Where to Find Washington, D.C.’s Hottest Food Trends for Dining Out and Catering
- Christina Mueller
- 3 Min Read
It’s hard not to resist Washington, D.C.’s powerhouse food scene. Whether you’re seeking street food, a fine dining experience, or catering for a lunch meeting—the nation’s capital has it all. That’s why we created a list of the hottest trends of Washington, D.C.’s food scene—so you know where to start when you want to eat out or order catering for work. Here are the tastiest food and drink trends in D.C.
Mediterranean and Middle Eastern
Nothing impresses new clients like a reservation at the hottest place in town. Maydan, Eater’s best new restaurant for 2018 and number two on Bon Appétit’s Hot 10 list, deserves the buzz. The restaurant experiments with the cooking methods of North Africa, the Middle East, and the mountainous Caucasus region. At Maydan, diners can experience open-fire cooking and spectacular roasts. According to D.C.-based food writer Nevin Martell, “Maydan is expanding our notion of what the foods of the Middle East can be. There’s nothing like it.”
If you can’t nab a table at Maydan, another hot pick is the restaurant Zaytinya, which serves Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese food in a modern setting. And if you want Mediterranean or Middle Eastern flavors catered for a meeting, try Roti Modern Mediterranean or Aladdin’s Kitchen. Their catering menus make it easy to order vibrant box lunches and buffets for catered meetings at the office.
Mexican taquerias are finally making headway into Washington, D.C.’s food scene. One of our favorite taquerias is Taqueria Habanero in Columbia Heights, and its menu is big enough to keep clients happy week after week. Another solid pick is the tacos at Taco Bamba, which “take their cues from a Greek lamb roast or Korean bulgogi,” says Martell. Both restaurants are great for adventurous eaters visiting from out of town. For a catered meeting at the office, Pica Taco will deliver fresh tamales to you. The restaurant’s hot, spiced tamales are the perfect way to enliven a lunch and learn.
Business catering in Washington, D.C.: Pica Taco
“One thing we are finally getting is great bakeries,” says Martell, who digs the American treats at Buttercream Bake Shop and the classic French pastries at Pluma by Bluebird Bakery. Either spot would be perfect for meeting up with a colleague or grabbing pastries for your team on your way into work.
Of course, if you’d rather have the bakery deliver the baked goods to your office, Washington, D.C., offers plenty of catering options. Order a catering platter of tender scones and muffins from Dog Tag Bakery. Or, for something different, try Salvadorean pupusas, stuffed cornmeal flatbreads. Pupuserías are popping up all over the food scene in Washington, and many of them will deliver catering straight to your office. You’ll find those light and fluffy Central American treats at El Tamarindo and Guajillo Chalateco.
Compass Rose reignited the local street food trend with innovative dishes from all over the globe. Its back-patio, family style Bedouin Tent dinners are the ultimate street food pop-up and are sure to wow new business or colleagues visiting from out of town.
If you want street food at work, Viet Food Truck’s catering is a great option. The restaurant serves up Vietnam’s most famous sandwich, the banh mi, as well as hot noodle soups and refreshing vermicelli bowls loaded with fresh herbs and toppings like lemongrass chicken.
Business catering in Washington, D.C.: Viet Food Truck
Claim to Fame: Dishes Unique to Washington, D.C.’s Food Scene
Yes, Baltimore rightfully lays claim to the crab cake. But both cities share the riches of nearby Chesapeake Bay, and Washington’s food scene offers its own signature patty. The restaurant Blacksalt makes a fine crab cake using fresh crab from its in-house fish market. Another option is Hank’s Oyster Bar, which makes a richer version that uses brioche bread crumbs for binding.
There’s nothing like soft-shell crab, pulled right from the Chesapeake. Impress adventurous clients at The Salt Line, where chef Kyle Bailey is known for a version done up like Nashville hot chicken. Hank’s Oyster Bar, making a second appearance on our list, serves it over fresh corn and tomatoes at the Wharf location.
For catering, try the crab roll from Luke’s Lobster. If you want global flavors for your team, go for the soft-shell crab sushi from Hakari Sushi & Sake Bar and the pork, shrimp, and crab dumplings from Thai Orchid’s Kitchen.
Of course, if you want upscale catering packages for board meetings, consider Q Caterers. With options like baked Chicken Marbella, pesto grilled salmon, and artichoke couscous, you can’t go wrong. And if barbecued meats are more your style, welcome your clients with District Barbecue’s juicy pork sandwiches and sticky-sweet ribs.
Mumbo Sauce (aka Mambo Sauce)
Everyone in Washington has an opinion about where to get, and what to call, this D.C. sauce. You can try this sweeter, spicier, tangier take on ketchup at The Hamilton if you’re out on the town with clients. But if you want a side of it for your catering order, Wings on Deck serves mumbo sauce with their chicken wings. Made with Love Catering does, too, along with comfort food.
Restaurants for a night out: The Hamilton
Use this list whenever you need a great restaurant for dining out or catering. Thanks to Washington, D.C.’s robust food scene, you have plenty of exciting options.
Ready to order delicious catering for the office?