Top Five Dishes Under $15
1. Daikaya Ramen Shop
705 Sixth St. NW
Spicy Miso Ramen $13.25
Arguably the best ramen shop in the District, Daikaya offers five different bowls of ramen, including one delicious, completely vegan version. The spicy miso ramen ($13.25) is the best bowl in the shop, with a rich, meaty broth that leaves a tingle of spice on the tongue. Piled high with al dente bean sprouts and wok-fired ground pork, this bowl of noodles is a delightful combination for the senses. The shining star of Daikaya, however, is definitely in the quality of its noodles, which are springy and plentiful and reportedly imported from Japan. Splurge on the nitamago ($1.50), a soy-marinated soft-boiled egg, to add to a bowl of ramen. The tiny ramen shop right across from the Verizon Center is often packed with locals and tourists and operates like a traditional ramen shop with communal tables with stool seating. A two-hour wait is not uncommon, so prepare to walk around Chinatown during down time or eat during off-peak hours. An important note: This ramen shop does not take reservations, and its sister restaurant upstairs, Daikaya Izakaya, which does take reservations, does not serve a selection of ramen daily.
3715 Macombe St. NW
Margherita, Pizze D.O.C. $12.95
Up north toward the National Zoo is 2Amys Neapolitan pizzeria, a true Italian-style restaurant that serves D.O.C. pizza certified by the American Delegation of the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, an international nonprofit group that focuses on the art of making true Neapolitan pizza. 2Amys only serves the highest quality pizza, made with fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce and a tender center and a slightly charred crust. Since “when in Rome, do as the Romans,” 2Amys’ popular margherita pizza d.o.c ($12.95) is a great pick for any pizza lover. The chewy crust has just the right amount of smoky flavor from its wood fire oven, and its buttery mozzarella pairs perfectly with the tangy and salty tomato sauce. Other must-tries include the suppli a telefono (rice croquettes, $5.95) and any pizzas topped with their house-cured meats. Before making the trek up to 2Amys though, be aware that it can get quite crowded during peak hours and the restaurant does not take reservations.
3. A Baked Joint
440 K St. NW
This sister cafe of the popular Georgetown cupcake spot, Baked and Wired, has not yet been open for a year in Mount Vernon, just blocks from the Georgetown Law Center. Keeping with Baked and Wired tradition, each bakery good at A Baked Joint is freshly made and artfully composed with complementary flavors. The BLT ($10) is an extremely well-made version of the classic sandwich, composed of a smear of mayonnaise, several slices of thick, applewood smoked bacon, tomato and Boston bibb lettuce that lie between two slices of a tight-crumbed white pain de mie. As a vegetarian option, the Veggie #1 ($10) is chock full of roasted sweet potato, smoked eggplant, peppers, and kale, which are all melded together with a layer of creamy goat cheese on focaccia. The warehouse-inspired atmosphere, plentiful seating and high-quality espresso drinks make this cafe the perfect, albeit far, study spot.
4. Amsterdam Falafel
2425 18TH St. NW
Beside some of Adams Morgan’s most popular bars, Amsterdam Falafel is a high-quality fast-casual vegetarian chain that serves just two dishes: falafel ($6.25 small, $7.50 regular) and fries ($ 3.70 small, $5.00 regular). Falafel pitas come in two sizes, regular and small, and include access to an unlimited, 22-option, self-serve toppings bar with hummus, peanut sauce, marinated chickpeas, cucumber salad and pickled beets. The falafel are often prepared on demand, and are fried until they develop a thick, crunchy crust but still maintain a moist interior. The heavenly fries, crisp yet tender, are served in cones that fit perfectly into holes in the shop’s unique tabletops. Three fry-sauce options are also available: curried ketchup, fritesaus and peanutsaus. The best part about Amsterdam Falafel? It’s open until 3 a.m. on Thursdays and until 4 a.m. on Fridays to fulfill any late-night cravings after a long night of hitting the dance floor in AdMo.
5. Bub and Pops
1815 M St. NW
Roast Pork Sandwich $8
Just a few blocks from the Dupont Circle GUTS bus stop, nestled deep along a stretch of eateries, is Bub and Pop’s, a creative Italian-style sandwich shop that also offers a wide selection of specialty pickles. The roast pork ($8 half, $15 whole) is full of slow-roasted porchetta, hazelnut gremolata, aged provolone, pork jus, with the additional option of broccoli rabe ($1 half, $2 whole). The pork is tender and salty, while the aged provolone adds a sharp umami tang. This sandwich is the perfect combination of textures for the palette: a springy and chewy roll pairs well with the broccoli rabe. The atmosphere is both cute and nostalgic, and its chalkboard menus and numerous wall photos add a personal touch to any quick lunch in Dupont Circle.