It's best to start with the basics. Here are the sites to bookmark for general dining knowledge in D.C., particularly Eater's staples, the Eater 38 and the Eater Heatmap.
Table Of Contents (all h2's added automatically)
The Heatmap: Look here for the hottest new restaurants in town; this gets updated monthly.
The Eater 38: The 38 offers a selection of neighborhood standouts, with a range of locations, cuisines and price points (super expensive places are omitted here). A place must have been open at least six months to make the cut; the list gets updated quarterly.
Eater Drinks Map: These are the newest spots for beer, cocktails and wine (updated at least quarterly, or more often if something big opens). Ideal for those students over 21, of course. And here are D.C.'s essential bars.
Eater Brunch Heatmap: And finally, the newest spots for brunch (updated quarterly, for the most part), usually a more affordable way to experience a hot new restaurant. Interested in more of a brunch classic? Head to Eater's Brunch Essentials guide.
Whether the craving is tacos, doughnuts or pizza, Eater has it covered.
We have the meats:
*Hottest New Barbecue Restaurants (D.C. hasn't always been a barbecue town, but that's slowly changing)
*A Peruvian Chicken Guide to D.C. (never had it before? It's a D.C. standout)
Seafood and Vegetarian:
*Great Raw Bars (officially a trend right now)
*Vegetarian Essentials: Best restaurants for avoiding meat
Where to drink
*Bars Actual Adults Should Avoid (but college students just might appreciate)
*And for good measure, D.C.'s Epic Hangover Dishes
*Find free-wifi and good food at these places
*Consider these D.C. coffee shops
*Essential Pho restaurants: This Vietnamese soup is everywhere
*Tater tots and totchos. That is all.
We get it — D.C.'s a bit pricier than what students are used to at home. But you don't have to spend a fortune to find a decent meal here. Eater devoted a whole week to the topic earlier this year. Here are some highlights:
*You'll be hearing the term "fast-casual" a lot around town; it's those places that are fancier than fast-food, but not quite full service. D.C.'s stuffed with them.
*Celebrate Taco Tuesday
*These bars have free food. Repeat: free food.
*Out late? Head here.
*Only have $5? Not a problem.
D.C. is a huge tourist town, and chances are, parents are going to come by at some point to visit their child — and take in some of the city's sights. Here are some guides to keep in mind when playing host.
*Restaurants Near the National Zoo (don't forget to see the pandas)
*Also, D.C. has a cat cafe. Remain calm.
*Bringing kids along? Consider these restaurants.
*Still want more? Here's a whole stream of tourist-friendly Eater D.C. maps.
Interested in sticking closer to home? Eater D.C.'s coverage is organized by neighborhood. Here are a few to pay close attention to; check out the full directory as well.
*Foggy Bottom news (near George Washington)
*Tenleytown news (near American University)
*Brookland news (near Catholic University)
*Van Ness news (near University of D.C.)
*Fairfax news (near George Mason)
*NoMa news (near Galludet)
Eater Neighborhood Guides: Here are some in-depth looks as such neighborhoods as rising Bloomingdale, Korean food mecca Annandale and more.
Keeping Up with the News
Eater D.C. is updated up to a dozen times every weekday with breaking news stories, maps, features, guides, trend pieces and more. Here's how to best use it:
*Keep an eye on the Eater DC homepage. New stories will always show up near the top and flow down toward the bottom of the page as they get older, while important recent stories will stay pinned to the top. Also, check out the National site, Eater.com, for national and international food news.
*Subscribe to our newsletter, which goes out every weekday afternoon and includes links to the day's top stories.
GET IN TOUCH
Have questions not answered here? Have a juicy tip to share? Want a super-specific restaurant recommendation? Here's how to reach us.
*Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reach the editor.
*Send a tip through the tipline, which can be anonymous or otherwise.
*Post in the Eater forums (here's the D.C. one), which are a great place to get feedback from readers or specific recommendations (or to talk about your favorite/least favorite places). Interesting threads get promoted on social media and the site's homepage.
Lead photo image by Shutterstock. Mike Isabella and Jaleo photos courtesy restaurants. All other photos by R. Lopez.