Best Restaurants Near DC’s Convention Center

After a long, tiring day of crisscrossing Washington, DC’s massive convention center making connections and sealing deals, it’s easy to cop out when it comes to dining out. Resist the temptation to order room service or settle for a familiar fast-food concept. Since you’re smack dab in the middle of the up ‘n’ coming Shaw neighborhood and within walking distance of the bustle of Chinatown and Penn Quarter, there are plenty of fantastic dining options spanning diverse cultures. Whether you’re in the mood for Mediterranean, itching for Italian or have a yen for ramen, or you’re looking to explore the latest cutting-edge cuisine, or just want a stellar sandwich, these top 5 restaurants near DC’s convention center are sure to satisfy.

Daikaya 

Two is better than one. Located just a few minutes’ walk away, in nearby Chinatown, this bi-level eatery features a ramen joint on the ground floor and an izakaya (Japanese tavern) above it. The downstairs noodle house is bursting with energy. Pop songs blare, conversations burble and the compact open kitchen hums. There are 4 broth choices for your ramen — classic shoyu, soy-based shio, barley fortified mugi-miso and a surprisingly satisfying vegetarian option.

Boost your bowl with braised pork belly, marinated bamboo, seaweed or a nitamago (soft-boiled egg). If you’d rather enjoy cocktails and small plates instead, climb the stairs to the dimly lit, dark wood-lined second level. For a quick fix, order up and slam down a round of Dai-drops — sake spheres sunken in Sapporo beers. When it comes to dining, grilled oysters dressed with sake, skewers of fried pork and Brussels sprouts and miso-braised mackerel are all good choices.

Finish reading this story on the Travel Channel’s website now.

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D.C.’s Most Valuable Restaurants

A&J

1319 Rockville Pike, Ste. C, Rockville; (301) 251-7878

VALUABLE FOR: Delicious Chinese small plates with no attitude (and it’s cheap)

This cash-only strip-mall gem is a pleasant reminder to look past Rockville’s boring chain restaurants. An ideal Sunday-morning destination for a full-on Northern Chinese-style brunch, A&J is best arrived at with an empty stomach and no prissy attitudes about ordering only for yourself, since everything comes family-style. Kick off with a bowl of piping hot dan dan mien—thick noodles dressed with a spicy sesame sauce. The steamed pork buns are fluffy clouds with a satisfying umami bomb of swine at the center. For more of the other white meat, order the tubular pot stickers. Griddled golden on each side, they crackle when you bite into them to reveal a core of juicy ground pork. Dip them in soy sauce if you prefer, but like most dishes here, they pack enough flavor to stand alone.

Read my three other picks – Sundevich, Negril, and Middle Eastern Cuisine – and the rest of the rundown over on the Washington City Paper site now.

Photo by Premshree Pillai on Flickr.

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Munchie Madness – Six 4/20-Inspired Dishes and Drinks

For pro-pot advocates, the biggest day of the year is April 20th, otherwise known as 4/20. Since puff-puff-passing is illegal in most states, smokers converge on the District annually for the Overgrow the Government rally for the legalization of marijuana. No matter what side of the debate you’re on, we can all agree that mind-blowing munchies are an issue that we can all support. So here are six of our favorite herb-inspired dishes and drinks, so you can celebrate (legally, of course) on this High Holiday.

Rabbit

It’s no shock that a salad shop is overflowing with greens, but it is surprising that one of their leafy creations is inspired by the 1936 anti-pot propaganda film Reefer Madness. The Leafer Madness Cobb ($10) tops Romaine lettuce with grilled chicken, corn, tomato wedges, egg, chive, avocado purée and blue cheese, then drizzles it all with red wine vinaigrette. If you prefer something lighter, you can always go for the Kind Herb ($7), which takes mixed greens and herbs and tosses them with crispy wild rice and vinaigrette. (No, one of the herbs is not marijuana.)

The Inn at Little Washington

You might think you’ve smoked too much when the mooing, cow-shaped cheese cart rolls through the dining room of this five star restaurant, but we assure you that Faira the fiberglass heifer is absolutely real. One of the selections she bears is Up In Smoke (price varies), which borrows its name from the Cheech & Chong film. Made by River’s Edge Chèvre in Oregon, this gourmet goat cheese is wrapped in bourbon-soaked, smoked maple leaves, which gives it a smoky scent and a hazy flavor that Pedro and Anthony would have loved.

Finish reading this post on CityEats’ Plate blog now.

Photo by LancerenoK on Flickr.

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