DC Bread & Brew
1247 20th St. NW
Nestled away on a side street off of Dupont Circle, DC Bread & Brew would be easy to walk by. The cafe offers healthy food that is sure to satisfy. Its pizza selections, with toppings such as spinach and artichoke hearts, are baked on a delightfully chewy homemade crust. A variety of breads form the basis for an extensive selection of sandwiches, and quiches and salads are also offered — all for less than $10. Daily specials showcase seasonal, local food. For those of you over 21, the cafe is known for the dozen or so beers it has on tap that make it a favorite pub crawl location. The vibe of this restaurant is eco-chic; plates are accompanied by reusable, burlap napkins, and rainforest leaves adorn the walls. Because the cafe is relatively isolated, it’s the perfect place to study for a few hours or get into a deep lunch conversation with a friend.
Juice Joint Cafe
2221 Eye St. NW
Most people think of juice as a beverage for kids, but make no mistake: Juice Joint Cafe serves choices for the more refined palate. Featuring both signature blends and the option to build your own flavor, the cafe’s juices range from sweet to spicy. The Melon Cooler is a blend of melon, strawberry and ginger, and the 24 Karat is a more traditional combination of orange, pineapple and carrot. Usually ginger is more of an undertone in a juice, but in the Melon Cooler it is much more of a prominent flavor, so be prepared for a little heat. For a richer beverage, Juice Joint also blends up smoothies, made entirely with fresh fruit and juice and with no added sugar. The cafe also features a full menu of salads, sandwiches, stir-fries and wraps, with many vegan and vegetarian options. Thecaprese salad is made with amazingly fresh mozzarella that makes the simple dish something special. Take the opportunity to also stock up on healthy snacks while at Juice Joint. The cafe carries a huge selection of vegan and gluten-free sweets and features a small marketplace that sells dried fruit, trail mix and other similar items. Juice Joint Cafe is located just a few blocks away from the McPherson Square Metro stop. Make sure to plan your trip wisely though, since the cafe is only open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and stops serving food at 4 p.m.
Pho Viet & Grille
1639 Wisconsin Ave. NW
If you have a craving for pho, the delicious broth-based Vietnamese soup, then Pho Viet & Grille will provide it. The small restaurant is a 10-minute walk up Wisconsin and has a pleasant atmosphere with about a dozen tables downstairs, a secluded upstairs area and a back patio that is lovely on a warm day. While the menu has steak, chicken and fish dishes, the real highlight is the pho. Their five varieties come in ceramic porcelain bowls substantially larger than the size of your head. If you order the regular instead of the appetizer size, you may not be able to finish it alone. The pho is accompanied with the classic fixings: bean sprouts, lime, sriracha sauce and jalapenos. These accompaniments add flavor to what otherwise could be a simple soup. Inexpensive like the rest of the experience, the prices are reasonable and the service is friendly.
2122 P St. NW
For gluten-free diners, finding a restaurant that satisfies both the tastes of their dining companions and their dietary restrictions can be a nightmare. Firefly offers the perfect solution to this problem. Conveniently located in Dupont Circle, this cozy restaurant goes out of its way to create a comprehensive menu that includes choices for everyone, regardless of allergies. While the complimentary rolls are amazing, don’t let that stop you from also ordering a starter. Of the 10 dinner entrees, seven were already gluten-free and two were easily customizable to be so. Despite being gluten-free, the fresh Atlantic salmon paired with truffled cauliflower puree, spaghetti squash and mushrooms doesn’t taste like you’re settling for a mediocre meal. Make sure to not only arrive at Firefly with an empty stomach but also make sure to save room for dessert. The caramelized banana split is the perfect ending to a meal pleasantly free of compromises.