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Cooks make dumplings in the window of the Chinatown Express
Cooks make dumplings in the window of the Chinatown Express
Robert Miller/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Where to Eat and Drink Near Capital One Arena

Better options than a stadium dog

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Cooks make dumplings in the window of the Chinatown Express
| Robert Miller/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Capital One Arena is home to the Capitals and the Wizards, hosting NHL and NBA games in addition to major events like concerts and equestrian shows. With a location adjacent to the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro Stop, the stadium also sits in the middle of one of D.C.’s busiest areas. There are tourist magnets aplenty — Fuddruckers and Hooters come to mind — but also buzzy restaurants sprinkled throughout Chinatown, CityCenter, and Penn Quarter.

The neighborhood’s blend of office workers, residents, and visitors has helped forge a diverse food scene. High-end Indian restaurant Rasika is only steps from collection of Peruvian, Spanish, and Mexican restaurants from José Andrés. Also look for casual burger joints, long-standing pregaming spots, and more.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Piccolina da Centrolina

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963 Palmer Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 804-5713
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Quick pre-game bites at this sibling cafe to Centrolina include lamb sausage scacce — a stuffed Sicilian flatbread — along with rolled ham and fontina crepes, veggie panuozzo sandwiches, and some of the best eggplant Parmesan in the city. All of it takes a trip through the wood-burning oven. Just don’t try to go after the show. It closes at 9:30 p.m. —Gabe Hiatt

The ordering counter and wood-burning oven at Piccolina
The ordering counter and wood-burning oven at Piccolina
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

2. Present Company Public House

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438 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 289-1100
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Located a brisk walk away from the stadium on Massachusetts Avenue NW, Present Company replaced Sixth Engine in a renovated firehouse. Go for gastropub dishes like dry-spiced Nashville hot wings, a crab gnocco appetizer with avocado, vegan curry bowls, and a dry-aged cheeseburger with cheddar and smoked onion jam. Happy hour (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) includes $2 off drafts, $4 rails, and $6 glasses of wine. —G.H.

Original ceiling beams are on display at Present Company
Booths at Present Company
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

3. Chinatown Express

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746 6th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 638-0424
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Noodle experts stretching and pulling dough from behind the front window offer a show before the show at this Chinatown stop. Bowls of those noodles (in broth or fried) come with a customers’ choice of meat — including roast duck or pork — for a steal at $9.95. Fresh dumplings and bao are bargains, too, but there’s deep menu for people who want to sit and spend more. —G.H.

A noodle maker in the window at Chinatown express
A noodle maker in the window at Chinatown express
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

4. Boqueria

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777 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 552-3268
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D.C.’s second Boqueria offers Penn Quarter a taste of Barcelona-style tapas, complete with Ibérico ham carved near the entrance, abstract artwork on the walls, and lots of spins on sangria at the bar. The 164-seat restaurant plays up executive chef Marc Vidal’s best sellers — seafood paella, patatas bravas, and boquerones — alongside a lineup of dishes exclusive to D.C. —Tierney Plumb

Boqueria’s dining room, with tapas seating to the left, banquette seating to the right, and a pantry area in the background with a leg of jamon.
Boqueria’s open kitchen.
R. Lopez/Eater DC

5. Clyde's (Multiple Locations)

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707 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 349-3700
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Best known for its crab cakes, Clyde’s clubby, steakhouse-meets-tavern vibe belies its boisterous location next door to Capital One Arena and the sometimes questionable sidewalk scene below. Clyde’s stays open very late — until 2 or 3 a.m. — for food or drinks before the trip home.

6. Zaytinya

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701 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 638-0800
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Zaytinya serves a range of Greek and Mediterranean food in a soaring white restaurant especially popular among the lawyer lunch and business dinner crowd. Standouts on the extensive menu include the spanikopita, crispy Brussels sprouts with garlic yogurt, and assorted meze.

7. Daikaya + the Izakaya 2F

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705 6th Street Northwest Second Floor
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 589-1600
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Directly across Sixth Street from the arena, Daikaya offers two separate options: the popular downstairs ramen shop, and the upstairs izakaya. The ramen is among the city’s best bowls, but walk-in only. Upstairs, the (reservable) Daikaya Izakaya serves creative skewers, noodles, grilled dishes, and other bites in a quieter setting.

Daikaya/official photo

8. Absolute Thai Restaurant

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521 G St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 506-7272
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Local office workers pack this popular Thai restaurant at lunch. Directly across the street from the arena and one block from the Building Museum, Absolute is an underrated, convenient spot with a charmingly tacky water feature, excellent green curry, noodles, and all-day hours.

