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Octopus & burrata panini at Stellina Pizzeria
Meaghan Webster

Where to Score Street Food From All Over the World Around D.C.

From paper cups of fried Italian snacks to tacos and Thai barbecue pork skewers

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Octopus & burrata panini at Stellina Pizzeria
| Meaghan Webster

Restaurants specializing in street food seem to be everywhere in D.C. — three recent additions to the landscape are Stellina Pizzeria with its calamari, veggies or fish served in paper cones, Burmese restaurant Thamee with its dan back chicken, and Cane, specializing in street food from Trinidad like hops bread rolls filled with smoked brisket.

And this summer in Navy Yard, you can get your outdoor street food fix on every Saturday at Smorgasburg, where more than 30 local vendors offer their own spins on street food.

The street food scene in D.C. goes well beyond hot dogs and funnel cake. Here’s a list of where to find street foods from a diverse range of cultures. Did we miss your favorite spot? Sound off in the comments below.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Kuya Ja's Lechon Belly

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5268-H, Nicholson Ln
Kensington, MD 20895
(240) 669-4383
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There’s more than lechon belly on the menu at this Filipino street food spot. Look for $5 specials on barbecued beef skewers — called tuhog — on Mondays, chorizo cheese fries on Tuesdays, Filipino sweet spaghetti on Wednesdays, and crispy adobo chicken bar on Thursdays. You can also catch Kuya Ja’s all summer at Smorgasburg, where it’s serving Filipino-style whole roasted chicken, as well as grilled chicken and lechon belly sandwiches.

2. Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana

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3714 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 803-2114
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This street food-focused taqueria stuffs its handmade tortillas (corn or flour) with more than a dozen featured ingredients. Combinations range from shrimp and avocado or mushrooms with goat cheese to the extra hearty campechano (chorizo and steak mixed with potatoes, onions and cilantro) as well as blackened tilapia smothered in chipotle sauce.

Tacos de canasta from Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana
Courtesy of Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana

3. Momo Yakitori

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2214 Rhode Island Ave NE
Washington, DC 20018

This restaurant serves up a variety of yakitori, or Japanese grilled chicken skewers. Combination plates include one with skewers seasoned in only sea salt, and one full of skewers served with plum, miso, kosho, and yuzu sauces. There’s also the chef’s selection of 10 skewers for two.

4. Bombay Street Food (Multiple locations)

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1413 Park Rd NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 758-2415
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Come hungry and bring a friend or a date, because the impressive thali for two at Bombay Street Food comes with a ton of food. It includes greatest hits like tandoori chicken, saag paneer, lamb curry and gulab jamun (Indian doughnut balls). There’s also a vegetarian thali on weekdays for lunch designed for one person. 

A thali platter for two at Bombay Street Food. Emma McAlary/Courtesy of Bombay Street Food

5. Compass Rose

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1346 T St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 506-4765
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Prior to opening her international street food restaurant, owner Rose Previte spent three years jetting to 30 countries for inspiration, including Jamaica, Tunisia, and Ireland. Standout dishes on the menu include khachapuri, a cheese-filled bread from Georgia; sambal udang, a Malaysian dish with shrimp, tofu, lemongrass, fermented chile and tomato; and the chapli kebab from Pakistan, featuring minced beef, yogurt, mint chutney, and veggies.

Khachapuri from Compass Rose
Compass Rose [official]

6. Thai Chef Street Food

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1712 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 234-5698
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The cuisine here is drawn from the famous street markets lining the streets of Bangkok — the owners once lived a block away from bustling stalls. There’s duck curry and pineapple fried rice as an entree. Moo ping — grilled pork skewers marinated in Thai herbs and served with a spicy fish sauce — is a popular appetizer.

7. Stellina Pizzeria

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399 Morse St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 851-3995
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There’s way more than pizza at this Union Market counter owned by two Lupo Verde alums. Street food here comes from Italy’s southern coast, so you’ll find Sicilian rice balls, paper cones (cuoppos) filled with fried seafood and veggies, and panini sandwiches on pizza dough. There are also 10-inch neo-Neapolitan pizzas.

Fritto misto from Stellina Pizzeria
Meaghan Webster

8. Arepa Zone

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1121 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 900-2261
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This popular lunch spot downtown started out as a food truck and opened a stall at Union Market before landing its dedicate space right by Thomas Circle. Besides classics like fried tequenos (cheese sticks) and cachapas (sweet corn pancakes folded like tacos with various fillings), the restaurant offers chicken or beef pabellión bowls with black beans, basmati rice and sweet plantains. There’s also patacón — a sandwich stuffed with plantains, cole slaw, cheese, and a choice of chicken, beef, or veggies.

9. Thamee

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1320 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 750-6529
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The trio behind Thamee got their start at the Toli Moli Burmese Bodega in Union Market, which slings dumplings and falooda. Thamee, meanwhile, offers a wider variety of Burmese delights, including mohinga, a catfish curry with lemongrass and banana stem that’s eaten for breakfast and is widely considered to be Burma’s national dish. It can be found on street corner and inside upscale hotels.

Shrimp and buthee fritters at Thamee. Buthee is a long, fried gourd.
Thamee [official]

10. Cane

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403 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 675-2011
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Chef Peter Prime brings a modern take on some of Trinidad’s most popular street food dishes, showcasing a cuisine that pulls flavors and influences from South Asia, Europe, and Africa. Doubles are a ubiquitous street food that pack Indian fried bread with cumin-spiced chickpea curry. There’s also a cumin-spiced pork belly, jerk wings, and oxtails.

