Your guide to the best restaurants in this resurgent waterfront neighborhood in Washington, DC.
After a decades-long hiatus, baseball returned to DC in 2006, as the Washington Nationals came to town after relocating from Montreal. By 2008, the city had a brand-new ballpark in the form of Nationals Park, which revitalized the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. Now, there are numerous notable restaurant and bar options that make for jovial times, whether it’s baseball season or not.
Home Run Dining
When attending a Nationals game, you will find a plethora of food and drink options; from local favorites like Ben’s Chili Bowl, to newer spots like Grace's Kitchen, which highlights food from local female chefs. Check out our dining breakdown to learn more about what you can enjoy on game day inside Nationals Park.
SoHo import Osteria Morini serves up the flavors of northern Italy (think prosciutto, mortadella and parmigiana) in its DC outpost, which is home to one of the neighborhood’s best riverfront views. Due South offers neighbors and Nats fans another nice waterfront view with a side of Southern cuisine (Bacon-braised collard greens? Yes, please!).
Agua 301 boasts some of the best Mexican cuisine in the neighborhood, with a modern take on traditional recipes and an extensive list of tequila offerings. Scarlet Oak, named for the District’s official tree, caters to foodies and Nats fans alike with a classic American menu. Chef Leo Garcia, who worked as a sous chef at acclaimed Shaw locale The Red Hen, brings some gravitas to the Capitol Riverfront restaurant with his credentials.
If raw bars are your thing, then head your bivalve cravings at Shilling Canning Company. The oft-updated menu features a raw bar selection (think littleneck clams and oysters with a charred ginger mignonette), as well as a range of shareable plates like the dry-aged duck crown with preserved plums and black walnuts. Top it all off with a scoop or two from Ice Cream Jubilee, a homegrown ice cream shop with fun and creative flavors on Water Street.
Bars and Breweries
Proximity to a baseball park means many people are in search of great beer. The Capitol Riverfront neighborhood is making a name for itself in this arena with the buzzworthy Bluejacket Brewery.
From beer director Greg Engert (who established himself with Washington’s wildly popular beer-focused restos, Birch & Barley/Churchkey), Bluejacket allows beer-lovers to sample experimental brews made on-site. The popular brewery features a rotating selection of 20 beers and five cask ales along with an all-American food menu at its adjacent restaurant, Arsenal.
Just across from the Centerfield Gate at Nationals Park lies happy hour haven Mission Navy Yard, a massive two-story space with four bars (including one that’s 150 feet long) and a robust rotation of 16 draft beers. The space is perfect for pairing a large group outing with tacos and tequila before heading to the game.
Sports bar The Big Stick also offers an expansive menu of beers on tap, while beer garden The Brig makes for a fun outdoor drinking option in the warmer months.
Wine and Dine
The 17,000-square-foot District Winery is home to a sleek winery and Ana, a restaurant specializing in unique dishes like Maryland crab beignets and pastrami-spiced monkfish. Start your wine-filled day with a tour of the on-site facilities, which includes a flight at the tasting bar, before settling down for seasonal new American fare and waterfront views at Ana, where there’s space for 50-plus diners indoors and 80 more on the adjoining patio.
If there’s anyone who knows the DC dining scene, it’s Haidar Karoum, chef-owner of the globally inspired Chloe. Karoum has made a splash in the neighborhood with an international tour de force menu designed for sharing.
Nearby, the vibrant colors and flavors of India are on full display at Rasa, the fast-casual restaurant from first-time restaurateurs Sahil Rahman and Rahul Vinod. Diners can choose to build their own bowl from an array of tantalizing, locally sourced ingredients, or pick from Rasa’s cleverly named creations – we’re talking Tikka Chance on Me and Aloo Need is Love.