Local Dining Hotspots in the Capital Region USA

Find out where the locals love to eat with this guide to some of the best restaurants in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.

Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington, DC
Ben’s Chili Bowl — home of Washington, DC's signature dish, the chili half-smoke
Outdoor dining on King Street, Alexandria, VA
Historic Downtown Alexandria has several popular neighbourhood restaurants to choose from
Dupont Circle Farmers Market in Washington, DC (Photo credit: FRESHFARM Markets)
A server presents a tray of crabs to diners on the waterfront
Crab Claw Restaurant, delectable fresh seafood on the waterfront in St. Michaels, Maryland (photo credit: Richard Norwitz)
Can Can Brasserie in Richmond
Can Can Brasserie, a casual French bistro and a favourite with locals in Richmond's Carytown neighbourhood
Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington, DC
Outdoor dining on King Street, Alexandria, VA
A server presents a tray of crabs to diners on the waterfront
Can Can Brasserie in Richmond

Treat your taste buds to meals the locals love at these top Capital Region restaurants!

Washington, DC

Sample the fresh flavours of the season at one of DC’s farmers markets, where you'll find fresh food, entertainment and atmosphere. On weekends, Eastern Market on Capitol Hill is the place to go for produce, flowers, meats and cheeses, along with arts and antiques. Eastern Market packs a crowd on Saturday mornings for decadent blueberry pancakes. Capitol Hill staffers and locals come together after work at Capitol Lounge to take advantage of happy hour specials like half-price bottles of wine and $6 pizzas.

Seafood lovers can sample the catch of the day or feast on fried oysters and crab cakes at The Municipal Fish Market in DC’s Southwest neighbourhood.

In DC's city centre, support local agriculture with dinner at eco-friendly Equinox, or feast on oysters with locals at the Old Ebbitt Grill, just one block from the White House.

In and around U Street, foodies won’t want to miss a visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl, home of DC’s signature dish, the chili half-smoke. Share a conversation over food and drink at Busboys & Poets, a restaurant, bookstore and gathering place.

Around Dupont Circle, beer lovers won’t want to miss a visit to Bier Baron, which boasts more than 600 beers from around the world. You can dine on fresh seafood from the Chesapeake Bay at Hank’s Oyster Bar.


The Crab Claw Restaurant overlooking the St. Michaels harbour offers fresh local seafood and produce and is a great spot to savour the famous hot and spicy Maryland blue crabs.

On Smith Island, The Bayside Inn Restaurant features some of the best seafood on the Eastern Shore, not to mention the famous 10-layer Smith Island chocolate cake, the official cake of Maryland.

Ruddy Duck Seafood & Alehouse in St. Mary's County serves up everything from daily fresh fish specials and decadent crab dip — a treat beloved by Marylanders — to seasonal salads and dressings. Pair your meal with a pint and some sensational waterfront views. 

If you’re near Annapolis, head to Cantler’s Riverside Inn. Cantler's prepares steamed Maryland blue crabs, clams, oysters, shrimp and fish, all served piping hot and ready to enjoy in an atmosphere reminiscent of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay heritage.

Baltimore’s Café Hon offers delicious home-style cooking in the heart of the happening Hampden neighbourhood. Hon, short for Honey, is a Baltimore term of endearment. Bertha’s Bar and Restaurant, a landmark in the Fell's Point neighbourhood of Baltimore since the 1970s, is known for its mussels, ale and jazz. Nearby Attman's Delicatessen, known especially for their corned beef sandwiches and outstanding pickles, has been pleasing palates since 1915. Once a speakeasy in the 1920s, The Owl Bar, located in Mount Vernon’s historic Belvedere building, features tempting drink specials during its popular happy hour. While visiting the Baltimore Museum of Art, dine at Gertrude’s. Its décor and menu is inspired by the flavours of the Chesapeake Bay.


A culinary visit to Virginia would be incomplete without some Smithfield ham. Smithfield Station is famous for its Tournedos Christina which combines beef tenderloin medallions over a slice of Smithfield Ham, topped with fresh lump backfin crabmeat and Béarnaise sauce all cooked to order.

Tempo Restaurant is one of Alexandria's best-kept secrets. This elegant, but unpretentious, neighbourhood restaurant is where the locals dine. Tempo's menu displays a blend of northern Italian and French cuisine, featuring fresh seafood.

Brookside Restaurant is a favourite of travellers and locals. Located near the Shenandoah National Park headquarters and just seven miles east of Luray Caverns, former First Lady Michelle Obama, her mother and daughters enjoyed lunch here.

At the Galax Smokehouse, you'll see the who's who of the locals hanging out at lunch. With fantastic prices, great service and award-winning barbecue, the Smokehouse is one of Galax's favourite restaurants!

Located in Cape Charles on the Chesapeake Bay, The Oyster Farm offers the freshest seafood, along with regional delights like she-crab soup, Eastern Shore Virginia-style clam chowder and chicken pot pie. 

The award-winning Charlotte Hotel and Restaurant in Onancock on Virginia’s Eastern Shore features creative American cuisine with products supplied by local watermen and farmers.

You’re sure to mix with the locals at one of Virginia’s diners. The term "diner" came from railroad dining cars, and many of the diners across Virginia operate out of converted train and trolley cars. City Diner in Richmond offers staples of the American South, such as biscuits, grits and fried apples. While in town, grab a bite at Can Can Brasserie for French-inspired meals and light bites, as well as regional favourites like fried green tomatoes.

Looking to savour more Capital Region flavours? Explore our wine trails, indulge in comfort food at classic American diners, and check out the top food festivals and events in Maryland, Virginia and DC


Wine & Cuisine

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