9. Succotash

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915 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 849-6933
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James Beard Award-winning chef Edward Lee brought his Korean and Southern sensibilities from Kentucky to D.C. in 2017. Serving creative Southern comfort food in a grand, columned space that was a former bank, Succotash also has one of the better happy menus in the area (served 4 to 8 p.m. daily). Don’t miss Wednesday wing day.

Wings at Succotash
Hot fried chicken at Succotash.
Scott Suchman/Succotash

10. The Smith (Multiple Locations)

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901 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 868-4900
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Though only open since 2017, the Smith has quickly become a Penn Quarter favorite for its bright, open brasserie room and solid menu of seasonal American fare.

The Smith’s interior
The open interior at The Smith.
The Smith/official photo

11. Rosa Mexicano

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575 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 783-5522
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Rosa Mexicano is so close to Capital One Arena that the stadium’s signage illuminates the restaurant. The main move at this high-end Mexican restaurant is the guacamole, prepared fresh tableside. It’s also popular with tourists for its proximity to the Metro, Portrait Gallery, and other attractions.

Rosa Mexicano [Official}

12. Jaleo (Multiple Locations)

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480 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 628-7949
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José Andrés lays claim to multiple Penn Quarter restaurants (China Chilcano, Oyamel, Zaytinya among them), but this casual and festive Spanish tapas stalwart remains among the most popular for tourists, arena-goers, and office workers alike.

13. Hill Country Barbecue Market

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410 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 556-2050
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This Texas-by-way-of-Manhattan barbecue joint serves up trays of traditional barbecue and fixin’s like brisket, pulled pork, Kreuz sausages (from Lockhart, Texas), cornbread, and green bean casserole. The large space frequently hosts live music, game-viewing parties, and other events.

14. Rasika

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633 D St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 637-1222
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Blocks from Capital One Arena, this elegant restaurant serves consistently excellent Indian food with contemporary, high-end presentations. It also has a pre-theater prix fixe menu for $37 for a special pre-concert or pre-game feast. The palak chaat is an iconic dish in D.C. Knightsbridge Restaurant Group also owns Mediterranean-minded Olivia nearby.

15. Penn Quarter Sports Tavern

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639 Indiana Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 347-6666
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Penn Quarter Sports Tavern is among the best sports bars in town for people who can’t be at the game but still want to feel like they’re part of it. The Tavern’s decidedly un-fancy food is pure sports bar: French dips, burgers, onion rings, and tots.

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern’s interior
Penn Quarter Sports Tavern’s no-frills setup.
Penn Quarter Sports Tavern/official

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1. Piccolina da Centrolina

963 Palmer Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001
The ordering counter and wood-burning oven at Piccolina
The ordering counter and wood-burning oven at Piccolina
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Quick pre-game bites at this sibling cafe to Centrolina include lamb sausage scacce — a stuffed Sicilian flatbread — along with rolled ham and fontina crepes, veggie panuozzo sandwiches, and some of the best eggplant Parmesan in the city. All of it takes a trip through the wood-burning oven. Just don’t try to go after the show. It closes at 9:30 p.m. —Gabe Hiatt

963 Palmer Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001

2. Present Company Public House

438 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
Original ceiling beams are on display at Present Company
Booths at Present Company
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Located a brisk walk away from the stadium on Massachusetts Avenue NW, Present Company replaced Sixth Engine in a renovated firehouse. Go for gastropub dishes like dry-spiced Nashville hot wings, a crab gnocco appetizer with avocado, vegan curry bowls, and a dry-aged cheeseburger with cheddar and smoked onion jam. Happy hour (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) includes $2 off drafts, $4 rails, and $6 glasses of wine. —G.H.

438 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

3. Chinatown Express

746 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
A noodle maker in the window at Chinatown express
A noodle maker in the window at Chinatown express
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Noodle experts stretching and pulling dough from behind the front window offer a show before the show at this Chinatown stop. Bowls of those noodles (in broth or fried) come with a customers’ choice of meat — including roast duck or pork — for a steal at $9.95. Fresh dumplings and bao are bargains, too, but there’s deep menu for people who want to sit and spend more. —G.H.

