January 18, 2021

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Cooking is a hobby

28 Best DC-Area Restaurant Dishes for Takeout and Delivery

Original May 2020 post updated

There was a time you’d have to wait in line or make a hard-won reservation to get a taste of sensational restaurant dishes like the Red Hen’s sausage rigatoni, the duck at Peking Gourmet Inn, or Kinship‘s roast chicken. Times have obviously changed, and one small silver lining: now you can get these classics—old and new—delivered to your door or for pickup. 

Hot-and-sour noodles at A&J. Photograph by Scott Suchman

2 Amys deviled eggs with green sauce
3715 Macomb St., NW
Sure, 2 Amys is one of DC’s most popular pizzerias for a reason (the Neapolitan pizzas). But! We’ve always loved the sophisticated, unfussy small plates—heavy on anchovies, cured meats, and seasonal gems—as much as the Neapolitan pies. These jammy eggs with herbaceous salsa verde always steal the show. Order online for pickup.

A&J dim sum
1319 Rockville Pike, Rockville; 4316 Markham St., Annandale
We’ve spent many a weekend waiting for a coveted table outside these tiny, family-run Chinese spots (also: seeking out an ATM for the cash-only rule). These days you can get everything to-go—we love the scallion pancakes, juicy dumplings, beef wraps, spicy noodle soups, and cucumber salad—and pay through Venmo. Call or order online.

Bad Saint
3226 11th St., NW
Who would have thought this tiny, ultra popular Filipino restaurant would package their line-standing dishes to-go? The takeout menu (served Thursday through Saturday) changes so often it’s hard to pinpoint one item, but the punchy, creative flavors we’ve come to expect are all there. Past dishes include crab fat noodles, spring rolls, and pork belly. There’s also an online marketplace with homemade chili sauces, noodles, CSA boxes, and more. Order online.

Beteseb vegetable platter and rib-eye tibs
8201 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring 
Ethiopian food travels beautifully, and out of all the options, we’re partial to this family-run restaurant in Silver Spring. Go for rib-eye tibs sautéed with onion and green pepper and the heaping vegetarian platter. For the brave: the kitfo (tartare-like minced raw beef) is superb. Call for pickup.

Tiffin boxes at Cane. Photograph courtesy of Cane

Cane tiffin boxes
403 H St., NE
We loved crowding around the tables at chef Peter Prime’s small H Street dining room pre-Covid. The menu hasn’t changed much for takeout—a good thing—and the tiffin boxes are a great way to go for both sampling and travel (curries generally carry well). Pick between omnivore or vegetarian, both loaded with curries, chutneys, and homemade bread. Order online for pickup.

Columbia Room cocktails
124 Blagden Alley, NW
Derek Brown’s classy cocktail destination has been packaging seasonal drinks to-go since the stat of the pandemic (and unlike some of the straightforward cocktails on the takeout market, good luck creating these at home). For January, Brown also has non-alcoholic creations. If you’re hungry, check out Your Only Friend sandwich pop-up. Order online for pickup and delivery.

Compass Rose khachupuri
1346 T St., NW
Rose Previte’s 14th Street dining room certainly didn’t invent the decadent Georgian cheese bread, but it can claim responsibility for popularizing it to Jumbo Slice-level proportions in the minds of hungry Washingtonians. Instead of a server mixing molten cheese, egg, and butter inside the canoe-shaped bread table-side, the takeout version comes with instructions for doing it at home. Order online for takeout. 

Compass Rose cheese bread. Photograph by Scott Suchman

The Dabney catfish sliders
122 Blagden Alley NW
You’ll have to order a three-course menu ($45) to get chef Jeremiah Langhorne‘s previously off-menu crispy catfish sandwich—but the addictive bite is worth it. Other seasonal dishes like barbecue chicken don’t sound shabby, either. Order online for takeout and delivery.

Daikaya ramen
705 Sixth St., NW
Daikaya’s siblings all jumped onto the takeout wagon pre-pandemic, including chicken-centric Bantam King and Navy Yard’s Hatoba. But these days you can get the original Daikaya ramen to go, plus tons of fun extras from their online marketplace. Our move: the muggi-miso ramen or the vegetarian version—with an optional porky spice bomb. Order online for pickup and delivery.

