Welcome to the region best known for its ageless jazz scene. Here, you'll find plenty of music gigs as well as edgy, urban shops. The historic neighborhood also has a booming night life, and plenty of restaurants, late night diners, and quick bites to go with it. Take a look at some of the most popular eateries:
A small, cheap, takeout place just off U Street is busy at all hours because it’s affordable and ridiculously tasty. Local athletes and night owls can rely on this food for a quick gyro fix or spanakopita craving. Try the vegetarian gyro made from soy strips. They’re surprisingly tasty and the perk is they’re healthier than the standard lamb option.
Fried chicken and waffles are one of the favorites at this restaurant and night club on 14th Street. In fact, all of the food is a wonderful take on southern comfort food. But it has a Belgian influece as well, thanks to its theme – a tribute to jazz singer Marvin Gaye. Marving spent time in the U Street area and part of his life in Belgium.
If you come for drinks, the roof deck is the best spot, whether it’s warm or freezing outside, the crowd and music make it worth staying up there.
Another great affordable option, Chix is an order-at-the-counter type of restaurant. The Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken is, put simply, delicious. It’s tender, juicy, and comes in a variety of spices. One option includes Columbian coffee as a seasoning – which is nicely blended with a sweet coconut as a marinade.
You can’t go wrong with the side dishes either. Generous portions of steamed broccoli, rice, roasted sweet potatoes, beans, or salad, help balance the meaty bird course. Seating is limited, but you might find something tucked up in the upstairs dining area.
Another design savvy destination, DC Noodles is your go-to spot for some of the best noodles you’ve every tried. The menu is full of any noodle craving you have. Squid ink udon noodles, skinny Singapore noodles, noodle soup, coconut curry… it’s all here at the Asian fusion legacy. They also get a vote for must-try pad thai that’s not too sweet.
The U Street area is DC’s primary region for Ethiopian restaurants (called Little Ehiopia). Etete is among the local favorites. It’s quiet, welcoming, and easy-going. Try a lamb dish or vibrant assortments of lentils and vegetables on their vegetarian dish. Don’t forget that Ethiopian food ditches the use of forks. Instead, you’ll get a plate of injera, which is a spongy bread used to scoop up all the goodness on your plate.
Ben's Chili Bowl is a historic landmarke that's been around since 1958. In the 1960's, it was a favorite meeting place for music greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and DC's Duke Ellington - who was born and raised nearby. The fast food chile diner continues to attract historic figures. President Obama has been known to swing by for a chili bowl and Bill Cosby has special status at the joint. When you go, you'll see a collection of other famous faces all along the wall.
Nowadays, you'll find the diner, which is open until 4am on weekends, is lined up with revelers working to fend off hangovers with chili-cheese fries and Ben’s most famous dish, the extra-thick sausage known as a half-smoke. It's not the place for a salad, but that is an option, as well as veggie burgers.