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A wedge salad at La Betty
A wedge salad at La Betty
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

20 Salads Around D.C. That Don’t Feel Like a Chore to Eat

A New Year’s diet doesn’t have to be boring

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A wedge salad at La Betty
| Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

For many people, New Year’s resolutions inevitably include revising diets to put a premium on vegetables. While that leads many diners to seek out salads, that doesn’t mean they have to settle for a haphazard conglomeration of lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes that makes them feel they’re depriving themselves of a satisfying meal. From fried chicken laab to “dirty” Caesars to classic wedges, the D.C. area is full of exciting salads that are worthy of a spot in the weekly dinner rotation. Here’s a mix of fresh options and old favorites to try right now.

D.C. is shutting down indoor dining from December 24, 2020, through January 14, 2021. 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.
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Chickpea Salad at Comet Ping Pong

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One of the best items at this Upper Northwest pizzeria has long been a deceptively simple, lemon-packed chickpea salad ($7) served on a bed of peppery greens. Pair it with garlic knots or grissini and call it a day. Order for pickup or delivery here. — Gabe Hiatt

Green Mango Salad at Makan

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Get the kerbau mangga (mango salad) at Malaysian outpost Makan. This spicy fruit blend includes green mango, papaya, and tomatoes, with a sweet-and-fiery dressing of chile-based sambal belacan and fish sauce. Laksa leaf and peanuts are finishing touches. Makan is open for patio seating, or customers can order for pickup and in-house delivery here.

Fried Chicken Laab at Brothers And Sisters

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The fried chicken laab at Brothers and Sisters includes bite-sized pieces of crisp, golden chicken paired with a sweet Thai pepper honey and freshened up with the addition of cucumber and herbs. Best of all, during happy hour, this salad is just $6. Call in pickup orders or get delivery via CaviarGrubhub, and UberEats.

Chicken Palliard at Le Diplomate

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Is this more of a piece of meat with a little salad on top? Probably. But for someone looking for a lighter option on the always-busy brasserie’s brunch and lunch menus, the chicken palliard provides a nice contrast, with its thinly pounded chicken (glazed with olive tapenade) and pile of frisee and vegetables. Almonds add a little crunch to the mix. Sit streetside in heated patio structures, or call the restaurant for pickup. Caviar and DoorDash handle delivery. — Missy Frederick

Mortadella and Autumn Apple Salad at All-Purpose

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The mortadella and autumn apple salad from this Shaw pizzeria would be welcome all year round. Italian bologna meets arugula, apple slices, and toasted almonds. Gorgonzola cheese adds a bit of sharpness to the salad, as does the acid-forward Italian vinaigrette. Order online here.

“Dirty” Caesar at Unconventional Diner

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Chef David Deshaies’s “dirty” Caesar combines crisp romaine with a dressing that doesn’t hold back on the anchovy. A soft poached egg with an oozing yolk makes a nice sauce for smoked tomato and aged gouda that make it all the more memorable. Order online for pickup or delivery.

Wedge at la Betty

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A thick slab Nueske’s bacon adds heft to a classic, well-executed wedge with crunchy radishes, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and refreshing iceberg lettuce at this Mt. Vernon Triangle joint from the family behind Baked & Wired. La Betty has also adapted to the pandemic by creating a takeout-friendly menu full of roasted chicken, schnitzel sandwiches, and quesadillas. Order for pickup here. — G.H.

Creamy Cucumber Salad at Prost DC

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While sausages and other meat-centric offerings are the star at this new Bavarian beer hall in Mt. Vernon Triangle, don’t overlook the cucumber salad. This fresh medley of cucumbers, red onions, and a cream-based dill dressing can help ward off the meat sweats. Sit outside or order takeout here.

Eric Heidenberger/Prost

Salad Bowl at Yafa Grille (Multiple locations)

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This casual Middle Eastern counter, in McPherson Square and Dupont Circle, sells customizable salad bowls that can be topped with shawarma, falafel, and a range of pickle, dips, and sauces. Add amba, a pickled mango condiment, for a sweet and sour punch. Order for pickup here. — G. H.

Lahpet Thoke at Thamee

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The Burmese restaurant on H Street NE has experimented with many pop-ups and adaptations throughout the pandemic, but its seasonal takeout menu includes a traditional pickled tea leaf salad that’s been a staple since it opened in 2019. The tangy tea leaves mingle with cabbage, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime dressing, and customers can add curried chicken or panko fried shrimp for an upcharge. Order here. — G.H.

