Washington, D.C. is not only the capital of the United States but also a hub for diverse culinary experiences, making it an ideal destination for foodies. In just 48 hours, visitors can indulge in a variety of mouthwatering dishes and explore the unique food scene this city has to offer.
Embarking on a two-day food-focused itinerary takes travelers through bustling neighborhoods, local markets, and iconic eateries. From famous cupcakes to farm-fresh ingredients, an unforgettable gastronomic adventure awaits food enthusiasts as they navigate the vivid landscape of Washington, D.C.’s dining scene.
With careful planning and prioritizing, foodies will be able to discover the hidden gems and popular establishments that showcase the flavors and creativity of the nation’s capital, leaving them inspired and satisfied by the end of this whirlwind culinary journey.
On Day 1 you will start in the 14th street neighborhood of DC and then make your way east. You will have lunch in the Union Market area of DC. You can walk through Shaw to get to Union Market or you can take a taxi. Finally, you will end your evening in lively Shaw which has a variety of great restaurants and fun foodie vibe.
Brunch At Le Diplomate
Experience a French touch at Le Diplomate, a well known DC staple. Le Diplomate in DC is a popular restaurant for several reasons. It’s known for its authentic French cuisine, which includes classic dishes like escargots, steak frites, and bouillabaisse. The restaurant also has a lively atmosphere with a chic, vintage decor and outdoor seating that provides a quintessential French bistro experience.
Additionally, Le Diplomate has received positive reviews from food critics and has been recognized as one of the best restaurants in DC by publications like Washingtonian and Eater. All of these factors contribute to its popularity, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. With its mouthwatering pastries, delightful quiches, and exquisite omelets, this Parisian-style bistro is sure to satisfy any foodie.
Lunch At Union Market
Make your way to Union Market for an unforgettable lunch. Union Market in DC is a historic food hall that has been repurposed into a vibrant marketplace featuring a variety of food vendors, specialty shops, and restaurants. The market originally opened in 1931 as Union Terminal Market, and after undergoing extensive renovations, it reopened in 2012 as a modern-day marketplace. Today, visitors can enjoy a diverse selection of food options ranging from artisanal cheeses and cured meats to fresh seafood and baked goods.
In addition to food, Union Market also features a variety of specialty shops selling everything from home goods and clothing to books and vinyl records. The market is located in the NoMa neighborhood of DC
Dinner In Shaw
Shaw is a very popular neighborhood for food and cocktails. Before dinner be sure to walk around Blagden Alley and get a pre dinner cocktail here. Blagden alley has been revitalized and transformed into a trendy destination with a mix of boutique shops, restaurants, and bars. Visitors can explore the alley’s historic architecture, street art, and hidden gems, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists.
Additionally, Blagden Alley is located in the Shaw neighborhood, which has undergone significant redevelopment in recent years, with new restaurants, shops, and residential buildings attracting a diverse and dynamic crowd.
The Dabney is a Michelin rated restaurant that is very popular and is a great dinner place for foodies. You will want to get a reservation ahead of time. If you have a small party size you may be able to snag a spot at the bar, but call ahead to make sure that the bar seats are also not specifically reserved.
The restaurant is known for its innovative, farm-to-table cuisine, which incorporates seasonal ingredients and flavors from the Mid-Atlantic region. The Dabney also has a unique atmosphere, with a rustic, farmhouse-chic decor and an open kitchen that allows diners to see the chefs in action.
If you can’t get a reservation at The Dabney, head to the nearby Unconventional Diner located next to the convention center. While it does not have a Michelin star, Unconventional Diner has been recognized by the Michelin Guide as a Bib Gourmand restaurant. Bib Gourmand is a category in the Michelin Guide that recognizes restaurants that offer good quality, good value cooking. The Bib Gourmand designation is awarded to restaurants that offer a full menu with two dishes and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less. Unconventional Diner is known for its modern twists on classic American comfort food, and has received positive reviews from food critics and diners alike.
