RESTAURANTS OF INTEREST AROUND THE WASHINGTON HILTON
The food offered to you within the walls of the hotel will prove to be delicious and satisfying, but if you’d care to venture into the nearby DC neighborhoods, you’ll find some terrific culinary treats. Here are some of our suggestions:
- A short walk from the Washington Hilton, you’ll find Jolt ‘n’ Bolt Coffee & Tea House, a nice little neighborhood coffee shop with some tasty breakfast options. It’s a nice choice with character if The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf within the hotel is too crowded. Walk the half block up T street to Florida Avenue, take Florida for maybe two block lengths until you take a right on 18th street. Jolt ‘n’ Bolt is on the right at 1918 18th St NW. Less than a half-mile walk. Breakfast sandwiches, fresh squeezed orange juice, and good coffee.
- For an even closer breakfast possibility, try Universal Doughnuts, directly across T street from the hotel, 2012 T St NW. This is a quaint mom ‘n’ pop operation with a small town feel. Their breakfast sandwiches are made to order, and their prices are very reasonable. However, the doughnuts, their title menu item, are merely Krispy Kreme re-sale. That’s not a statement meant to dissuade. We love those. But their true breakfast craft is in making the sandwiches you really want.
- If you’re looking for a good burger option around lunchtime (or dinner), you’ll be hard pressed to do better than Bareburger. This place has a fascinating menu for adventurous meat lovers as well as some superb choices for vegetarians and vegans, including shakes! Yes, shakes for vegans too! Here, your burger could be constructed from more than beef, turkey, or bison. They also use more exotic meats. And likely due to that fact, the prices will be higher than your average burger joint. From The Washington Hilton, Bareburger is a short stroll, slightly more than two blocks straight down 20th Street, past Florida Avenue, to 1647 20th Street NW. Calling in advance would not be a bad idea, 202-888-4582. They open their doors at 11:30am every day of the week, and they stay open until past 10pm most nights except Sunday when they close at 9pm.
- For true Washington DC iconic fare, you’ll want to experience Ben’s Chili Bowl. Admittedly, this is not elegant dining, but it is among our favorites and it is very popular. Expect to wait in line before ordering about 10 to 15 minutes. And consider getting a couple of their Half-Smokes with cheese and chili. Yes, you should not avoid their proprietary chili, mysteriously concocted from an old family recipe that is sure to contain Indian spices. They will apply it to anything you’d care to order upon your demand. This is not food designed to help you live longer, just better. To get there from the hotel, it’s a slightly longer walk than others of our around the hotel recommendations, about 1 mile. But it’s worth the effort and not very expensive. You’ll stroll out on T Street for about seven blocks until you take a left on 13th street. Then you’ll take a right on U Street and see it ahead of you on the left at 1213 U St NW. Yellow and red signage just past the Lincoln Theatre. There is no need to call them in advance. Probably no one would answer anyway. I didn’t know they ever closed, but evidently they’re open until 2am most weeknight, Fri-Sat until 4am, and on Sunday they’ll close up at a conservative midnight hour.
- For lovers of Italian cuisine (which is just about everyone), La Tomate is a very nice place only a couple of blocks away from the hotel straight down Connecticut Avenue, located at 1701. They offer satisfying portions of authentic regional flavors for lunch and dinner. And the prices are reasonable. For dinner, appetizers start at $9, pastas start at $14, and entrees start at $22. Lunch will reveal lower prices. La Tomate offers street side dinning when the weather cooperates, and the atmosphere inside is very relaxed. But the place can fill up, so it’s a good idea to call in advance. 202-667-5505.
- If, by chance, you feel that bourbon is a spirit worthy of your appreciation or deeper exploration over dinner, then Jack Rose Dining Saloon will prove unmatched. It happens to be among our favorite choices in all of DC. It’s like a Bourbon Mecca that deserves to be The Top Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. Fortunately it’s available to you after a short stroll from The Washington Hilton. Just walk down T Street for two blocks until you turn left on 18th Street, then after another block and a half, you’ll see it on the right at 2007 18th St NW. The décor is simple. The walls are lined with more than 2500 whisky bottles. The variety is stunning. They commonly offer the elusive Pappy Van Winkle, but servings of that legendary elixir cost more than we were willing to pay. For a more reasonably priced experience, we recommend ordering a personal “flight” of bourbon. You’ll describe to your personal bourbon “sommelier” (not your waiter) what you have enjoyed in previously tasted bourbons, and he or she will work out with you a range of tastes to be found in the four samples you receive. Very satisfying. Plus the food is really good here. The starters are an elegant take on traditional bar fare, and while the entrees can get expensive, their quality is undeniable. They do have a fixed price compilation of their smaller bites that is meant to be shared for around $24. Also, word has gotten out about Jack Rose, so you will want to call in advance. 202-588-7388.
- Another of our personal favorites is Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café. Beyond being a truly fantastic local book store, this place offers superb café food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It opens at 7:30am, and it stays open until sometime after midnight. To get there, walk straight down Connecticut Avenue from the hotel for a little more than three blocks to 1517. It’s just before you get to the Dupont Circle roundabout. Everyone swears by The Kramer Burger and The Confit Duck Leg, but I can’t get enough of their Hangar Steak Salad with its ripe avocado and crispy friend onions.
- Sometimes the best food is shared food, and the restaurant Madrid can supply you and your party with just about the best tapas you can imagine. Seafood, chicken skewers, steak strips, veggies, and especially their chorizo. It’s all prepared so flavorfully well. Of course they do provide single person entrees that I suppose are every bit as tasty as the shared portions. And if you want to act genuinely Spanish, enjoy a cocktail or two and order one of their paellas. They have five different ones! But they take 30 minutes to make fresh, and they serve 2 or 3 people. So go with people whose conversation you cherish. You’ll walk from the hotel straight down Connecticut Avenue for just over two blocks to 1714. And you’ll want to let them know when you can be there. 202-506-6037.