Thamee dishes
Lahpet thoke (center right) gets packaged up for takeout now at Thamee
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

The Big Salad Bubbie's Plant Burgers & Fizz

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Salad eaters who are adhering to a vegan diet but are missing grilled chicken can check out Bubbie’s Plant Burgers, which sells a “Big Salad” (a la Elaine Benes) that’s available in a 48-ounce portion with almond-based cheese crumble, candied pecans, and an option to add fried or grilled “chick’n” for an additional $2. Order takeout or delivery here. — G.H.

The “big salad” from Bubbie’s
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Broccoli Salad at Café Riggs

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The broccoli salad at this pricey hotel brasserie in Penn Quarter is crisp and spicy, dressed with a garlic and sesame vinaigrette. While the broccoli florets are crunchy in their own right, toasted quinoa, and sauteed jalapenos add even more texture. Caesar fans can also try a kale version with avocados, crispy chickpeas, and a vegan dressing. Order takeout here.

Salade Burrata at Bistro Cacao

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Head to Bistro Cacao, the classic French restaurant in Capitol Hill, for delicacies like escargot, or for an indulgent salad in which burrata is the main ingredient. The ball of mozzarella and cream gets paired with sharp arugula, roasted acorn squash, and a citrus and olive oil dressing, all garnished with pomegranate seeds, candied walnuts, and orange segments. Reserve a seat on the winterized patio or order takeout or delivery online.

Village Salad at Plaka Grill

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It’s hard to get a better Greek salad around D.C. than the one from fast-casual favorite Plaka Grill, especially when topped with lamb-spiked, Chicago-style gyro meat. The Village Salad eschews lettuce for simple chunks of vegetables and feta, as is traditional, and Plaka manages to find decent tomatoes even in the dead of winter. One salad can easily account for two meals. — M.F.

Charred Corn Salad at the Eastern

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At this Eastern Market wine bar, chef Walfer Hernandez offers charred corn salad full of Latin flavor. A kale and arugula base gets topped with crisp apples that provide a welcome textural contrast to slices of avocado, cilantro crema, and queso fresco. Reserve a patio table here

The mid-century modern bar at the Eastern
The mid-century modern bar at the Eastern
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Everything Wedge at Fight Club

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Fight Club, the pop-up sandwich shop that has become a fixture in the space formerly occupied by Beuchert’s Saloon, offers a lot more than carbs. Take, for example, the Everything Wedge Salad, an imposing slice of iceberg lettuce with the addition of everything bagel spice, tomatoes, scallions, homemade blue cheese dressing, and bacon bits. Order takeout here.

Italian Chopped Salad at Pizzeria Orso

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This complement to pizza — a nice portion for only $8 — combines slivers of salami, pepperoncini, and green olives with radicchio, cherry tomato, red onion, and sourdough croutons. A bright lemony dressing brings it all together. Order carryout and delivery online here. — M.F.

The Loria at Grazie Grazie

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This sub shop on the Southwest Waterfront also specializes in salad. The Loria packs the Mediterranean coast into a bowl, with a shredded kale base, half an avocado, roasted tomato hummus, cucumber, grape tomato, and red onions. Pepperoncini and roasted garlic tahini dressing go on top, and toasted cashews add some crunch. Walk in to pick up or order delivery via Caviar.

Flat Iron Steak Salad at Open Road (Multiple locations)

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This Northern Virginia grill’s menu is largely dominated by typical bar fare, but it makes a surprisingly satisfying salad. Go with the one topped with flat iron steak. It’s a nice mix of greens, grilled corn, avocado, tomatoes, grilled onions, and blue cheese. Pickles are an interesting touch, and balsamic dressing weaves it all together. Order for pickup or delivery here. — M.F.

Turmeric Ginger Shrimp Bowl at RASA (Multiple locations)

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Customers can make their own salad out of Indian components at Rasa, which offers a base of greens in place of grains, rice, or rice noodles at its walk-the-line counters in Navy Yard and Mt. Vernon Triangle. Consider a spinach base topped with turmeric ginger shrimp, tamarind chili sauce, and charred eggplant. Masala beets, mango salsa, roasted pumpkin seeds, and roasted lentils make for a delightfully crunchy topping. 

