15 Places To Eat In Dupont Circle guide image


15 Places To Eat In Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle restaurants that are a guaranteed good time.

With one of the highest concentrations of restaurants in the city, the options in Dupont Circle feel limitless. On any given Sunday you can find yourself salsa dancing at Cafe Citron, people-watching at the fountain, or eating your weight in bread at a farmer's market. Whether it’s a quick lunch while ducking co-workers, date night with someone special or Happy Hour to melt the stress away, there’s something here for everyone. And that is what makes Dupont so special in the first place. Here are our picks for the best spots to eat in Dupont Circle.


Duck Duck Goose

If you’re looking for a romantic date night spot, Duck Duck Goose is the place. The restaurant is captivating, with candlelight reflecting off the yellow velvet seats, casting a warm glow throughout the room. The French bistro’s menu, as indicated by the name, is an ode to all things duck. Think french onion soup made with duck confit and a foie gras burger served with duck-fat fries. But the real scene-stealer, ironically, is not the duck at all, but the croissant bread pudding. It comes with layer upon layer of puff pastry drenched in a caramel and chantilly cream and is one of the best bread puddings we’ve ever had.

For Happy Hour, go to Hank’s. You’ll find a crowd surrounding the bar at the front of the house, waiting to snag some of the best deals in the area, since drinks and bites average from $5-8. If you’re looking for something quieter, grab dinner in the backroom where you can share plates of lobster bisque and crab cakes with family and friends. The oysters are, of course, delectable, but the steamed mussels soaked in herb butter are sensational. Hank's is open Tuesday-Friday from 4-7pm.

This carry-out only restaurant specializes in pizza, ice cream, and wine, three (almost) universal human desires. Running around $7 a slice, the pizza here is great, albeit a bit pricey. If you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck, we recommend the $15 shawarma-spiced wings that come with a refreshing, savory tzatziki sauce. But it’s the ice cream that keeps us coming back. Gemini serves some of the best we’ve ever had with flavors like coconut sorbet with passion fruit and chocolate that you can buy by the pint. Our absolute favorite is the simple, but forever classic vanilla fudge, which is rich and creamy and something that we would gladly eat at any moment of day.

You’re more likely to win the lottery than get day-of reservations at Anju, so plan in advance. But it’s worth it, since this contemporary Korean restaurant by the owners of Chiko has great food and a chic atmosphere—the exposed wood beams and vintage apricot wallpaper give the whole thing a contemporary, barn-inspired feel. The Korean fried chicken is glazed in a spicy gochujang and barbeque sauce and is pretty darn good, even if it isn't the best thing on the menu. Get the jjamppong, a thick noodle soup made with a rich and spicy seafood broth and roasted clams that will have you slurping at the table without shame.

Surfside, a casual Tex-Mex restaurant, is a prime lunchtime spot (and late-night lifesaver, since it’s open 24 hours). The menu includes some seriously masterful taco combinations like the Bora Bora that’s made with grilled chicken, mandarin oranges, guacamole, and a honey peanut sauce that elevates the meal to another level. There is no indoor seating here, so take your order to go or lounge at one of the three tables on the sidewalk (under a heated canopy in cold weather). The service here is quick, whether in-person or online, you'll be in and out in under 10 minutes.

If you need a lunch spot where you can stretch a dollar, but still have a great meal, look no further than Bub and Pops. The carry-out only restaurant serves a dozen gargantuan sandwiches as long as your Macbook (and sometimes as wide). Their Italian, chicken cutlet, and beef hoagies—stuffed with hot and sweet peppers, pickles, and mayo—are our favorites. There are also vegetarian versions of some of their most popular subs, so instead of a bolognese parmesan you can get eggplant. The $12 half-sandwich is plenty, but for $24, you can get a whole that will likely last you all day.

This French patisserie on Connecticut Ave has a certain je ne sais quoi about it (did we use that right?). A display case full of beautiful pastries greets you as soon as you walk in the snug space, and homemade brioche, flaky almond croissants, and apple tarts glow under heated lights. The best part is that everything here tastes as good as it looks. There are limited seats inside so you can opt for a to-go order, but on warmer days, we like to take advantage of the tables that line the sidewalk to enjoy a pastry and coffee.

