3 Chinese Restaurants Worth Your Lunch Money in DC
“The best Chinese food in the District is found in odd places,” says local Chinese food enthusiast Christopher. “So don’t be afraid to venture out in search of the perfect bite.”
And venture out we do. In our search for flavor-filled dinners and lunches we’ve all lost money and time eating subpar Chinese and Asian inspired food in Washington.
Though infamous for lackluster Chinese restaurants, DC is beginning to see the light as modern Chinese menu’s gain traction with city-goers.
New restaurants like Tiger Fork and Chiko are gaining traction. While Panda Gourmet, an oldie but goodie, continues to thrive.
Here’s our roundup of the best Chinese and Asian-inspired restaurants in the District.
Tucked in DC’s hip Blagden Alley, Tiger Fork transports customers into the heart of Hong Kong.
Guests sip on milk tea while entertained by dragon-filled murals sprawled across the walls. Tiger Fork accents traditional Hong Kong cuisine with hints of modern multi-cultural flavors. If you’re in the mood for Chinese with an extra kick, the restaurant serves dishes dedicated to BBQ. For those looking for a more traditional meal, their Beef Chow Foon will do the trick.
922 N St NW, Washington, DC 20001 | (202) 733-1152 | Tiger Fork
Yes, Panda Gourmet is attached to a Day’s Inn on New York Avenue. But for years, the Szechuan restaurant has thrived. It may be unassumingly placed and decorated, but substance precedes style in this case; the food is incredible.
DC foodies have long raved about their traditional Chinese restaurant.
“Every bite is alive with flavor,” says Averil Doyle. “Every dish is different, it really hits so many good points at once.”
Pando Gourmet’s menu offers a wide variety of chicken, beef, and noodle dishes and leans on the spicy side. If you’re craving Chinese and want to stay in for the night, Panda Gourmet offers its guests the option to order from their menu online. So rent a movie, order some lamb skewers and Singapore rice noodles, and call it a night.
2700 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002 | (202) 534-1620 | Panda Gourmet
Stationed in Barracks Row, newcomer Chiko is a mix of Korean and Chinese flavors. Lauded in the press, the trendy Chinese-Korean restaurant is home to chef Scott Drewno– an alum of The Source by Wolfgang Puck.
While this joint offers both traditional and modern take on Asian fusion food, the atmosphere is casual. So if you need a quick lunch of Orange-ish Chicken before heading back to work, Chiko is your best bet.
The rib-eye rice cake is a specialty of Chiko’s, and it has captured the attention– and money– of DC-goers, though the restaurant’s only been open for a month. “Be ready to be addicted,” says a restaurant patron.
423 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003 | (202) 558-9934 | Chiko DC
More Asian-Inspired Restaurant Favorites
Voted the best ramen shop by 5 different publications, Toki Underground serves its many guests Taiwanese and Japanese dishes. Not only is this joint nationally acclaimed for its ramen, but it also stands as DC’s first ramen shop. It serves 8 varieties of ramen and noodle dishes, all while providing guests a uniquely creative atmosphere to enjoy their Asian delicacies in. Toki even has foods for those less adventurous Asian food-eaters—dumplings & chocolate chip cookies!
1234 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002 | (202) 388-3086 | Toki Underground
Ping Pong Dim Sum
So you want the feel of a relaxing Chinese tea house, but the taste of a modern cocktail? Well then, you should definitely give Ping Pong a try. In keeping with the ancient Chinese tradition, this restaurant welcomes you to sit, relax, and unwind with friends while enjoying some authentic Chinese cuisine and signature cocktails. Whether you have a craving for chocolate sesame donuts or poached lobster dumplings, Ping Pong offers a set rate of $39 for bottomless brunch. If you’re not feeling too hungry, though, you can always buy one of their moderately priced traditional Chinese dishes at any time.
900 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 | (202) 506- 3740 | Ping Pong Dim Sum
This cozy & artistically-designed restaurant serves Japan’s most prominent and influential ramen style—Sapporo. The noodles are even imported straight from Sapporo, Japan. The soup base of this traditional dish takes over 16 hours to prepare at Daikaya, so guests can be sure that they’re feasting upon only the finest creations of the bistro’s renowned chefs. There’s also a sister restaurant located directly above this bustling Asian restaurant, as well.
705 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 | (202) 589-1600 | Daikaya
This Asian restaurant may look and be one the most unique in all of DC. Created by one of Time’s “100 Most Influential” list, Jose Andres, this eatery offers guests the innovative combination of Peruvian and Asian cuisines. The vibrant red and yellow décor matches the taste of the restaurant’s unique flavor combinations while telling a story of the foods’ origins, as well. If you decide on China Chilcano for lunch one day, you cannot miss out on trying Andres’s signature Chifa—Chinese techniques + Peruvian ingredients.
418 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004 | (202) 783-0941 | China Chilcano
Complete with a milk bar and a noodle bar, Momofuku offers a casual dining experience for people on the go. The restaurant menu changes with the seasons, so guests need never be bored with their options. During the summer you can enjoy Bo Ssäm, a Korean delicacy complete with pork shoulder slow roasted in brown sugar for 8 hours to perfection. In addition to this, all of the eatery’s uniquely traditional dishes are overseen by nationally-acclaimed chef and manager, Robert Harding.
1090 1st St NW, Washington, DC 20001 | (202) 602-1832 | Momofuku
Photography by Mike Petrucci via Unsplash