RASA sourced plants from Little Leaf to add greenery to its new location
RASA’s location in Mt. Vernon Triangle
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Chickpea Salad at Comet Ping Pong

One of the best items at this Upper Northwest pizzeria has long been a deceptively simple, lemon-packed chickpea salad ($7) served on a bed of peppery greens. Pair it with garlic knots or grissini and call it a day. Order for pickup or delivery here. — Gabe Hiatt

Green Mango Salad at Makan

Get the kerbau mangga (mango salad) at Malaysian outpost Makan. This spicy fruit blend includes green mango, papaya, and tomatoes, with a sweet-and-fiery dressing of chile-based sambal belacan and fish sauce. Laksa leaf and peanuts are finishing touches. Makan is open for patio seating, or customers can order for pickup and in-house delivery here.

Fried Chicken Laab at Brothers And Sisters

The fried chicken laab at Brothers and Sisters includes bite-sized pieces of crisp, golden chicken paired with a sweet Thai pepper honey and freshened up with the addition of cucumber and herbs. Best of all, during happy hour, this salad is just $6. Call in pickup orders or get delivery via CaviarGrubhub, and UberEats.

Chicken Palliard at Le Diplomate

Is this more of a piece of meat with a little salad on top? Probably. But for someone looking for a lighter option on the always-busy brasserie’s brunch and lunch menus, the chicken palliard provides a nice contrast, with its thinly pounded chicken (glazed with olive tapenade) and pile of frisee and vegetables. Almonds add a little crunch to the mix. Sit streetside in heated patio structures, or call the restaurant for pickup. Caviar and DoorDash handle delivery. — Missy Frederick

Mortadella and Autumn Apple Salad at All-Purpose

The mortadella and autumn apple salad from this Shaw pizzeria would be welcome all year round. Italian bologna meets arugula, apple slices, and toasted almonds. Gorgonzola cheese adds a bit of sharpness to the salad, as does the acid-forward Italian vinaigrette. Order online here.

“Dirty” Caesar at Unconventional Diner

Chef David Deshaies’s “dirty” Caesar combines crisp romaine with a dressing that doesn’t hold back on the anchovy. A soft poached egg with an oozing yolk makes a nice sauce for smoked tomato and aged gouda that make it all the more memorable. Order online for pickup or delivery.

Wedge at la Betty

A thick slab Nueske’s bacon adds heft to a classic, well-executed wedge with crunchy radishes, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and refreshing iceberg lettuce at this Mt. Vernon Triangle joint from the family behind Baked & Wired. La Betty has also adapted to the pandemic by creating a takeout-friendly menu full of roasted chicken, schnitzel sandwiches, and quesadillas. Order for pickup here. — G.H.

Creamy Cucumber Salad at Prost DC

Eric Heidenberger/Prost

While sausages and other meat-centric offerings are the star at this new Bavarian beer hall in Mt. Vernon Triangle, don’t overlook the cucumber salad. This fresh medley of cucumbers, red onions, and a cream-based dill dressing can help ward off the meat sweats. Sit outside or order takeout here.

Eric Heidenberger/Prost

Salad Bowl at Yafa Grille (Multiple locations)

This casual Middle Eastern counter, in McPherson Square and Dupont Circle, sells customizable salad bowls that can be topped with shawarma, falafel, and a range of pickle, dips, and sauces. Add amba, a pickled mango condiment, for a sweet and sour punch. Order for pickup here. — G. H.

Lahpet Thoke at Thamee

Thamee dishes
Lahpet thoke (center right) gets packaged up for takeout now at Thamee
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

The Burmese restaurant on H Street NE has experimented with many pop-ups and adaptations throughout the pandemic, but its seasonal takeout menu includes a traditional pickled tea leaf salad that’s been a staple since it opened in 2019. The tangy tea leaves mingle with cabbage, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime dressing, and customers can add curried chicken or panko fried shrimp for an upcharge. Order here. — G.H.

