Whether you’re the type who books their restaurant reservations first or you simply want to get a good meal while you’re in town, Washington D.C.’s NoMa neighborhood (short for “north of Massachusetts Avenue”), a thriving area filled with creative eateries, is sure to delight your palate. From shops selling gourmet ingredients and cooking supplies to restaurants featuring globally inspired dishes, NoMa is the place to be for all things gastronomical. Here’s where to find the best food in the area.
What once served as a meat-and-produce market now holds various options to satiate the appetite, interspersed with kitchenware boutiques to assist the at-home chef. Buy knives or have your favorites sharpened at District Cutlery, elevate your tablescape via the offerings at Salt & Sundry, and purchase a bottle of wine from Vitis Fine Wine & Spirits to enjoy at your place. You can also get a fine line tattoo at District Tattoo Company or buy music at Byrdland Records, where you can select among vintage vinyl and more contemporary albums.
Although shopping is undoubtedly a highlight at Union Market, the main draw is the market-style food stalls with the only challenge being which one to choose. Start your morning off at Buffalo and Bergen by ordering the Lox’d and Loaded, a Bloody Mary topped with a “loaded” everything bagel that showcases their inventive menu. For lunch, grab a taco at TaKorean, which gained popularity as a food truck, or savor delicacies at The District Fishwife, where you can also purchase fresh fish to cook yourself. To end your day, grab a craft cocktail on the rooftop at Hi-Lawn, eat barbecue at 2Fifty’s, and savor ice cream made with locally sourced ingredients at The Creamery.
Around Union Market
Union Market acts as a cornerstone with many other places to nosh at surrounding the historic food hall, including the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, Masseria. As Chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s first and premier restaurant, the “big, harmonious flavors” of the six-course tasting menu reflect his Italian heritage, but with his own inventive twist and using ingredients sourced from regional farms and producers. Just across the street from the market lies St. Anselm, which specializes in grilled meats. Delight your taste buds from late morning ’til night with dishes like Salmon Collar and the Ax-Handle Ribeye or have Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread while you sip a mimosa over brunch.
Complementing the market, La Cosecha is a Latin American marketplace that’s close to its counterpart. Seek out Peruvian Brothers for authentic dishes from Peru, experience Destino for modern Mexican cuisine, or dine on made-to-order Salvadorian street food at La Casita Pupuseria. To savor specific tastes from afar, you can try Venezuelan chocolates from Arcay Chocolates or head to Cafe Unido to get a cup of coffee made with Panamanian beans.
Less than a mile from Union Market is Ivy City, a neighborhood with its own bustling food-centric scene. The district’s only 100-percent gay-owned brewery, Red Bear Brewing Co. makes a fabulous place to grab a bite and brew. It’s also known for its games, trivia nights, and the occasional rousing drag show. Another popular option for a drink-and-entertainment combination is City Winery, where you can sip varietals while watching a live performance.
Even if you aren’t planning to ride the train, stepping inside D.C.’s Union Station opens up a world of dining opportunities, all housed in a majestic 1907 building that’s been gorgeously restored. Transport your mouth to France as you experience delectable crepes at Crepe Lena or fall in love at first bite with a bowl or salad at Roti. If you prefer people-watching as you dine, take a seat at East Street Cafe, which offers a variety of East Asian cuisine from countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan. Wherever you wander in NoMa, you can’t help but discover some of the capital’s most heavenly cuisine.