746 6th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

4. Boqueria

777 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Boqueria’s dining room, with tapas seating to the left, banquette seating to the right, and a pantry area in the background with a leg of jamon.
Boqueria’s open kitchen.
R. Lopez/Eater DC

D.C.’s second Boqueria offers Penn Quarter a taste of Barcelona-style tapas, complete with Ibérico ham carved near the entrance, abstract artwork on the walls, and lots of spins on sangria at the bar. The 164-seat restaurant plays up executive chef Marc Vidal’s best sellers — seafood paella, patatas bravas, and boquerones — alongside a lineup of dishes exclusive to D.C. —Tierney Plumb

777 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

5. Clyde's (Multiple Locations)

707 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Best known for its crab cakes, Clyde’s clubby, steakhouse-meets-tavern vibe belies its boisterous location next door to Capital One Arena and the sometimes questionable sidewalk scene below. Clyde’s stays open very late — until 2 or 3 a.m. — for food or drinks before the trip home.

707 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

6. Zaytinya

701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Zaytinya serves a range of Greek and Mediterranean food in a soaring white restaurant especially popular among the lawyer lunch and business dinner crowd. Standouts on the extensive menu include the spanikopita, crispy Brussels sprouts with garlic yogurt, and assorted meze.

701 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

7. Daikaya + the Izakaya 2F

705 6th Street Northwest Second Floor, Washington, DC 20001
Daikaya/official photo

Directly across Sixth Street from the arena, Daikaya offers two separate options: the popular downstairs ramen shop, and the upstairs izakaya. The ramen is among the city’s best bowls, but walk-in only. Upstairs, the (reservable) Daikaya Izakaya serves creative skewers, noodles, grilled dishes, and other bites in a quieter setting.

705 6th Street Northwest Second Floor
Washington, DC 20001

8. Absolute Thai Restaurant

521 G St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Local office workers pack this popular Thai restaurant at lunch. Directly across the street from the arena and one block from the Building Museum, Absolute is an underrated, convenient spot with a charmingly tacky water feature, excellent green curry, noodles, and all-day hours.

521 G St NW
Washington, DC 20001

9. Succotash

915 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004
Wings at Succotash
Hot fried chicken at Succotash.
Scott Suchman/Succotash

James Beard Award-winning chef Edward Lee brought his Korean and Southern sensibilities from Kentucky to D.C. in 2017. Serving creative Southern comfort food in a grand, columned space that was a former bank, Succotash also has one of the better happy menus in the area (served 4 to 8 p.m. daily). Don’t miss Wednesday wing day.

915 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004

10. The Smith (Multiple Locations)

901 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004
The Smith’s interior
The open interior at The Smith.
The Smith/official photo

Though only open since 2017, the Smith has quickly become a Penn Quarter favorite for its bright, open brasserie room and solid menu of seasonal American fare.

901 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004

11. Rosa Mexicano

575 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004
Rosa Mexicano [Official}

Rosa Mexicano is so close to Capital One Arena that the stadium’s signage illuminates the restaurant. The main move at this high-end Mexican restaurant is the guacamole, prepared fresh tableside. It’s also popular with tourists for its proximity to the Metro, Portrait Gallery, and other attractions.

575 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

12. Jaleo (Multiple Locations)

480 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

José Andrés lays claim to multiple Penn Quarter restaurants (China Chilcano, Oyamel, Zaytinya among them), but this casual and festive Spanish tapas stalwart remains among the most popular for tourists, arena-goers, and office workers alike.

480 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

13. Hill Country Barbecue Market

410 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

This Texas-by-way-of-Manhattan barbecue joint serves up trays of traditional barbecue and fixin’s like brisket, pulled pork, Kreuz sausages (from Lockhart, Texas), cornbread, and green bean casserole. The large space frequently hosts live music, game-viewing parties, and other events.

410 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

14. Rasika

633 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004

Blocks from Capital One Arena, this elegant restaurant serves consistently excellent Indian food with contemporary, high-end presentations. It also has a pre-theater prix fixe menu for $37 for a special pre-concert or pre-game feast. The palak chaat is an iconic dish in D.C. Knightsbridge Restaurant Group also owns Mediterranean-minded Olivia nearby.

633 D St NW
Washington, DC 20004

15. Penn Quarter Sports Tavern

639 Indiana Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004
Penn Quarter Sports Tavern’s interior
Penn Quarter Sports Tavern’s no-frills setup.
Penn Quarter Sports Tavern/official

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern is among the best sports bars in town for people who can’t be at the game but still want to feel like they’re part of it. The Tavern’s decidedly un-fancy food is pure sports bar: French dips, burgers, onion rings, and tots.

639 Indiana Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004

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