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French onion soup at Le Diplomate 
French onion soup at Le Diplomate 
Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

16 D.C. Restaurants That Serve Warming, Cozy Dishes for a Cold Winter Night

Where to find comforting French onion soup, ramen, Caribbean pepperpot, and more

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French onion soup at Le Diplomate 
| Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Winter never seems longer than in its final days, when spring is vaguely on the horizon but temperatures remain stubbornly camped out in the 30s and 40s. An antidote to the persistent chill — and accompanying snow, sleet, and ice — can be found in hearty, warming comfort foods. Classic boeuf bourguignon, fondue, French onion soup, and hearty chicken and dumplings round out familiar American and European favorites. Japanese ramen, Indian khichdi, West African peanut soup, and Caribbean oxtail pepperpots are equally satisfying. These 16 restaurants serve up some of the D.C. area’s best dishes for cold winter nights.

D.C. allows indoor dining at 25 percent capacity. Many restaurants offer outdoor seating, but this should not be taken as endorsement for dining out, as there are still safety concerns. The Washington Post is tracking coronavirus cases and deaths in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. More information can be found at coronavirus.dc.gov. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Pennyroyal Station

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3310 Rhode Island Ave
Mt Rainier, MD 20712
(240) 770-8579
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Bar Pilar alums Jesse Miller and Erin Edwards have garnered plenty of attention since opening their Mount Rainier spot in November 2020. Chef Miller describes his food as “American-style comfort food that is just taken up a notch.” A mac and cheese blended with chunks of brisket and bone marow proves this, as do Pennyroyal’s four-person family meals. Current options include winter squash and Taleggio lasagna, short ribs, and a vegetarian coconut curry.

2. La Piquette

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3714 Macomb St NW
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 686-2015
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This popular neighborhood bistro on a busy dining strip off Wisconsin Avenue NW draws locals and French expats alike. Chef Francis Layrle, who was executive chef at the French embassy for years, turns out traditional comfort foods like coq au vin, cassoulet, and braised rabbit in white wine tarragon sauce.

La Piquette [Official]

3. Makan

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3400 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 730-2295
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Tucking into modern Malaysian restaurant Makan’s hot and spicy hakka noodles can almost — almost — make you forget the cold outside. Despite the bad luck of opening in early March 2020, former Spoken English and Maketto chef James Wozniuk has garnered praise and a loyal following for his deeply flavorful dishes and bright ingredients.

4. Appioo African Bar & Grill

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1924 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 588-7366
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Southern food owes much of its roots to West African cuisine, and peanut butter soup is a must-try West African comfort food. Ghanaian restaurant Appioo, in Shaw, makes a stellar version that comes with a choice of croaker fish, chicken, oxtail, or goat meat. Choice of sides include fufu, banku, kenkey, rice balls, or white rice. Egusi and jollof rice are other good options.

Lisa K. Ruland/for Eater DC

5. The Red Hen

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1822 1st St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 525-3021
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Customers would revolt if chef Mike Friedman ever tried removing his mezze rigatoni with pork fennel sausage ragù from the menu (takeout-only for now). Perfectly al dente, generously folded with sauce, and topped with pecorino-Romano cheese, this is one of the best, and most popular, pasta dishes in town. Carryout only for now.

The Red Hen [official]

6. Annabelle

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2132 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 916-5675
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Despite being an iconic comfort food, roast chicken breast can feel like an afterthought on restaurant menus. But not at Dupont Circle’s Annabelle, where chef Frank Ruta roasts generously-sized portions of juicy, well-seasoned bird. Annabelle’s pastas are also worth checking out.

Chicken from Annabelle
Chicken from Annabelle
Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

7. Le Diplomate

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1601 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 332-3333
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Perennial favorite Le Diplomate rarely disappoints, especially in winter. Dishes like boeuf bourguignon and roast chicken make essential winter entrées, and the French onion soup is among the best in town: piping hot onion soup smothered beneath a generous heap of cheese broiled to melted, blistered perfection.

Le Diplomate
French onion soup and cheese puffs from Le Diplomate
Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

8. Chercher Ethiopian Restaurant & Mart [Multiple Locations]

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1334 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 299-9703
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With locations in Bethesda and Shaw, diners have twice as many reasons to seek out one of the top Ethiopian restaurants around D.C. The menu boasts an extensive array of vegetable favorites like stewed lentils, peas, and collards, but be sure to include sirloin or beef tibs (mild or spicy) — a stewy blend of meat, rosemary, tomatoes, peppers, onion, and spices — in your takeout order.

Chercher [Facebook Official]

9. The Dabney

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122 Blagden Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 450-1015
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The Dabney shines year-round for its seasonal Mid-Atlantic cooking. But the restaurant seems to find an extra gear in winter, using the wood-fired stove to turn out all manner of cozy, perfectly-cooked meats and vegetables on its prix fixe menus. Current standouts include the heritage pork belly served with charred sweet potato and a bone marrow sauce (dine-in only), and the perennial chicken and dumplings served with winter root vegetables (takeout).

