Washington D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood is historic, is architecturally pleasing and well-educated. Home to Georgetown University and many of D.C.’s internationally known intelligentsia, the neighborhood has a crisp, ironed—dare one say—preppy vibe.
Certainly a gander down M Street, the neighborhood’s main shopping street, shows a fascination among locals for all things Vineyard Vines and Brooks Brothers, which un-coincidentally have outposts right along this commercial strip. But while Georgetown certainly is a purveyor of preppy, M Street also an American Apparel plying turquoise tights and Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap to the Georgetown masses.
But let’s move beyond first impressions and delve into the local neighborhood’s food, bar and café culture. If D.C. is known for being home to any large ethnic group, it’s East Africans, with the doro wett (meat stew) and injera (sour, spongy flat bread) to match. Das Bougie, Georgetown’s nod to Ethiopian cuisine fails to disappoint. With an oh-so-proper approach to Ethiopian cuisine—“look Ma! Forks, no hands!”—the classics of the cuisine are there in their entire splendor. Go with a friend and split both the meat and vegetarian samplers and for a traditional tipple, go for the honey wine.
For lighter fare, try Café Tu-o-Tu, a hybrid of fine coffee shop and Turkish cuisine. The sandwiches feature Mediterranean flavors such as olive spread and feta cheese, the usual breakfast spread in that corner of the world. But the menu also forays deeper into Turkish specialties such as sucuk, a lightly spiced beef sausage and menemen, the Turkish version of scrambled eggs. Tu-o-Tu also serves classics perhaps more familiar such as bagels—but still available with Turkish fixings.
In terms of bars, Rugby Café on Wisconsin Avenue, another main Georgetown artery, offers deals such as half-price “Ziggy burgers” during happy hour. Non-meat eaters will relish the mac and cheese; all can kick back and enjoy a non-pretentious, non-fratty bar scene. Want to go more upscale with your food and wine? Check out Blue Duck Tavern. Located at the Park Hyatt Hotel, the restaurant features prime American fare such as beef ribs and apple tarts, paired off with fine cocktails such as raspberry martinis. President Obama himself has been known to make an appearance or two.