It's late. You have walked around to several different venues. Maybe had a little too much to drink and laughed hard at friends' jokes. While you may want to continue, your stomach doesn't. Thankfully many Washington, D.C. restaurants stay open into the wee hours of the morning so you can keep the party going.
Since the party won't wait for you, there are several options for quick grab and go restaurants that still provide your mouth with amazing taste sensations. U Street institution Ben's Chili Bowl offers craveable specialties like the all meat chili dog, jumbo beef dog and half pound gourmet burger. Long time patron Bill Cosby even has a chili half-smoke named after him. If you have a hankering for baked foods, Julia's Empanadas and Ella's may be your best bets for quick bites fresh from the oven.
If you are looking to take your time with a good meal, try Old Ebbitt Grill which offers fresh ingredients and classic recipes like grilled oysters, watermelon salad and Maine lobster pot pie. For upscale yet casual dining, try Oyamel from world renowned chef Jose Andres. Make sure to check out the sinfully delicious specialty cocktails too.
Whatever you decide, the nation's capital has many late night restaurants to choose from that will leave your stomach happy and ready for more fun.
Oohh's and Aahh's Restaurant
The eatery's website has a whole section devoted to famous celebrities who have chowed down here – Allen Iverson and Lebron James are two of them but the food is the main attraction of this soul food restaurant. The late nigh menu offers diners a huge selection of platters to pick from such as beef short ribs, salmon, shrimp, catfish and wings. Be prepared to leave the credit cards at home because they only take cash. With so many sinfully good dishes, you will realize why they named the restaurant Oohhs and Aahhs. METRO: U Street. (202-667-7142)
After a night of fun, you just want to get something quick and tasty. Julia's Empanadas has been serving up the hand made, mildly spiced, fresh from scratch baked calzone like meals for more than 20 years. Chose from eight different empanadas including turkey, chicken curry and vegetarian. Soups and salads can be added on to your meal as well. If you aren't near the Dupont Circle location, don't fret. There are two more locations in Adams Morgan and Brightwood. The store front is small but the taste is big. METRO: Dupont Circle (202-861-8828)
Jack Rose Dining Saloon
When you think saloon, you automatically start think about the drinks at the bar but this entry has a tasty late night menu. Want something small? Chose between bites like BBQ almonds or friend chicken skins. Need just a tad more food? Try appetizers such as smoked whiskey wings and Pacific shrimp cocktail. Supper plate options include deviled eggs, friend green tomatoes and marinated olives. Whiskey fans rejoice because the saloon boasts an impressive selection to choose from and cigars to boot. If whiskey is not your choice drink, the bar has a wide variety of beer, wine spirits and cocktails to sample. METRO: Dupont Circle (202-588-7388)
Named after the sacred fir tree native to central Mexico where monarch butterflies take refuge after migration, Oyamel is emerging as one of the district's top upscale casual dining options. The menu features creative interpretations of modern, urban Mexican food – snacks or small dishes, tacos, ceviches and desserts. The guacamole is even made fresh at your table! You may want to take the Metro here because the drink menu is so enticing. Several different interpretations of the margarita are offered as well as house cocktails, wines and beers. Resident experts will also guide you through tastings of tequilas and mezcals. Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown (2026281005)
Ella's Wood Fired Pizza
When the restaurant opened in 2003, the goal was to become a true neighborhood destination and they have succeeded. Wood-fired pizza is, of course, the main focus. Folks can chose from 19 different pizzas or may create their own. The old handcrafted favorites like cheese, peperoni, and sausage remain but different options are available including genovese, pucillo, and norcia. Many flock to Ella's for the daily happy hour specials at the bar. Munch on 7' pizzas or other appetizers while you drink your favorite beers or wines by the glass. METRO: Gallery Place/Chinatown (202-638-3434)
Their motto "Serving early birds, night owls and everyone in between" is a good fit for the eatery which stays open 24/7. Just because it's late at night, doesn't mean you can't chose some breakfast favorites like buttermilk pancakes or sample one of several omelet and egg dishes. Lunch and dinner options include salads, burgers, sandwiches and entrees like grilled salmon, Greek pasta and bacon wrapped meatloaf. Whatever your stomach is craving, The Diner is sure to have it. Be sure to check out their happy hour events which run Sunday through Thursday. METRO: Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams-Morgan (202-232-8800)
The owners of Taylor's Gourmet grew up in Philadelphia surrounded by hoagies from various mom and pop shops. When they moved to the nation's capital, they were surprised to find none of the local stores came close to the hoagies of their childhood so they decided to open a restaurant. The result would make Philly proud. Hoagie choices include Italians, turkey, roast beef, vegetarian, and roasted pork. Meats are roasted and breads are made in-house daily. METRO: Depends on location (202-588-7117)
Ben's Chili Bowl
With affordable prices and mouth watering dishes, this U Street favorite has been serving celebrities, politicians and every day folks since 1958. Ben's famous all meat chili dog, chili con carne and jumbo beef dog are menu specialties. Healthier, yet still tasty, options include a tuna sandwich, veggie burger and rice bowl. While your trainer might get mad, you won't want to miss side orders of chili-cheese fries and homemade cole saw. Make sure to wash it all down with one of Ben's famous thick creamy 16 oz. milkshakes. METRO: U Street. (202-667-0909)
Old Ebbitt Grill
When Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding and Teddy Roosevelt were in need of libations, they came to here. Established in 1856 and boasts of being Washington, D.C.'s oldest saloon, the restaurant today offers a large late night menu that is sure to appease. Choose meals to share like the meatball sliders or pork belly tacos. Take your choice of salads or try entrees such as the Maine lobster pot pie or jumbo lump crab cakes. Sandwiches are not to be missed including the Reuben and riot burger. METRO: Metro Center. (202-347-4800)
GBD, which is kitchen speak for golden, brown, delicious, is the rare triple threat – a restaurant that can appease the breakfast, lunch and dinner crowd. Fresh homemade donuts will help you start your day. Choose from traditional favorites like hot vanilla glazed and funfetti or gourmet flavors such as maple bacon bourbon and butterscotch bismark. Besides its donuts, the GBD is also known for its chicken dishes which vary depending on when you come in. Late night offerings include fried chicken by the piece or by the bucket. METRO: Dupont Circle (202-524-5210)
About Gina Gallucci White
Gina Gallucci White is an award winning freelance writer with articles appearing in such regional publications as Frederick Magazine, The Daily Record, Montgomery Magazine and The Gazette. She writes about a wide variety of subjects and holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from West Virginia University. Gina has two kids, can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi in a blind taste test and admits to knowing all the songs from Frozen.
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