Enjoy mini “To-Go” reviews of eight of DC’s finest restaurants from around the globe, from Afghanistan to The Dominican Republic and everywhere in between
Guide Reviews Desk Editor
Tasty Taiwanese-Fusion Treats
A recent addition to Wisconsin Avenue, just a 10-minute walk from the front gates, Taichi is a stellar Taiwanese-Japanese fusion spot that every Hoya needs to try. Taichi offers an enticing menu with a variety of dishes, including poke, ramen and bubble tea. Following its opening week, my roommate and I decided to give it a try, and we were blown away by the flavors.
We opted for some poke bowls for dinner and, although the price was on the higher side at around $16 apiece, the portions were generous. We were able to customize our bowls, making the experience more interactive and personalized. The customized poke bowl I had was refreshing and filling and the boba was equally impressive.
Located just a few blocks from the front gates, Taichi could very well give the other boba spots in the area, such as Gong Cha, a run for their money. With a fantastic location and an inviting atmosphere, Taichi is a must-visit Georgetown restaurant.
Cozy French on Georgetown’s Doorstep
Upon entering the recently opened Maman — located at 1353 Wisconsin Ave. NW, just a 10-minute walk from campus — one is greeted by rustic and elegant decor accented by the chain’s recognizable white and blue pattern, which conveys an inviting and soothing atmosphere.
Maman, a hybrid cafe, bakery and restaurant that originated in New York City, delivers the comfort and aroma of homestyle meals with a nod to southern France and North American cafes. It delivers a flavor of childhood in its distinctive fusion of multiple cuisines, all in a serene ambiance bathed in natural light. Glancing at their menu brought back fond memories of my childhood in Paris.
During my visit, I discovered the chef’s selection of three pastries: the classic but timeless croissant and “pain au chocolat,” as well as an almond croissant loaded with traditional frangipane, or almond cream, all for the decent price of $13. These soft and delicate pastries succeeded in giving me a delightful sense of comfort, though they lacked the accompanying crispiness I would find at a boulangerie in Paris. However, the heartwarming atmosphere of Maman, embellished by family photos and French music, is what struck me: the restaurant truly embodies the warm endearment for “mother” in French.
Il Canale: Classic, Authentic Italian
If you’re looking for a more affordable but still delicious Italian option, il Canale, located 15 minutes from campus at 1065 31st St. NW, does not disappoint in delivering mouth-watering food that will leave you awaiting your next visit and dreaming of their lasagna. I always take my visiting friends and family there for dinner the first night, and, without fail, they beg for a second meal there before they leave.
The ingredients for their pizzas are all imported directly from Italy and whipped into perfection by Chef Joe Farruggio, a native Sicilian whose personal philosophy is to serve the “best pizza Napoletana in the world.” But if you’re not in the mood for pizza, the restaurant’s menu also features an array of appetizers, homemade pasta dishes, salads and more, all of which feature the same authentic ingredients and perfect taste.
If you are looking for a scrumptious Italian bite, then I highly recommend you join Washington, D.C. A-Listers Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Brigitte Macron and Ivanka Trump — whose pictures you can find alongside the awards lining the walls — at il Canale for the best pizza and pasta in Georgetown.
Hoya Staff Writer
Warm Atmosphere, European Cuisine
The Sovereign, a Belgian-inspired eatery located in the heart of Georgetown, is a must-visit for those seeking a mix of French, German and Dutch cooking techniques and cuisine. With its charming decor and warm ambiance, this restaurant offers traditional European dishes with modern twists.
The menu at the Sovereign features a range of Belgian favorites, from hearty stews and savory schnitzels to classic waffles and house-spun seasonal gelato. The specially sourced Dutch-style mussels are a plump and juicy standout dish, served with a side of crispy fries.
For those with a sweet tooth, the waffles at the Sovereign are a must-try. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, the waffles are served with a delectable sprinkling of powdered sugar.
The staff members at the Sovereign were extremely attentive and friendly. Waiters are eager to recommend dishes, hang up coats and bring extra bread fresh from the oven. Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for a delicious meal, the Sovereign is sure to impress.
Hoya Staff Writer
Tropical, Dominican Classics
As someone who hails from Miami, I have to say that Washington, D.C. — and especially Georgetown — has a startling lack of Caribbean cuisine. To find some Caribbean cuisine, I had to venture onto UberEats. After some searching, I stumbled upon a Dominican restaurant called Los Hermanos.
