If you spend time sightseeing in D.C., odds are you’ll end up near Scott Circle. The traffic circle is walking distance from both the White House and the Washington Monument, and it's just one block west or east, respectively, to historic Logan Circle and lively Dupont Circle. Bustling 14th Street is the easiest place grab a bite, but the surrounding side streets have some gems, too. We help you narrow down the options.
Best for a Splurge: Siren at The Darcy
From the deep blue walls to the front-and-center raw bar, celebrity chef Robert Weidmeir’s newest addition to the D.C. dining scene is an unapologetic ode to the sea. An impressive seafood tower—piled high with oysters, shrimp, lobster, and sashimi—kicks off any meal with a bang. But you’d do just as well ordering from the almost-raw section of the menu—buttery big eye tuna topped with avocado mousse, uni in a clam custard, and citrus-cured salmon belly all taste like the ocean, in the best way possible. Heartier entrees include swordfish with stuffed squash blossom; salmon with octopus; and Shenandoah lamb with cinnamon hibiscus sauce, for any land-lubbers at the table.
House-made pop tarts, boozy milkshakes, and pineapple ginger mimosas make this 14th street spot a magnet for weekend brunches (translation: Expect a wait, sometimes upwards of an hour). The menu is a mix of southern classics (chicken-and-biscuits), upgraded diner food (short rib grilled cheese with creamy tomato soup), and gut-busting desserts—think silky chocolate cream pies and cinnamon rolls as big as your head (literally).
This basement bar (beneath a liquor store, conveniently), has everything you want at a neighborhood watering hole: A long list of local craft brews; straightforward seasonal cocktails; daily happy hour (from 4 to 8 p.m.); and free popcorn to keep the drinking easy. There’s no kitchen, so plan to order delivery straight to the bar, or bring in a burger from the Shake Shack three doors down; the greasy burger will taste just right with Underwood Pinot Noir, a canned wine (the only kind for sale).
Brunch and dinner tapas are on offer at this lively Spanish spot, helmed by Ferran Adria-trained chef Alex Ureña. During the day, split plates of lemon buttermilk pancakes, mini chorizo benedicts, and chocolate buñuelos (sweet balls of fried dough). By night, nibble on more classic Spanish dishes, including squid ink fideo, Spanish tortilla, and patatas bravas. The spacious patio makes this a natural go-to during the warmer months—as do crisp glasses of cava and red sangria.
Make reservations early (or settle in for a long wait) at this perpetually mobbed French diner. Lawmakers wheel-and-deal over plates of foie gras mousse, steak frites, and crusty baguettes, in a dining room that transports you straight to a Parisian bistro. Keep your eyes peeled for politicians and celebrities—Michelle Obama, Joe and Jill Biden, and Kevin Spacey have all been spotted here.
Everything in this American small-plates joint is a nod to the 16th president: pennies line the bar top; giant pop art paintings of the president hang on the walls; and the menu features some of Honest Abe’s favorites (fried oysters and gingerbread among them—who knew?). Seasonal small plate options are diverse—mac-and-cheese, tuna tartare, and white bean guacamole are all staples—but seafood specialties like pan-seared scallops and shrimp-and-grits shine. Don’t skip the latter, served in a jambalaya-style sauce with hearty chunks of pancetta and chopped red peppers.
Wake up and wind down at Slipstream, a local coffee shop that transitions to a cocktail bar at night. A former nurse and financier opened the chain with the goal of “elevating coffee and cocktails to the extraordinary.” In this case, extraordinary means caffeinated concoctions like the Ardi Tonic, a mix of chilled Ardi espresso, strawberry syrup and tonic; refreshing cocktails like the Beach Weather, a mix of coconut and spiced rums, tiki bitter, lime juice, and soda; and bistro staples like smoked turkey sandwiches, avocado toasts, and fresh frittatas.
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