Capitol Hill Dining

The area near the Capitol is where many of the below can be found because of the proximity to tourist attractions. If you're feeling like exploring a fantastic area, though, check out the Eastern Market area of Capitol Hill. There are a lot of great options there too. Like many of D.C.'s residential areas, there is a wonderful diversity in dining options in Capitol Hill.

Jump to Fast Casual Dining

Table Service Dining


This Serbian tapas joint serves dishes ranging from stuffed cabbage to weiner schnitzel. (The restaurant describes itself as the meeting of southeastern Europe and Southeast D.C.). The room is long and sleek, with wood accents that echo the name: ambar are barnlike corn cribs of Serbia.

The wide-ranging menu echoes the many countries that meet in middle Europe, including Greece, Turkey, Hungary, Austria, and a touch of France: asparagus topped with a quail egg, kebabs, flatbreads, grilled calamari, hummus, mussels, grilled duck breast, veal stew, veal and vegetable soup, burgers, Parmesan-crusted sirloin, even brussels sprouts with bacon. (Dishes may be “small,” but they are meticulously presented.) The all-you-can- eat $49 dinner option is a round-the-world voyage if you’re really hungry.

Our Rating: 3 stars
Address: 523 8th St SE
Hours: Brunch: Sat-Sun 11am-2pm. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11am-2pm. Dinner: Sun-Thu 4pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 4pm-11pm
Cost: Inexpensive
Metro: Eastern Market - Blue, Orange, Silver (0.2 miles)

Bistro Bis

The name sounds like affectionate shorthand for bistro, but it also means “encore”; this was the second restaurant from Sallie and Jeff Buben of the new-Southern favorite Vidalia. It’s a long sleek space divided into a series of semidetached blond wood and etched-glass dining “suites” that somehow makes you feel that your companions may be billing you by the hour (which, considering the number of pols and pollsters around, they might be).

This is semi-classical but freshly toned French fare: quenelles not of pike but of scallops mousse and lobster; foie gras with hazelnuts and apples; the bouillabaisse around; sweetbreads with trumpet mushrooms and veal tongue; and a rack of lamb that dips across the Mediterranean to north Africa to pick up merguez, artichokes, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and bulgar. brunch here is not “traditional,” but happily more of the same.

Our Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Address: 15 E St NW - In the Kimpton George Hotel
Hours: Brunch: Sat-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm. Breakfast: Daily 7am-10am. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm. Dinner: Daily 5:30pm-10:30pm
Cost: Expensive
Metro: Union Station - Red (0.2 miles)
Nearby Attractions: Union Station (0.2 miles), National Building Museum (0.5 miles), U.S. Capitol (0.6 miles),

Good Stuff Eatery

This was the first, and most modest, kitchen from Top Chef Evangelos "Spike" Mendelsohn and his family; though curiously, having decided to restore to the nation’s capital the heartland hamburger, hand-cut fries (from family farm–grown potatoes), and 30 or so milkshakes from fresh-daily custard, he has since spread the love to Chicago, Philadelphia, and Saudi Arabia.

This is a manageable menu, where the burgers come topped with various cheeses, eggs, mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes, and so on. The burgers may be old-fashioned, but that old mustard-and-ketchup condiment bar now offers sriracha, mango, old bay, and chipotle mayo. There are a few tributes: the applewood bacon, roquefort, horseradish, and onion jam version is called the “Prez Obama,” and the free-range turkey burger with Swiss cheese and herbs on whole wheat honors Michelle. (No doubt they have been planning recipes that trump the competition.) There is also a cheese-stuffed portobello version, an asian-flavored one with pickled daikon and Thai basil; and bunless versions wrapped in lettuce. And it’s really a bargain: even the double is only $8.50.

Our Rating: 3 stars
Address: 303 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-10m
Cost: Inexpensive
Metro: Capitol South - Blue, Orange, Silver (0.3 miles)
Nearby Attractions: Library of Congress (0.2 miles), U.S. Capitol (0.4 miles)


This is the sort of place that makes cozy seem like part of the word café: a single sunny-sponged room of about 50 seats with a tiny bar at the back, lively views of the sidewalk to the front and the kitchen to the rear, classic French posters, and elbow-to-elbow tables.

The menu sounds familiar, but with a few tweaks: beef bourguignon using cheeks; braised rabbit saucing linguini with olives and shiitakes; duck confit salad; steamed mussels (and a pabut with paprika-spiced cauliflower and mussel bisque); and shrimp with goat-cheese risotto. Forget the carrots: the rack of lamb is brightly accompanied by potato gratin, turnips, piquillo peppers, cauliflower, and tuscan kale. Montmartre has joined in on the blue-plate-special trend, offering cassoulet, coq au vin, and lobster risotto, and so on.

Our Rating: 2 1/2 stars
Address: 327 7th St SE
Hours: Brunch: Sat-Sun 10:30am-3pm. Lunch: Tue-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm. Dinner: Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm; Sun 5:30pm-9pm.
Cost: Moderate
Metro: Eastern Market - Blue, Orange, Yellow (0.1 miles)

Fast Casual Dining

District Taco

District Taco is a small, local chain that specializes in…wait for it…you’ll be shocked…tacos! District Taco reminds us of the chain version of a southern California taco shop, but more customizable. You can select your type of shell, meat, and toppings.

Our favorites are the chorizo and pollo asado. The quality of the ingredients is high, but watch the more out of the way (i.e. not downtown) branches later in the day; the proteins can get a little dried out if the turnover isn't high enough. The tacos cost $3 each, and there are a few ways to increase the price–$0.75 extra for carnitas or any premium topping including bacon and guacamole. We're never blown away by the food, but we find ourselves at a District Taco fairly often nonetheless.

Our Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Address: 656 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-10pm; Sat-Sun 9am-10pm
Metro: Eastern Market - Blue, Orange, Silver (0.1 miles)

Shophouse Southeast Asian Kitchen

Occasionally, when writing about Fast Casual dining we feel like our record is busted (kids, ask a hipster about what a record is). Let us know when this sounds familiar: you begin your meal here with a base of rice, noodles, or greens, then add meats, veggies, sauces, and spreads. Yep, it's another build your own place, this time for Southeast Asian/Thai cuisine.

Honestly, we can't even be mad that these places all sound so similar because they're all high-quality. The flavors of the food at Shophouse are outstanding and we always respect a restaurant that doesn't cool off their spice for the general public. On that note, beware when they say the Spicy Red Curry is 4 flames...it certainly is.

Our Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Address: 50 Massachusetts Ave NW - in Union Station
Hours: Daily 11am-10pm
Metro: Union Station - Red (0.1 miles)
Nearby Attractions: Union Station (0.2 miles), National Building Museum (0.5 miles), U.S. Capitol (0.6 miles),


This is where to go if you feel like something healthy or if you or a member of your party lean vegetarian. Sweetgreen specializes in salads including delicious warm bowls and many organic, locally grown veggies. They have a wonderful, rotating seasonal menu and the freshest ingredients. The lunch line can get pretty long, but the line moves quickly.

Our Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Address: 221 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Hours: Daily 10:30am-10pm
Metro: Capitol South - Blue, Orange, Silver (0.3 miles)
Nearby Attractions: Library of Congress (0.2 miles), U.S. Capitol (0.4 miles)