For my entree, I ordered pulled pork with mofongo, a garlicky plantain mash. The pulled pork was deliciously tender, but I found the mofongo to be a bit rubbery to chew. The food delivery took a bit of time, however, so I will cut the restaurant some slack.
For dessert, I ordered their “Dominican Cake,” which is a pineapple cake with meringue frosting. The sweet filling and fluffy frosting perfectly complemented the light vanilla cake, and it was reminiscent of the cakes I used to eat when I was little.
To wash it all down, I ordered the mango and guanabana juices. Guanabana is a white, fleshy fruit with a flavor best described as a tart apple creamsicle. Both juices were refreshing and full of pulpy goodness.
Despite some minor flaws, I would recommend Los Hermanos to anyone looking for some authentic Dominican food in the District.
Hoya Staff Writer
High-Energy Mexican Food
If you don’t like sharing with others, Oyamel will not be for you.
On Friday nights, the brightly patterned interior of this Penn Quarter restaurant fills with waves of lively chatter to an almost deafening degree, and its small tapas plates are best suited for passing around the table with friends.
All of the tapas are high-quality — especially the pulpo negro (octopus marinated in salsa), the tamal verde and the Brussels sprouts. The tacos and quesadillas do not disappoint either, especially the fish. The harmonious mixture of different salsas with vibrant flavors and textures certainly makes the price difference with your standard Epicurean quesadilla worth it. Sweet potato tamales and a wide variety of tortillas are some other standouts on the wide-ranging menu, which even includes grasshopper tacos.
Oyamel is almost always packed — it is a true happy hour restaurant for a night out with friends. Still, it does not sacrifice good value for quality, and it offers a joyful environment with equally enjoyable food.
Hoya Staff Writer
Vegan Tel-Aviv Street Food
For vegans and vegetarians, the opening of Shouk is great news — but carnivores are better off sticking to what they know best. Shouk, a plant-based fast-casual food chain in the Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area, recently opened its fourth location on Wisconsin Avenue. The diner serves a variety of dishes inspired by Tel Avivian street food, including falafel and fresh hummus, as well as more creative dishes like oyster mushroom schnitzel and veggie sausage.
Our group ordered pita chips and hummus, the falafel sandwich, spice fries with Shouk sauce, the Shouk burger, the sausage pita and the za’atar cauliflower bowl. The dishes, unfortunately, were hit-or-miss.
The falafel was fantastic: crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and paired perfectly with the hummus. The spice fries were also excellent, and the sweetness of the Shouk sauce perfectly balanced the seasoning on the fries.
On the other hand, the cauliflower bowl was drowning in sauce, and I could barely taste the flavor of the vegetables. The experience with the Shouk burger was not too different from the cauliflower bowl. Between the tomato jam and tahini, there were simply too many flavors in the sandwich.
With its official grand opening on Saturday, March 24, Shouk is worth a first visit — but maybe not a second.
Hoya Staff Writer
Bright, Comforting Afghan Cooking
For those looking to break free from the Georgetown bubble on their culinary adventures, Lapis should be somewhere at the top of their lists. A quaint bistro in Adams Morgan, Lapis specializes in Afghan cuisine, offering seasonally inspired family recipes in a cozy and casual but chic atmosphere.
The restaurant’s lunch and dinner menu is extensive, offering items such as bolani (a stuffed Afghan flatbread) served with mint yogurt and chutney, a plethora of vegetarian dishes bursting with flavor, lamb shank, grilled meats and fish, as well as meat and veggie platters.
Dishes are meant to be shared, so consider visiting Lapis with a group and trying as many things as possible — plus, don’t be afraid to bring your non-meat-eating friends, as there are plenty of vegetarian offerings (my favorite being the dal, a flavorful and smoky lentil dish!).
Lapis also offers a fantastic brunch service. Rose water cardamom pancakes with warm rose water syrup and pistachios, and karayee, a dish of eggs over sauteed tomatoes, potatoes, onions and hot peppers, are just a few of the fantastic choices on the brunch menu.
If you visit on a sunny day, light streams in through the bistro’s large windows, setting the scene for the main character meal of your dreams.