by Lauren Sloat - 260 Reviews - 86 List
One of D.C.'s most eclectic and culturally diverse neighborhoods, Adams Morgan is best known for the rowdy bar scene along 18th Street, but it has some stand-out restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, too. From falafels with a cult following to a beloved Italian version of the soup nazi, there's amazing food and plenty of character to go around at Adams Morgan's best restaurants. (Pictured: The sushi bar at Perry's)
Updated: September 29, 2010
Hard rock and punk venue by night, cherished brunch spot by day--it's all par for the course in Adams Morgan, where most restaurants double as nightlife venues and food destinations. Known for its vegetarian and vegan-friendly menu, the vegan brunch at Asylum on Saturdays and Sundays is legendary.
Mostly known for its rooftop bar and fish-tank lined second floor, The Reef also boasts a seasonal menu featuring free range, organic and sustainable fare. Expect specialties such as grilled fish, pork belly sliders and bison burgers alongside enticing appetizers such as the "hotel popcorn" (seasoned with truffle oil, butter and sea salt) and seasonal desserts like homemade cherry-nectarine pie.
Though its selection of spirits gets all the attention (and for good reason--Bourbon offers an impressive array of whiskey, rum and absinthe, whether the liquor is served alone, in tasting flights or in a classic cocktail), the comfort food menu deserves a spotlight too. Start with classics such as tater tots and chicken nuggets; then choose from entrees such as chili mac, hot dogs, burgers and salads.
Under the same ownership as The Diner, Tryst is a blogger's mecca. It's crowded beginning early in the morning when regulars set up shop with laptops, lattes and waffles on the mismatched couches, and stays busy through cocktail hour when drinks signal the end of the work day.
A local favorite for foodie fare, Cashion's offers regional and seasonal American food in one of Adams Morgan's more upscale spots (though it still fits in perfectly with the neighborhood's funky vibe). Expect dishes like osso buco, wild Pacific halibut and Pennsylvania-raised lamb.
Though infamous for long waits and strict rules (all diners must spend at least $14 on food--so no splitting entrees), Pasta Mia's homestyle Italian is some of the best in the district. Bring an appetite (portions are huge) and some cash (no cards accepted).
Enjoy specialties from the sushi bar and tapas menu on the amazing rooftop at this chic Asian-American fusion restaurant. With open air and string lights, it's an ideal spot for date night or food specials at happy hour. The Sunday drag queen brunch is also one of its most popular features.
Channel dining in Paris at Napoleon's sidewalk cafe, which fits in with the neighborhood's collection of international cuisine, the bistro offers petit plats (mini plates) such as the soup du jour, escargots and savory crepes.
This authentic Mexican restaurant is revered for its mole and traditional dishes such as enchilades and pollo relleno. Delicious, fresh margaritas in flavors such as guava and blood orange--not to mention the brightly colored and candlelit space--seal the deal in making this one of the neighborhood's favorite and most cheery dining destinations.
This casual falafel spot has a cult following in D.C.; falafel sandwiches are made-to-order and fried before your eyes; then you do the rest at the garnish bar, which features 21 different sauces and toppings. Don't forget the fries: They are the stuff of dreams.