comfort food that is sure to satisfy your cravings.
This lunch spot is one of the best places when it comes to variety. The lunch menu at Unconventional Diner has a wide range of options, including burgers, sandwiches, salads, and pasta dishes. Each dish is creatively reinterpreted, adding unexpected flavors and ingredients to traditional favorites. Their slow-roasted pork chop is a standout, with its tender meat and flavorful accompaniments.
The modern and welcoming atmosphere of Unconventional Diner adds to the overall dining experience. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a leisurely lunch, this restaurant offers a relaxed and stylish setting.
Chang Chang DC serves lunch everyday from 1130 to 230. It is one of the newer power lunch spots in Washington DC. The sleek restaurant was imagined by Chef Peter Chang. It is located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. It is more highly rated for lunch than it is for dinner.
The extensive menu has something for everyone. Popular lunch menu items include fried cauliflower as an appetizer and Ma Po Tofu and Eggplant. Portions are generous for lunch and you can decide on your spice level based on how many chili signs are next to each item.
Circa is a great destination for a sit down lunch with good food but without a stuffy atmosphere. It is conveniently located in the Navy Yard neighborhood close to the waterfront as well as Capitol Hill.
Circa can accommodate large parties and they open for lunch everyday at 11 am. The lunch menu has a variety of items to accommodate all types of dietary restrictions. There are salads, sandwiches, small plates and flatbreads. There are vegan and vegetarian options as well.
Le Diplomate: A French Escape On 14th Street
If you’re craving some rich French food for lunch and a buzzy vibe, you should check out Le Diplomate. This trendy French bistro in Logan Circle has a cozy atmosphere and a delicious menu that will make you feel like you’re in a bistro in Paris. The restaurant serves classic French dishes using locally sourced ingredients.
From escargots and coq au vin to decadent desserts like crème brûlée, Le Diplomate offers an authentic French dining experience. Remember to enjoy your meal with a glass of wine from their big wine list. Reservations can be difficult so be sure to check online or call before heading over. If you’re craving some rich French food for lunch and a buzzy vibe, you should check out Le Diplomate.
While this restaurant is great for adults and couples, but is not very kid friendly. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you won’t find much here.
Union Market is the perfect spot to take a group of picky eaters. Inside the market there are a variety of food stalls so each person can get exactly what they want without compromising.
If you have a car, Union Market has a spacious parking lot just outside. From tacos to rice bowls, you can literally find almost any type of cuisine here. If you want to sample different things, you can pick up light bites from a few different places.
Aside from the weekend, Friday is also a very busy day here so plan ahead. You may need to wait for food if its very crowded to be sure to give yourself enough time to order food, find a table and enjoy.
Easy Company is a fairly newer restaurant. It is located along the water in the DC Wharf district. They open at 11 every day for lunch and its the perfect place to enjoy lunch with water views.
In addition to an extensive wine list, this restaurant also has wood-fired pizzas and shareable appetizers. There’s also a large bar area as well as plenty of window seating. If you are in the wharf area, this restaurant makes for a great midday meal.
If your lunch turns into a late lunch, the happy hour at this place starts at 3 PM. It’s a good reason to stick around and enjoy some quality time with your friends.
Zaytinya by José Andrés: A Mediterranean Delight Near City Center
If you enjoy Mediterranean food, Zaytinya by José Andrés is a great option. It is one of the best restaurants in DC. This award-winning restaurant located in downtown DC features vibrant flavors from Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. The menu has a variety of meze, which are small plates meant for sharing. The restaurant uses fresh ingredients and bold spices in all their dishes.
Additionally, this restaurant is very large and can accommodate larger parties for lunch. It is also great lunch spot for vegetarians and vegans.
From crispy falafel and creamy hummus to tender lamb kebabs, Zaytinya offers a culinary journey through the Mediterranean. The restaurant’s sleek and modern design adds to the overall dining experience, making it a must-visit spot for lunch in Washington, DC.
Bluestone Lane: A Taste of Aussie Elegance
Bluestone Lane, renowned for its Australian-style coffee and premium café cuisine, has expanded its presence to the heart of Washington, DC. Situated at the corner of 23rd and L St, this inviting café shares its space with the West End Library. Designed by the acclaimed architect Enrique Norton, the café features floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the area with natural light.
