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How to Find the BEST Restaurants in Washington DC


if you want to eat well when you visit Washington DC, stick around because I am going to tell you how. HELLO! Welcome to Trip Hacks DC. My name is Rob. I’m a tour guide here in the nation’s capital. If you’re coming to Washington DC and you’re looking for the best tips, tricks, and hacks for exploring the city, make sure to subscribe to this channel and hit the bell notification icon so that you don’t miss anything. And if you’re interested in having me personally show you around when you come head on over to my website TripHacksDC.com afterwards to see the tours that I offer. One of the most frequent questions that I get asked as a tour guide is: what are the best places to eat? This is actually an extremely difficult question to answer, not because there aren’t any good restaurants here, but because there are so many. Here’s an example of how this conversation usually goes… Hey Rob! I’m coming to DC, can you recommend any good restaurants? Yeah, sure. What kind of food do you like? I like everything! I don’t mind as long as it’s the best food. OK well, what’s your budget? Well, I want the best food, but it’s got to be something that’s not going to break the bank. You know,? OK Well, then where are you saying? Do you want to stick to that area? I’m staying downtown at the Marriott, but I’m willing to Uber anywhere for good food. Okay, so that’s kind of a silly example, but I’ve had that basic conversation plenty of times. I appreciate that nobody wants to waste a meal in a new city at a restaurant that’s not any good; but you really need to figure out some way to narrow down your choices, otherwise you’ll never pick. If you live in or have been to DC and had any particularly memorable meals, leave a comment on this video and let me know where you ate, otherwise Here are my three tips for eating well on your trip. 1. Decide how much you want to spend I’m not talking about some kind of generic “I want an affordable meal”, or “I want something that’s not going to cost an arm and a leg”. Put a number on it! $20, $50, $100… whatever it might be. The way that people like me can actually help you is by looking at restaurant menus and figuring out what you can actually afford to spend. This is honestly the simplest and just the best way to narrow down your choices. Remember that in DC alcohol can add quite a bit to your restaurant bill. At a higher-end restaurant you might expect to pay $7 or $8 for a beer, $10 or more for wine and even more than that for a fancy cocktail. And don’t forget about tax and tip. In DC restaurant tax is 10% and tip another 20%. If money is no object than start with a Michelin Guide. In 2016 the Michelin Guide published their first edition for Washington DC. 12 of our restaurants earned stars. Well, technically 11 because one is 70 miles away in Virginia. I’ll be the first to admit that I have not eaten at all these restaurants but the few that have been to have all been very very good meals. With the exception of Rose’s Luxury, you’re going to need a reservation well in advance. And with Rose’s Luxury you have to be ready to stand in a comically long line for an annoyingly long amount of time, but for such a highly regarded restaurant, once you actually do get past that line and get inside the prices are surprisingly affordable. So you’ll pay with your time, but it could very well be worth it. 2. Don’t eat on the National Mall In my what to eat and what to avoid on the National Mall video I go into this in a little bit more detail. but the general idea is that you’re not going to find very many good places to eat down on the National Mall. You can get a decent meal at the National Museum of the American Indian and some of the food trucks that come down are pretty solid, but other than that you’re not going to find very much. If you’re planning on spending significant amount of time during your trip on the National Mall make sure to click over and watch my video about what to eat and avoid afterwards. 3. Use Eater maps to find the hottest restaurants in town at the moment. The hardest thing about making a video like this is that I know the restaurant scene is constantly changing. Places open, places close, chefs come and go, and restaurants that have a lot of cachet today might not in a year. I could make a video about the best restaurants in Washington DC during summer of 2017 but in a year or two it might be completely out of date, and I don’t want to give you any bad information. This is where Eater maps come in and where they are so valuable. If you haven’t heard of it, Eater is a website with restaurant reviews, articles, videos, and other foodie related content. The maps that I mentioned are basically lists of restaurants organized by topic, and they’re really valuable because they’re actually kept up to date. A great place to start is probably with the Hottest Restaurants in DC for the current month. This is a curated list of the restaurants that are getting a lot of attention right now, either because they have a highly regarded chef or they just opened or for some other reason they’re getting a lot of buzz. Another good resource is the Essential Restaurants list for the current quarter. This one is a mix of the hot at the moment restaurants and some of the old standbys where you can’t really go wrong. These two lists alone should give you more than enough options for a trip of about a week or so long. But if you really want to get into the specifics there are Eater maps on even more niche topics, such as the best brunch, the best ice cream, the best sushi, and all kinds of different stuff. There are so many good restaurants in DC that it’s actually pretty hard for the average person to keep tabs on all of them. And remember that I’m just a tour guide, I’m not a food critic, so I don’t have all of the best or most up-to-date information. But if you are curious about hearing about my favorite restaurants, leave a comment on this video and maybe I’ll make something like that in the future. And that’s it! Thank you for watching this video. If you found it helpful you can subscribe to this channel by clicking on the Trip Hacks DC logo which is popping up right now at the bottom of the screen. And if you’re coming to DC and you want to sign up for a personal tour with me, you can click on the Capitol dome which is on the left side of my head right now, that’ll take you over to my website TripHacksDC.com where you can see the tours that I offer. Enjoy your trip!

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