Vegan Eating in Washington D.C.
Every March/April, tourists flock to Washington D.C for the beautiful weather and cherry blossoms. Unfortunately, this year, the warm weather hit quickly, so by the time I went to D.C, most of the cherry blossoms had already bloomed. That didn’t stop me from finding the few trees that were incredibly pink, and I spent the weekend walking around Tidal Basin, walking around the National Mall, paddle boating, looking at memorials, museums, and of course eating. Here’s my vegan eating guide for eating in D.C:
What to Eat:
Busboys and Poets
Busboys and Poets is a restaurant, bookstore, lounge, and theater in Washington, D.C., founded in 2005 by Andy Shallal. There are six locations in distinctive neighborhoods in the Washington Metropolitan area, and it’s a community resource for artists, activists, writers, thinkers and dreamers. This restaurant is not fully vegan, but it has many vegan options that include tempeh, tofu, etc. For brunch, I had the tofu scramble which came with a side of fruit. Busboys and Poets is also known for its vegan nachos, so be sure to check it out (served after 3pm).
Nuvegan Cafe’s mission is to expose your taste buds to the undeniably refreshing and delicious nature of eating natural. They believe that things that are made for the soul should not only nurture, but satisfy the soul. Their menu is 100% vegan and is served cafeteria style, where you can go and choose what you want out of a bunch of options. I opted for the one entree with two side options, getting the famous mac and cheese (which is the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had), vegan fried chicken, and collard greens. They’re also generous with sampling, so you can taste before you commit...and everything is good with large portions, so you’ll have a hard time deciding!
Equinox Restaurant (on Sunday for brunch)
Not Equinox like the gym, this is a restaurant that features the cooking of Todd Gray, who has received critical acclaim for innovative vegan fine dining. Every Sunday, a vegan brunch buffet is offered. That’s right, a vegan buffet brunch. The buffet options are incredibly varied and unique, each buffet containing: soup, pasta, salads, rice-dishes, breads, flapjacks, a tofu scramble station, and of course, a dessert station full of brownies, cannolis, and cakes.
Chaia offers seasonal, plant-based tacos, sides and natural drinks in a stylish, casual setting. Chaia claims to be "farm to taco,” creating a unique relationship between farmers and urban-style street food. Every taco is served on a hand-griddled corn tortilla and topped with hyper-local micro greens.
Founding Farmers is one of those popular DC restaurants where there’s a line no matter what time of day, even though the space is huge. The concept of this restaurant is that it’s owned by farmers, working with 40,000 family farms to deliver fresh food. The menu isn’t very vegan, but the meatless section of the menu has some great options like cauliflower steak with risotto, a mushroom loaf, and the rice and bean burger with smoked tofu.
What to Eat (Sweets):
Sticky Fingers Sweets and Eats
The sweets at Sticky Fingers come from Doron Petersan, junk-foodie genius. She craved traditional guilt laden foods as a vegan, so she was determined to unlock the secrets of creating their animal-free counterparts for everyone to enjoy. Her pastries, the Little Devil, the, Cowvin, and the Sticky Bun were the first to be loved by the public and now this DC bakery has expanded to being on television shows, winning awards, and happily feeding the public. The sticky bun (cinnamon roll) and cupcakes were some of what I got to try, but I wanted more. Sticky Fingers also serves brunch on the weekend.
There's a Georgetown Cupcakes in NYC, but the one in Georgetown is the original cupcake store, so if you're into visiting original locations, this one is for you. Whenever you come to Georgetown Cupcakes, there's always a line thanks to how famous the cupcakes are. Sisters Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne are the co-founders of Georgetown Cupcake, the stars of Cupcake Cam LIVE and DC Cupcakes on TLC, and the best-selling authors of The Cupcake Diaries and Sweet Celebrations. These sisters created fame for themselves and their cupcakes...and there's a vegan one! On Mon, Tue, Wed, and Friday, there's the Vegan Apple Cinnamon cupcake which is a vegan apple cinnamon cupcake topped with vegan cream cheese frosting and a red fondant flower. On Thursday's and Sundays, there's the Vegan Carrot cupcake topped with vegan cream cheese frosting and a red fondant flower.
Baked and Wired
This quirky bakery is located in Georgetown and has many references to “getting baked,” which adds to the quirky personality of this pastry heaven. Another Georgetown sweet spot that always has a line serves what it calls a “Vegan Cakecup.” It’s a cupcake made of chocolate cake, Oreo frosting, and topped with crushed Oreo cookies. It’s fluffy, moist, and sweet!
PItango Gelato is conveniently located next to the National Mall on a strip of busy restaurants. They have vegan sorbets that are made with fresh organic fruit, in season and sourced locally whenever possible. They do not use concentrates, flavorings, syrups. previously frozen or processed fruits or anything that is not simply whole, fresh fruit. Pitango Gelato carefully juice all of the fruit themselves, from locally grown raspberries to organic Haitian mangoes.
Places I didn’t go to but people recommended to me:
- Great Sage Vegan http://greatsage.com/
- Shouk https://shouk.com/
- Farewell https://www.eatfarewell.com/
- HipCityVeg http://hipcityveg.com/
- Mandalay http://www.mandalayrestaurantcafe.com/
- Evolve http://evolveveganrestaurant.com/
- Elizabeth’s Gone Raw http://elizabethsgoneraw.com/
What to do:
- Paddleboating on the Tidal Basin
- Walking the National Mall/Tidal Basin Area
- Memorials like the Lincoln Memorial
- Newseum (a museum about news) http://www.newseum.org/
- Spy Museum https://www.spymuseum.org/
- Anything Smithsonian related (and these museums are free!)
- Walking around Georgetown and shopping/eating