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When David Santori first moved to DC, locals told him to avoid the Chinatown area at all costs. But these days, the city-loving explorer is drawn to the neighborhoods infectious vibe and growing foodie scene.

“The vibe is just different from the rest of the city,” says the full-time consultant. “It’s definitely not a quiet area if that’s what you’re into. You’ll always have bars. It’s always busy. And I think it’s underrated.”

The scene is an Instagrammer’s dream. The sights, the smells, and constant buzzing means the neighborhood is thriving. Here’s where Santori and other influencers are eating and drinking in DC’s Chinatown this spring:

Drinks With a View

Photo courtesy of @frenchieyankee

Name: David Santori


“The rooftop of Motto by Hilton (Previously The Pod Hotel) has a bar upstairs called Crimson View. I don’t want to overhype it, but I have never seen a place like this one,” says Santori. “You get the view of the monuments, a view of the arch of Chinatown, a view of the city, and the sunset.”

Crimson View | 627 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001 | Website


Best Brunch

Photo by @joshp_photography

Name: Shell P.


“[Farmers & Distillers has] everything from wonderful service, excellent food, delicious donuts, and great ambiance. I would recommend making reservations beforehand since this place is well sought out.”

Farmers & Distillers | 600 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001 | Website

For Your Bumble Date


Photo courtesy of @dccitygirl

Name: Laurie Collins


“One of my most favorites is Rosa Mexicano, which I really love because they make these frozen pomegranate margaritas and they are so delicious,” says Collins. “I love their guacamole because they make it right there at the table.”

Rosa Mexicano | 575 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004 | Website


Name: David Santori

Instagram: @frenchieyankee

“I’m a wine guy, so Flight Wine Bar, is one of my favorites,” says Santori. “Not only it is it beautiful when you walk in, it’s kind of underground, a little bit dark and moody- the way they set up their bottles behind the bar is really fascinating.”

Flight Wine Bar | 777 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 | Website

Easy on the Wallet

Photo via Danny Kim

Danny Kim

Instagram: @dannygrubs

“I like to go to China Boy because I can get amazing noodles quick and cheap,” says Kim. “It’s a small hole-in-the-wall spot no one really knows about because they have short open hours.”

China Boy | 815 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 | Website

Names: Kimberly Kong, Robby Myers

Instagram: @nomtasticfoods

“Bantam King, it’s my favorite because it’s really affordable and the food is absolutely on point…” says Kong and Myers. “There menu is quite small, so they have fried chicken options and they have their ramen offering, and I think it is really great because they have really mastered those two dishes.”

Bantam King | 501 G St NW, Washington, DC 20003 |Website

New Restaurant

Photo courtesy of Circa

CIRCA, a restaurant inspired by Chinatown opened this past February in the neighborhood. The new restaurant has a craft cocktail bar called the Dragon Bar, two floors, and event space. The food is also Asian inspired and includes rice bowls, lettuce wraps, and Thai shrimp.

“CIRCA at Chinatown is a re-imagination of the brand that perfectly blends the signature CIRCA elements, which DC has come to know and love,” says Matthew Carline, President of MHG, in a recent press release. “With a uniquely inspired nod to the neighborhood as seen through the incredible design, build-out and now extended menu selection.”

CIRCA | 781 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001| Website

After a Capitals Game

Name: Laurie Collins

Instagram: @dccitygirl

“Depending on whether they [the Capitals] win or lose- the District Chophouse & Brewery, they have organic, grass fed and free range steak, but they also have a great beer selection,” says Collins. “There is also Matchbox for wood-fired pizza because its large and would be lively after a game.”

District Chophouse & Brewery | 509 7th St NW #1, Washington, DC 20004 | Website

Matchbox | 713 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001| Website

Name: Shell P.

Instagram: @acourageousbeauty

“This place [Bluejacket] is phenomenal! It gets crowded after a Nats game, but that’s to be expected. It has a wide beer selection and the inside of this place offers an awesome vibe that enhances your experience.”

Bluejacket | 300 Tingey St SE, Washington, DC 20003 | Website


Featured photo by Chris Chern via Pod Hotel