There's something for every diner in D.C.'s Columbia Heights, a thriving neighborhood near Adams Morgan and Logan Circle with its own unique personality. Restaurants near the Columbia Heights Metro and mixed-use retail hub D.C. USA include big chains like Chick-fil-A along with quirkier local spots like vegan bakery and cafe Sticky Fingers or Vietnamese restaurant Pho 14. Walk toward 11th Street, where you'll find a cluster of very hip restaurants and bars, including a few that have received national acclaim. Here's a guide to the dining hotspots of Columbia Heights, where you'll find upscale diners, taco hotspots, cocktail dens, and much more.
Snagging a seat at tiny Filipino restaurant Bad Saint isn't easy: the line sometimes forms at 3:15 p.m., well before the no-reservations spot opens up at 5:30 p.m. That's how tough it is to get into the restaurant Bon Appetit magazine named the "#2 New Restaurant in America" in 2016. If you do manage to get a seat, expect to try creative delicacies like crab fat pasta with sea urchin.
The Coupe on 11th Street looks like an old-school diner, but it has newfangled entrees like faro and red rice grain bowls in addition to stacks of fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Visit this café, coffee house, and bar for a meal, caffeine pick-me-up, or a beverage from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
It's always taco night at neighborhood cantina El Chucho, which serves up affordable modern Mexican fare in a hip setting that includes a rooftop. The menu includes bocadillos, torts, and tacos stuffed with al pastor and pollo, along with Mexican beer and frozen strawberry habanero margaritas. Happy hour and brunch here are also not to be missed.
Napoli Pasta Bar opened in March 2018, bringing a taste of the Amalfi Coast to Columbia Heights. The Italian restaurant features colorful decor like hand-painted plates and a table made from an actual green Vespa scooter. Napoli Pasta Bar serves up dishes like ricotta gnocchi and clam linguine, with plenty of Italian wine too.
Order a steaming bowl of pho with noodles and broth from Pho 14, a no-frills, family-owned restaurant with three locations in Washington D.C. There's a create-your-own-pho option, with a choice of beef, chicken, or vegetarian broth made from Fuji apples. The Columbia Heights location on Park Road by the Metro stop is a neighborhood favorite, and if you eat there on Friday, there's a $5 Pho Friday deal.
The charming Room 11 is a haven for cocktail fans, thanks to its artful drinks. For example, the "Devil in Mexico" cocktail blends up tequila, mezcal, elderflower, grapefruit, lime, and chili bitters. The menu ranges from bar snacks like crispy pork belly skins and Grandma's cheese crackers to heartier dishes like short ribs or pan-roasted quail. The restaurant's interior is very intimate, but there's a spacious patio that becomes a scene in the summer months.
Vegans don't have to swear off donuts and fudgetastic brownies at Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, a bakery and cafe that specializes in plant-based sweets and comfort food. In case you need more convincing on vegan sugary treats, Sticky Finger owner Doron Petersan racked up two wins on the Food Network's popular show Cupcakes Wars.
The sun-dried beef at Laotian restaurant Thip Khao on 14th Street is addictive, as are other menu items like crispy-rice salad, fish steamed inside banana leaves, or chili-glazed chicken wings. There are plenty of dishes for more adventurous eaters here, including fried pig ears, and a few very spicy items too.
Dive bar The Wonderland Ballroom isn't fancy, but it is a neighborhood favorite for its trivia sessions, beers, and bar snacks. Order eggplant fries, footlong hot dogs, spicy sweet potato burritos, or a "dive burger" covered in crispy fried onions, bacon, horseradish cream, and Muenster cheese.