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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

Reliable picks for upscale Indian, a quick beer, ramen, and much more

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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. The Washington Wizards 2021 home opener on Friday, October 22, marked the first time the NBA has played at full capacity at the arena since the pandemic.

The stadium, located adjacent to the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro stop, houses a new sportsbook with bar food from a Michelin star chef. Buzzy restaurants sprinkled throughout dining-dense areas of Chinatown, CityCenter, and Penn Quarter check off just about every cuisine and vibe one could want.

High-end Indian restaurant Rasika is only steps from a collection of Spanish, Mediterranean, and Mexican mainstays from José Andrés. Also look for glamorous hotel restaurants, casual burger joints, long-standing pregaming spots, Chinese and Thai staples, and more.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Piccolina da Centrolina

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Quick pre-game bites at this sibling cafe to Centrolina include all-day omelets, pizzas, veggie or porchetta 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 8 p.m.

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

Present Company Public House

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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, pimento tater tots, ricotta cavatelli, and a dry-aged cheeseburger with cheddar and smoked onion jam. A draft list loops in unique breweries like Lakewood, New York’s Southern Tier IPA. Make it a Dickel Rye shot combo for $11.

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

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar

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The popular Japanese chain that sends out sushi on conveyor belts made its D.C. debut in Chinatown late in 2020. Most of its offerings — nigiri, hand rolls, crispy rice, and sides — are famously just $3.15 each. The quick-serve setup also includes bottles of sake and unique Japanese beers like Kyoto Matcha IPA. Takeout is available, too.

Chinatown Express

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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

Boqueria

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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 is known for its seafood paella, patatas bravas, and boquerones alongside a lineup of dishes exclusive to D.C. Mark Tubridy, mixologist from NYC’s beloved speakeasy the 21 Club, creates a seasonal list of Spanish cocktails to go along with its top-selling sangrias and shishito margarita. — 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

Penn Quarter’s ambitious Spanish-Japanese restaurant with a Michelin star offers a little something for everyone, from Spanish gin and tonics and $35 bento boxes for lunch to a strong sake selection behind a buzzy bar to a six-course omakase for just under $100. Chef Pepe Moncayo, a Spaniard who spent a large chunk of his career cooking in Singapore, sends out an ever-changing list of tapas like patatas bravas, duck rillete gyozas, and a la carte large plates of steamed mussels in sake or paella studded with smoked eel.

The soaring indoor dining room at Cranes.
The indoor dining room overlooks an open kitchen at Cranes.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Clyde's (Multiple Locations)

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Clyde’s clubby, steakhouse-meets-tavern vibe fits its boisterous location next-door to Capital One Arena. Clyde’s stays open very late — until 1 or 2 a.m. — for food or drinks before the trip home.

Daikaya + the Izakaya 2F

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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 noodles, wagyu beef tartare, and other freestyle dishes in a quieter setting.

Daikaya’s zen upstairs space.
The upstairs izakaya at Daikaya.
Daikaya/official photo

Absolute Thai Restaurant

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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.

Urban Roast

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Penn Quarter’s versatile all-day cafe and sangria bar has amassed a fast following for its multiple mac and cheese varieties, crispy empanadas, plentiful meat or seafood spreads, and buffalo chicken dip. A weekday happy hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. includes $8 cocktails, sangrias, and margaritas, and $6 house wines.

Succotash Prime

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James Beard Award-winning chef Edward Lee brought his Korean and Southern sensibilities from Kentucky to D.C. in 2017 in a grand, columned space that was a former bank. The restaurant reopened this summer as Succotash Prime to reflect a steakhouse-style makeover. A revamped menu filled with smoked steaks with a range of sauces and a la carte sides maintains the luxe comfort food influences Lee imbued into the original. 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

The Smith (Multiple Locations)

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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

Café Riggs

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Tucked inside a historic bank building, Penn Quarter’s opulent, all-day hotel brasserie is a fancy pre-show pick for oysters, Champagne, and decadent bites like a bowl of bright caviar and cucumber with fresh potato chips that’s $12 during a weekday “Bankers” happy hour (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Eater Young Gun Patrick Curran (‘16) offers a new three-course, family-style Sunday supper with whole roasted chicken and half-off bottles of wine. Head to the depths of the bank for martini service at Silver Lyan, the cocktail lair from world-famous bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana.

