I’m writing this DC Restaurant Recap from Allie’s family home in Greensboro, North Carolina. In college, I spent Easters here with either Allie’s or Sarah’s family (“joint custody”) because home was too far for just a three-day weekend. A lot feels familiar – hanging out with their families, hearing stories from their childhoods, and snuggling with Sadie the lovable bernerdoodle. But plenty has also changed. Allie and I are working remotely from her dining room table during the day, for example… and we won’t be returning to campus anytime soon. All of a sudden, our topics of conversation include ridiculous adult things like marriage and mortgages.
In fact, we’re here in the first place because our friend group reunited in Chapel Hill this past weekend to celebrate the first wedding (of three this year!) among us. Hanging out after the reception reminded me of those rare nights in college where we were all together, bar hopping on Franklin Street. Except this time, Maleah went home with her husband 😉
We ended the night chowing down down on burgers and fries at Sup Dogs. That’s when I made a comment about how long it had been since I’d indulged in cheap trashy food. Sometimes I just want a greasy burger, not organic vegan truffle fries with dill and parsley, ya feel? I honestly don’t even know where people go for drunchies in DC (other than Jumbo Slice).
I’m not complaining about the truffle fries, though. It’s been awhile since my last DC restaurant post, so I spent some time trying to remember the places I’ve tried for the first time over the last few months. The restaurants are spread across the city, and represent all types of cuisine! I truly love having so many options available at my fingertips. Here are some iPhone snaps of a few new favorites, since I don’t carry my camera around very often:
lupo verde (italian) – 14th St
I’ve walked past Lupo Verde a dozen times, thinking how cute it is with its green awnings and brick exterior lit up with string lights at night. My first time there, we got the upstairs corner table under a beautiful vintage-looking chandelier. It was a perfect pick to celebrate a birthday with close friends. I found myself at Lupo Verde a second time in as many weeks, when one of the team leads at work had a craving for burrata (and naturally, I recommended this restaurant.
Don’t miss: Prosciutto and melon with candied hazelnuts, Burrata (imported from Italy, on their cheese menu)
Good for: special occasions, intimate dining
lemon cuisine (indian) – dupont
Not sure why it took so long for our post-church (4pm service) dinner crew to try this place, as it’s just down the street. They did a great job accommodating our huge group with no reservation, and the owners are so friendly! Indian food isn’t really a regular part of my diet, but this place might become a Sunday night regular.
Don’t miss: Garlic naan, Lamb biryani.
Good for: large groups, casual dining, takeout
oki bowl (ramen) – georgetown
Another post-church dinner discovery: this tiny, but decorated absolutely adorably, ramen shop up Wisconsin. It’s further from the tourist trap of M street, and we had no wait on a Sunday evening for our group of 4! Having recently tried Daikaya for the first time too, the convenience factor for me (parking suck around Daikaya) and amazing ramen makes Oki Bowl an easy winner.
Good for: small groups, casual dining, takeout
iron gate (Mediterranean-INSPIRED) – dupont
Iron Gate had been on my list forever, because I had heard so much about its beautiful patio. Unfortunately it was still too cold to dine al fresco the first time I went for brunch. I have no complaints about the cozy table by the fireplace indoors, though. When I finally returned with girlfriends for the wisteria-covered patio and garden area, the weather could not have been more perfect. There’s a courtyard between two buildings, hiding the outdoor seating behind what looks like an unassuming rowhouse from the front. The setup looks like a Pinterest wedding setup that will make you forget you’re in DC.
Don’t miss: Caramelized ricotta gnocchi (dinner), poached hen eggs (brunch)
Good for: outdoor dining, date night, intimate gatherings
due south (Southern) – navy yard
Derby Day + Dogsitting a rambunctious goldendoodle = perfect opportunity to explore the waterfront bars. We started at Due South for a bite and then wandered over to The Salt Line , where intoxicated people swarmed Rio with love. I returned to Due South for a work dinner a little later, and loved everything!
Don’t miss: Hot honey fried brussel sprouts, Crab and corn hush puppies, Strawberry lemon frose
Good for: work events, happy hour, outdoor dining
rooster & owl (veggie focused) – U street/Cardozo
Read the full review of one of my favorite restaurant experiences of 2019. The new shared tasting menu concept is taking DC over my storm – and I’m proud that it’s owned by an alum of my high school!
Good for: special occasions, sharing with a small group
Don’t miss: Pineapple buns (well, you can’t miss it- everyone gets it to start)
meatball shop (pasta) – 14th St
This NYC-native spot has been on my list for a long time, and I finally got to try it after a day of exploring the city and coffee-shop blogging with my friend Taylor. You can get meatballs on salads, pasta, sandwiches, or “naked” – with various sauces and sides. These aren’t your average meatball options, though! Think salmon, maine lobster, spicy heritage pork… with sauces like lemon butter and yogurt dill.
Good for: happy hour, casual dining
Sababa (Israeli) – Cleveland Park
I never spend time in Cleveland Park, but we come full circle here since this was my first Easter dinner in DC with friends. The meaning of celebrating Jesus’ resurrection at an Israeli restaurant is not lost on me 🙂 Sababa is owned by the same restauranteur as Bindaas, which used to be right by my client site.
Don’t miss: Fried cauliflower, Halvah-chocolate pot de crème.
Good for: intimate dining, drinks, sharing
Listing out all these restaurants like this really presents a stark contrast to what my life would be like if I’d accepted a job offer in Durham… I have no regrets about living the life I do in DC now, and it makes these Carolina reunions ever the sweeter.
What’s even better, is that I’m still here in NC because we leave tomorrow to celebrate Sarah’s bachelorette at Myrtle Beach! Do you have a group of friends that, no matter how long you go between reunions, you can pick up right where you left off? Hang onto those friendships, and then take them to nice restaurants when you’re together <3