The interior décor blends soft, earthy elements with industrial features, including concrete flooring, exposed ceilings, and glass curtain walls adorned with elegant brass accents. The spacious outdoor area accommodates alfresco dining for up to 40 guests during warmer months.
Bluestone Lane’s West End location is a full-service café offering signature coffee, wellness drinks, cold-pressed juices, and organic teas. The menu boasts healthy options like the famous Avo Smash, Breakfast Bowl, Banana Bread, and various grab-and-go choices. The menu showcases seasonally inspired wraps, bowls, and burgers for lunch, ensuring a well-rounded dining experience. Discover a taste of Australia’s charm in the heart of the nation’s capital at Bluestone Lane Café.
Commissary: Sit Down Casual Near 14th Street
Located in the Logan Circle area, a block away from DC’s busy 14th street, Commissary is a casual cafe that serves classic American food. It has a diverse menu and relaxed atmosphere, and it’s a very popular spot with locals for lunch.
Whether you want familiar comfort food like burgers and sandwiches or something special like their short ribs, you’ll be pleased with your choice. And don’t forget to indulge in their frozen rum slush for a refreshing treat.
While the service at Commissary is generally good, it can get crowded during peak dining hours. So, it’s a good idea to plan your visit accordingly. Additionally, parking can be a challenge due to the limited availability. However, these minor inconveniences are easily outweighed by the delicious food and casual ambiance that the Commissary offers.
Old Ebbitt Grill: A Historic Tavern Experience
Old Ebbitt Grill, open since 1856, is a well-known tavern and a popular place for American food. It’s close to the White House and offers a special dining experience in a classic atmosphere. The menu at Old Ebbitt Grill features a variety of dishes, including fresh seafood, pasta, steak, and more. Their oysters are always fresh and a must-try for seafood enthusiasts. And if you’re in the mood for a drink, their bar offers a great selection of cocktails to complement your meal.
While the prices at Old Ebbitt Grill may be higher compared to some other restaurants in the area, the quality of the food and the elegant atmosphere make it worth it. The service is attentive, and the overall dining experience is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Ambar Capitol Hill: A Taste of Balkan Cuisine
If you’re in the mood for something different, check out Ambar Capitol Hill. This rustic-chic restaurant that specializes in traditional Balkan cuisine. Since 2013, Ambar Capitol Hill has been delighting diners with its unique flavors and cozy ambiance. Ambar Capitol Hill has a menu with lots of Balkan food, like roasted lamb and small plates. You can try many different flavors and taste Eastern European cooking with their unlimited small plate ideas.
Getting a reservation at Ambar Capitol Hill can be tough due to its popularity, especially during busy times. But the wait is worth it for the delicious food and friendly service. The lively atmosphere and crowd make it a great choice for a culturally rich and enjoyable lunch.
During the week, the restaurant opens at 12 for lunch. On the weekends, the brunch is open earlier and is a great place for vegans and vegetarians.
Logan Tavern: A Vibrant American Restaurant
Logan Tavern, also near 14th street DC, is a lively restaurant with a varied menu and a fun atmosphere. As the name suggests, this restaurant serves American classics.
The menu options at Logan Tavern include a range of American pub foods, including burgers, Brussels sprouts, and more. Their Brussels sprouts are outstanding and pair perfectly with a Long Island drink. The restaurant offers a full bar where you can enjoy happy hour specials throughout the day.
The modern and chill vibe of Logan Tavern is perfect for hanging out with friends or enjoying a laid-back meal.
HipCityVeg: A Vegan Delight
For vegan or vegetarian options, HipCityVeg is a must-visit spot in Washington, DC. This vegan fast-food-inspired restaurant uses fresh seasonal vegetables and specializes in plant-based burgers and sandwiches.
The menu at HipCityVeg offers a variety of vegan and gluten-free options, so that everyone can find something to enjoy. Their vegan burgers are a standout, with flavors that rival traditional meat-based burgers. And don’t forget to indulge in one of their famous chocolate milkshakes for a satisfying treat alongside your meal.
One of the advantages of dining at HipCityVeg is the quick service, so you won’t have to wait long to satisfy your hunger. Plus, this restaurant has multiple locations so you will be able to find one that is close to you.
The Capital Grille: A Steakhouse Experience
If you’re in the mood for a special dining experience, head to The Capital Grille, an upscale steakhouse on Pennsylvania Avenue. This restaurant is famous for its delicious steaks and a wide variety of wines. It has a classy atmosphere and excellent service.
