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Salvadoran-Mexican mainstay El Tamarindo pictured at the foot of Adams Morgan at dusk.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

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How to Eat and Drink Your Way Around Adams Morgan

Plan a well-rounded day of dining and imbibing throughout the popular Northwest neighborhood

Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Welcome to Food Crawls, a series in which Eater DC guides you (virtually) on various food (and booze) crawls in the D.C. area.

When we go out, we often want to try more than one restaurant or bar at a time — a drink and a snack here, another drink and perhaps a dessert there — and share our favorite multi-stop combinations with you. These crawls are meant to be relatively walkable, and the amount of food and drink corresponds roughly to a couple of average appetites (so bring a friend), although your mileage may vary. Email us if there’s a particular theme, dish or drink, or neighborhood you’d like to see covered in a future installment.


With its high concentration of cocktail bars, dives, and late-night eats, Adams Morgan isn’t widely known as a daytime attraction. But all that is changing, thanks to a flurry of fresh morning-to-midday options on and around its main 18th Street drag. While there’s no shortage of restaurant recommendations in the dining-dense area (many of which can be found here), below is the best way to soak up a little bit of everything the neighborhood has to offer.

D Light for breakfast

This sun-drenched, floral-filled European cafe and bakery from two Ukrainian sisters replaced Songbyrd in late 2021. D Light has quickly become a local favorite for cottage cheesecake, orange matcha lattes, and chocolate hazelnut waffles starting at 8 a.m. Traditional mlyntsi (thin pancakes) harken back to the owners’ childhood and come savory (chicken and creamy mushroom sauce) or sweet (homemade cherry compote).

Other morning ideas: Grab an egg-filled burrito at color-soaked Mexican takeout Mi Casita; sit and stay over espresso and crepes at hip French cafe-meets-gallery Coin Des Poetes; or take a short walk to sleek Cafe Integral for Nicaraguan coffee in the Generator hotel.

Lunch at Lapis

Columbia Road’s longstanding Afghan bistro with Bib Gourmand nod swings open for weekday lunch at 11:30 a.m., and a patio with a newly added awning is an ideal spot to set up shop for the afternoon. Feast on halal kabob entrees, all sorts of dumplings, hearty entrees like lamb shank with basmati rice, and other recipes from the Popal family.

Crudite and roasted red pepper dip at Meli.
Jonni Scott

Picnic at the park

Head to Taqueria Al Lado starting at 11 a.m. for travel-friendly tacos on Mexican corn tortillas, then go on a 10-minute walk and plop down at scenic, stone-paved sanctuary Rabaut Park. For another alfresco spread closer to the park, consider picking up meze and wines from modern new “Greek-ish” cafe Méli starting at 4 p.m.

Shopping break

If vinyls and vintage threads are your thing, there’s no better spot on the strip than Smash Records. Locals in the know flock to this punk rock lover’s paradise to peruse hard-to-find indie albums, CDs, posters, cool kicks, and retro clothing.

Smash Records sits smack dab in the middle of the 18th Street NW strip.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

Happy hour hopping

The Agave Room showcases dozens of Mexican spirits.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC
  • If tequila and mezcal is your jam, the Agave Room under Roofers Union is the spot to sample 50 types at hand as flights or solo sips. The Oaxacan oasis opened in May with a solid happy hour from Tuesday through Saturday (5 p.m. to 7 p.m.). Opt for $8 frozen margs with house hibiscus tea or spicy tequila punch, plus snacks like guac-topped tlayuda ($3) and mole-rojo wings ($7).
  • From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, tropical perch Tiki on 18th serves potent Polynesian drinks in cool glassware ($9) and playful snacks ($5-$6) like Buffalo chicken-stuffed lumpia or “Don’t Look Back, Snyder!” tofu fries with D.C.’s iconic mumbo sauce. And $1 of every cocktail sold in September goes towards Maui wildfire relief.
  • Situated atop acclaimed izakaya Shibuya Eatery, dimly-lit hangout Death Punch offers not one, but two, daily happy hour deals. For $20, there’s all-you-can-drink draft beers and rails (or $5 drinks) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and again starting at 10 p.m.
  • Sprawling neighborhood newcomer Alfresco Tap & Grill starts discounts at 3 p.m., featuring frozen negronis ($8), draft beers by the boot ($10), and $6 wines until 6:30 p.m.

Dinner

Ziti with a meaty Neapolitan-style ragu at Morgana.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

Instead of picking one place to park for dinner, consider doing a double feature along Columbia Road. Here rising Japanese chef Masako Morishita sends out standout small plates and deep-fried shrimp katsu burgers at sushi stalwart Perry’s. Head across the street to edgy Italian trattoria Morgana for amberjack carpaccio, mozzarella adorned with 24-month Parma prosciutto, seafood-studded pasta, and well-executed espresso martinis. Note: both are great brunch picks, too. And for a bonus round of food paired with Prohibition-era cocktails, head to nearby Code Red for blooming artichokes, hearts of palm ceviche, and New York cheesecake. And NYC import Van Leeuwen Ice Cream curbs late-night cone cravings until midnight (and 1 a.m. on weekends) at its newest D.C. store.

Reliable nightcaps

For a true taste of South America, head to subterranean speakeasy Casa Kantuta. The lively Bolivian bar — the first of its kind in D.C. — goes big on Singani, with crowd-pleasing cocktails made with the country’s beloved brandy. Wednesdays call for all-night happy hour (plus Tuesdays to Fridays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.), and hearty salteñas enter the fold on Fridays and Saturdays. Casa Kantuta celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with weekly events starting September 15.

Casa Kantuta’s “Oruro” clarified cocktail, named after a city in Bolivia, comes with Singani 63, Bergamot, Earl Grey tea, orange juice, honey syrup, and CK bitters.
Mack Ordaya/Imbibe Photography

Now under the watch of local mixology wizard Lukas Smith, the retooled bar program at D.C.’s stylish Line hotel is stronger than ever. Brand new cocktails at the lobby-level respite come with lots of thought, as seen in the Italian-meets-tropical Lovechild (house green Génépy, falernum Volante, grapefruit juice, and lime, garnished with fresh mint and grated nutmeg).

The Line’s Lukas Smith preserved summer fruits to create a new strawberry-rhubarb negroni (gin, Campari, Chambéryzette, and rhubarb aperitif).
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

Dance at the discotheque

Dripping in disco balls, Le Mont Royal is Adams Morgan’s latest spot to see and be seen until 2 a.m. on weekends. Party-starting Champagne pours, oysters, and DJs on the first floor join a dressed-down level upstairs with pool.

Dozens of disco balls overlook revelers below at Le Mont Royal.
Karlin Villondo Photography

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