Fiola Mare lobster ravioli
3100 K St., NW
It’s always a special (re: very expensive) splurge to dine at Fabio Trabbochi’s Georgetown restaurant. Takeout and delivery are no different. Does $60 ravioli to-go seem insanely indulgent? Yes. But these ravioli come stuffed with lobster, half a tail, and a velvety lobster sauce. And they cost a fraction of that vacation you’re not taking. Order online for pickup and delivery. 

Daikaya best ramen shop DC.
Daikaya’s delicious veggie ramen (plus: you can always add pork). Photograph by Scott Suchman

Hank’s Oyster Bar lobster roll
Locations in Dupont Circle, the Wharf, Capitol Hill
Over a decade later, our favorite item on chef Jamie Leeds’ menu is the lobster roll packed with sweet meat—is on the menu of classics. For a side, go for the ultra creamy mac n’ cheese or lobster bisque. Available for pickup or delivery.

Jaleo gambas al ajillo
Locations in Penn Quarter, Bethesda, and Crystal City
This simple yet delicious dish of garlicky shrimp debuted with Jose Andres’ first Jaleo in Penn Quarter 27 years ago—and there’s a reason its been on the menu of every Jaleo since. Classic sangria or an excellent gin-and-tonic are on the menu too. Order online for pickup and delivery.

Roast chicken at Kinship. Photo by Scott Suchman

Kinship roast chicken
1015 Seventh St., NW
Chef Eric Ziebold’s fancy roast chicken strutted onto the scene when the luxe poultry trend was just beginning—and it’s still one of the best. The roast bird, which serves two-to-four ($45), comes with pommes rissolées, lemon-garlic panade, and salad. For dessert, splurge on gooey butter cookies. Order online for pickup.

Komi pita bread
1509 17th St., NW
Chef Johnny Monis closed his fine dining destination at the start of the pandemic and reopened as Happy Gyro, a veggie-centric ode his family’s Greek diner. The menu of pizzas and sandwiches looks a lot different, but the homemade, ethereal pita breads that accompanied every Komi feast can be ordered as gyro sandwiches (we love the vegetarian and lamb) or solo to start the meal (go ahead and splurge on the barrel-aged feta with it). Another thing we’re psyched to see on the go: sommelier Kyle Wilson’s carefully curated wines, beers, and ciders. Order online for pickup. 

Maketto fried chicken. Photo by Scott Suchman

Maketto fried chicken
1351 H St., NE
Chef Erik Bruner-Yang isn’t a newcomer to the takeout platform—and that’s a good thing for consistency’s sake. His mouth-tingling, generous plate of fried chicken, spiced with Szechuan peppercorns and drizzled in five-spice caramel, is as good as ever. Available for pickup or delivery.

Le Diplomate cheeseburger Américain
1601 14th St., NW
Le Dip’s burger is basically a cheffy riff on le Big Mac: two diner-style, dry-aged patties, creamy “special” sauce, pickles, and onions on a homemade brioche bun. It’ll cost you $20 these days (with ultra-crispy fries) but it’s a meal in itself. Unless, like us, you’re tempted by the brasserie’s sleeper hit: the buttery shrimp salad. Available for takeout or delivery on multiple platforms.

Little Serow whiskey pork ribs
1511 17th St., NW
In the old days, you’d have to wait in line and then sweat through a fiery, multi-course meal to reach Serow’s pork-y pinnacle: charred, whiskey marinated ribs. Now you can get them a la carte (plus rice and veggies) as part of the takeout menu, or as part of a multi-course set dinner to-g0. Order online for takeout.

The Le Dip burger. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Market Lunch crabcake breakfast
225 Seventh St., SE
There’s something ultra-satisfying about indulging in crabcakes for breakfast. This 40-plus year-old Eastern Market dining counter griddles the meaty cakes alongside creamy grits and scrambled eggs. You can get them at lunch, or packaged and ready to make at home. These days, the operation takes credit cards. Call for curbside pickup.

