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Sushi Gakyu’s nigiri
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Where To Avoid Tourist Trap Restaurants Near the White House in D.C.

There are actually good places to eat near the landmark

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Sushi Gakyu’s nigiri
| Photo by Sushi Gakyu/Facebook

Tourists descend on the White House and the surrounding area regularly in D.C. (during each spring in particular). But the iconic landmark is also located smack in the middle of D.C.’s bustling downtown neighborhood. As a result, the area holds restaurant destinations that go beyond medicore tourist-trap restaurants. Here is a selection of the best ones to try, representing a mix of prices and atmospheres (even if expense-account restaurants often reign supreme in this area).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Breadline

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1751 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 822-8900
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Expect long lines at brunch at this longtime sandwich shop, which serves everythging from Merguez sausage sandwiches to salami and cheese on a baguette. Offerings change depending on the day of the week.

A cod sandwich from Breadline
Breadline/Facebook

2. Teaism Lafayette Park

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800 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 835-2233
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The underrated Teaism has been serving simple, Asian-dishes like cilantro scrambled eggs and udon for years. They also have a diverse selection of teas (naturally) and some sweets like their cult-favorite salty oatmeal cookie.

Salmon from Teaism
Teaism/Facebook

3. The Oval Room

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800 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 463-8700
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Another higher-end offering from owner Ashok Bajaj, The Oval Room is now overseen by chef Bryan Moscatello. Dishes here tend to lean seasonal, and seafood is a sure bet. A $27 prix-fixe lunch, a $20 lunch at the bar and a $39 pre-theater menu can help prevent sticker shock among tourists.

Fish from The Oval Room
Oval Room/Facebook

4. Equinox

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818 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 331-8118
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Equinox was one the early pioneers of the local food movement in D.C. Today, Todd Gray’s new American restaurant also caters to vegans with a brunch and a tasting menu.

Equinox truffled mac and cheese
Equinox/Facebook

5. Bombay Club

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815 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 659-3727
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This high-end Indian institution from restaurateur Ashok Bajaj is a major destination for spotting D.C. power players. But discriminating diners head here for dishes like lamb vindaloo kale chaat, and thali sampler platters.

A platter from Bombay Club in D.C.
Bombay Club/Facebook

6. BLT Steak DC

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1625 I Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 689-8999
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This modern steakhouse chain puts a particular emphasis on Wagyu beef. Tuna tartare and those monster-sized popovers are other customer favorites.

A steak dish from BLT Steak
BLT Steak/Facebook

7. Off the Record

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800 16th St NW, Washington
D.C., 20006
(202) 638-6600
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Off the Record is the bar within the renowned Hay-Adams hotel. The walls are filled with political caricatures, and the seats are often filled with journalists or politicos, and it’s a place to order a martini or Manhattan and be satisfied. Hotel bars and old-school drinking dens are prominent in this neighborhood — also consider ordering a mint julep from the nearby Round Robin.

8. Rare Steakhouse & Tavern

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1595 I St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 800-9994
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Steaks and seafood, unsurprisingly, are aplenty at this import, which excels at service. Diners will find more affordable fare in the Tavern downstairs, including addictive fried cheese curds and other Midwestern touches.

Cheese curds from Rare Steakhouse and Tavern
Rare/Facebook

9. Union Trust

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740 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

This unpretentious bar is a relatively new addition to the neighborhood. It comes from the owners of some of D.C.’s most trusted watering holes, Solly’s and The Pug. Expect more neighborhood bar, less fancy cocktail den. Crowds appear at happy hour.

Union Trust in D.C.
Jimmy C/Yelp

10. Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

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750 15th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 489-0140
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Yet another steakhouse, yes, but one where diners can find stone crab, lobster-topped salads and attentive maitre d’s. Joe’s is much more affordable around cocktail hour, which starts at 2:30 p.m. but the secret is out, so skip out of work early to snag a table.

11. Old Ebbitt Grill

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675 15th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 347-4800
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D.C.’s oldest restaurant is always filled with lobbyists, tourists, and even occasionally locals. Those locals, though, know that the restaurant is at its most consistent and most affordable during its raw bar happy hour.

12. Woodward Takeout Food

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1426 H Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 347-5355
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Woodward Takeout Food (cheekily nicknamed WTF) offers cheffy sandwiches ranging from fried chicken to cauliflower gyros, along with flatbreads and salads. There are breakfast sandwiches in the mornings, too.

13. Occidental Grill & Seafood Restaurant

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1046, 1475 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 783-1475
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The Occidental is one of those places that feels unequivocally D.C. Presidential portraits grace the walls, and the more than one-hundred-year-old restaurant has been the cause of political dramas and celebrity sightings for decades. Seafood’s a draw here; the patio is a festive bet in the warmer months for bison hot dogs and even a spin on D.C.’s half-smoke.

The Occidental on the patio.
R. Lopez/Eater.com

14. Sushi Gakyu

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1420 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 849-3686
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This newish addition to D.C.’s sushi scene offers pristine fish and intricate rolls. They’re on the expensive side, but the dollars invested can earn diners fuku (blowfish), an elegant chirashi sampler, and more.

