For American University students, a semi-urban campus in Northwest D.C. offers plenty of opportunities to grab a great meal — and great deals — at any time of day or night. The Tenleytown, Friendship Heights, and Van Ness Metro stops are all in close proximity, and restaurant-dense Cathedral Heights is a short car or bus trip away. From all-you-can-eat sushi to casual date-night fare and some of the best pastrami in the city, these are strong bets for students and visitors.Read More
Where to Eat Near American University
Food for the college crowd in upper Northwest
1. Sushiko Chevy Chase
Hidden behind Wisconsin Avenue in Friendship Heights, Sushiko serves generous bento boxes at lunch to go along with sushi and sashimi specials. The hot rock wagyu ($19) is one of many excellent hot options. Sushiko also has a happy hour (5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) that includes $5 prices on hand rolls, lychee martinis, “lounge lemonades,” and rail drinks.
2. Bandit Taco
The second location of this U Street taco shop recently landed in Tenleytown. Bandit has tacos, bowls, quesadillas, and burritos filled with classic Mexican proteins (carne asada, al pastor) and Asian fusion items like bulgogi beef, adobo chicken, and tofu. — Gabe Hiatt
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3. District Taco (Multiple Locations)
A go-to for freshly grilled, affordable Mexican food, District Taco’s Tenleytown location is popular with A.U. students for Yucatan-style tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. All can be customized, but favorites include breakfast tacos and California burritos, which are loaded with steak, guacamole, chipotle mayo, black beans, rice, and potatoes.
4. Wawa (Multiple Locations)
Wawa’s recently opened Tenleytown location already has a devoted stream of AU students, Wilson High kids, and local customers. The Philly-based chain is known for its lineup of hoagies, sandwiches, coffee, and snacks that include Philly-style soft pretzels and Tastykake baked pies.
5. Bread Furst
Fuel up on carbs at James Beard award-winning baker Mark Furstenburg’s place. Bread Furst offers fresh artisan breads and pastries to go with a daily selection of toasts, soups, salads, baguette sandwiches, and other savory dishes.
6. Millie's (Multiple Locations)
Diners may feel like they’ve stumbled into Nantucket instead of quiet Spring Valley at this preppy, seafood-centered restaurant. Open from 11 a.m. until midnight every day, Millie’s serves poke, soft-shell crab, lobster rolls, and salads. It’s also known for an extensive seafood taco menu and an ice cream takeout window.
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7. Sushi Para
What this hole-in-the-wall sushi spot lacks in ambiance, it makes up for in deals for hungry students on a budget. There’s an all-you-can-eat sushi special for $23.99.
8. Raku (Multiple Locations)
Most flock to this casual neighborhood Asian spot for its extensive selection of signature sushi rolls and sashimi. Its spicy coconut curry and udon noodle soups are popular hot dishes.
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9. Barcelona Wine Bar (Multiple Locations)
Loud, sleek, and perennially packed, Barcelona Wine Bar’s large menu of tapas makes a perfect option for a casual but chic group dinner just a mile away from campus. Don’t miss the jamón and manchego croquetas, spinach-chickpea cazuela, or the mussels.
10. 2 Amys
People from all over the city know 2 Amy’s for its wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, but its proximity to American University makes it a great choice for any student looking for more than an average greasy slice. In addition to pizza, their small bites and seasonal specials should not be overlooked.
11. Wagshal's (Multiple Locations)
This legendary D.C. butcher shop is also known for deli sandwiches and prepared foods. With a location now open on New Mexico Avenue, just off American University’s campus, students can drop in from breakfast until 9 p.m. for a large selection of sandwiches, entrees, burgers, calzones, and more.
12. Chef Geoff's
Local institution Chef Geoff’s is easily walkable from campus and offers one of the best food and drink happy hours around. The deal runs all day Monday and Tuesday and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on other days. Enjoy deals like deeply-discounted burgers, pizza, $4 fish tacos, and snacks such as honey Sriracha cauliflower and blue cheese chips.