Oohhs & Aahhs shrimp n’ grits
1005 U St., NW; 5933 Georgia Ave., NW
If you’re seeking comfort to-go, it’s hard to go wrong at the soul food restaurant—fried chicken or fish, mac n’ cheese, turkey wings…we could go on. But it’s hard to beat a bowl of the shrimp and creamy homemade grits, which never skimps on the seafood. Ten shrimp can come grilled, fried, or best yet, blackened with Cajun spice. Order online for pickup.

Thip Khao. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Padaek/Thip Khao crispy coconut rice salad
6395 Seven Corners Center, Falls Church; 3462 14th St., NW
Chef Seng Luangrath and Bobby Pradacith’s Lao restaurants in DC and Falls Church are both open for takeout. It’s hard to miss on either menu, but the crunchy rice salad strewn with herbs, morsels of sausage and peanuts, and lettuce leaves for wrapping is a must (it can also be made veggie). Available for carryout from Padaek; order online for Thip Khao.

Peking Gourmet Inn Peking duck
6029 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church
The Peking duck at Eddie Tsui’s Falls Church mainstay became so popular in the ’80s that the family opened their own farm in Purcelville, Virginia to grow thousands of pounds of spring onions to accompany the crackling-skinned bird and homemade pancakes. You can get a whole duck ($50) to-go, and don’t forget an order of shrimp with garlic shoots. Available for takeout and free delivery within a limited radius.

Pho 75 #1 pho
1721 Wilson Blvd, Arlington; 771 Hungerford Dr, Rockville
These soup parlors were ladeling no-frills, soul-warming bowls of Vietnamese pho long before the dish became trendy. You won’t find large, varied menus—just the soup, with extras like Vietnamese ice coffee. We’re fans of the #1, floating with eye-round steak, flank, brisket, tendon, and tripe plus heaps of herbs. Call for pickup; cash only.

The Prime Rib’s specialty. Photograph by Scott Suchman

The Prime Rib prime rib
2020 K St., NW
With a dress code policy and tagline like “the civilized steakhouse,” we were surprised to see this K Street stalwart offer takeout. But sure enough, you can get a juicy, 24-ounce hunk of prime meat on the fly, rounded out with lobster bisque or a wedge salad. Whether you don the proper jacket at home is up to you. Order here for pickup and delivery.

Rappahannock Oyster Bar oysters on the half-shell
1150 Maine Ave., SW
We’ve spent many a happy afternoon over a chilled platter of briny Olde Salt and creamy Rochambeau oysters (meaty clams, too). The good news: that doesn’t have to change thanks to the Wharf location’s to-go offerings, which even include chilled wines. Bivalves can be ordered shucked and ready, or whole to pop open at home. We’re also fans of the crabcake, chowder, and peel-and-eat shrimp. Order online for pickup.

Rappahannock oysters. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Rasika palaak chaat
633 D St., NW; 1190 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Indian food is one of those cuisines that travels reliably well, and while chef Vikram Sunderam’s crispy spinach may not hold up as well as a curry, we’ve found it still fares well (credit the cooling yogurt, dates, and chutney—each packaged separately). You can also buy homemade Rasika simmer sauces for cooking at home. Available for pickup or delivery.

Red Hen rigatoni with sausage ragu
1822 First St., NW
This comforting bowl of pasta—with a saucy Sunday-style gravy packed with homemade fennel sausage and capped with parm—has been on chef Michael Friedman’s menu since day one. There’s a reason it’s never left. Order online for pickup or delivery.

A sushi taro chirashi box to-go. Photograph courtesy of Sushi Taro

Rose’s Luxury Pork-and-lychee salad
717 Eighth St., SE
Chef Aaron Silverman’s unexpectedly addictive salad of sweet lychees, chilies, onion, pork, and coconut milk is a dish that helped land Rose’s Luxury on the national map. You can now get it—along with buzzed-about entrees like grilled pork ribs—as part of a three-course takeout spread ($45 per person). Order online for pickup. 

Sushi Taro chirashi
1503 17th St., NW
The Michelin-starred Dupont restaurant never offered much takeout over its decades in business until the pandemic. Now it’s all-in, offering everything from its excellent lunchtime bentos (now available at dinner) to full at-home omakase meals. We love the artful chirashi bowls—and their pretty takeout packaging—for sampling ultra-fresh sashimi over a bed of perfectly seasoned rice. Order online for pickup.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.