By Esther Hidalgo and Charlotte Sturm, Host Committee Members
Welcome back for Part 2 of our mission report: Sit-Down Dining. While seeming to favor Jose Andres establishments and those serving small plates in this post, we can confirm that all of these dining establishments are quite considerate when it comes to accommodating dietary restrictions of whatever persuasion, and the food offerings are delicious.
For classic and contemporary takes on Lebanese cuisine, try Lebanese Taverna, which is conveniently located near the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel at 2641 Connecticut Ave. NW. The vegetarian-friendly menu offers a range of dining options, including a Hommus Bar, Mezza (small, shareable plates), sandwiches, and full entrees. Diners can also easily identify items that are gluten free (marked “GF” on the menu), as well as which meat dishes are certified halal (“H”). Gluten free diners may also request spiced rice as a replacement for non-gluten free sides. If in doubt, we recommend the salad bar offerings which are mostly raw and highly modifiable.
Serving delectable Spanish tapas dishes and willing to cater to any and all food allergies, sensitivities, and special needs, we cannot recommend Barcelona highly enough. Located at 1622 14th St NW, DC, this popular dining spot is large enough that reservations are probably not necessary during the week. Upon arriving, we quickly informed our server of our diner’s food allergies and sensitivities, and the wait and kitchen staff took great care to accommodate our diner’s food allergies and sensitivities, marking up a menu with allowable options and possible cross-contamination. Allow approximately 15 extra minutes for this process. Fear not – once you have your custom menu and place your order, the food arrives very quickly and you won’t be disappointed. Chorizo with sweet and sour figs was the favorite dish of the night, while the heirloom carrots on a bed of orange yogurt were sweet with a lovely tang; those who can consume tree nuts may wish for more pistachios to garnish the top of this dish.
Oyamel, located in the Penn Quarter section of DC at 401 7th St NW, is another Jose Andres establishment that hits the mark. The interior are inspired by Mexico City’s urban vibe, and the menu features vegetarian-friendly small plates, entrees, and traditional Mexican tacos, which are prepared with corn tortillas. The customer service is exceptional; servers and the bar staff are courteous, very knowledgeable about menu ingredients, and willing to discuss ordering options and modifications. Adventurous diners may wish to try their delicious Chapulines tacos filled with perfectly seasoned and sautéed grasshoppers.
Zaytinya, situated at 701 9th Street NW, specializes in Eastern Mediterranean fare, referred to as meze, which means small plates meant to be shared. The theme and atmosphere cultivate a convivial dining experience. The dishes, many of which are modifiable, are delicious and beautifully plated. The staff is courteous, professional, and seem accustomed to serving diners with dietary restrictions. The server was unfazed when our diner with dietary restrictions unfurled the sacred scroll which listed all of her food allergies.
Also of Note
Whether you are craving a specific organic grocery item or wanting to stock your hotel refrigerator with a few snacks, the closest Whole Foods grocery store is located at 1440 P Street NW.
Although our diners did not make it to these restaurants, they are recommended by other experienced diners with restrictions, and they are highly rated on the Find Me Gluten Free app. They may also suit other special dietary needs.
- Commissary DC (Multi-Ethnic), 1443 P Street NW (Also Dairy Free and Vegan Friendly)
- GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar (self-explanatory), 1730 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (Vegetarian Friendly)
- Busboys and Poets (American), 2021 14th Street NW (Vegetarian and Vegan Friendly)
- District of Pi (Pizza), 910 F Street NW
Mission Accomplished, and Bon Appétit!
Do you have a favorite DC-area restaurant that is also friendly to diners with restrictions? Let the diners and your fellow conference attendees know in the comments below!