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where to eat in Washington DC, GroundLink grub tips

GroundLink Grub Tips: Signature DC Dishes

An international city if there ever was one, Washington D.C. has no shortage of cuisines and dining establishments influenced by worldwide cultures. That being said, there are a few dishes that are uniquely “D.C.” If you ever find yourself in the D.C. area on business or pleasure, set aside a meal or two and seek out these delicious dishes.

Blue Crab

While blue crabs are harvested from nearby Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, taking advantage of them tenfold are the residents and tourists in Washington, D.C. “Crab picking” by the bushel is a favorite past time, with the crabs preferably dusted or doused in Old Bay Seasoning. When you can’t get fresh blue crabs, you can enjoy soft shell crabs or crab cakes, the latter prepared (preferably) with very little filler. Waterfront D.C. establishments in Georgetown or the Wharf will always have some sort of crab dish on their menus.


A dish that’s iconically D.C. in nature, a half-smoke, essentially an upgraded hot dog, is a perfect lunch grab and go meal. Best found on the menu at Ben’s Chili Bowl, Half-Smoke Restaurant, or DCity Smokehouse, the half-smoke is a combination of ground beef and pork with (secret) spices and is utterly delicious. Eaten plain, with hot mustard, grilled onions – the toppings are varied but always satisfying.

U.S. Senate Bean Soup

While not the most delicious soup ever served, U.S. Senate Bean Soup is still an iconic part of the D.C. lexicon. Served in the U.S. Senate dining room for over 100 years, the bean soup has a relatively basic recipe using navy beans. Some diners prefer it served with mashed potatoes. In any case, it has been served daily and remains a staple!

Other unique D.C. “claim to fame” foods include Chesapeake oysters, Salvadoran pupusas, and the “G-Man” subs at Mangialardo’s. Enjoy a delicious trip to D.C. sometime soon to indulge in all of these classic dishes.

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