Welcome to Washington, DC! – Food, Glorious Food at ALA

Overview: Chinatown & Penn Quarter

Hi and welcome to our nation’s capital, whether it’s your first time or returning visit!

Looking for a place to grab a quick bite or enjoy dinner with fellow American Library Association librarians and friends near the Washington Convention Center?  Here’s a short list of places I’ve enjoyed.

Chinese food–Chinatown

China Express–features freshly made noodles and other delicious dishes.  Takeout items available.  (746 6th St., NW)

Wok N Roll Restaurant—Chinese-Japanese cuisine.  You can also see the bronze plaque on the front entrance noting this historic building was Mary Sturratt’s boarding house.  (604 H St. NW)


Clyde’s–Just by the Verizon Center, this place has delicious American fare.  While you’re waiting for your table, you can wander into the adjacent Verizon Center lobby (707 7th St. NW)

Bistro d’Oc–serving southern French food (518 10th St. NW)

Capitol City Brewery–Restaurant and bar. Featuring various beers (1100 New York Ave. NW)

The Greene Turtle–local sports bar restaurant chain.  Booths feature a mini TV so you can watch whatever game is on. (601 F St. NW)

Vapiano–Chinatown–Freshly cooked pasta and pizza while you wait. Full bar available. (623 H Street NW)

Caucus Room–If you have the money or someone else is paying on a business account, this is one good place!  Appropriate dinner attire required.  (401 9th St. NW)


Quick Bites

California Tortilla–great burritos! (728 7th St., NW)

Potbelly–well known subs and sandwiches chain. (726 7th St. NW)

Capital Q BBQ–Love barbeque?  This Texas style place should be worth the visit.  (707 H St. NW)

Ollie’s Trolley–popular DC hamburger institution as Ben’s Chili Bowl.  You can’t miss the distinctive yellow and red exterior. (12th & E St. NW)

Five Guys–popular hamburger, hot dog, and fries chain that started here in the metro DC area.  (808 H St. NW)

Food Court, lower level of Techworld office Building–if you don’t have much time in between sessions, you can have a quick and delicious lunch here.  The various eateries are open during business hours of the Techworld Building. (800 K St. NW)

Desserts & Treats

Red Velvet—delicious cupcakes! (675 E St NW)

Tangy Sweet—If you’d rather have frozen yogurt, step into Red Velvet’s next door neighbor.  (675 E Street NW)

Frozenyo—self serve frozen yogurt (1006 F St. NW)  If you’ll be around historic Ford’s Theatre, this is a good place to stop.

Haagen Daaz–your favorite ice cream flavors and other delicious speciality treats.   (703 7th St, NW)

Gifford’s–local ice creamery (555 11th St. NW)

For more on these restaurants and more suggestions, visit the online Going Out Guide on WashingtonPost.com.

Hotel Bars

Cure Bar and Bistro–restaurant and bar.  If you’re with a group, you can have a wine tasting from one of the staff and for an additional price, a light appetizer buffet in the bar area. Dinner fare is available. Main lobby, Grand Hyatt Hotel  (1000 H St. NW)

Presidents Sports Bar–Features photos of the Presidents at play, hence the name.  The restaurant is off the lobby. Main lobby, Renaissance Hotel (999 Ninth St. NW)


Union Station–the capitol hub for our local rail service and Amtrak.  Check out the speciality stores and enjoy a quick bite or meal.

Penn Quarter seasonal Farmer’s Market–Thursday afternoons, featuring local farm produce, pastries and breads, organic meats, and other locally made products (8th and E St, NW)

Additional note: if you need anything, the nearest CVS is at 8th and E St. NW.  The Chinatown CVS location (7th and H St) was supposed to reopen this year after renovation but still remains closed.