Around the U Street corridor, an area energized by African-American culture and nightlife, Ethiopian food also abounds—but so do soul food, funky cafés, and vegetarian hot spots. In the same quadrant of the city, Dupont Circle is a bit more staid, but in terms of cuisine, it's no less eclectic. The area offers everything from fine dining and wine bars to coffee shops and sushi spots.
For something different—whether in terms of atmosphere or wait times—visitors might consider leaving the District behind. Historic Old Town Alexandria offers some quality seafood restaurants among an otherwise touristy mix. Meanwhile, heading north to suburbs like Bethesda can be surprisingly rewarding for the city-focused, offering everything from Italian to Indian.