Bar seating at Cafe Riggs
The grandiose bar at Cafe Riggs.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Dirty Habit

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Penn Quarter’s edgy lobby restaurant offers a fresh global menu from new chef Edgar Escalante, whose gastronomic-chic experience from the SLS hotel in Miami shines with a compressed watermelon tartare made with chlorophyll oil. Sizable mains include Bouillabaisse and a short-rib adobo with purple sweet potato puree, charred bok choy, and glazed carrots. During weekday happy hour, “crabbie” hand rolls with umami mayo (usually $21) are $11, and fried sticks of truffle Parm mac and cheese are half-off at $9.

The Boardwalk DC

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This nostalgic destination for frozen drinks, “Cotton Candy” Collins cocktails, and draft beers runs a daily happy hour with $4 lagers or hot dogs, $8 tap cocktails and free popcorn. A downstairs space is reserved for seaside games like shuffleboard, foosball, or arcade basketball. Better Hospitality Group, which also operates Shaw rooftop staples Cortez and Takoda, will bring another Boardwalk to the Wharf soon.

The bar at The Boardwalk
The bar at Boardwalk.
Anna Meyer/The Boardwalk

Jaleo (Multiple Locations)

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

The DC Noble

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Longtime French chef David Barigault oversees an American menu filled with Parisian flair at months-old DC Noble. Along with numerous options for mussels, early hits include crab cake rolls and lobster coconut bisque.

A bowl of mussels at DC Noble.
Mussels come in four ways at DC Noble.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

Carmine's Italian Restaurant - Washington D.C.

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With 700 seats, the Penn Quarter Italian place finally bounced back from the pandemic and reopened this summer. Behemoth platters of everything from chicken Parm to pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe make Carmine’s a prime pick for big parties.

A large bowl of pasta at Carmine’s.
A gigantic platter of spaghetti and meatballs at Carmine’s.
Carmine’s/official photo

Hill Country Barbecue Market

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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.

Blocks from Capital One Arena, Knightsbridge Restaurant Group’s crown jewel serves consistently excellent Indian food with contemporary, high-end presentations. Chef Vikram Sunderam’s palak chaat is an iconic D.C. dish, and multi-course tasting menu options starting at $55. The neighborhood has blossomed with upscale Indian options in recent years with the arrivals of Karma Modern Indian and Punjab Grill.

A dish of cauliflower bezule from Rasika
Cauliflower bezule from Rasika.
Shimmon Tamara / for Rasika

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern

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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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Piccolina da Centrolina

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 all-day omelets, pizzas, veggie or porchetta 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 8 p.m.

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

Present Company Public House

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, pimento tater tots, ricotta cavatelli, and a dry-aged cheeseburger with cheddar and smoked onion jam. A draft list loops in unique breweries like Lakewood, New York’s Southern Tier IPA. Make it a Dickel Rye shot combo for $11.

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

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar

The popular Japanese chain that sends out sushi on conveyor belts made its D.C. debut in Chinatown late in 2020. Most of its offerings — nigiri, hand rolls, crispy rice, and sides — are famously just $3.15 each. The quick-serve setup also includes bottles of sake and unique Japanese beers like Kyoto Matcha IPA. Takeout is available, too.

Chinatown Express

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.

