Let’s admit it. D.C. is not a late night city in the likes of New York or Los Angeles, but that doesn't mean there isn’t any good food to be had during the late hours. And no, we are not talking about Ben’s Chili Bowl or Jumbo Slice. Of course, they have their place, but I’m taking the word “best” to heart and rounding up some of the city’s delicious and quality late night eats that are not a last resort at the end of the night, and are fantastic even when you don’t need to soak up the evening’s indulgences.
This is an oldie but a goldie. Old Ebbitt is really a part of D.C.’s identity and while they are worth a visit at any time, the late night happy hour is one of the best things about it. You’ll find high quality pub fare like sandwiches and burgers, but also half priced oysters between 11 p.m. -1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. What better way to end the night than with a dozen oysters and a jumbo lump crab cake sandwich?
Open late on Fridays and Saturdays, this is the place to go when you start drunk talking about driving out to Annandale for your Korean food fix. Bad idea. Head to Adams Morgan instead. Get the seafood pancakes, the Korean Fried Chicken and crispy fried squid legs that come in a huge pile and go perfectly with their shochu list, enjoy the k-pop playing, and call it a night.
In addition to the incredible whiskey selection, Jack Rose also has an impressive menu of late night bites. Crispy chicken skins go well with the whiskey, fried mac and cheese are satisfying, and for something more substantial get the baby pork sandwiches or the Jack burger. Late night menu available 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
New Big Wong's menu of traditional Chinese and Chinese-American includes the standards like Kung Pao chicken, but also more traditional Chinese food like chilled jellyfish and Cantonese style duck. Try the lobster with ginger and scallion or the congee for a satisfying and delicious late night meal. Open till 3 a.m. on weekdays and 5 a.m. on weekends.
When you are craving crunchy meatballs at 11 p.m., you head to Alta Strada’s late night weekend happy hour. On Fridays and Saturdays from 11 p.m. -1 a.m., you can get $7 pizzas, the addictive crunchy meatballs, and a few other satisfying snacks.
If you are craving fresh guacamole late in the night, you are in luck. At Oyamel, you’ll find made to order guacamole plus a slew of tacos with something for everyone. The cochinita pibil with flavorful pork marinated in sour orange is perfect for meat lovers, while vegetarians should go for the taco made with housemade refried beans, sour orange requeson cheese, and Mayan salsa.
A legit spot for cocktails and eats, they dumplings, skewers and bao are are totally legit. You can’t go wrong with any of the items of the menu, so just go ahead and get one of each for under $30! Pairs well with your beverage of choice too!
One of the few old school places in the 14th and U neighborhood, this is a real Salvadoran late night heaven. They have an extensive latin menu – the pupusas are creamy and heavenly, the “Tipico” platter which comes with one pupusa, tamale, and an enchilada is great for the indecisive types, the Habanero sauce (which you ask for) is the bomb, and overall everything just hits the spot. Plus, you won’t be seeing these prices anywhere else in that area! Judy’s is a winner all around.
Sometimes only a slice of pizza will satisfy at the end of the night. For those times, look past Jumbo Slice and get a NY style quality slice instead. Wiseguy’s margherita is a solid staple, but the square Sicilian with pepperoni is pretty awesome. Open till 3 a.m. most nights – the best time for pizza!
This place does charcuterie right, so if you are craving a charcuterie plate at the end of the night, make you way over immediately. You also can't go wrong with the Triple Stack Burger here, two dry-aged beef patties, chorizo, bacon braised onions, American cheese and tomato aioli on a Kaiser roll. Fantastic anytime really, but it’s great that they have this on their late night menu as well.
You can spend all day at this LeDroit Park favorite, but you definitely want to be going back for their newly launched late night tamales. The handmade tamales are steamed in banana leaves and come in two options: Roasted Chicken Tamal filled with roasted chicken, cheese, onions and peppers and Vegetarian Tamal stuffed with roasted corn, hearts of palm, onions and cheese; both topped with grilled cabbage and tomato salsa, and served with a side of Royal’s aji sauce. The late night menu is available from 10 p.m. to close on Sunday-Thursday and 11 p.m. to close on Friday and Saturday.