Doubles, fried bread stuffed with curried chickpeas, are a popular street snack in Trinidad
Gabe Hiatt/Eater D.C.

1. Kuya Ja's Lechon Belly

5268-H, Nicholson Ln, Kensington, MD 20895

There’s more than lechon belly on the menu at this Filipino street food spot. Look for $5 specials on barbecued beef skewers — called tuhog — on Mondays, chorizo cheese fries on Tuesdays, Filipino sweet spaghetti on Wednesdays, and crispy adobo chicken bar on Thursdays. You can also catch Kuya Ja’s all summer at Smorgasburg, where it’s serving Filipino-style whole roasted chicken, as well as grilled chicken and lechon belly sandwiches.

5268-H, Nicholson Ln
Kensington, MD 20895

2. Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana

3714 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010
Tacos de canasta from Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana
Courtesy of Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana

This street food-focused taqueria stuffs its handmade tortillas (corn or flour) with more than a dozen featured ingredients. Combinations range from shrimp and avocado or mushrooms with goat cheese to the extra hearty campechano (chorizo and steak mixed with potatoes, onions and cilantro) as well as blackened tilapia smothered in chipotle sauce.

3714 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20010

3. Momo Yakitori

2214 Rhode Island Ave NE, Washington, DC 20018

This restaurant serves up a variety of yakitori, or Japanese grilled chicken skewers. Combination plates include one with skewers seasoned in only sea salt, and one full of skewers served with plum, miso, kosho, and yuzu sauces. There’s also the chef’s selection of 10 skewers for two.

2214 Rhode Island Ave NE
Washington, DC 20018

4. Bombay Street Food (Multiple locations)

1413 Park Rd NW, Washington, DC 20010
A thali platter for two at Bombay Street Food. Emma McAlary/Courtesy of Bombay Street Food

Come hungry and bring a friend or a date, because the impressive thali for two at Bombay Street Food comes with a ton of food. It includes greatest hits like tandoori chicken, saag paneer, lamb curry and gulab jamun (Indian doughnut balls). There’s also a vegetarian thali on weekdays for lunch designed for one person. 

1413 Park Rd NW
Washington, DC 20010

5. Compass Rose

1346 T St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Khachapuri from Compass Rose
Compass Rose [official]

Prior to opening her international street food restaurant, owner Rose Previte spent three years jetting to 30 countries for inspiration, including Jamaica, Tunisia, and Ireland. Standout dishes on the menu include khachapuri, a cheese-filled bread from Georgia; sambal udang, a Malaysian dish with shrimp, tofu, lemongrass, fermented chile and tomato; and the chapli kebab from Pakistan, featuring minced beef, yogurt, mint chutney, and veggies.

1346 T St NW
Washington, DC 20009

6. Thai Chef Street Food

1712 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

The cuisine here is drawn from the famous street markets lining the streets of Bangkok — the owners once lived a block away from bustling stalls. There’s duck curry and pineapple fried rice as an entree. Moo ping — grilled pork skewers marinated in Thai herbs and served with a spicy fish sauce — is a popular appetizer.

1712 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009

7. Stellina Pizzeria

399 Morse St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Fritto misto from Stellina Pizzeria
Meaghan Webster

There’s way more than pizza at this Union Market counter owned by two Lupo Verde alums. Street food here comes from Italy’s southern coast, so you’ll find Sicilian rice balls, paper cones (cuoppos) filled with fried seafood and veggies, and panini sandwiches on pizza dough. There are also 10-inch neo-Neapolitan pizzas.

399 Morse St NE
Washington, DC 20002

8. Arepa Zone

1121 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

This popular lunch spot downtown started out as a food truck and opened a stall at Union Market before landing its dedicate space right by Thomas Circle. Besides classics like fried tequenos (cheese sticks) and cachapas (sweet corn pancakes folded like tacos with various fillings), the restaurant offers chicken or beef pabellión bowls with black beans, basmati rice and sweet plantains. There’s also patacón — a sandwich stuffed with plantains, cole slaw, cheese, and a choice of chicken, beef, or veggies.

1121 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

9. Thamee

1320 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Shrimp and buthee fritters at Thamee. Buthee is a long, fried gourd.
Thamee [official]

The trio behind Thamee got their start at the Toli Moli Burmese Bodega in Union Market, which slings dumplings and falooda. Thamee, meanwhile, offers a wider variety of Burmese delights, including mohinga, a catfish curry with lemongrass and banana stem that’s eaten for breakfast and is widely considered to be Burma’s national dish. It can be found on street corner and inside upscale hotels.

1320 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

10. Cane

403 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Doubles, fried bread stuffed with curried chickpeas, are a popular street snack in Trinidad
Gabe Hiatt/Eater D.C.

Chef Peter Prime brings a modern take on some of Trinidad’s most popular street food dishes, showcasing a cuisine that pulls flavors and influences from South Asia, Europe, and Africa. Doubles are a ubiquitous street food that pack Indian fried bread with cumin-spiced chickpea curry. There’s also a cumin-spiced pork belly, jerk wings, and oxtails.

403 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

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