The menu at The Capital Grille features a variety of steak and seafood options, all expertly prepared and cooked to perfection. Their sliced filet mignon with wild mushrooms, cipollini onions, and fig essence is a popular choice among diners. They have more than 350 wines to choose from, so you’ll definitely find the right wine to go with your meal.
While The Capital Grille’s prices may be higher compared to some other restaurants in the area, the quality of the food and the elegant ambiance make it a worthwhile splurge. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply looking to enjoy a memorable meal, The Capital Grille is a top choice for a luxurious lunch experience.
GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar: A Cheese Lover’s Paradise
If you are a fan of grilled cheese sandwiches, look no further than GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar. If you want a fancy dining experience, visit The Capital Grille, a classy steakhouse on Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s famous for its top-notch steaks and a big wine selection, offering a sophisticated setting and great service.
Their menu has various steak and seafood dishes, all cooked perfectly. Many people love their sliced filet mignon with special onions, mushrooms, and fig flavors. With over 350 wines to choose from, you’ll find the perfect match for your meal.
The prices at The Capital Grille might be higher than some other places nearby, but the fantastic food and elegant atmosphere make it worth the extra cost. It is located near the White House. GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar is a great spot to grab a quick and delicious lunch. The casual and relaxed atmosphere makes it the best place to unwind and indulge in some cheesy goodness.
Keren Restaurant: Authentic East African Cuisine
For a taste of East African cuisine, head to Keren Restaurant, a family-owned and operated eatery in Washington, DC. Keren Restaurant is famous for its real East African flavors and lively atmosphere, giving you a taste of East Africa during your meal.
The menu at Keren Restaurant features a variety of East African dishes, from beef Tibi to injera. The beef special Tibi is a favorite among visitors, with its tender meat and aromatic spices. Pair it with a traditional Ethiopian honey wine for a complete and authentic experience.
The upbeat and vibrant atmosphere at Keren Restaurant adds to the overall dining experience. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a meal with friends or want to experience a new culture through food, Keren Restaurant is a great choice for a unique and flavorful lunch.
Joe’s Seafood Prime Steak & Stone Crab: Fresh Seafood Delights
If you’re a seafood lover, Joe’s Seafood Prime Steak & Stone Crab is a must-visit restaurant in Washington, DC. With its focus on fresh seafood and prime steaks, this restaurant offers a dining experience that is sure to satisfy your cravings.
The menu at Joe’s Seafood Prime Steak & Stone Crab features a variety of seafood options, from fresh oysters to succulent stone crab. Their stone crabs, in particular, are a must-try, known for their sweet and tender meat. And if you’re in the mood for a steak, their prime cuts are cooked to perfection and pair perfectly with their seafood offerings.
Joe’s Seafood Prime Steak & Stone Crab is located near the White House and offers an elegant and sophisticated ambiance. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply want to indulge in a memorable meal, this restaurant is a top choice for a luxurious lunch experience.
The Capital Burger: Gourmet Burgers and More
If you’re craving a juicy burger and a laid-back atmosphere, The Capital Burger is the place to be. With its high-end burgers and extensive drink menu, this restaurant offers a casual dining experience that doesn’t compromise on quality.
The menu at The Capital Burger features a variety of gourmet burgers, each made with high-quality ingredients and cooked to perfection. Their southern-style fried chicken sandwich is a favorite among diners, with its smoky and sweet flavors. Also, make sure to enjoy your meal with a craft beer or one of their special cocktails to fully enjoy the experience.
The relaxed and modern feel of The Capital Burger makes it a great spot for a casual lunch with friends or family. Located near the Convention Center, it’s a convenient choice for those at a conference or nearby.
BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant: Fresh Seafood in a Tavern Setting
For a taste of fresh seafood in a high-end tavern atmosphere, head to BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant. Located in Washington, DC, this market and restaurant specializes in serving high-quality seafood dishes that are sure to impress.
The menu at BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant features a variety of seafood options, all sourced from the finest ingredients. Whether you’re in the mood for oysters, salmon poke bowls, or other fish specialties, you’ll find something to satisfy your cravings. And if you prefer to cook your own seafood, you can also purchase fresh fish from their market.
The elegant and cozy ambiance of BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant adds to the overall dining experience. You can trust that your seafood is fresh and high-quality because it’s displayed on ice all around the restaurant. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply want to enjoy a delicious lunch, BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant is a top choice.
