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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.

1. Dolan Uyghur Restaurant

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3518 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 686-3941
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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.

2. Indique

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3512 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 244-6600
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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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3. Medium Rare

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3500 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 237-1432
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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.

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4. St. Arnold's Mussel Bar (Multiple Locations)

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3435 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste B
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 621-6719
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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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5. Fat Pete's Barbecue (Multiple Locations)

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3407 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 362-7777
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Budding barbecue chain Fat Pete's serves up dishes like ribs and brisket. Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

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6. Vace Italian Deli

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3315 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 369-1999
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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

7. Baked by Yael

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3000-F Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 480-9235
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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.

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8. Duke's Counter

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3000 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 733-4808
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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.

9. Hot N Juicy Crawfish (Multiple Locations)

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2651 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 299-9448
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Head here for boiled and spiced crawfish served by the bagful. Distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

10. Lebanese Taverna (Multiple Locations)

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2641 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 265-8681
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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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11. Nando's Peri-Peri (Multiple Locations)

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2631 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 204-1251
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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.

12. District Kitchen

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2606 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 238-9408
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Local and seasonal specialties are the favorites at this neighborhood restaurant. Distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

13. Macintyre's

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2621 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 506-3427
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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.

14. New Heights Restaurant

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2317 Calvert St NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 234-4110
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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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15. Open City

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2331 Calvert St NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 332-2331
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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

1. Dolan Uyghur Restaurant

3518 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

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.

3518 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

2. Indique

3512 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Official

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

3512 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

3. Medium Rare

3500 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Official

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

3500 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

4. St. Arnold's Mussel Bar (Multiple Locations)

3435 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste B, Washington, D.C. 20008
Official

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

3435 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste B
Washington, D.C. 20008

5. Fat Pete's Barbecue (Multiple Locations)

3407 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Official

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

3407 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

6. Vace Italian Deli

3315 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
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.

3315 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

7. Baked by Yael

3000-F Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
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.

3000-F Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

8. Duke's Counter

3000 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

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.

3000 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

9. Hot N Juicy Crawfish (Multiple Locations)

2651 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

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

2651 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

10. Lebanese Taverna (Multiple Locations)

2641 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Official

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

2641 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

11. Nando's Peri-Peri (Multiple Locations)

2631 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

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.

2631 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

12. District Kitchen

2606 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

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

2606 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

13. Macintyre's

2621 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

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

2621 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

14. New Heights Restaurant

2317 Calvert St NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
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.

2317 Calvert St NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

15. Open City

2331 Calvert St NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Assorted offerings at Open City.
Open City/Facebook

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

2331 Calvert St NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

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