Thanks for the request @haleyhendrick this was fun (but hard).
  1. 7th Hill Pizza, Eastern Market
    This place is a staple. It's casual, small, and homey, and warmed by the brick-oven where they make the pizza. The staff is super friendly, too. They have a special on Sundays for an 8 inch cheese pizza for $5 (you can add extra toppings for a small up-charge). Can't beat that. They also make great sangria in spring and summer.
  2. Sprig and Sprout, Glover Park
    If you like Pho and Banh Mi, you will love this place. Can't speak to the restaurant upstairs, since I only ever go to the downstairs cafe. It's always fresh. I get Banh Mi with pork belly or lemongrass chicken, aioli, pickled carrots, daikon, and cilantro. Lemongrass poppers (vegan) are also great and $5.
  3. Open City, Woodley Park
    Open City is the sister restaurant of Tryst Cafe, which I wrote about here (and is also affordable):FAVORITE COFFEE SPOTS IN DC. Open City is simple, wonderful, and has something for everyone—GF, vegetarian (I think even Vegan), meat lover. The patio is great and has a fire pit in cold months. They keep a water bowl and dog treats outside which is💗. I suggest their burgers and salads which run $7-$15, but for a simple treat grab a bagel and coffee to go and walk to the (free) Zoo!
  4. Hill Country BBQ, Gallery Place/Judiciary Square
    Authentic, excellent barbecue. And excellent margaritas. Get there early for Happy Hour. I love their queso and chips, and fantastic brisket sandwiches that are a great deal during HH. I want to say they're around $6 with $5 margaritas but tbh when I was there 2 weeks ago I had too many margaritas to remember exactly what I paid🙈🙊.
  5. Beau Thai, Mt. Pleasant
    I love Thai food and at this place it is delicious and affordable. Not to mention the portions are generous. I like the drunken noodles and the pad se ew (both $11 for dinner).
  6. Southern Hospitality, Adams Morgan
    @bookishclaire and I are regulars at SoHo (ugh, snottiness sentence I've ever written maybe, but bear with me). It has a warm atmosphere enhanced by tall, exposed brick walls and dim-but-not-dark lighting. The staff is wonderful. The food is delicious. I love their SoHo burger (with friend green tomato and goat cheese), Quinoa Spinach Salad w/ Shrimp, and they have the BEST wings. Those run $10-$14. Mon & Thur are 1/2 wine bottle night and Tue is all night HH so perfect for drinks.
  7. 2Amy's Pizzeria, Cathedral Heights
    There are a few great pizza places in DC, but 2Amy's is the best. They're the only D.O.C. Certified place in DC which tbh I didn't really get but apparently means Neapolitan approved👍. And let me tell you their d.o.c. Margherita (I add pancetta) is perfection. Runs about $14 but is a generous portion. It's not a huge restaurant and gets busy fast so get there early-ish.
  8. Agora, Dupont Circle
    Delicious Turkish food. Good atmosphere. I love their flat breads and cheeses. And their beef short ribs, and fatteh (phyllo dough with steak and yoghurt and brown butter) are both amazing. Between $4-$15. Also they have one of the best brunches in DC but that's for a different list.
  9. Founding Farmers, Foggy Bottom
    I've only ever been to this flagship DC staple, but there are now a FF in Tyson's Corner, VA and in Montgomery County, MD. It's very popular and almost always packed, so make reservations. The atmosphere is great and the decor is rustic yet modern. Wait staff is lovely. I'm a huge fan of the chicken and waffles (brunch or dinner) and their decadent French toast (bananas foster, strawberries and cream, and bourbon battered are my favs). They run about $8-$16.
  10. Café Saint-Ex, 14th St NW
    This local bistro has a cool aviation theme and delicious French-inspired food. Their dinner mains start at $24, but for an affordable meal, go for Happy Hour or stick to a couple starters or lighter fair dishes, which are still yummy and filling but start at $7. Their drinks are great too. Try the New York Sour—bourbon, lemon, red wine.