On Day 2, you will start in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, and then head to City Center for lunch. For dinner you will go to the very famous Jose Andres restaurant Minibar. In between meals be sure to stop by and window shop at the many different stores and shops in these neighborhoods.
Brunch At Tabard Inn
Begin the day with a memorable brunch experience at the historic Tabard Inn. Known for its cozy atmosphere and delicious menu, indulge in their popular dishes like Eggs Benedict or Belgian waffles.
The restaurant is also known for sourcing high-quality ingredients and creating daily menus based on what is local, fresh, and seasonal. Additionally, the Tabard Inn has a cozy and intimate atmosphere with a charming outdoor patio, making it a popular spot for romantic dinners and special occasions.
Lunch At Piccolina
For a delightful Italian lunch, visit Piccolina. Satisfy your cravings with their authentic pasta dishes, soups, and sandwiches, or feast on their signature wood-fired pizzas. This restaurant in City Center has a welcoming and cozy vibe with a bright and airy decor. The restaurant is known for its Italian-inspired cuisine and features a wood-burning oven that adds to the warm and inviting atmosphere. The seating is intimate, with a mix of tables and counter seating, and there is also outdoor seating available. The vibe is casual and relaxed, making it a great spot for a quick lunch or a leisurely meal with friends.
Dinner At Minibar
For an unforgettable culinary experience, dine at the renowned Minibar which is another Michelin star restaurant. Minibar is a Two Michelin Stars restaurant, according to the 2022 MICHELIN Guide USA. The restaurant is located in Washington, DC, and is known for serving innovative, avant-garde cuisine in a unique and intimate setting. The Michelin Guide is a prestigious restaurant guidebook that awards Michelin stars to restaurants based on the quality of their food, service, and overall dining experience. Two Michelin stars signify “excellent cooking that is worth a detour”, making Minibar a highly regarded restaurant in the culinary world.
Craft Cocktails In DC
End the night on a bubbly note by indulging in a cocktail at some of DC’s most famous cocktail spots.
Silver Lyan is a cocktail bar located in the Riggs Hotel in downtown Washington, DC. The bar is known for its innovative cocktails and unique decor, which includes a collection of antique trophies and comfortable seating. The bar offers a variety of cocktails made with bespoke techniques and unique ingredients, and the menu changes seasonally to reflect the freshest ingredients available.
In order to find the bar you will have to head down to the bottom floor of the hotel. The space is designed to be enjoyed with good company, and there is a Cabinet Room within the bar that sits in what was once the vault of Riggs National Bank. It is located very close to the City Center area of Washington DC.
The Fountain Inn
The Fountain Inn in Georgetown is a historic tavern that has been repurposed into a rare spirits tasting room and cocktail bar. Originally established in 1783 by clockmaker John Suter, the tavern was one of the most important taverns in American history, serving as a meeting place for politicians, diplomats, and other notable figures. Today, the Fountain Inn has been transformed into a modern-day cocktail bar that pays homage to its historic roots. The bar features a selection of rare and vintage spirits, as well as classic and modern cocktails crafted by expert mixologists. The decor is elegant and intimate, with a vintage feel that reflects the tavern’s rich history. The Fountain Inn is located in the heart of Georgetown
Morris American Bar
Morris American Bar is a craft cocktail bar located in Washington, DC. The bar is known for its meticulously crafted cocktails, small plates, and inviting atmosphere. The bar has a vintage feel with pastel-pretty surroundings, artisan cocktails, and an inviting bar and lounge. The menu features a variety of creative cocktails made with high-quality ingredients, as well as small plates and snacks to pair with your drinks. The bar is located in the Shaw neighborhood of DC
Tips for Foodies in Washington DC
Public Transportation and Accessibility
Washington DC is quite accessible for foodies looking to explore the city’s culinary scene. With its efficient public transportation system, consisting of buses and the Metrorail, getting to various food destinations is easy and convenient. You can utilize the city’s Metro SmarTrip card to save both time and money when traveling between restaurants and culinary events.