Compliments Only is a counter-service deli that radiates kindness. If you need proof, take a peek inside your to-go bag to find complimentary candies waiting for you. The cheekily decorated sub shop has a houseplant installation focused on making your plants happier and photos of Lizzo and Martha Stewart posed with sandwiches on the wall. Though the sandwiches here are Dupont-pricey at around $15 a pop, they are about a foot long and stuffed with layers of meat and fresh vegetables. Get the Crunchy Boi made with turkey, provolone, garlic, mayo, pickles, and potato chips. It’s crunchy, savory, and delicious.

In a city with amazing Ethiopian food, Eritrean food often gets wrongly conflated as one and the same. Keren reminds us of the sometimes subtle differences with dishes that reference traditional Eritrean flavors, like tibsi, the Eritrean version of tibs. The food here is amazing, and breakfast is an underrated hit. Keren's ful and eggs, a stewed fava bean and egg sandwich on a hoagie roll, is a comforting morning ritual if you’re looking for sustenance and flavor. Don’t sleep on dinner, though, as the restaurant is busy every weeknight and has a bar with a bunch of East African beers and wines. It’s a great spot for dates or catching up with friends.

You can trick your friends with the knockoff calamari at DC Vegan because, like everything on the menu, it’s that good. In fact, it tastes better than a lot of the calamari we’ve had in the city. The two-story restaurant has a deli upstairs that serves a range of vegan goods including delightful cauliflower “wings” marinated in buffalo sauce and desserts like carrot cake, with icing that’s finger-licking good. Downstairs, the botanical bar is adorned with flowers that fall from the ceiling. Try an aromatic drinks like the moonflower, made with aperol, elderberry, and ginger tea.

Madhatter is a Dupont Circle staple that provides excellent lunch and Happy Hour options. For decades, the Alice in Wonderland-themed bar has kept workers and residents fed all day without having them break the bank, and offers the youngest and brokest among us a place to get lit for under $20.  Grab one of the killer lunch specials like the $7 burger or $12 chicken gyro. Orange crushes are a staple here (even at lunchtime), just know that after a few, you’ll start to look as wild as the life-sized hatter in a giant teapot above the entryway.

If you blink as you’re walking down P Street, you might miss Sura, a basement restaurant with a paper-plastered door and some of the best street-food style Thai in the city. The meals are fresh and fast—so fast that you might wonder if they brought you someone else’s dinner by mistake. Fret not, that really is your bowl of steaming spicy belly rice that has been set in front of you. The menu changes here often, so don’t get overly tied to one dish. Instead, try them all. You won’t be sorry.

Agora is one of those places that everyone has been to. If you haven't, put it on your list, because the Mediterranean food here is fantastic and it’s a fun place to be. The laughter and good times are infectious, and it’s a spot best enjoyed in a group, especially since it’s all small plates. Come for lunch or dinner, which is a calmer experience than the haphazard all-inclusive brunch. Expect it to be packed all the time, both inside and on the patio.The htipiti, a red pepper spread, is a star across all menus and is so fresh and bright that you might be smiling before you take a bite.

Good Spanish food is hard to find in DC, but Boqueria does a damn good job bringing you as close to Spain as possible. The outdoor patio is often packed out during lunch and dinner with Dupont Circle workers grabbing a bite, but slide in for early Happy Hour to get a more chill vibe with all the great food. If you’re looking for an inside seat, don’t be deterred by the dual staircase out front, there is an elevator that makes the whole restaurant accessible. The patatas bravas, a staple of Spanish cuisine, are crispy and doused in flavorful sauces. Pair them with the gamabs al ajillo that have a bright, lemony taste.

Tokyo Pearl is one of those spots with entrances on both Connecticut Avenue and 18th Street and the restaurant uses those dual doors to create two separate worlds that come together over great sushi. The back patio is a playground full of flowers, butterflies, and swing chairs where you can have an intimate laugh with a friend or a chorus of funnies with a group. Inside, there’s a bar covered in glow-in-the-dark graffiti, which turns into a full-on nightclub after 10pm. You can get the glorious chicken bao buns and sushi (including good vegetarian options) in both spots.

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photo credit: Reema Desai

15 Places To Eat In Dupont Circle guide image