Must-Have Culinary Experiences

There are so many ways to treat your taste buds around Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland.

An oysterman serves fresh oysters to a group at a table in the river
Pleasure House Oyster Farm in Virginia Beach
Exterior of Ben's Chili Bowl at night with people passing by
DC's U Street neighbourhood is home to many local restaurants like the iconic Ben's Chili Bowl.
A server presents a tray of crabs to diners on the waterfront
Waterfront crab feast at the Crab Claw Restaurant in St. Michael's, Maryland
Exterior of the inn decorated in flags
The Inn at Little Washington
A modern dessert at minibar made to look like peanuts
Discover the innovative cuisine of Chef José Andrés at minibar
People shopping at a farmers market in downtown Alexandria
Farmer's Market in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia
An oysterman serves fresh oysters to a group at a table in the river
Exterior of Ben's Chili Bowl at night with people passing by
A server presents a tray of crabs to diners on the waterfront
Exterior of the inn decorated in flags
A modern dessert at minibar made to look like peanuts
People shopping at a farmers market in downtown Alexandria

Savouring fresh-out-of-the-water oysters off the half shell. Digging into an impeccable three-course meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Sampling local and ethnic specialties on an enlightening food tour. These are just a few of the incredible food experiences that await in America's Capital Region!

Sensational Local Seafood

The Virginia Oyster Trail and Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail are terrific ways to taste the region’s freshest coastal delights at multiple locations, whilst events like the J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake (July) in Crisfield, Maryland, and Urbanna Oyster Festival (November) in Urbanna, Virginia, offer great opportunities to feast with the locals.

You can also learn how oysters are harvested at multiple farms along the Chesapeake Bay, including Pleasure House Oyster Farm Tours on the Lynnhaven River. And no trip is complete without a waterfront meal (or two). Catch a stunning view of the skyline and waterfront from a patio seat at Carrol’s Creek Cafe in Annapolis, Maryland and Vola’s Dockside Grill in Alexandria, Virginia; or wash down Chesapeake oysters with a pint of a local brew at The Salt Line, set along the Anacostia River on Washington, DC’s southeast waterfront.

Global Cuisine

With many cities across the region offering diverse dining options, you'll have your pick of global cuisines to sample. Washington, DC is home to the largest Ethiopian community outside of Africa, making the city one of America's foremost destinations for Ethiopian cuisine. The Adams Morgan and U Street neighbourhoods are home to some of the city's top Ethiopian restaurants. Eden Center in Falls Church, Virginia is a Vietnamese American strip mall featuring more than 30 authentic Vietnamese restaurants. Baltimore, Maryland's Little Italy is a community of Italian Americans who have lived there for generations, serving up their family recipes at restaurants throughout the neighbourhood.

Signature Staples

Explore the region's soul food offering at Black-owned restaurants like Ooh's and Ahh's in Washington, DC, Truth Soul Food in Norfolk, Virginia or Connie's Chicken & Waffles in Baltimore, Maryland. Don’t miss barbecued favourites like beef brisket and pulled pork at Andy Nelson’s BBQ in Cockeysville, Maryland, Federalist Pig in DC's Adams Morgan neighbourhood and Myron Mixon's Pitmaster BBQ in Alexandria, Virginia. Top it all off with a piece of peanut pie — a state speciality —from Virginia Diner in Wakefield or visit Boatyard Bar& Grill in Annapolis for a slice of Maryland’s official dessert, the many-layered Smith Island Cake.

Farm to Table

The Capital Region produces a bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products and ethically raised meats, cherished by local chefs who highlight the region's best ingredients in innovative dishes. Prime examples include The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, Virginia, Blue Duck Tavern in Washington, DC and Thatcher & Rye in Frederick, Maryland.

Michelin Stars

The 2021 Michelin Guide to Washington, DC covers nearly 130 restaurants in and around the nation's capital. Highlights include the guide's sole three-star establishment, The Inn at Little Washington located in the small town of Washington, Virginia, and two-star restaurants minibar by José Andrés and Aaron Silverman's Pineapple & Pearls, both located in DC. Twenty-three restaurants in DC earned highly coveted Michelin stars while 44 restaurants received the Bib Gourmand honour. Be sure to pick up a copy of the latest version of the guide before your visit to explore some of the DC metropolitan region's top-rated restaurants.

Hungry for more flavours of the Capital Region? Check out these classic American diners and three top foodie experiences while you are here!

Related: 
Tours & Trails
Wine & Cuisine

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