Where to Eat in D.C. Near the National Mall on Inauguration Day
Face it, if you're planning on attending the inauguration on Monday, you should be bracing yourself for crowds of biblical proportions. It may not be projected to be nearly as packed as Obama's first go around, but don't expect getting around to be easy. That said, don't let the patriotic hysteria keep you from enjoying a few good meals in the nation's capital. Since many of the Metro stations in the immediate vicinity of the National Mall will be closed the day of, here's a list of good bets within walking distance.
Wiseguy NY Pizza: A relative newcomer, but arguably the best by-the-slice pizza in the city. Try the excellent garlic knots.
300 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001; www.wiseguynypizza.com
Good Stuff Eatery: Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn's popular burger joint that's spitting distance from the Capitol building. Obama themed burgers, rosemary and thyme seasoned fries, and toasted marshmallow shakes.
303 Pennsylvanie Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003; 202-543-8222; www.goodstuffeatery.com
Hillcountry BBQ: The DC outpost of a New York based Texas barbecue mini-chain. Excellent brisket, live music, and plenty of space for large parties.
410 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20004; 202-556-2050; www.hillcountrywdc.com
Matchbox Chinatown: The ever popular Matchbox chain serves up solid pies in addition to a full menu (try the mini-burgers) and has a full-service bar.
713 H St. NW, Washington, DC 20001; 202-289-4441; matchboxchinatown.com
Jaleo: José Andrés' beloved send up to Spanish small plates. Tapas, paella, and sangria right by the metro.
480 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20004; 202-628-7949; www.jaleo.com
Fiola: Exquisitely crafted Italian food from chef Fabio Trabocchi. Winner of the RAMMY award for best new restaurant in 2012. Great pasta, great cocktails, and you have to try the Mallorcan ensaimada.
601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20004; 202-628-2888; www.fioladc.com
The Source by Wolfgang Puck: Chef Scott Drewno helms DC's Wolfgang Puck homage to Asian cuisine. Downstairs you'll find a Japanese-style izakaya lounge and upstairs the full menu of contemporary interpretations of Asian dishes.
575 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001; 202-637-6100;
Rasika (Penn Quarter): Chef Vikram Sunderam's extremely popular Indian restaurant serves both modern and authentic interpretations. His signature palak chaat (crispy, fried spinach) appetizer is a must try.
633 D St. NW, Washington, DC 20004; 202-637-1222; www.rasikarestaurant.com/pennquarter
Proof: Modern American cuisine with one of the best wine programs in the city.
775 G St. NW, Washington, DC 20001; 202-737-7663; www.proofdc.com
Tea & Coffee
Pitango Gelato: Convenient to most of the spots on this list, Pitango serves excellent, fresh gelato and coffee.
413 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20004; 202-885-9607; pitangogelato.com/locations/#/penn-quarter
Teaism: A large selection of teas as well as full menu of light food.
400 8th St. NW, Washington, DC 20004; 202-638-6010; teaism.com/Restaurant/PennQuarter7.html
Chinatown Coffee Co.: You could stop in at any of the numerous Starbuck's, but if you're seeking a quality cup, Chinatown Coffee Co. brews beans from Intelligentsia, Counter Culture, Ritual Coffee, and Novo.
475 H St. NW, Washington, DC 20001; 202-559-7656; chinatowncoffee.com
The Passenger: A DC favorite, The Passenger is slightly dive-y, but don't let that fool you. You'll find some of the best cocktails in the city here.
1021 7th St. NW, Washington, DC; 202-393-0220; passengerdc.com
Iron Horse Taproom: A great selection of American craft brews and a basement full of shuffle board and skeeball.
507 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20004; 202-347-7665; ironhorsedc.com
RFD: Over 30 beers on tap and hundreds more in bottles, RFD has the largest beer selection you'll find in striking distance from the Mall. Pair that with a spacious dining room and a sports bar vibe and it's a fun place for beer and unwinding after inauguration madness.
810 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001; 202-289-2030; www.lovethebeer.com/rfd.html
Lil Pub: A quintessential dive bar. Perennial Christmas lights, Rolling Rock, and jello shots.
655 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003; 202-543-5526