U Street Washington DC restaurants are a mix of trendy, casual and family friendly. There are many options here with something for everyone. Let’s take a look at some of the best U Street Washington DC restaurants.
U Street Washington DC Restaurants: Trendy & Fun
U Street spans from the Shaw Neighborhood all the way to the Adams Morgan neighborhood in Washington DC. There are so many trendy and fun restaurants on U street that you can try. Let’s take a look at some great spots to spend some time with friends, impress someone coming in from out of town, or have a fun date night out.
Service Bar – Great Cocktails
Service Bar offers a relaxed and cozy environment for those looking to enjoy a variety of drinks and appetizers. Their signature cocktails are not only delicious but also visually appealing, making for a great night out with friends. In addition to being one of the best cocktail bars in Washington DC, they also have a great happy hour.
El Rey – Lively Mexican
El Rey is a popular spot for tacos, tequila, and beers. With its vibrant atmosphere, this restaurant is perfect for a fun night out. Live music is frequently featured or they have a DJ that adds to the very lively vibe. This place can get especially crowded during happy hour towards the end of the week.
Izakaya Seki – Traditional Japanese
If you’re craving a taste of Japan, Izakaya Seki is the place to be. This trendy and intimate restaurant serves traditional Japanese dishes, including sashimi, grilled skewers, and sushi. The authentic menu and minimalist decor transport you straight to the streets of Tokyo. This is a great spot for a date night or a quiet conversation with friends.
Ben’s Next Door – Great Brunch
Located right next to the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl (which is mentioned below in the casual eats section) Ben’s Next Door is a more upscale eatery offering Southern comfort food with a twist. The menu consists of items like shrimp and grits, fried chicken, and their famous chili. Catch live music at this music venue while enjoying a meal with friends or family.
American Ice Company – Hipster Vibe & Outdoor Patio
American Ice Company is a unique spot for enjoying a casual evening in an industrial setting. Their outdoor patio is really charming, and they are known for their delicious BBQ and a large selection of craft beers. The outside of the restaurant is fairly unassuming to be sure to not walk right by it.
TAKODA Beer Garden & Rooftop Bar
TAKODA Beer Garden & Rooftop Bar is a wonderful spot to enjoy beautiful views of the city along with delicious food and drinks. The laid-back atmosphere is perfect for a night out, and the rooftop seating allows for a perfect view of the U Street Corridor.
El Secreto De Rosita – Peruvian Eats
El Secreto de Rosita is a hidden gem in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of U street. This restaurant serves authentic Peruvian cuisine in a cozy setting. The interior design makes you feel like you have been transported to Peru. The ceviche and lomo saltado here are very popular and highly recommended.
Jack Rose Dining Saloon – Rooftop Cocktails In Adams Morgan
Also in the Adam’s Morgan neighborhood of DC is the Jack Rose Dining Saloon. If you’re looking for an extensive whiskey selection, Jack Rose Dining Saloon is your go-to spot. With its eye-catching interior, impressive drink menu, and delicious food, it’s a great place to spend an evening with friends.
One other special thing about this restaurant is their outdoor space. In the warmer months, their rooftop patio is very popular and a great place to enjoy some food and drinks.
Colada Shop has many locations in the DMV area. This location is technically not on U street, but it is not very far. It is located on 14th and V. This vibrant eatery has delicious Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, and an incredible array of coffee drinks. The colorful decor and upbeat atmosphere enhance the overall dining experience.
In the summer months the rooftop here is also very popular. You can grab some food from downstairs and head up to enjoy the view as well as the vibe.
U Street Washington DC Restaurants: Family Friendly
Many people travel with kids to DC because there are so many things for young adults to do in DC. If you are looking for some food that also can accomodate a family, the U street area has a few family-friendly options for you. Let’s take a look.
Lulu’s Wine Garden
One great place to enjoy a family meal is Lulu’s Wine Garden, a unique and welcoming spot featuring a delightful New American menu. The laid-back ambiance at Lulu’s, which many local residents have come to love, makes it the perfect place to gather with family over shared plates.
The creative menu here offers a pleasing balance of both indulgent and lighter options, from foie gras to vegetarian dishes. This restaurant is close to the junction of 14th street, and also has a great happy hour.
Busboys & Poets
This restaurant has many locations in the DC metro area. It is a great choice if you are looking for an all day eatery. It has some great options for vegans and vegetarians too. It is technically not on U street, but is just one block away on 14th street and V.
Emmy Squared is an offshoot of an NYC restaurant called Emily’s. In previous years, when it came to the New York Vs. DC debate in terms of restaurants, NYC had more options. Now, with many NY restaurants coming to DC, you can enjoy tons of great food without leaving the DMV area.
If you are a pizza fan, then stop by at Emmy Squared. This family friendly restaurant serves Detroit-style pizza. From the classic red-sauce options to more adventurous offerings like beef tongue, Emmy Squared offers a pizza style for every taste preference. Not just limited to pizzas, they also offer a wide variety of other food from salads to sandwiches.
Emmy Squared is not technically on U street, but it is very close by. It is very close to Service Bar mentioned above and the African American Civil War Museum.
Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant
Experience authentic Ethiopian cuisine at Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant, where families can gather around a traditional injera bread platter and sample a variety of flavorful dishes together. Considered one of the best Ethiopian eateries in Washington DC, Dukem offers a genuine cultural experience right on U Street NW. The warm atmosphere and an array of vegetarian and meat-based dishes make this an excellent choice for families to explore new flavors during special occasions or casual dinners.
Alero has 2 locations in Washington DC. One is at the junction of where U St. NW meets 14th street and another is located in Dupont. This lively Mexican eatery has a huge menu that can cater to all. If you are coming here with young kids, you may want to avoid this restaurant as the evening sets in. It can become very crowded after happy hour and for late night.
U Street Washington DC Restaurants: Quick & Casual
If you are short on time, then don’t worry. There are plenty of U Street Washington DC restaurants where you can get a quick and delicious bite to eat.
Capo Italian Deli
Capo Italian Deli is a traditional spot offering authentic Italian sandwiches and prepared food. Known for their high-quality ingredients and friendly service, this cozy spot is perfect for grabbing a quick and delicious lunch on the go. Capo is expanding now to have multiple locations in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area.
They also have a backroom that is well established as being one of the best speakeasy type bars in Washington DC. If you are here late night and see a line out the door, some of it may be for the sandwiches, but some people are waiting to get into backroom at Capo.
The Greek Spot
A hidden gem in U Street Corridor, The Greek Spot offers a range of tasty Greek dishes in a casual setting. Featuring classic options like gyros, souvlaki, and salads, this place is ideal for a fast and satisfying meal or snack.
Ben’s Chili Bowl
A D.C. institution, Ben’s Chili Bowl is known for its iconic half-smokes, chili dogs, and various other comfort food options. Loved by locals and tourists alike, it’s a must-visit spot for anyone seeking a quick, authentic taste of the city.
Kouzina Angelinas Pizzeria – Shaw DC
For those craving a slice of pizza, Kouzina Angelinas Pizzeria in Shaw DC serves up delicious and filling options. With a variety of toppings and styles to choose from, this pizzeria is a fantastic choice for a quick and casual meal on U Street.
McDonalds On U Street
If you need to east some familiar and fast, then of course, there is the most well known fast-food option- McDonald’s! McDonald’s on U Street is a reliable choice and it is open late.
Historical Significance Of U Street Washington DC
The U Street Corridor is also known as “Black Broadway,” and it holds great importance in the history of Washington DC. This neighborhood was a hub for African American culture, business, and entertainment during the early 20th century, playing host to numerous iconic artists like Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. These legendary musicians, along with countless others, graced the stages of U Street’s theaters and jazz clubs, showcasing their immense talents and drawing patrons from far and wide.
During its heyday, the vibrant U Street Corridor was home to famous venues such as the Lincoln Theatre and Howard Theatre. Alongside Warner Theatre and Ford Theatre, these two theatres remain significant landmarks in the district. In addition to live performances, U Street was also a thriving center for commerce, with numerous black-owned businesses operating along the bustling thoroughfare.
Over time, U Street experienced periods of change and development. However, its importance as a historical center for African American culture has never waned. Today, the neighborhood has many diverse dining experiences, cultural experiences and things to do for people of all ages.
U Street DC Closed Restaurants
Over the years many restaurants on U street have closed. Here are the restaurants that are no longer in operation on U street.
Twins Jazz was a beloved jazz club and restaurant on U Street that offered live music performances and a cozy atmosphere. Sadly, it has closed its doors, leaving fans of its vibrant jazz scene to seek entertainment elsewhere. The venue featured both local and international artists, and its intimate setting made for a unique dining and listening experience. Twins Jazz will be remembered as an integral part of the U Street community.
Another closed eatery in the U Street Corridor is Taqueria Nacional, which was known for its delicious and authentic Mexican street food. Diners appreciated its simple and flavorful tacos, made with fresh ingredients and traditional recipes. The establishment offered both indoor and outdoor seating, making it a popular spot for grabbing a quick and satisfying bite. Taqueria Nacional’s departure from the U Street food scene is a loss for lovers of Mexican cuisine.
The Fainting Goat
The Fainting Goat was a trendy gastropub on U Street that served delectable dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients. With an eclectic menu ranging from small plates to hearty entrees, it catered to a variety of palates and preferences. Its cozy, rustic atmosphere and well-crafted cocktails made it a popular haunt for locals and visitors alike. The closure of The Fainting Goat has left a gap in the U Street dining scene that will be missed by its patrons.
U Street Washington DC Restaurants: Summary
U Street in Washington DC has tons of options when it comes to dining. The U street restaurants vary from trendy to family friendly to casual. Some of the popular places here include El Rey, Service Bar, Alero, Capo Italian Deli, Emmy Squared, and Ben’s Chili Bowl. As both a dining and entertainment destination, U Street continues to celebrate its heritage through the many venues and restaurants that line the neighborhood’s streets. Visitors looking to experience a piece of American history should not miss the chance to explore this storied neighborhood.