Ok, so you’re either already at the National Gallery of Art with a grumbling stomach, or you’re planning a trip and want the lowdown on the best eats in town. Maybe you’re doing team building in DC and want to grab a bite afterward.
Either way, our renegade tours of DC museums need fuel, and the city has some amazing food to prepare or recharge after your museum adventure.
We’ve spent years in and around the museum and have the full scoop on the best places to fill your gullet before/after/in-between an awesome trip to the National Gallery of Art.
WHERE TO EAT NEAR THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART
On this page you’ll find restaurants categorized as quick eats, bang for your buck, delicious sitdown, brunch & coffee, vegan & juice, drinks, and splurge. Your tastebuds will thank you.
Here’s our current shortlist for favorite food spots near the National Gallery of Art:
Poki District — Cash in on the poke craze at this fast-casual restaurant. Tons of variety, large portions, affordable and filling!
Merzi — The perfect spot if you’re in a hurry to grab some grub before heading to the National Gallery of Art! Merzi has delicious Indian food and you’ll get it in a jiff thanks to Chipotle-style ordering.
Pitango Gelato — Authentic Italian gelato — need we say more? Try the chocolate hazelnut gelato and the affogato espresso. You’re welcome.
BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
Good Stuff Eatery — Mouthwatering burgers and milkshakes. You gotta try the Prez Obama burger: applewood bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort cheese, and horseradish mayo. They also have a good veggie burger if that’s more up your alley.
Oyamel Cocina Mexicana — Some call it the best Mexican in Washington. The homemade guacamole and ceviche are off the charts. You adventurous enough to try the grasshopper tacos?
Hill County Barbeque Market — We’ll let this Foursquare review do the talking: “Everything. I literally tried everything and it was all delicious”. Amazing BBQ, they’ve also got a great lunch special.
Rasika — Very highly reviewed, Rasika’s got it all: ambience, decor, delicious Indian food, and excellent service. Perfect for a romantic date before a trip to the museum.
Carmine’s — One of the best lunch specials in DC. But even if you can’t catch the lunch special, we still recommend it. These Italian dishes are mouthwatering — and the portions are huuuuge. Good for families.
China Chicano — Chinese/Japanese/Peruvian fusion! Created by celebrity chef José Andrés, who was named to Time’s “100” Most Influential list and awarded “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard foundation.
BRUNCH & COFFEE
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Pavilion Cafe — This cafe is inside the museum! Talk about convenience. Has both indoor and outdoor seating in a beautiful sculpture garden. Quick, tasty, convenient. (And coffee.)
Jaleo — Sangria, tapas, gazpacho. No, we’re not describing a day in heaven — this is just some of what’s on the menu at Jaleo. Reservations recommended, especially for brunch.
Tortilla Coast — This review speaks volumes: “The chips are so good they should come with handcuffs…to stop you from eating them endlessly!” Good prices, large portions. Handcuffs not included.
Starbucks — It’s Starbucks.
VEGAN & JUICE
Protein Bar — Large selection of health-conscious foods, lots of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Raw juices too!
HipCityVeg — Casual, trendy, lively veg spot. What some might call “vegan fast food”.
Chop’t Creative Salad Company — Express yourself through salad! Heads up: this one’s about a 15 minute walk from the National Gallery of Art. Worth the trek.
Hamilton’s Bar and Grille — Very divey. Hosted the “World Series of Flip Cup” once upon a time. Tater tots are on the menu.
barmini by Jose Andres — One word: swanky. Artisan cocktails, upscale setting. Reservations recommended, if you can get one.
Cedar — An excellent option for happy hour. Slightly upscale w/ creative cocktails. Try the banana bread and scallops (but maybe not together).
Fiola da Fabio Trabocchi — If money ain’t no thang, you’ve just found your culinarily calling. This WaPo review sums it up: “The Maine lobster ravioli has garnered such a following that the chef can’t take it off the menu without spurring a minor mutiny among his guests.”
The Capital Grille DC — You might see some celebrities and politicians here. Get a reservation. The Capital Grille makes an amaaazing steak. (No veggie options.)
Charlie Palmer Steak — I know what you’re thinking. Two steakhouses on one list? You caught us, but we couldn’t leave out Charlie Palmer. Scenic views, and this steak will melt in your mouth like butter.
Okay, so now that we’ve got the food down — ready to grab tickets for an unforgettable tour at the National Gallery of Art? We guarantee you’ll have an amazing time. See you there!