Thamee dishes
Lahpet thoke (center right) gets packaged up for takeout now at Thamee
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

The Big Salad Bubbie's Plant Burgers & Fizz

The “big salad” from Bubbie’s
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Salad eaters who are adhering to a vegan diet but are missing grilled chicken can check out Bubbie’s Plant Burgers, which sells a “Big Salad” (a la Elaine Benes) that’s available in a 48-ounce portion with almond-based cheese crumble, candied pecans, and an option to add fried or grilled “chick’n” for an additional $2. Order takeout or delivery here. — G.H.

The “big salad” from Bubbie’s
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Broccoli Salad at Café Riggs

The broccoli salad at this pricey hotel brasserie in Penn Quarter is crisp and spicy, dressed with a garlic and sesame vinaigrette. While the broccoli florets are crunchy in their own right, toasted quinoa, and sauteed jalapenos add even more texture. Caesar fans can also try a kale version with avocados, crispy chickpeas, and a vegan dressing. Order takeout here.

Salade Burrata at Bistro Cacao

Head to Bistro Cacao, the classic French restaurant in Capitol Hill, for delicacies like escargot, or for an indulgent salad in which burrata is the main ingredient. The ball of mozzarella and cream gets paired with sharp arugula, roasted acorn squash, and a citrus and olive oil dressing, all garnished with pomegranate seeds, candied walnuts, and orange segments. Reserve a seat on the winterized patio or order takeout or delivery online.

Village Salad at Plaka Grill

It’s hard to get a better Greek salad around D.C. than the one from fast-casual favorite Plaka Grill, especially when topped with lamb-spiked, Chicago-style gyro meat. The Village Salad eschews lettuce for simple chunks of vegetables and feta, as is traditional, and Plaka manages to find decent tomatoes even in the dead of winter. One salad can easily account for two meals. — M.F.

Charred Corn Salad at the Eastern

The mid-century modern bar at the Eastern
The mid-century modern bar at the Eastern
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

At this Eastern Market wine bar, chef Walfer Hernandez offers charred corn salad full of Latin flavor. A kale and arugula base gets topped with crisp apples that provide a welcome textural contrast to slices of avocado, cilantro crema, and queso fresco. Reserve a patio table here

The mid-century modern bar at the Eastern
The mid-century modern bar at the Eastern
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Related Maps

Everything Wedge at Fight Club

Fight Club, the pop-up sandwich shop that has become a fixture in the space formerly occupied by Beuchert’s Saloon, offers a lot more than carbs. Take, for example, the Everything Wedge Salad, an imposing slice of iceberg lettuce with the addition of everything bagel spice, tomatoes, scallions, homemade blue cheese dressing, and bacon bits. Order takeout here.

Italian Chopped Salad at Pizzeria Orso

This complement to pizza — a nice portion for only $8 — combines slivers of salami, pepperoncini, and green olives with radicchio, cherry tomato, red onion, and sourdough croutons. A bright lemony dressing brings it all together. Order carryout and delivery online here. — M.F.

The Loria at Grazie Grazie

This sub shop on the Southwest Waterfront also specializes in salad. The Loria packs the Mediterranean coast into a bowl, with a shredded kale base, half an avocado, roasted tomato hummus, cucumber, grape tomato, and red onions. Pepperoncini and roasted garlic tahini dressing go on top, and toasted cashews add some crunch. Walk in to pick up or order delivery via Caviar.

Flat Iron Steak Salad at Open Road (Multiple locations)

This Northern Virginia grill’s menu is largely dominated by typical bar fare, but it makes a surprisingly satisfying salad. Go with the one topped with flat iron steak. It’s a nice mix of greens, grilled corn, avocado, tomatoes, grilled onions, and blue cheese. Pickles are an interesting touch, and balsamic dressing weaves it all together. Order for pickup or delivery here. — M.F.

Turmeric Ginger Shrimp Bowl at RASA (Multiple locations)

RASA sourced plants from Little Leaf to add greenery to its new location
RASA’s location in Mt. Vernon Triangle
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Customers can make their own salad out of Indian components at Rasa, which offers a base of greens in place of grains, rice, or rice noodles at its walk-the-line counters in Navy Yard and Mt. Vernon Triangle. Consider a spinach base topped with turmeric ginger shrimp, tamarind chili sauce, and charred eggplant. Masala beets, mango salsa, roasted pumpkin seeds, and roasted lentils make for a delightfully crunchy topping. 

RASA sourced plants from Little Leaf to add greenery to its new location
RASA’s location in Mt. Vernon Triangle
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Related Maps