Foggy Bottom neighborhood in Washington D.C. is home to the Department of State, Kennedy Center, Watergate Hotel and George Washington University. It is also filled with hungry students and professionals looking for a quick and delicious lunch before heading back to work and class. My best friend Kaitlyn is a student at GWU and connoisseur of all things fast casual now as a senior. As my guide to food while in D.C, she showed me everything from local gems to mainstream hits. These are some of the best places for a quick bite in Foggy Bottom.
Beefsteak has seating inside and outside for those looking to sit down and eat. Photos by Meg Williams.
Think Chipotle but for vegetables. Created by celebrity chef José Andrés in 2015, Beefsteak proves that vegetables can be delicious and satisfying enough to forget about meat. This was Andrés goal when opening the restaurant. With the tagline “vegetables unleashed,” first-time customers will be wowed by just how filling and tasty this concept actually is. You can choose creations from the menu or make your own bowl by choosing four different veggies, a base, toppings and sauces. It is simple, clean eating at its fast casual finest. Menu options range from $8-to-$12 making it more affordable than many health-conscious eateries.
This is a neighborhood staple that’s been around for decades. People love this no-frills establishment for its breakfast bagels and lunch sandwiches. Everyone knows a hole in the wall food shop always makes the best classics. The deli counter is located in the back of the store that also operates as a mini mart. The most popular order seemed to be a bacon, egg and cheese, but I went for what I will call the “Kaitlyn favorite.” It is bacon and cream cheese on a blueberry bagel, except they were out of blueberry, so poppy. She assured me they have the best bacon in town. She was right. The bagel was piled high with crispy, greasy bacon that paired perfectly with the cream cheese. If you’re looking for a serious breakfast sandwich near Foggy Bottom, this is the place.
While not the most photogenic pizza or environment, the taste and low price point make it well worth it. Photos by Meg Williams.
Having a Blaze pizza on campus at my school, I was familiar with the concept of fast casual pizza and set my expectations low for &Pizza. I was shocked at how good it was. The crust had just the right amount of chew and crispiness, and their garlic ricotta sauce was full of flavor. Like Beefsteak, pizza-goers can choose from the menu or make their own creation. I opted to make my own and chose between different sauces, toppings and finishes. There really is something fun and novel about seeing your pizza be made from start to finish. The only problem here is the lack of organization. Customers were very confused about where to go and how to pay. If you can look past that in name of pizza, you will be delighted with the end product. Every pizza costs $10.50.
Make sure to grab a side of their special hot sauce to pour on your ssam. Photos by Meg Williams.
As we walked past a lineup of food trucks, Kaitlyn explained to me that many of the ones in D.C. oftentimes don’t have good food and can be low quality. Then, we passed a gray truck off on its own called Rolling Cow. Kaitlyn was delighted. She proclaimed it’s one of the best food trucks in D.C. as she made her way to get in line. There are only a few items on the menu all centered around Korean barbeque. We chose to get a ssam, their signature rice paper wrap filled with rice, greens, slaw and choice of meat. My favorite Korean bbq meat is bulgogi, so we opted for that, but Rolling Cow also offers chicken and samgyupsal. The wrap was bursting at the seams and only cost $10. It was also my favorite D.C. eat.
Burger Tap & Shake
BTS provides a casual atmosphere where customers can sit and hang with their friends while enjoying a burger. Photos by Meg Williams.
Every city has their quintessential burger chain. For D.C., this is Burger Tap & Shake. Diners first peruse the menu then walk up to the counter where they can order from a number of burgers with toppings ranging from roasted hatch green chiles to fried green tomatoes. They also offer salmon, chicken, turkey and falafel patties for those not interested in beef. The salmon burger is a satisfying light alternative to a normal burger. The pickled red onions, slaw and aioli all worked well together making for an enjoyable meal. They don’t mess around here with toppings or their shakes. The bacon on the cheeseburger was thick-cut in cubes, and the shakes are so thick you have to wait for it melt before your first sip. They can also be made boozy. BTS is perfect for any burger cravings you may have while in D.C.. Menu items range from $7-to-$11.
Roti’s food is colorful and fresh with lots of different veggie toppings to choose from. Photos by Meg Williams.
Like Chipotle but Mediterranean. There are an endless amount of “bowl” concepts now that have their own twist like Beefsteak and Roti. Roti’s protein options include lamb meatballs, falafel, salmon, steak roti and chicken. You can choose from a pita, wrap, rice plate or salad bowl then pile on as many toppings as you want. Everything is Mediterranean inspired so there’s hummus, feta, tomato and cucumber salad, pickled onions, couscous, tons of sauces and so much more to create the lunch or dinner of your dreams without paying more than $11.
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