Chicken and dumplings with winter root vegetables from the Dabney
Chicken and dumplings with winter root vegetables from the Dabney
Erika Kauder/The Dabney

10. Unconventional Diner

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1207 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 847-0122
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Unconventional Diner may be best known for its brunch — especially the blueberry pancake stack. But do not overlook the chicken matzo ball soup, a simple, warming meal in winter. This sizable portion features good-as-grandmom’s chicken broth, vegetables, and fresh herbs.

11. Rasika West End

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1190 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 466-2500
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Rasika’s menu includes well-known favorites like palak chaat and chicken tikka masala. Ayurvedic special, available at the West End location, are billed as “an excellent dish for fighting colds, flu and stimulat[ing] the immune system.” The chickpea khichdi is a warm, stewy blend of rice, vegetables, ginger, green chiles.

12. Stable DC

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1324 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 733-4604
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A hot, gooey pot of fondue for two comes courtesy of the District’s only Swiss restaurant. The H Street NE spot bakes its own bread to dip in a blend of Swiss cheeses. Stable loans Raclette and fondue kits to replicate the experience at home. Private “ski chalets” are available for indoor dining. The restaurant also has an outdoor patio.

13. Piccolina da Centrolina

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963 Palmer Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 804-5713
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It’s hard to go wrong at Amy Brandwein’s all-day Italian café, tucked in downtown’s CityCenter development. But the 10-layer eggplant Parm with mozzarella, tomato, and basil makes a standout option for cold, snowy nights — especially when paired with a side order of braised meatballs. Both are baked in the wood-fired oven.

Eggplant Parm from Piccolina
Piccolina da Centrolina [Official]

14. Cane

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403 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 675-2011
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The brother-and-sister team of Peter and Jeanine Prime offer Trinidadian takeout in a refined rum shack-style restaurant on H Street NE. Customers will find African, Indian, and South American influences wrapped into a cuisine that deserves more recognition. Cane’s pepperpot, a rich stew traditionally enjoyed on Christmas, contains oxtails, brisket, and beef rib, all accented by warming spices. Jerk chicken, or tiffin boxes filled with a variety of curries are other smart choices.

Pepperpot from Cane
Pepperpot from Cane
Cane [official]

15. Daikaya

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705 6th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 589-1600
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Wintery nights are considerably more tolerable with a large, piping-hot ramen bowl. Daikaya offers a half-dozen top-notch options, including spicy miso, shoyu, and shio broths. Customers can also choose from numerous add-ons, from spice bombs to jammy eggs.

Daikaya [Official]

16. Green Pig Bistro

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1025 N Fillmore St
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 888-1920
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As the name implies, Green Pig Bistro has a way with pork. Check out the French-American menu, especially the pork schnitzel and a cassoulet full of crispy pork belly, smoked pork shoulder, and duck sausage, served with toasted bread.

1. Pennyroyal Station

3310 Rhode Island Ave, Mt Rainier, MD 20712

Bar Pilar alums Jesse Miller and Erin Edwards have garnered plenty of attention since opening their Mount Rainier spot in November 2020. Chef Miller describes his food as “American-style comfort food that is just taken up a notch.” A mac and cheese blended with chunks of brisket and bone marow proves this, as do Pennyroyal’s four-person family meals. Current options include winter squash and Taleggio lasagna, short ribs, and a vegetarian coconut curry.

3310 Rhode Island Ave
Mt Rainier, MD 20712

2. La Piquette

3714 Macomb St NW, Washington, DC 20016
La Piquette [Official]

This popular neighborhood bistro on a busy dining strip off Wisconsin Avenue NW draws locals and French expats alike. Chef Francis Layrle, who was executive chef at the French embassy for years, turns out traditional comfort foods like coq au vin, cassoulet, and braised rabbit in white wine tarragon sauce.

3714 Macomb St NW
Washington, DC 20016

3. Makan

3400 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20010

Tucking into modern Malaysian restaurant Makan’s hot and spicy hakka noodles can almost — almost — make you forget the cold outside. Despite the bad luck of opening in early March 2020, former Spoken English and Maketto chef James Wozniuk has garnered praise and a loyal following for his deeply flavorful dishes and bright ingredients.

3400 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20010

4. Appioo African Bar & Grill

1924 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Lisa K. Ruland/for Eater DC

Southern food owes much of its roots to West African cuisine, and peanut butter soup is a must-try West African comfort food. Ghanaian restaurant Appioo, in Shaw, makes a stellar version that comes with a choice of croaker fish, chicken, oxtail, or goat meat. Choice of sides include fufu, banku, kenkey, rice balls, or white rice. Egusi and jollof rice are other good options.

