The best eats at U Street

By Sydney Gore
Eagle Contributing Writer
November 22, 2011

Utopia Bar and Grill

Utopia Bar and Grill and other small restaurants wait past the corner McDonald’s. The menu at Utopia has small plates like the renowned steamed mussels, salads, seafood bisque and other soups, sandwiches and entrées, like broccoli and chicken, stir fried vegetables, mahi mahi and blackened New York Strip. It’s a smaller menu than most restaurants in the surrounding area.

Location: 1418 U St. NW

Cost: Entrées cost anywhere from $9-$22.

Busboys and Poets

Busboys and Poets is an event in itself. The calm, cool restaurant is part café, part bookstore. The seats at the table are mostly couches, so guests feel comfortable while they sip a coffee or nibble on a sandwich.

The menu is a bit pricey, but it’s worth it for the delicious food. There is a smorgasbord of eats, including pizza, sandwiches, hot paninis, burgers, soups, meatloaf, lasagna, crab cakes, salads, desserts and appetizers that are meant to be shared. The restaurant also offers breakfast and brunch until 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

It really fills up at night for the open mic nights (which cost about $5) and other cool performances, so be prepared to wait in the bookshop for a bit.

With food this good in such a convenient location, people might forget that they were originally attending a show.

Location: 2021 14th St. NW

Cost: $9-$23

Ben’s Chili Bowl

Located immediately outside the U St./Cardozo Metro stop, Ben’s Chili Bowl catches everyone’s attention. It’s a great place to eat at if you want hot, fast food. And since President Obama eats here, it has to be quality (and indeed, it is).

The quality “All Day” menu consists of typical American food like hot dogs, hamburgers and French fries. There are also “healthy choices,” featuring veggie burgers/dogs, turkey and chicken sandwiches and vegetarian chili. Sides include fries, cakes, homemade coleslaw and potato salad.

Everything is made to order, so the food is fresh. Be warned though: the takeout bag of fries drizzled in ketchup is extremely messy, so snatch loads of napkins. Also, depending on how crowded the restaurant is, it might take a while to get your food. Eat-in at Ben’s if you can.

Location: 1213 U St. NW

Cost: Main courses are all around $6.

DC Noodles

Next door, DC Noodles offers an extensive lunch and dinner menu of noodle dishes — surprise, surprise. This list integrates noodles from the wok, noodles salad, noodles in clear soup, noodles in spicy soup, noodles in soy soup, noodles in coconut curry and special noodles. Also, diners can enjoy some starter plates like vegetarian spring rolls and dumplings.

Location: 1410 U St. NW

Desperados Burger and Bar

For people who want a quick bite to eat or a late lunch before a show, Desperado’s is a good place to check out. With a name like that, people would expect Spanish food, but the bar’s specialty is actually hamburgers, conveniently priced under $10. Round out the meal with starters like spinach and artichoke dip and various sides, salads and desserts.

Location: 1342 U St. NW

Cost: Under $10

9:30 Club

Famed music venue 9:30 club has its own restaurant full of tasty treats, including quesadillas, pizza, nachos, wraps, sandwiches, hamburgers and some vegan options, like taco salad. And of course, for dessert, they offer their signature limited supply of 9:30 cupcakes. Snap up these delicious meals for the college-friendly price.

Location: 815 V St. NW

Cost: $5-$8

Café Saint Ex

Head down 14th St to find more cafés near music venue Black Cat, like Café Saint Ex. If you’re craving a full meal, Café Saint Ex runs on a three-course style menu. Start with a salad, then pick a falafel, burger or vegetarian dish and finish with cake, pudding or house made ice cream.

Location: 1847 14th St. NW

Cost: Entrées can range anywhere from $9-$26.

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