Eating in Washington DC: The Pig, Daikaya Izakaya & Ramen and Oyamel

Back in the late 90s, I spend four years studying and working in Washington DC. I loved living in the city… much culture, so many sites, people from all over the world and lots of fun. But, the one thing DC did not have was good food. I had come from LA which was always looked down upon by those in New York and San Francisco when it came to our food. But, in all honesty, even LA beat DC when it came to food.

Now, more than 15 years later, both cities have vibrant food cultures. On a recent return visit to DC, I ate at three very different places that each represent the excitement of the food scene. And, now that Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week (August 15-25) is about to start, it’s a great time to check out these restaurants and others.

The Pig 
1320 14th St. NW  Washington DC, 20005


Local and seasonal restaurant The Pig specializes in handcrafted food and drink. They feature vegetables sourced directly from their own farm in Maryland. Dishes are inspired by rustic favorites from around the world and are designed to share. But, most importantly they love the pig. From the decorations to the menu, pigs are heavily featured.

Farm fresh salads, house greens and starches are also featured but if you’re an adventurous foodie and up for something fresh and unique then The Pig is a great spot to visit.

Additionally, eco-friendly wines are featured, as well as American craft beers and tasty cocktails. Many of the handcrafted cocktails are named after famous pigs (Miss Piggy, Wilbur, The Squealer).

Daikaya Izakaya & Ramen
705 6th St NW (at N G Pl), Washington, DC 20001

Daikaya is a vision that has come to life due to three men who set out to create a restaurant with great food and an inviting ambiance. This Japanese restaurant was created with the intent to bring causal Japanese dining to Washington, where guests could enjoy a drink, snack, or full dinner.


Daikaya Izakaya is located upstairs. The menu has successfully captured culturally traditional cuisine infused with a modern flare.


Izakaya also offers a complete cocktail program using classic spirits and mixing them with Japanese flavors, such as yuzu, matcha green tea soda and lychee-thyme syrup)


Downstairs from the Izakaya you will find Daikaya Ramen, serving traditional Sapporo ramen.


401 7th Street NW, Washington DC

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana is not your traditional Mexican restaurant. Owned by Jose Andres, Oyamel serves small, traditional Mexican plates like tacos and ceviche, as well as some yummy soups and unique salads, such as their baby cactus. Produce here is fresh and seasonal and they have a delicious tortas menu and tableside guacamole. In addition, they offer unique margaritas, wines and tequilas. They originally opened their doors in Arlington in 2004, and moved to their current location in Washington DC in 2007.

Not only can you get a great three course meal for lunch or dinner during restaurant week, but Oyamel is extending the Restaurant Week menu through September 1st.