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

Boqueria

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 is known for its seafood paella, patatas bravas, and boquerones alongside a lineup of dishes exclusive to D.C. Mark Tubridy, mixologist from NYC’s beloved speakeasy the 21 Club, creates a seasonal list of Spanish cocktails to go along with its top-selling sangrias and shishito margarita. — 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

Cranes

The soaring indoor dining room at Cranes.
The indoor dining room overlooks an open kitchen at Cranes.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Penn Quarter’s ambitious Spanish-Japanese restaurant with a Michelin star offers a little something for everyone, from Spanish gin and tonics and $35 bento boxes for lunch to a strong sake selection behind a buzzy bar to a six-course omakase for just under $100. Chef Pepe Moncayo, a Spaniard who spent a large chunk of his career cooking in Singapore, sends out an ever-changing list of tapas like patatas bravas, duck rillete gyozas, and a la carte large plates of steamed mussels in sake or paella studded with smoked eel.

The soaring indoor dining room at Cranes.
The indoor dining room overlooks an open kitchen at Cranes.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Clyde's (Multiple Locations)

Clyde’s clubby, steakhouse-meets-tavern vibe fits its boisterous location next-door to Capital One Arena. Clyde’s stays open very late — until 1 or 2 a.m. — for food or drinks before the trip home.

Daikaya + the Izakaya 2F

Daikaya’s zen upstairs space.
The upstairs izakaya at Daikaya.
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 noodles, wagyu beef tartare, and other freestyle dishes in a quieter setting.

Daikaya’s zen upstairs space.
The upstairs izakaya at Daikaya.
Daikaya/official photo

Absolute Thai Restaurant

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.

Urban Roast

Penn Quarter’s versatile all-day cafe and sangria bar has amassed a fast following for its multiple mac and cheese varieties, crispy empanadas, plentiful meat or seafood spreads, and buffalo chicken dip. A weekday happy hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. includes $8 cocktails, sangrias, and margaritas, and $6 house wines.

Succotash Prime

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 in a grand, columned space that was a former bank. The restaurant reopened this summer as Succotash Prime to reflect a steakhouse-style makeover. A revamped menu filled with smoked steaks with a range of sauces and a la carte sides maintains the luxe comfort food influences Lee imbued into the original. 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

The Smith (Multiple Locations)

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

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

Café Riggs

Bar seating at Cafe Riggs
The grandiose bar at Cafe Riggs.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Tucked inside a historic bank building, Penn Quarter’s opulent, all-day hotel brasserie is a fancy pre-show pick for oysters, Champagne, and decadent bites like a bowl of bright caviar and cucumber with fresh potato chips that’s $12 during a weekday “Bankers” happy hour (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Eater Young Gun Patrick Curran (‘16) offers a new three-course, family-style Sunday supper with whole roasted chicken and half-off bottles of wine. Head to the depths of the bank for martini service at Silver Lyan, the cocktail lair from world-famous bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana.

Bar seating at Cafe Riggs
The grandiose bar at Cafe Riggs.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Dirty Habit

Penn Quarter’s edgy lobby restaurant offers a fresh global menu from new chef Edgar Escalante, whose gastronomic-chic experience from the SLS hotel in Miami shines with a compressed watermelon tartare made with chlorophyll oil. Sizable mains include Bouillabaisse and a short-rib adobo with purple sweet potato puree, charred bok choy, and glazed carrots. During weekday happy hour, “crabbie” hand rolls with umami mayo (usually $21) are $11, and fried sticks of truffle Parm mac and cheese are half-off at $9.

The Boardwalk DC

The bar at The Boardwalk
The bar at Boardwalk.
Anna Meyer/The Boardwalk

This nostalgic destination for frozen drinks, “Cotton Candy” Collins cocktails, and draft beers runs a daily happy hour with $4 lagers or hot dogs, $8 tap cocktails and free popcorn. A downstairs space is reserved for seaside games like shuffleboard, foosball, or arcade basketball. Better Hospitality Group, which also operates Shaw rooftop staples Cortez and Takoda, will bring another Boardwalk to the Wharf soon.

The bar at The Boardwalk
The bar at Boardwalk.
Anna Meyer/The Boardwalk

Related Maps

Jaleo (Multiple Locations)

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