D.C. Food Tours
February 28, 2022 11:28 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I are going to Washington DC in mid-April and we love to include a food tour as part of a trip anywhere. We've done a little homework on TripAdvisor and the like but want to know any recommnedations.
posted by briank to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
roadfood lists several, also Crisfield seafood near the silver spring md metro stop.
posted by brujita at 11:44 AM on February 28, 2022

As a DC resident, I will be watching this thread with interest, because I don't know of any myself. Bonus points if you find one that does not include Ben's Chili Bowl as a stop on the itinerary.
posted by Gadarene at 11:55 AM on February 28, 2022 [3 favorites]

"Mid-April" sounds like you won't be here by April 7, but if you are, consider the Capitol Food Fight. It's pricey, but proceeds support DC Central Kitchen, and you get unlimited tastings of food and drink from many, many great DC restaurants. (Currently 47 are signed up.)
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:59 AM on February 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

Also not sure about the date but this has been on my list:Soul Food Saturdays
posted by brilliantine at 12:07 PM on February 28, 2022

Dolan Uyghur has excellent Uyghur cuisine.
Mari Vanna serves Ukrainian food and is delish.
DC also has a fairly large Ethiopian population and if you are not planning to travel to Addis Ababa anytime soon you should get some Lega Tibs while you’re in town!
posted by donut_princess at 12:11 PM on February 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

On preview i think you actually meant structured tours rather than self guided. Try to find one that has one of the above^
posted by donut_princess at 12:17 PM on February 28, 2022

Can you access Tom Sietsema's column in the Washington Post? My friends in DC swear by his recommendations, including lots of neighborhood and ethnic restaurants in a range of price ranges.
posted by citygirl at 1:52 PM on February 28, 2022

When I lived in the DC area, I had so much fun following Tyler Cowen's off-the-beaten-path dining guides, and I checked just now and he is still doing them. He was also pretty perceptive about the life cycles of these restaurants, for instance I'll always remember the observation that if they have time to mess around with the signage and menus, then the place is probably on a downward trend. No matter what you think of him as an economist (I like him), the guy is a great food discoverer. (Also, I see that he is branching out to other cities, but it should be easy to search the blog for DC metro locations.
posted by seasparrow at 2:40 PM on February 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

Not in DC proper, but if you can get yourself to Eden Center you'll have some amaaaazing Vietnamese food. I don't know if there's a food tour that goes out that way, but IMHO it's worth a trip just because.
posted by basalganglia at 4:31 PM on February 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

I recently put together a list of some of my absolute favorite places in DC for a friend who was visiting; memail me if you'd like it!
posted by Gadarene at 4:43 PM on February 28, 2022

Response by poster: To be more specific, I am asking for guided food tours, not recommendations of restaurants.
posted by briank at 7:37 PM on February 28, 2022

It's not really a food tour-conducive city; lots of things are spread out or in the Maryland/Virginia suburbs, and there isn't much good street food or cheap food, for example. A decent and diverse food tour would probably mean a couple hours of driving around the Beltway hitting spots in the various immigrant-heavy enclaves.

But, again, I'm interested to be proven wrong, so I'll be watching this thread.
posted by Gadarene at 5:50 AM on March 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

Lived in DC for many years and agree that I can’t really imagine a good structured food tour, at least in DC proper. The ‘burbs (both northern Virginia and Maryland) are famous for some of the best authentic Asian food in the region (Eden Center is fabulous and there are also several places with great Dim Sum).

One idea for DC is maybe a walking and tour of Eastern Market:
posted by forkisbetter at 6:04 AM on March 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

Apologies for the same non-answer, but agree this isn't really a DC thing. There are some excellent and varied food halls in the area though.
posted by veery at 1:44 PM on March 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

Agree that food tours are not really a thing in DC. The ones I've been on have been to places where you can grab a small street food or have a quick drink/snack at a bar then leave quickly. We really don't have that kind of food culture here--we have sit down restaurants. Either they are small family run places or they are $200-tasting-menu places, but neither is about quick or small bites.

That said, there are a lot of tapas-style places and food halls that are designed for you to be able to sample a lot of different foods in one meal at the same establishment. This might be the closest DC can really do, and honestly these are the places I like to take out of town guests so they can sample a bunch of stuff.
posted by jessica fletcher did it at 8:02 AM on March 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: To bring this to a resolution - we ended up doing the Blue Fern Travel food tour of Georgetown. It was only four stops, but everything was very tasty, and the walking tour of Georgetown was interesting. They could probably have squeezed in one more quick stop (we stood right in front of Thomas Sweets while the guide talked about the history of it and did not go in).
posted by briank at 4:20 PM on April 24, 2022

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