1924 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

5. The Red Hen

1822 1st St NW, Washington, DC 20001
The Red Hen [official]

Customers would revolt if chef Mike Friedman ever tried removing his mezze rigatoni with pork fennel sausage ragù from the menu (takeout-only for now). Perfectly al dente, generously folded with sauce, and topped with pecorino-Romano cheese, this is one of the best, and most popular, pasta dishes in town. Carryout only for now.

1822 1st St NW
Washington, DC 20001

6. Annabelle

2132 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Chicken from Annabelle
Chicken from Annabelle
Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Despite being an iconic comfort food, roast chicken breast can feel like an afterthought on restaurant menus. But not at Dupont Circle’s Annabelle, where chef Frank Ruta roasts generously-sized portions of juicy, well-seasoned bird. Annabelle’s pastas are also worth checking out.

2132 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

7. Le Diplomate

1601 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Le Diplomate
French onion soup and cheese puffs from Le Diplomate
Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Perennial favorite Le Diplomate rarely disappoints, especially in winter. Dishes like boeuf bourguignon and roast chicken make essential winter entrées, and the French onion soup is among the best in town: piping hot onion soup smothered beneath a generous heap of cheese broiled to melted, blistered perfection.

1601 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

8. Chercher Ethiopian Restaurant & Mart [Multiple Locations]

1334 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Chercher [Facebook Official]

With locations in Bethesda and Shaw, diners have twice as many reasons to seek out one of the top Ethiopian restaurants around D.C. The menu boasts an extensive array of vegetable favorites like stewed lentils, peas, and collards, but be sure to include sirloin or beef tibs (mild or spicy) — a stewy blend of meat, rosemary, tomatoes, peppers, onion, and spices — in your takeout order.

1334 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

9. The Dabney

122 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001
Chicken and dumplings with winter root vegetables from the Dabney
Chicken and dumplings with winter root vegetables from the Dabney
Erika Kauder/The Dabney

The Dabney shines year-round for its seasonal Mid-Atlantic cooking. But the restaurant seems to find an extra gear in winter, using the wood-fired stove to turn out all manner of cozy, perfectly-cooked meats and vegetables on its prix fixe menus. Current standouts include the heritage pork belly served with charred sweet potato and a bone marrow sauce (dine-in only), and the perennial chicken and dumplings served with winter root vegetables (takeout).

122 Blagden Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001

10. Unconventional Diner

1207 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Unconventional Diner may be best known for its brunch — especially the blueberry pancake stack. But do not overlook the chicken matzo ball soup, a simple, warming meal in winter. This sizable portion features good-as-grandmom’s chicken broth, vegetables, and fresh herbs.

1207 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

11. Rasika West End

1190 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037

Rasika’s menu includes well-known favorites like palak chaat and chicken tikka masala. Ayurvedic special, available at the West End location, are billed as “an excellent dish for fighting colds, flu and stimulat[ing] the immune system.” The chickpea khichdi is a warm, stewy blend of rice, vegetables, ginger, green chiles.

1190 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037

12. Stable DC

1324 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

A hot, gooey pot of fondue for two comes courtesy of the District’s only Swiss restaurant. The H Street NE spot bakes its own bread to dip in a blend of Swiss cheeses. Stable loans Raclette and fondue kits to replicate the experience at home. Private “ski chalets” are available for indoor dining. The restaurant also has an outdoor patio.

1324 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

13. Piccolina da Centrolina

963 Palmer Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001
Eggplant Parm from Piccolina
Piccolina da Centrolina [Official]

It’s hard to go wrong at Amy Brandwein’s all-day Italian café, tucked in downtown’s CityCenter development. But the 10-layer eggplant Parm with mozzarella, tomato, and basil makes a standout option for cold, snowy nights — especially when paired with a side order of braised meatballs. Both are baked in the wood-fired oven.

963 Palmer Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001

14. Cane

403 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Pepperpot from Cane
Pepperpot from Cane
Cane [official]

The brother-and-sister team of Peter and Jeanine Prime offer Trinidadian takeout in a refined rum shack-style restaurant on H Street NE. Customers will find African, Indian, and South American influences wrapped into a cuisine that deserves more recognition. Cane’s pepperpot, a rich stew traditionally enjoyed on Christmas, contains oxtails, brisket, and beef rib, all accented by warming spices. Jerk chicken, or tiffin boxes filled with a variety of curries are other smart choices.

403 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

15. Daikaya

705 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Daikaya [Official]

Wintery nights are considerably more tolerable with a large, piping-hot ramen bowl. Daikaya offers a half-dozen top-notch options, including spicy miso, shoyu, and shio broths. Customers can also choose from numerous add-ons, from spice bombs to jammy eggs.

705 6th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

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16. Green Pig Bistro

1025 N Fillmore St, Arlington, VA 22201

As the name implies, Green Pig Bistro has a way with pork. Check out the French-American menu, especially the pork schnitzel and a cassoulet full of crispy pork belly, smoked pork shoulder, and duck sausage, served with toasted bread.

1025 N Fillmore St
Arlington, VA 22201

Related Maps