Today marks 1 year for me in DC, having lived in Texas (Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio) and Brooklyn (Flatbush baby).
This should be comprehensive. I miss BBQ, Tex Mex, Mex Mex, Good Steak for Cheap, Cajun, and Soul Food. But DC has great food.
Alberto's Pizza - great chicago style pizza. Love the fact they deliver.
Au Bon Pain - Office go to
Austin Grill - Wants to be Magnolia/Kerbey. That raises my hackles. I don't think they captured the quirks of ATX cuisine.
Baffeto - college level pizza.
The Banh Mi spot across from a pep boys in MD - Loved it, just don't know the name
Belga - 1st time, I went, didn't get seated. Second time was good. Truffle Oil on my beef, didn't notice it.
Ben's Chili Bowl - The first time I was in DC, my GF (now ex, yes i'm single ladies), took me here. Chili by itself? Terrible! But chili atop a half smoke with mustard and onion - SUBLIME.
Brasserie Beck - Steak and Frites - frites great, steak ehh. The bread pudding? to die for.
Breadline - I love that place. I actually ran into the owner one day, and before I knew it was him, i told him was my fave lunch in Dc.
Bubba's in Falls Church - Here, bbq means Pork. Quite a transition. I like small spots, and this was decent. The on-tap root beer is a plus even though it wasn't to my taste.
Butterfield 9 - It was good, but I'm not rushing back. I'm not really into the subtle flavors...
CA Tortilla - I'm not mad at them. Chipotle, Baja Fresh, (Freebirds) - everyone needs a mega burrito in their lives.
Cafe Atlantico - great for restaurant week, need to go back
Cafe Bardem - Etouffe means blonde roux, not tomato sauce.
Cafe Deli - on F street - Only Pho in downtown. got me through a few winter days.
Cafe Mozart - my first foray into German food. Pretty good genre.
Cakelove - No comment.
Capital Q - They really want to be Rudy's, but their sauce game is not that good. Still best Brisket i've had here.
Caribbean something or other - Over by Catholic U. Decent. Take out, like it should be.
Ceiba - Loved it. One of the better meals i've had in DC.
CF Folks - good lunch spot
Chef Geoff - Not remarkable to me.
Chix - If Haile Selassie, Jesus, Allah, and Buddah stopped by for dinner, I'd serve them a whole Colombian.
Ciro's? - there's another NY/NJ pizza joint off of 66, close to a mall, in the same shopping center with a bloom, best buy, and your version of Sam's. Good pizza.
Clyde's - No comment.
Con-e-island - It's ice cream, can you be mad @ ice cream?
Coppi's - as good as Pizza Paradiso imo.
Corduroy - good as well, can't wait for it to come back.
Cosi - I've been thrice. It's across the street from me, so I never go.
Delle and Campbell food cart - Miss those guys. Good sausage and chicken.
Devon and Blakely - lunch go to.
The Diner - another good late night spot
Dukem - Took a date, the locals taught us both that lentils were African Viagra. The date wasn't that good.
Eat First/Full Kee - no comparison to Fung's Kitchen or Tan Tan in Houston, but not bad.
Firefly - Best food that none of my friends showed up to eat. As I sat alone, I rather enjoyed my oysters.
Firehook - good brownies and cookies
Five Guys - A Texan would love this burger. I will buy stock in their IPO if that ever happens.
Fogo De Chao - Worked in Dallas, nuff said.
FuddRuckers - proof that chain/franchises don't deliver the same thing eveywhere.
Gelato Place in Reagan - Nice to have it close to work
Giffords - GREAT SERVICE. Maggie Moos could learn a lot. and I like the changing monthly flavors.
Haad Thai - close to work, not bad.
Hank's Oyster Bar - wow, great oysters. I mean, you'd expect them to be, but wow.
High Noon - good chicken nooodle
The Islander - Roti was good, so was the service. And as much as I love music, i'd rather be outside.
Jaleo - I need to go with a Tapas master, cause I must pick the wrong things every time.
Korean Place - in VA, really close to a target. cook the food yourself - GREAT!.
Kramer's - one of the best late night spots i've been to.
Krispee Kreme @ Dupont - Glazed on site....great....
La Tasca - a poor man's Jaleo?
Lalibela - My local and favorite Ethiopian spot. I've had pretty much every non-vegetarian option on that menu. I'm sure there's better, but I like this spot a lot.
Lauriol Plaza - I'm not mad at this place. It's fun, not particularly great food, but it's good enough.
Lebanese Taverna - good stuff. Went 2 days ago. Great mezes. And my lamb was good.
Legal Seafoods - It's no Pappadeaux.
Les Halles - it didn't occur to me that this was the Bourdain Les Halles - Steak and Frites great, better than Brasserie
Lindy's - lots of burgers. The lady is nicer than the guy. The burgers are good. And if you ask nice, you can get them to put the chili in a bowl with some Fritos.
Loeb's - It' s no Katz's (in Houston, in Austin, or the original on Houston in NYC), but I like the spot. I especially like the surly owner.
M'Dawg - i wanted it to be good, but i've been mildly miffed 3 times.
Maggie Moos - It's not Amy's. Hell it's no Marble Slab. I'll take Baskin or god-awful Coldstone over this place.
Malaysia Kopitiam - Good stuff.
Mango Mikes - haha. Umm, no.
Matchbox - fun!
Meskerem - I prefer Lalibella, but this place isn't terrible by any means.
Minerva - good buffet, but i hope there's more to it.
Moby Dick - fast food Mediterranean? who'd thunk it.
Mrs K's - wow, now that's what I call brunch.
Nirvana - good for Veggies! me not veggie.
Oceannaire - My waiter put a bib on my girlfriend without asking her. I could see how this place could be good, but it has expense account written all over it.
Old Siam - generic thai? Is there such a thing?
Oya - Scene? Restaurant? Wearing a suit, I felt really conservative. Food was okay...
Penang - I had something with Taro - interesting.
Pho75/88 - I'm from Houston and most of my HS friends were Vietnamese...but my palate is unrefined. I liked it.
Pizza Paradiso - Napolitan style? High End? I like it for what it is.
The Prime Rib - Jump started my weight training regimen. Oh, the humanity. Good stuff.
Rasika - high end indian? That's the theme, but I didn't really see it in the menu.
Soho - king of the weigh your food and pay for it places, imo - they have friend plantains and mango every day. can't deal with much else there though.
Sweet Mangoes - :-| <- Unthrilled. I'm only snobby about Jamaican food, and this is the best i've had in town, but i make better @ home. Grrr.
Thai-Tanic - Might be generic, but me likey.
Trader Joe's on 25th - The line that wrapped around the store intimidated me.
Tropicana - See Sweet Mangoes. Sorrel shouldn't be 5 bucks.
Tryst - I like the place, the couches are great. i wonder how many tables they turn an hour.
Valentino's Pizza in Alexandria? - Ny look, but it's thick pizza.
Vinh Kee - Falls Church - Chinese Seafood? I liked it a lot. Would drive out there for it.
Wasabi - I like the conveyor belt, reminds me of Japan. The Sushi...i'm no expert, but I don't think it's the very best in town. The game of trying to grab it before other people is what makes it fun.
Washington Deli - not bad pizza, ny-style, sauce kinda sweet.
Wegman's - best grocery store in DMV
Whole Foods on P Street - I lived in Austin for 13 years. The flagship Whole Foods is the most opulent grocery store i've ever been in.
Zaytinya - Fun, more fun that great food though. I liked it. Much like Oya above.
I may have missed a few restaurants, but i've been pretty pleased with DC cuisine.
I want to thank chowhound for all the info and reviews.