Ethnic cuisine is easy to find in the US capital, and among the many restaurants, some of the best are owned by women. Restoring flavors from their mother’s kitchen bringing dishes from their faraway village, sometimes, with some modern interpretation. Try something new every day:
1. Pom Pom @ Petworth
Mediterranean, Southeast Asian, and Latin American Restaurant * $$
Women-led restaurant offering a unique fusion of Asian and Latin American cuisine with Mediterranean influences. The changing cocktail menu is inspired by women, and the wines are from women-owned wineries. Open daily for dinner; Pom Pom is serving a wide variety of dishes, including farm oysters, Peruvian green rice, beet pasta, and raw Wagyu beef.
Carlie Steiner and Amanda MollCourtesy, Co-Owners
828 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011
2. Thip Khao @ Columbia Heights
Laotian Restaurant * $$
Co-owner and Chef Seng Luangrath learned her cooking skills from her neighbors at a refugee camp while escaping Laos during the Vietnam war. After moving to the US, she took care of her family, and only at the age of 40 decided to pursue her dream and to become a professional Chef. Thip Khao specializes in Laotian cuisine and its traditional methods, serving dishes such as herbal pork sausage, steamed catch-fish, and stuffed Banana Leaves.
Seng Luangrath, Co-Owner
3462 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010
3. Purple Patch Restaurant @ Mt. Pleasant
Filipino Restaurant * $$
One of the first Filipino restaurants in DC, serving authentic Filipino cuisine based on the owner’s mother’s recipes. Patrice Cleary, the owner, used to cook with her mother from a young age Filipino food as a way to hold their identity. After several years in the restaurant industry, in 2015, she finally decided to open her place and serve a menu that is dedicated to her heritage. Since then the restaurant has won serval awards and become a destination for travelers near and far.
Patrice Cleary, Owner
3155 Mt Pleasant St NW, Washington, DC 20010
4. Tail Up Goat @ Lanier Heights
Hip Bistro serving creative Mediterranean fare & Caribbean-inspired drinks * $$$
At the Virgin Islands, the way to tell the difference between a goat and a sheep is if the tail is up – it’s a goat. Referring to the childhood home of Co-owner and service director Jill Tyler, Tail Up Goat is a neighborhood restaurant offering a familiar place to enjoy soulful and sophisticated food, such as squash tart, seared scallops, carrot cappelletti, and grilled maple pork. Serving dinner Monday to Sunday.
Jill Tyler, Co-Owner and Service Director
1827 Adams Mill Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009
5. Mama Ayesha’s @ Lanier Heights
Middle-Eastern Restaurant * $$
Born in Jerusalem in the late 19th century, founder Mama Ayesha Abraham came to the US in the late 1940s. After 20 years of working as a cook at the Syrian Embassy, she opened her own establishment named Calvert Café. Today, the restaurant is carrying Mama Ayesha’s name and run by her descendants who preserve her heritage. Open daily; the restaurant serves all of the middle-eastern traditional dishes, such as Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Mujadarah, Shish Kabob, and Baklawa.
Mama Ayesha, Founder
1967 Calvert St NW, Washington, DC 20009
6. Maydan @ Cardozo
Caucasian, North African & Middle Eastern Restaurant * $$$
Maydan is creating a communal dining experience, bringing to the table the rich flavors, textures, and smells of the North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. According to the co-owner Rose Previte, the clay oven bread is the centerpiece of the table, and the diners are encouraged to eat with their hand, as the traditional way. Serving dinner every evening, offering salads, seafood, kebabs, and a selection of condiments, including Harrisa, Tahini, tomato jam, and Chermoula.
Rose Previte, Owner
1346 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009
7. Doi Moi @ Cardozo
Asian Restaurant * $$
After traveling throughout South Asia, Chef Johanna Hellrigl took the familiar spices and flavors of the regional culinary tradition and gave them a new interpretation. As the meaning of the phrase Doi Moi – “new changes” in Vietnamese, the renewed restaurant is launching a new menu that includes dishes such as Thai style mussels, shredded green papaya, beef massaman curry, and charred pork ribs as well as a special happy hour menu.
Johanna Hellrigi, Chef
1800 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
8. DC Empanadas @ Union Market
Empanadas * $
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The only food truck to serve home-made gourmet empanadas. Co-owner and Chef Anna Bran-Leis is making the empanadas from scratch, using only high-quality seasonal ingredients to create new and unpredictable flavor combinations. DC empanadas offer a wide variety of fillings with beef, pork, chicken, or vegetables. Keep up on the truck’s location schedule or Grab them at their sister restaurant – Taqueria del Barrio: Petworth 821 Upshur Street, NW, or Tastemakers 2800 10th Street, NE.
Anna Bran-Leis, Chef and Owner
1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002