Pisco y Nazca Ceviche Gastrobar: Peruvian Flavors Near Dupont Circle
If you’re looking for a unique and flavorful dining experience, look no further than Pisco y Nazca Ceviche Gastrobar in Dupont Circle. This modern Peruvian restaurant serves bold dishes paired with refreshing cocktails, offering a taste of Peru in the heart of Washington, DC.
The menu at Pisco y Nazca Ceviche Gastrobar features a variety of Peruvian dishes, including ceviche, Lomo saltado, and more. Their ceviche, available in classic, creamy, or spicy variations, is a standout and a must-try for seafood lovers. And don’t forget to pair your meal with one of their creative and refreshing cocktails made with the finest ingredients.
The cozy and lively atmosphere of Pisco y Nazca Ceviche Gastrobar adds to the overall dining experience. Whether you’re looking to explore Peruvian flavors or simply want to enjoy a delicious meal with friends, this restaurant is a top choice for a unique and memorable lunch.
Founding Farmers – Washington: A Farm-to-Table Experience
For a farm-to-table dining experience, visit Founding Farmers – Washington. This restaurant is owned by farmers, and since 2008, and they have multiple locations around the city.
Their menu has a bit of everything, all made from scratch with local ingredients. They make everything in-house, from butter and bread to ice cream and chocolate, ensuring the freshest taste. People love their classic American dishes like burgers and sandwiches, and their homemade desserts are a sweet way to finish your meal.
The Founding Farmers near the White House has a comfy and relaxed vibe, perfect for a laid-back lunch with friends or family. It’s convenient location makes it a good option for both locals and tourists who may be sightseeing near the National Mall.
Capital Doner: A Taste of Turkey
For a quick and delicious lunch, head to Capital Doner, a Turkish street food-inspired restaurant located in downtown DC. This casual eatery specializes in doner kebabs, a traditional Turkish dish made with seasoned meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The tender and flavorful meat is then wrapped in warm pita bread and topped with a variety of fresh toppings and sauces.
Whether you choose chicken, beef, or vegetarian options, Capital Doner offers a satisfying and affordable lunch option. Don’t forget to try their homemade baklava for a sweet ending to your meal.
Blue Duck Tavern: Seasonal American Delights
Blue Duck Tavern is a famous restaurant located within the Park Hyatt in Washington, D.C. They are known for their delicious American dishes that change with the seasons, making them a great lunch choice in the nation’s capital.
Their menu has a wide variety of options, including the famous Blue Duck Burger, organic chicken, and tasty braised beef ribs. They also have a good selection of vegetarians. You can enjoy classics like eggs, pancakes, or some sweet rolls if you’re there for breakfast.
Blue Duck Tavern has you covered if you’re looking for a fancy brunch. You can try the potato waffle or the rich short rib hash while sipping on carefully made cocktails or specialty teas and coffees. They also have a great wine list with options from both the U.S. and around the world, including some of Virginia’s finest wines. This adds a local touch to their drinks selection.
Bluejacket Restaurant: Craft Beer Haven In Navy Yard
Bluejacket, located at 300 Tingey St. SE in Washington, D.C.’s Navy Yard, is a bustling brewery, restaurant, and bar in a historic Navy Yard building called the Boilermaker Shops. It’s a three-level spot with a cool industrial vibe. The interior design has large fermentation vessels alongside metal and wood tables. Expect a lively atmosphere, especially during Nationals games, with a crowd that includes Navy Yard locals and baseball fans.
Bluejacket’s standout feature is its drink menu, which offers 20 craft beers and five cask ales daily, crafted by the team behind the Churchkey beer bar. You’ll find a wide range of options from blonde ales to stouts and sour blond ales. You can even take your favorite beer home as they sell freshly canned beer in their bottle shop.
If you’re looking for something heartier, their full restaurant menu includes salads, sandwiches, and succulent pork chops. Bluejacket promises a memorable experience for craft beer lovers and food enthusiasts in the heart of Navy Yard.
Washington, DC, is not only a great place to explore history and culture but also a food lover’s paradise. From French bistros to Mediterranean delights, the city offers a diverse range of lunch spots that will satisfy every craving. Whether you’re in the mood for a casual bite or a gastronomic adventure, these great lunch places in Washington, DC, will impress you. So, when you’re in the capital city, make sure to try the delicious food it has to offer. Your taste buds will be happy.