Homestyle D.C. Restaurants Will Fill Your Belly without Emptying the Wallet

Over the past few years, Washington, D.C. has morphed into quite the foodie destination with world-renowned chefs setting up restaurants here. We love exquisitely plated courses that stimulate each part of our tongue but sometimes we just want a good home cooked meal our moms or grandmothers would have cooked for us if we would visit more. (Sorry, mom.)

Check out venues like Ted's Bulletin and Florida Avenue Grill which serve breakfast all day long. While meat is the main attraction at Oohs and Aahhs Restaurant, the macaroni and cheese dosh is hard to be matched. Two comfort food classics are prepared to perfection at Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken.

But because the nation's capital is a melting pot of diverse culture we have included several eateries that offer traditional meals from different countries. Filomena Ristorante offers homemade pasta dishes that will make you think you are in Italy. If a bowl of ramen sounds delicious, Toki Underground is the spot for you.  

Most of these restaurants offer a large amount of food for a small sum of money so grab those stretchy pants and make your stomach happy by stopping at one of these destinations.


Bistro Bohem
Photo courtesy of Bistro Bohem

Czechoslovakian food may not be well known in the United States but this restaurant will leave you wanting to know more after a visit. Some of the dinner specialties include grilled cauliflower steak with mushrooms, pork shank and gulas. The pierogis, made in house, are not to be missed. Make sure to try the schnitzel club where you choose your style: chicken, pork, or portobello and add options such as onions, provolone cheese or arugula. Multiple vegetarian and gluten free options are available. A full brunch menu is served on the weekends. METRO: Shaw-Howard University

Oohh's and Aahh's Restaurant
Photo courtesy of oohh's and aahh's

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 night 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.

Art and Soul
Photo courtesy of Angela N.

The product of celebrity chef/owner Art Smith and executive chef Wes Morton, Art and Soul serves up Southern comfort dishes with style. Nosh on buttermilk lemon pancakes or a three egg omelet off the breakfast menu. Lunch favorites include free range friend chicken and the 12 hour smoked pork sandwich. Dinner offerings will have you wishing for a bigger stomach with selections such as beef, cheese and sweet potato fritters, shrimp and grits, pork belly confit and sausage and braised lamb shank. The restaurant partners with regional farmers to bring fresh ingredients straight to the table. METRO: Judiciary Square


Devil-ish eggs, Yankee pot roast, meatloaf, chicken pot pie and rotisserie chick are just a small sample of some of the menu items at Founding Farmers. With a focus on quality and natural ingredients, the restaurant prepares dishes with sustainably farmed, grown and harvested American foods. Vega and vegetarian dishes are available. A bevy of classic cocktails are available plus a plentiful wine collection. Make sure to try one of their made from scratch sodas including the delicious New York egg cream featuring chocolate syrup, milk and soda. If you still have room, the dessert menu offers blue ribbon apple pie, red velvet cake and house churned fresh ice cream. METRO: Farragut West

Toki Underground

There is just something about a bowl of warm soup and ramen that feels like home. Taiwanese cuisine reigns supreme at this H Street NE venue featuring ramen and dumplings. Try Toki classic, Taipei curry chicken, vegetarian, red miso ramen. Pick your choice of beef, pork, seasonal vegetable, chicken, or seasonal seafood dumplings that may be either pan-fried, fried or steamed. $5 will get you a half a dozen. Sides include cold tofu and kimchi. Wait times to get inside tend to be long so chose their delivery service Caviar to have the restaurant come to you. METRO: Union Station.

El Tamarindo #2

When Jose and Betty Reyes founded the restaurant in 1982, they envisioned a place where people could have a hearty meal with Central American flavor. More than 30 years later, their dream continues as a great spot to find Mexican and Salvadorian home style cuisine. Favorites include flautas mexicanas, tostada bowls and crispy tacos. Check out their Happy Hour every Monday through Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. which features drink menus of margaritas, sangria, house wine and beer and small plates of food including asada fries, burrito poblano and portobello relleno. METRO: Dupont Circle

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
Photo courtesy of Astro Doughnuts

Pairing crispy fried chicken with fresh out of the oven doughnuts is a winning combination at this eatery. Both are prepared daily and made on-site. Procuring ingredients from local farms, the menu does change seasonally. Every day doughnut flavor staples include vanilla and maple bacon glazed, peanut butter and jelly and creme brulee. Try their classic fried chicken or sample some new flavors like sriracha wings and spicy garlic wings. The restaurant even has its own app to allow customers to submit orders and alerts them when it is ready for pick up. METRO: Metro Center

Florida Avenue Grill
Photo courtesy of Florida Avenue Grill

Founder Lacey C. Wilson Sr. saved up tips from shoe shining in order to open a restaurant dedicated to serving home cooking to the masses. Marking its 70th anniversary this year, the eatery continues to delight diners and fill their bellies with delicious food. Breakfast is served all day long and you will want to try the hot cakes, french toast and buttermilk biscuits. You will want to come back for dinner too once you have sampled some of the dishes including bar-b-que pork spare ribs, southern pan fried chicken and Cajun friend catfish. METRO: U Street

Filomena Ristorante
Photo courtesy of Filomena Ristorante

Born from the idea that dinner can be more than just a meal, Filomena Ristorante has been providing traditional Italian home cooked meals to the masses in Washington, D.C. for more than 30 years. The late owner's family originated from the Abruzzi, Italy region and the menu reflects simple yet creative cuisine including eggplant parmesan, antipasto misto and lasagna. Check out the Sunday brunch which features several carving stations – roasted pig, beef and bread encrusted fresh fish. Have your pasta made to order at another station and watch fresh mozzarella being made. METRO: Foggy Bottom

This classic American diner with a 1920s/1930s vibe offers patrons multiple comfort food dishes to chose from all day long. Buttermilk chicken fried steak, the walk of shame breakfast burrito, the Ty Cobb salad and Ted's famous grilled cheese and tomato soup are among the favorites. They even make their own pop tarts! You will want to save room for their milkshake offerings including standard favorites (vanilla, chocolate) and more daring choices (PBJ or S'mores anyone?). They also have an adult milkshake menu featuring white Russian and key lime pie. METRO: Eastern Market or U Street


Meet 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...  More About Gina