Food in Washington DC - 12 Dishes for the Ultimate Flavour Experience

Food is one of the most defining aspects of a city. We travel across the world to taste the delicacies of different regions for a truly unique experience. The food in Washington DC is no less, with its multi-cultural society influencing the local cuisine. Listed below are the 12 best dishes exclusive to Washington DC that you simply cannot miss if you are in the area!

12 Best Dishes of Food in Washington DC

1. Proper Burger

Proper Burger
Nothing is more American than a good ol' hamburger. The Proper Burger®️ is one of the burgers that has created a legacy for itself not just in Washington DC, but across the country as well. The burger has two Angus beef patties in a brioche bun, with melted gouda cheese, pickles and charred red onions being stuffed as well. The sweet chilli sauce and garlic aioli provide an explosion of flavours in your mouth, making this one memorable experience, especially for your tummy!
Available at: Duke’s Grocery
Address: Dupont Circle - 1513 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036, United States
                       Woodley Park/ National Zoo - 3000 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008, United States
                       Foggy Bottom - 2000 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006, United States
Cost: USD 14

2. Jumbo Slice Pizza

Jumbo Slice Pizza
Who doesn’t love a big old slice of pizza? Well that’s exactly what you get at the Jumbo Slice Pizza place. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity and smallness of the exterior, cause their pizza slices are incredibly huge. You get the option of enjoying the plain cheese slice, or add pepperoni, meat or chicken as a topping of your choice. If you master the art of handling these floppy slices, then you are going to have an incredible time enjoying your pizza!

Available at: Jumbo Slice Pizza
Address: 2341 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, United States
Cost: USD 8

3. Chesapeake Oysters

Chesapeake Grilled Oysters
Oysters are a seafood delicacy that are available thanks to the unique marine ecosystem of the nearby water bodies. These oysters have a unique flavor, changing from sweet to salty as the weather changes. 

Oysters are served as a delicacy appetizer that compliments a lot of drinks well. It can be served as a grilled preparation, or in the form of a chowder, which is a thick soup made of bacon, potato and onions. Dive in to get a fresh taste of this delicacy caught fresh from the oceans!
Available at: Rappahannock Oyster Bar (Union Market)
Address: 1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002, United States
Cost: USD 18 (for 6)

4. Chesapeake Blue Crabs

Chesapeake Blue Crabs
Chesapeake Blue Crabs are staple dishes of food in Washington DC and Maryland, thanks to their proximity to the Chesapeake Bay. Traditional dishes include steaming the crab, before breaking open their shells and extracting the soft and juicy crab meat from within. The dish is seasoned with traditional Old Bay Seasoning that is unique to the region. If these are not available, you can also try out the crab cakes that are available in most restaurants serving seafood.
Available at: Bethesda Crab House
Address: 4958 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814, United States
Cost: Depends on market price

5. Taiwanese Crispy Chicken

Taiwanese Fried Chicken
If you are looking for some delicious fried chicken cooked in the traditional Asian style, then look no further than Maketto. The chicken is juicy and crispy, with a burst of local Taiwanese flavour that reminds you of the famed Asian street food preparations. The chicken is also dressed in vinaigrette for an additional tangy flavour that will leave you truly amazed and is among the best of food in Washington DC!
Available at: Maketto
Address: 1351 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002, United States
Cost: USD 28

6. Half Smoke

Half Smoke
Popularly known as the local sausage delicacy, the half smoke is one of the most unique plates of food in Washington DC. The sausage is made of half-pork and half-beef, with meat having a slightly coarse texture. The sausage is smoked before being placed in a bun with onions, herbs and chili sauce. The half smoke is slightly spicier and larger than regular hot dogs, making it one of the must try dishes if you are in the DC area.
Available at: Ben’s Chili Bowl
Address: 1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009, United States
Cost: USD 6

7. Ice Cream

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
Who doesn’t love ice cream? If you are in the DC area, you will have plenty of options to try out one of the most popular desserts in the world. Drop by at the Mount Desert Island Ice Cream for some of the best ice cream available in the region. Do not miss “The Dude” named after the title character of the Big Lebowski. If you are less adventurous and want to try out the classics, the cookies and cream available here will simply delight your taste buds.
Available at: Mount Desert Island Ice Cream
Address: 3110 Mt Pleasant St NW 1st Floor, Washington, DC 20010, United States
Cost: USD 5 - USD 10

8. Polla A La Brasa

Polla A La Brasa
A number of DC-based restaurants have mastered the art of preparing this Peruvian style charbroiled chicken. The skin of the chicken is crispy, while the meat within is juicy and flavorful. This is primarily due to the meat being seasoned with cumin, paprika and garlic. The main ingredient that gives this dish its unique taste is the paste made of huacatay, or Peruvian black mint, which gives it the unique South American flavour that is simply hard to resist.
Available at: Crisp and Juicy
Address: 4533 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016, United States
Cost: USD 13.25 (whole chicken)

9. Peking Duck

Peking Duck
This Chinese preparation of duck was created by Eddie Tsui, the founder of the Peking Gourmet Inn. Served tableside, this preparation involves a full duck being sliced at your table. While you can enjoy the meat just like that, one can also place the duck within a house-made pancake and some garnishes, making it a roll that will truly satisfy your soul after your first bite!
Available at: Peking Gourmet Inn
Address: 6029 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041, United States
Cost: USD 52

10. Palak Chaat

Palak Chaat
If you are someone who is health conscious yet craving some delicious bites, the Palak Chaat at Rasika’s is the perfect dish for you. It is made of fried spinach, which is dipped in sweet yogurt and date chutney, before being garnished with fresh vegetables. The sweet and savory nature of this dish leaves a variety of flavors, making your mouth water in the hope for more!
Available at: Rasika
Address: 633 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004, United States
Cost: USD 12

11. Pupusas

The food of Washington DC gives tourists and locals a glimpse of just how multicultural the city has become over the years. Pupusas are a traditional El Salvadoran dish that is witness to the above statement. This dish is made of pancakes that are similar to tortillas, with stuffings of meat, cheese, corn and beans filled in between. It is light and melts in your mouth, allowing hungry diners to taste a burst of flavours in their mouths for a truly satisfying experience.
Available at: La Casita Pupuseria
Address: Silver Spring - 8214 Piney Branch Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910, United States
                       Nationals Park - 1500 South Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003-1507, United States
                       La Cosecha - 1270 4th Street NE, Washington, DC 20002, United States 
Cost: USD 3 per pupusa

12. Mumbo Sauce

Mambo Sauce
Mumbo sauce is one of the most popular sauces that accompany the best food in Washington DC that residents enjoy along with their takeouts. This reddish-orange sauce has a sweet and tangy taste, thanks to its combination of ketchup and barbecue sauce. If you are looking for some heat, some outlets will add a little chilli spice. The sauce works great with wings and french fries. In fact, Mambo Sauce is a mumbo sauce recipe from the DC area that was forced to rename itself after a court dispute. Such was the demand for this sauce all over!
Available at: Walmart, Safeway, Target and local DC restaurants
Cost: USD 7 per bottle
If you are a foodie looking to experience the best food in Washington DC, make sure to try out these 12 dishes. Do you think we’ve left out any famous dishes? If so, let us know in the comments!

This post was published by Peter Nikhil David

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