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A fully dressed burger at Duke's Counter.
A fully dressed burger at Duke's Counter.
Duke's Counter

Where to Eat and Drink Near the National Zoo

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A fully dressed burger at Duke's Counter.
| Duke's Counter

The National Zoo is one of the most heavily trafficked tourist spots in Washington, and those crowds get even larger when there's a marquee event like Zoolights or Brew at the Zoo happening. Crowds have only increased now that there are more pandas in the house and a new Sumatran tiger cub to fawn over.

Here's Eater's updated guide to the best dining options within easy walking distance of the Zoo, which itself is a short stroll from the Woodley Park and Cleveland Park Metro stations. Eater has narrowed the choices to restaurants within a half a mile walk, covering everything from steak frites and Indian cuisine to barbecue spots and unassuming bars. New this time around is dumpling and noodle spot Dolan Uyghur. — Adele O'Donnell and Eater Staff

Have another favorite place near the zoo? Share in the comments or sound off via emails (dc@eater.com).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Dolan Uyghur Restaurant

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Try critically acclaimed Uyghur cooking with hand-pulled noodles, meat kebabs, dumplings and goshnan, a pan-fried pastry stuffed with ground beef, peppers, and sweet onions. Distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

Indique

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This longtime Cleveland Park Indian restaurant underwent a makeover in 2016. Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

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Medium Rare

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Enjoy a steak frites-only menu for an affordable price at this Cleveland Park destination. Distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

Official

St. Arnold's Mussel Bar (Multiple Locations)

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If mussels and a Belgian beer sound like a plan, St. Arnold's is a solid bet. Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

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Fat Pete's Barbecue (Multiple Locations)

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Budding barbecue chain Fat Pete's serves up dishes like ribs and brisket. Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

Official

Vace Italian Deli

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Forty-year-old Vace is one of D.C.'s best options for pizza by the slice. Distance from zoo: 0.3 miles.

Cleveland Park Business Association

Baked by Yael

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If the kids want cake pops after walking around with the animals, Baked by Yael has it covered. Distance from zoo: Just 105 feet.

Official

Duke's Counter

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This one-year-old pub grub and gourmet burger purveyor is the sister restaurant to Duke's Grocery. Distance from zoo: Less than 500 feet.

Hot N Juicy Crawfish (Multiple Locations)

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Head here for boiled and spiced crawfish served by the bagful. Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

Lebanese Taverna (Multiple Locations)

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A D.C. classic, family-run Lebanese Taverna offers Middle Eastern dishes like hummus and lamb. Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

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Nando's Peri-Peri (Multiple Locations)

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This fast-casual spot is very kid-friendly, but adults will find plenty to like in the chain's spicy chicken and gourmet sides (garlic bread, herb-laced yellow rice, mashed peas). Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

District Kitchen

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Local and seasonal specialties are the favorites at this neighborhood restaurant. Distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

Macintyre's

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This sibling bar from the owners of Maddy's is a haunt for sports fans. Distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

New Heights Restaurant

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Head to the charming New Heights for dishes like fettuccine or braised beef short rib, or have a gin and tonic at the adjacent Gin Joint bar. Distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

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Open City

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No matter the hour, Open City is there to serve up casual diner fare. Distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

Assorted offerings at Open City.
Open City/Facebook

Dolan Uyghur Restaurant

Try critically acclaimed Uyghur cooking with hand-pulled noodles, meat kebabs, dumplings and goshnan, a pan-fried pastry stuffed with ground beef, peppers, and sweet onions. Distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

Indique

Official

This longtime Cleveland Park Indian restaurant underwent a makeover in 2016. Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

Official

Medium Rare

Official

Enjoy a steak frites-only menu for an affordable price at this Cleveland Park destination. Distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

Official

St. Arnold's Mussel Bar (Multiple Locations)

Official

If mussels and a Belgian beer sound like a plan, St. Arnold's is a solid bet. Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

Official

Fat Pete's Barbecue (Multiple Locations)

Official

Budding barbecue chain Fat Pete's serves up dishes like ribs and brisket. Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

Official

Vace Italian Deli

Cleveland Park Business Association

Forty-year-old Vace is one of D.C.'s best options for pizza by the slice. Distance from zoo: 0.3 miles.

Cleveland Park Business Association

Baked by Yael

Official

If the kids want cake pops after walking around with the animals, Baked by Yael has it covered. Distance from zoo: Just 105 feet.

Official

Duke's Counter

This one-year-old pub grub and gourmet burger purveyor is the sister restaurant to Duke's Grocery. Distance from zoo: Less than 500 feet.

Hot N Juicy Crawfish (Multiple Locations)

Head here for boiled and spiced crawfish served by the bagful. Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

Lebanese Taverna (Multiple Locations)

Official

A D.C. classic, family-run Lebanese Taverna offers Middle Eastern dishes like hummus and lamb. Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

Official

Nando's Peri-Peri (Multiple Locations)

This fast-casual spot is very kid-friendly, but adults will find plenty to like in the chain's spicy chicken and gourmet sides (garlic bread, herb-laced yellow rice, mashed peas). Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

District Kitchen

Local and seasonal specialties are the favorites at this neighborhood restaurant. Distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

Macintyre's

This sibling bar from the owners of Maddy's is a haunt for sports fans. Distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

New Heights Restaurant

Official

Head to the charming New Heights for dishes like fettuccine or braised beef short rib, or have a gin and tonic at the adjacent Gin Joint bar. Distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.