Restaurants Near National Mall You Must Visit

The great thing about Washington D.C. is that most of its attractions are located inside National Mall – a spacious park in downtown – therefore, everything you need to see is within walking distance: Lincoln Memorial,  Washington Monument, US Capitol, the White House (check out this post to learn how to get inside the White House). The frustrating thing about Washington D.C. is that most of attractions are located inside National Mall – therefore, your dining options are limited to restaurants located nearby. If you have just a few days in the city, like I did, you don’t want to spend an hour en route to your lunch.

Here are a few options where to eat near National Mall – precious little gems of restaurants that are located minutes away from main attractions and have outstanding food.

paul bakery penn quarter washigton dc


6 min walk from Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

7 min walk from National Gallery of Art

Small charming bakery in Penn Quarter will steal your heart as soon as you step inside. With its distinct French atmosphere, sun-lit dining room, and mouth-watering selection of pastries, this place is a perfect choice for breakfast. Paul is a world-wide chain of bakeries, which started its operation over a century ago in France. Apart from pastries, they have a range of sandwiches and salads, so lunch here is a good idea too.

What to try: eggs benedict, salami sandwich, mille-feuille


Address:  801 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

Hours: Sun – Thu: 7 AM – 7 PM, Friday: 7 AM – 8 PM, Saturday: 8 AM – 8PM

where to eat near National mall


9 min walk from Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

8 min walk from National Gallery of Art

Located just two blocks away from Paul bakery, in Penn Quarter, is a simple Asian-inspired tea-house. Don’t be misled by the name “tea-house”, they have an extensive food menu, including salads, soups, sandwiches, breakfast options, bentos and much more. I am usually suspicious of places with such long menus, but this café proved me wrong: everything we tried was excellent, fresh and beautifully balanced.

What to try: Korean brisket sandwich, tea-cured salmon with pita bread and raita, Udon noodle soup, Chai (hot tea), iced Tisane (cold tea).


Address: 400 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

Hours: Mon – Fri: 7.30 AM – 10 PM, Sat – Sun: 9.30 Am – 9 PM

restaurants around national Mall


9 min walk from The White House

10 min walk from Smithsonian National Museum of American History

No pizzaiola, no hand-stretched dough, no wood-fired oven. Instead: assembly-line ordering (think: Chipotle). Pizza is made in front of you by a line of people: one preparing dough rounds (which are not rounds, but ovals here), another spreading sauce, next – adding toppings of your choice. Then, into a conveyor-belt oven it goes! It’s not your classic pizza, but despite breaking all the rules (or, maybe, thanks to it), these guys created delicious pies famous all around the city. Another reason to choose &pizza for lunch is their dedication to natural locally-sourced ingredients. The dough is organic and cheese – house-made.

What to try: The OG (classic Margherita), Maverick (for meat-lovers)


Address: 1005 E Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20004

Hours: Sun – Thu: 11 AM – 11 PM, Fri – Sat: 11 AM – 12 AM

co co sala washington dc

Co Co. Sala

9 min walk from Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Co Co. Sala, an award-winning restaurant and chocolate boutique, is a perfect place to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing. Sink into a cozy couch, relax and enjoy a craft cocktail and a 5-course dessert menu. My love for chocolate made this restaurant an obvious choice for my birthday dinner. According to their website, “all chocolates are made in-house using the finest ingredients such as Valrhona couverture without any preservatives or additives”. Desserts are definitely a must-try here but there’s a full dinner menu, too, if you get hungry. This was, hands down, the best dining experience in Washington D.C.

What to try: chef’s 3-course or 5-course dessert experience, craft cocktails


Address: 929 F Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20004

Hours: Monday – closed; Tue – Thu: 5 PM – 10 PM; Friday: 5 PM – 12 AM; Saturday: 11 AM – 2.30 PM, 5 PM – 12 AM; Sunday: 11 AM – 2.30 PM

best restaurants near national mall


23 min walk from United States Capitol

This place is the furthest from National Mall out of all restaurants mentioned here, but it’s so worth the 20-minute walk! As you, probably, guessed from the name it serves Ethiopian food. Exquisite meat and vegetable dishes served on top of traditional injera bread are so good you won’t be able to stop eating until the plate is scraped clean. Besides, Ethiopian food is perfect for sharing and is meant to be eaten by hands which makes it even tastier. A cherry on the cake is Ethiopian honey wine.

What to try: beef and chicken wot sampler or vegetarian sampler with injera bread, honey wine.


Address: 401 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

Hours: Mon – closed, Tue – Thu: 5 PM – 10 PM, Fri – Sun: 12 PM – 10

P.S. If you are looking for things to do in Washington, D.C. check out this 2 day guide to the capital.

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best restaurants near national mall

Yulia is a Russian food and travel blogger who found home first in Sri Lanka for 3 years, then in Brazil for a year and is currently based in Austin, Texas. She is the kind of person who starts a research of the new country by googling “what to eat in…” instead of “what to visit in…” Yulia is a self-proclaimed “food nerd” who will spend hours reading on the origins of pecan pie before trying it and who doesn’t consider waiting in line of 50 people to get a cronut a waste of time. She finds it hard to keep her delicious findings to herself and that is the reason why this blog exists.

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