6 Non-Touristy Places to Eat in Georgetown

By Rina Rapuano  |  July 8, 2014
Credit: Tony Brooks

Many Washingtonians have a love-hate relationship with Georgetown. On the one hand, it's tough to resist the quaint streets lined with stunning homes, shops and restaurants. You can enjoy the peaceful canal or the show-stopping views of the Potomac River and Virginia. But then you get there and can't find a parking space, curse the fact that there's no Metro stop, can't get into the tourist-clogged restaurants and bang your head on the steering wheel when you remember that most of the shops can be found in any mall in any town in America. 

In the words of one commenter who responded to our Facebook query about favorite Georgetown hangouts for locals: "Staying the hell out of Georgetown is my favorite."

Still, Georgetown has enduring, undeniable charms. We've rounded up a few places where locals can find a delicious respite from the tourists — and where tourists can find a bit of DC authenticity.

  • Credit: Baked & Wired

    Baked & Wired

    Sure, you can get coffee at tastes-like-home Starbucks or cupcakes from the always-packed Georgetown Cupcake, but locals skip the lines and head to this quirky little bakery just off the C&O Canal for outstanding pastries and carefully brewed espresso drinks. Try the tallat, a Catalonian version of a cortado (espresso cut with a bit of milk), and a hand pie, a honey-topped Bee Sting Bar or a cupcake.

    1052 Thomas Jefferson St. NW; 202-333-2500

  • Ching Ching Cha

    This Chinese teahouse is not only a reputable seller of teaware and loose-leaf teas, but also features a small dining area that offers healthy, flavorful lunches and an afternoon tea. Sit at the low tables perched atop pillows on the floor and enjoy pots of premium tea paired with dumplings, snacks like the marble tea egg and heartier items like mustard-miso salmon or curry chicken.  

    1063 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-333-8288

  • Café Divan

    Turkish cuisine is served in this beautiful space that is often bathed in light from most angles thanks to the building's unusual wedge shape. Feast on pides — the Turkish equivalent of a pizza — that spend time in a wood-burning oven, as well as lentils and rotisserie lamb. Don't just stick to your usual order, however; explore the extensive menu that features dishes not often found in these parts.

    1834 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-338-1747

  • Credit: Laura Hayes

    Hashi Sushi

    We were tipped off to this place from a former resident of Japan who heads here religiously for its cherry blossom roll (pictured), a soybean sheet filled with shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, daikon sprouts and seaweed salad served with a sesame sauce. Also good are the bento boxes, ramen, cold soba noodles, tempura and Korean dishes.

    1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-338-5855

  • Kafe Leopold's

    With its mod orange-and-white interior, the space makes locals feel as if they've just stumbled off a plane in Europe and into a sleek cafe — or perhaps the restaurant in a modern art museum. To find it, you have to locate the passageway from M Street that leads down the steps to the charmingly hidden Cady's Alley. Not matter whether you're there for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you'll find the pastries in the long case hard to resist.

    3315 M St. NW; 202-965-6005

  • Credit: Rina Rapuano

    Stachowski's Market

    Here you'll find sausages handcrafted by meat maven and owner Jamie Stachowski, butchered cuts lined up in a case, prepared dinners and gorgeous sandwiches, like the one sporting a pound and a half of pastrami that Stachowski brines for seven-10 days; slow smokes for 11 hours, steams for two hours and hand slices into thick, buttery slabs. This is a meat lover's paradise.

    1425 28th St. NW; 202-506-3125