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Washington, DC: Where to Eat at The Wharf

Since moving to DC, I have watched the Wharf completely transform from a fish market to a high-end, must-stop spot in the District. Located along the water with seating areas, docks, the yacht club, and water taxis, it is the perfect place to spend your afternoons if the weather is nice. I love to stroll along the dock on a sunny day (with Dolcezza gelato in hand) and pick out my favorite boats that bob in the water. I also love bopping down the main walking street, searching for some late-night food and drinks. The Wharf is lively, bustling, and full of fun. It’s a great date spot while still being family friendly. With dozens of new restaurants and more popping up, here's my list of a few of the stand-outs...

Del Mar de Fabio Trabocchi

791 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024

I first visited Del Mar shortly after arriving to DC, without any knowledge of the hype surrounding its opening. I was immediately stunned by how beautiful the restaurant was. The aesthetic of Del Mar is both chic and comfortable, hinting at its Spanish-inspired food. In addition, the food was delicious. When I heard it was all the work of Fabio and Maria Trabocchi and had been listed as one of the best new restaurants in the DMV area, I was not by any means shocked. Although Del Mar is a splurge, it follows through with delicious food and excellent service. Definitely save it for a special occasion or a warm night out.

Mi Vida Restaurante

98 District Square SW, Washington, DC 20024

I’ll begin by saying that the best Mexican food is good, authentic Mexican food that you can find in a family-owned shop. That being said, Mexican food can also be a great choice for a casual group of friends looking for some dinner before a night out, and the corner store might not be quite the aesthetic you’re looking for (Bridesmaids, anyone?). Mi Vida has impressed me every time I’ve visited. It’s a great summer date spot, it’s a wonderful stop for a night out with friends, it’s perfect if you want good Mexican food with the flare of pretty dishware and tall windows. Expect it to be loud and full. I suggest asking for some outside seating if the weather permits!

Kirwan’s on the Wharf

749 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024

Kirwan’s might be the best casual stop to grab some food and drinks on the Wharf. Designed like an Irish pub and typically bumping with live music, this restaurant opens its walls and spills into the streets during the summer. It’s a cheaper option, without feeling like you’re giving up quality or summer vibes. Another aspect that I’ve always enjoyed is the separate area across the street that’s roped off for those who just want a drink, while providing seating next to the rows of boats and yachts that fill the Wharf waters. I suggest trying their fish and chips!


751 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024

I was very excited to visit this restaurant. Inspired by cuisine from Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand, I was curious about how it would live up to this concept. I was so pleased to have such a genuine experience. It isn’t a chic restaurant exploiting Asian cuisine; the chefs and staff care deeply about cultural pride and making sure all of their guests know what they are eating and why it was selected for their menu. Our waiter had a wide knowledge of the cuisine and its origins, full of suggestions and thoughts. We tried multiple dishes and all were delicious.

La Vie

88 District Square SW, 5th floor, Washington, DC 20024

Despite some questionable reviews, I found myself at La Vie with some girlfriends, sharing plates of food and drinks. The aesthetic is absolutely beautiful-- clean, yet eclectic. Trying to get there was a little confusing, since you have to make your way to what seems like a side entrance and take an elevator trip up. It pays off, with a wide view of the wharf and multiple beautifully designed rooms to lounge in. I was perfectly pleased with the choice of foods to share while trying some specialty cocktails. I suggest giving it a shot!

Hank's Oyster Bar

701 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024

This is Hank’s second location in the city, appropriately opening on the Wharf as a great option for people to get some seafood without breaking the bank. It’s casual, packed, and affordable. Located at the Far East side of the Wharf, we had a nice dinner before taking a stroll down the rest of the open area. Expect it to be loud and busy, but fun for a group of friends looking for some oysters and drinks!

Milk Bar

801 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024

Another spot with a lot of surrounding hype, Milk Bar’s Chef, Christina Tosi, has cookbooks, a fun brand, and surprisingly creative and delicious desserts. There isn’t a wide range of options - they focus on just a few main desserts - but I suggest them all. We grabbed some Compost Cookies and a B’Day Milkquake!


1120 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

This spot offers multiple different experiences, ranging from a marketplace to sit down dining. The pastries in the main shop are delicious and fresh; you can grab sweets, breads, some coffee, and make your way home. If you are interested in sitting down for some delicious Italian, check out the Trattoria experience. If you love a good rooftop, definitely head upstairs to the beautiful Terrazza!

Other Spots to Stop By: Whisky Charlie, Lapo Marino, and Rappahannock Oyster Bar

Any other suggestions? Let me know!

Written by Emi Lungmus

Editing by Anna McCarthy

Photos by Emi Lungmus


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