Local Resident: Danielle Gervalis
Washington used to get a bad rap when in came to great food. However, that lame old assertion could not be more wrong! DC is brimming with amazing restaurants in every neighborhood. Usually, if you want a five-star meal, you have to pay five star prices but we’re going to tell you where to find all the delicious food that a college student could afford! Read on to find your next favorite restaurant:
Cheap Eats in DC
The District Fishwife
Tucked in the back right corner at Union Market, District Fishwife serves and sells amazing fresh seafood dishes with a focus on sustainability. They are pro aquaculture, if you will. My favorites are the Poke Bowl, which has the best spicy mayo, and Shrimp Banh Mi, complete with french fries worth fighting over. For under $15, you’ll get a delicious meal you can feel good about while enjoying all the hustle and bustle at the Market.
Meats and Foods
Run by a husband and wife team, Meats and Foods has the best sausages in the city. Their meats are served in a few restaurants in DC but they have their own shop on Florida and 3rd St NW. You can get a delicious sausage sandwich for $6 or try one of the saucy and cheesy chillitos for $3.50! If you are in town on the weekend, then I implore you to start your day with Biscuit Sunday and try one of their honey biscuits with a sausage patty.
DC has the largest concentration of Ethiopians in the country, so we are bound to have fantastic Ethiopian food. In my opinion, Dukem is the best of the best. If this is your first foray into Ethiopian, meals are served on a large shared plate on top of injera bread, which is a flat, spongy, sourdough bread. The food is typically spicy but you can opt for some milder versions of the meat and vegetable combinations. Additionally, they have lots of tasty vegetarian options. For under $20 per entrée, you will be stuffed and have a new favorite food!
Oh. my. god. There is not enough praise to go around for Indigo. This teeny NoMa restaurant is family owned and operated by Dinesh and Nidhi Tandon. The food is absolutely phenomenal. You’ll get hefty portions with the perfect ratio of rice, chickpeas, and meat for around $14 (there are also lots of vegan options). However, this neighborhood favorite is not a secret and there are often lines out the door of people waiting to order. I promise it’s worth it! They have a huge outdoor patio which is also dog friendly. The inside walls are filled with practical and often hilarious advice. You might even learn some killer dance moves from watching the Bollywood videos.
This Belgian style tavern in the H Street neighborhood won “Best Mussels in DC” 10 years in a row. If you aren’t in the mood for mussels, don’t worry they have other delectable dishes and also feature brunch on the weekends. My favorite brunch meal is a bacon infused Bloody Mary and the “Good Doctor” a scrumptious breakfast sandwich and an ode to Doctor Granville Moore who used to occupy the space in yesteryear and provided free medical care to citizens of DC. Don’t be dismayed by the rundown look of the interior, the food is top-notch and reasonably priced! You can get an even better deal if you stop by for $12 Mussel Mondays.
Located in the Shaw neighborhood, this ramen kitchen will blow your socks off with their authentic noodles in the Sapporo Style Ramen. Literally, their noodles are custom-made in Japan. With $6 Sapporos on tap, small plates to share and large bowls of noodles, you can eat to your heart’s content for under $15 per entrée. Make sure to try the Crab Rangoons!
If you are hungry for good Cuban food look no further than Colada on 14th and T St NW (Literally, better than the meals we had in Havana). An authentic menu of sandwiches, empanadas, coffees, and cocktails are available throughout the day at this colorful local. They’ve recently opened a rooftop garden and are featuring a Havana nights themed happy hour on Thursdays. For under $10 per sandwich, we highly recommend the Media Noche and the cortadito for a mid-day pick me up.
Tacos El Chilango
A small row home restaurant serving the best authentic tacos. For $9 you’ll get three tacos – you can mix however you like, chorizo, al pastor, chicken, steak, etc. For those more adventurous eaters, you can try the beef tongue taco! They have a variety of vegetarian options, including my favorite the avocado and queso taco. Chilango’s serves up a spicy salsa rojo and a milder verde, the margaritas are fabulous and the decor is festive (and for sale). Tacos El Chilango has a casual neighborhood feel and can easily turn into your weekly taco spot!
It turns out, Americans have hijacked pizza and turned it into their own national food. One in eight people in the states will eat pizza on any given day. So if you are going to eat pizza in DC, you might as well have the best available. We at WTU think you will love Bacio. Their pizza creations are named after DC neighborhoods, they have giant calzones, fresh salads and sweet gelato to end your meal. It’s a kid friendly neighborhood establishment that costs under $15 for a pizza for two people!
If you are interested in embracing and rejoicing in Sunday Funday, then Black Jack on 14th St NW is your best bet! It has an all day happy hour menu which extends to their delicious menu offerings including fresh oysters, mussels, burgers and $7 pizzas. It’s a casual, loungey place with cocktail tables and couches near the huge front windows where you can sip on $5 wines, half price draft beers, and if the weather is hot, why not try a froze?
Did we cover your favorites? Tell us about your best cheap eats spots in the comments!
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