Travel

Washington D.C. Specialty

Specialty neighborhood
Beefsteak
800 22nd St. NW., Foggy Bottom
Despite the name, José Andrés’ fast-casual joint in D.C. (there’s also a location in Philly now) puts all of the focus on vegetables. You’ll pick a base of bulgur, quinoa, rice, or leafy greens, and top it with vegetables and some oomph, like an avocado or a poached egg. The pre-made favorites, like the excellently named “Frida Kale,” or the “Kimchi-wa” bowls, sort of take out the guesswork. There's a second location in Dupont Circle.
Beefsteak
1528 Connecticut Ave. NW., Dupont Circle
Despite the name, José Andrés’ fast-casual joint in D.C. (there’s also a location in Philly now) puts all of the focus on vegetables. You’ll pick a base of bulgur, quinoa, rice, or leafy greens, and top it with vegetables and some oomph, like an avocado or a poached egg. The pre-made favorites, like the excellently named “Frida Kale,” or the “Kimchi-wa” bowls, sort of take out the guesswork. There's a second location in Foggy Bottom.
Ben’s Chili Bowl
1213 U St. NW, Cardozo
D.C. natives will tell you that Ben’s Chili Bowl is the most D.C. place in D.C. They have multiple locations (including one in the Ronald Reagan airport, at Nationals Park, and FedEx Field) but the original one is on U Street. It’s the kind of beloved dive spot where you order at the counter (although table service is available for parties of five ore more), and you don’t come for the salad bowl. As the name suggests, it’s all about the chili dogs, chili burgers, and chili fries. That said, there are a lot of veg-friendly options, from vegetarian chili to veggie burgers.
Captain Cookie & the Milkman
2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Foggy Bottom
Kirk Francis (a.k.a. Captain Cookie) seems to have found a workaround for the classic seasonal conundrum of ice cream shops—locals go to him in the winter for warm chocolate chip cookies, and in the summer for made-to-order ice cream sandwiches. The superhero-themed shop—and its’ three corresponding food trucks—are famous for cookies that are made completely from scratch; he even makes his own vegan butter for vegan cookies. Note: His trucks can be booked for private events.
Compass
1535 7th St. NW, Logan Circle
The founders behind this Shaw café are former marines who have a refreshingly straightforward approach to coffee—seasonal, single origin roasts in straightforward drip coffee and cold brew (the nitrogen cold brew is definitely the order of choice). They roast the beans in-house, and the industrial space is set up with the gleaming roaster prominently displayed in the back. Plenty of table space for spreading out makes it a great pick for studying, too.
Pleasant Pops
731 15th St. NW, Downtown
Pleasant Pops is crazy cheerful: It's bright, airy, and feels energetic without feeling too kinetic. Their signature, photogenic popsicles come in a rainbow of flavors that rotate depending on what produce is in season (for fall, it's peach hibiscus, cinnamon vanilla peach, or cranberry apple). And the coffee is reliably great, too. The downtown location is probably the most convenient, but the original Adams Morgan flagship is home to their market, which showcases the best of local DC purveyors: The shelves are lined with maple syrup, honey, pickled vegetables, and more.
Pleasant Pops
1781 Florida Ave. NW, Adams Morgan
Pleasant Pops is crazy cheerful: It's bright, airy, and feels energetic without feeling too nuts. Their signature, photogenic popsicles come in a rainbow of flavors that rotate depending on what produce is in season (for fall, it's peach hibiscus, cinnamon vanilla peach, or cranberry apple). And the coffee is reliably great, too. The downtown location is probably the most convenient, but the original Adams Morgan flagship is home to their market, which showcases the best of local DC purveyors: The shelves are lined with maple syrup, honey, pickled vegetables, and more.
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