Sushi gakyu’s nigiri
Sushi Gakyu/Facebook

15. The Hamilton

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600 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 787-1000
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Owned by Clyde’s Restaurant Group, the Hamilton is a crowd-pleaser, serving everything from wings to boozy milkshakes to even sushi (there’s a dedicated bar in the back of the restaurant). Despite the spacious layout, the restaurant (which doubles as an entertainment venue) fills up quickly.

1. Breadline

1751 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20006
A cod sandwich from Breadline
Breadline/Facebook

Expect long lines at brunch at this longtime sandwich shop, which serves everythging from Merguez sausage sandwiches to salami and cheese on a baguette. Offerings change depending on the day of the week.

1751 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

2. Teaism Lafayette Park

800 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006
Salmon from Teaism
Teaism/Facebook

The underrated Teaism has been serving simple, Asian-dishes like cilantro scrambled eggs and udon for years. They also have a diverse selection of teas (naturally) and some sweets like their cult-favorite salty oatmeal cookie.

800 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006

3. The Oval Room

800 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006
Fish from The Oval Room
Oval Room/Facebook

Another higher-end offering from owner Ashok Bajaj, The Oval Room is now overseen by chef Bryan Moscatello. Dishes here tend to lean seasonal, and seafood is a sure bet. A $27 prix-fixe lunch, a $20 lunch at the bar and a $39 pre-theater menu can help prevent sticker shock among tourists.

800 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006

4. Equinox

818 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20006
Equinox truffled mac and cheese
Equinox/Facebook

Equinox was one the early pioneers of the local food movement in D.C. Today, Todd Gray’s new American restaurant also caters to vegans with a brunch and a tasting menu.

818 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

5. Bombay Club

815 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20006
A platter from Bombay Club in D.C.
Bombay Club/Facebook

This high-end Indian institution from restaurateur Ashok Bajaj is a major destination for spotting D.C. power players. But discriminating diners head here for dishes like lamb vindaloo kale chaat, and thali sampler platters.

815 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

6. BLT Steak DC

1625 I Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20006
A steak dish from BLT Steak
BLT Steak/Facebook

This modern steakhouse chain puts a particular emphasis on Wagyu beef. Tuna tartare and those monster-sized popovers are other customer favorites.

1625 I Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

7. Off the Record

800 16th St NW, Washington, D.C., 20006

Off the Record is the bar within the renowned Hay-Adams hotel. The walls are filled with political caricatures, and the seats are often filled with journalists or politicos, and it’s a place to order a martini or Manhattan and be satisfied. Hotel bars and old-school drinking dens are prominent in this neighborhood — also consider ordering a mint julep from the nearby Round Robin.

800 16th St NW, Washington
D.C., 20006

8. Rare Steakhouse & Tavern

1595 I St NW, Washington, DC 20005
Cheese curds from Rare Steakhouse and Tavern
Rare/Facebook

Steaks and seafood, unsurprisingly, are aplenty at this import, which excels at service. Diners will find more affordable fare in the Tavern downstairs, including addictive fried cheese curds and other Midwestern touches.

1595 I St NW
Washington, DC 20005

9. Union Trust

740 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
Union Trust in D.C.
Jimmy C/Yelp

This unpretentious bar is a relatively new addition to the neighborhood. It comes from the owners of some of D.C.’s most trusted watering holes, Solly’s and The Pug. Expect more neighborhood bar, less fancy cocktail den. Crowds appear at happy hour.

740 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

10. Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

750 15th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20005

Yet another steakhouse, yes, but one where diners can find stone crab, lobster-topped salads and attentive maitre d’s. Joe’s is much more affordable around cocktail hour, which starts at 2:30 p.m. but the secret is out, so skip out of work early to snag a table.

750 15th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

11. Old Ebbitt Grill

675 15th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20005

D.C.’s oldest restaurant is always filled with lobbyists, tourists, and even occasionally locals. Those locals, though, know that the restaurant is at its most consistent and most affordable during its raw bar happy hour.

675 15th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

12. Woodward Takeout Food

1426 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20005

Woodward Takeout Food (cheekily nicknamed WTF) offers cheffy sandwiches ranging from fried chicken to cauliflower gyros, along with flatbreads and salads. There are breakfast sandwiches in the mornings, too.

1426 H Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

13. Occidental Grill & Seafood Restaurant

1046, 1475 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004
The Occidental on the patio.
R. Lopez/Eater.com

The Occidental is one of those places that feels unequivocally D.C. Presidential portraits grace the walls, and the more than one-hundred-year-old restaurant has been the cause of political dramas and celebrity sightings for decades. Seafood’s a draw here; the patio is a festive bet in the warmer months for bison hot dogs and even a spin on D.C.’s half-smoke.

1046, 1475 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004

14. Sushi Gakyu

1420 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005
Sushi gakyu’s nigiri
Sushi Gakyu/Facebook

This newish addition to D.C.’s sushi scene offers pristine fish and intricate rolls. They’re on the expensive side, but the dollars invested can earn diners fuku (blowfish), an elegant chirashi sampler, and more.

1420 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005

15. The Hamilton

600 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20005

Owned by Clyde’s Restaurant Group, the Hamilton is a crowd-pleaser, serving everything from wings to boozy milkshakes to even sushi (there’s a dedicated bar in the back of the restaurant). Despite the spacious layout, the restaurant (which doubles as an entertainment venue) fills up quickly.

600 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

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