After a few drinks on a Friday night, rogue neurons in your brain may start trying to convince you that you’re starving and that the only way to feel better is to eat a jumbo slice containing enough saturated fat for the whole weekend.
Don’t listen. If you need to satisfy a craving after a night at the bars, Washington’s late-night dining scene offers more delicious options than ever before: Lebanese flatbreads, chocolate chess pies and New York-style pizzas can soothe any hunger pangs — and you won’t regret eating them the next morning.
There’s drunk pizza, and then there’s good pizza. Wiseguy’s is, hands down, the best New York-style pie in the city. Mix and match its thin, crispy and gooey king-size slices, sold with toppings that can satisfy meat lovers (honey barbecue chicken; potato and bacon; chicken parmesan), veggie fans (mushroom truffle) and beyond (chicken paneer; Korean chicken; penne pasta in vodka sauce). Don’t worry, pizza purists — they also carry the classics and make a mean margherita. The line regularly snakes out the door after midnight, but there’s ample seating room inside and outside. In a rush to get home? Make like a New Yorker, fold your slice in half and hail a cab. 300 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Open until 1 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday; 4 a.m. Thursday; and 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday. — Megan McDonough
If you’ve wandered into Amsterdam Falafelshop late, you’re probably under the influence of Adams Morgan, so you won’t notice that the employees are unamused by your presence. You’re here for the goods coming out of the fryer and the freedom to top them with anything your heart desires— cabbage, cucumber, beets, pickled cauliflower, tahini and so much more. Does customer service mean much when you’re unlikely to remember that the songs kept changing after a minute of play, before settling on a mood and volume that seemed to be willing you to eat as quickly as possible and leave? The falafel and fries were satisfying and your buzz was calmed. And that’s why you came. 2425 18th St. NW. 1830 14th St. Adams Morgan location open until midnight Sunday and Monday; 2:30 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 3 a.m. Thursday; and 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday. — Kara Elder
Red lettering glows from the neon sign in the window, pulling customers off the street near Dupont Circle and into one of Washington’s better bookstores. Bibliophiles will want to browse, but if your stomach is growling, make a beeline for the glass-encased dining room in the back. The late-night menu includes veggie risotto tots ($10) — bite-size arancini balls showered with parmesan cheese — that play nicely with a beer-braised marinara sauce. For something more substantial, go with a fried chicken sandwich ($14) that complements crispy, tender white meat with a cilantro-heavy Peruvian Pio Pio sauce. 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. Late-night menu available 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Sunday to Thursday; midnight to 2:30 a.m. Friday to Saturday. — Gabe Hiatt
One bite of the special samosa ($3.99) confirms that the area’s preeminent kebab house, opened by owner Mohammad Afzal in 1997, hasn’t lost its edge. The toppings on the fried potato purse — spiced chickpeas, yogurt raita, raw jalapeño, tomatoes and cilantro — push and pull your palate between spicy heat and cool. The halal kebabs are spectacular — you can see tomorrow’s speared meats marinating in a refrigerated case. But the true prize is the bone-in chicken karahi ($25.99) for two: Chopped chicken bobs in a deep-red curry with matchsticks of fresh ginger. The hub for South Asian immigrants has grown to three locations within a two-block stretch in Arlington. It was no surprise the original was full well after 11 p.m. on a recent Saturday. 305 N. Glebe Rd. Open until 1 a.m. Monday to Thursday; 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and midnight Sunday. — G.H.
Supping late shouldn’t force you to consume a greasy burger or something fried. A recent weeknight trip to Lucy allowed me and a friend to watch the Nationals win on a big-screen TV at the bar before setting out into the night feeling light. Served on a platter of tangy injera bread, the vegan combination ($18) includes deft takes on curry-stained cabbage, berbere-spiced lentils, a hearty mix of potatoes and carrots, and more. A mound of chilled ground beets was a welcome surprise, and crisp kale leaves brimming with garlic were a highlight. The kifto special ($15), chopped prime beef blended with clarified butter and a mild, coriander-heavy mitmita spice blend, offers complex bites for carnivores. 8301 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring. Open until 2 a.m. Sunday to Thursday; 3 a.m. Friday to Saturday. — G.H.
It’s 10:40 on a Friday night and at the Green Zone, everyone is shouting, joyfully, as they crowd around the dance floor or watch the bartender shake up two cocktails at a time. You forget you’re in Washington, thanks in part to the food, which includes many Iraqi and Lebanese dishes you won’t find elsewhere in the city. Order the kubbat halab (a mix of beef and lamb wrapped in rice and fried until crispy), any of the mana’ish (flatbread with za’atar, labneh, cheese, vegetables or — not yet on the menu! — ask for Nutella), the muhammara (red pepper and walnut dip) or Lebanese-style falafel. Food is served until last call and comes remarkably fast — fuel for dancing or happy dreaming. 2226 18th St. NW. Open until 2 a.m. Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday; 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. — K.E.
D.C. Cafe’s extensive menu has American staples, such as burgers and meatball sandwiches, but you should try the Syrian cooking of owner Ayman Almoualem instead. Go for the combination platter (moist chicken, big flakes of gyro, fresh veggies, rice, hummus, sour cream and pita for $12.99), the falafel or moussaka. There’s also dessert: The housemade nammoura — a moist semolina cake — is made with tahini and a sugar syrup with rose and orange blossom waters. So why has this 28-year old Dupont Circle gem remained under the radar? The answer may have something to do with its decor — one room, dark and cramped, six tables and an old-fashioned Sony TV. Our tip: Eat on the patio; the food is worth it. 2035 P St. NW. Open until 2:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday; 3:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. — Agata Popeda
On bleary weekend mornings, when the lights in New Big Wong’s bare-bones basement dining room stay on until 5, tipsy barhoppers crash up against waves of chefs and bartenders all craving something to eat after work. The menu contains hundreds of Cantonese, Szechuan and American-Chinese dishes, but the service industry pros know what to order: Cramped tables groan under plates of dry scallop fried rice, head-on salt-and-pepper shrimp, and crispy fried pork chops. Jumbo slice this is not. But if you follow the lead of the experts, it’s some of the most delicious and satisfying Chinese food in a Chinatown that’s a shadow of its former self. 610 H St. NW. Open until 3 a.m. Sunday through Thursday; 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday. — Fritz Hahn
When hunger strikes after last call in Georgetown, broke and inebriated college students know where to satisfy their cravings for Lebanese comfort food. Late-night drop-ins dive into the chicken shawarma ($8.19) that’s slathered in a garlic whip and topped with french fries and pickles. Others opt for the lehmaajin manakeesh ($6.50), a Levantine flatbread with ground beef, diced tomatoes, onions and lemon juice. Both dishes come tightly packaged in to-go wraps for convenience and feature made-to-order bread that’s thin, crispy and hot. Whatever you wind up getting, don’t miss out on the curly fries ($3.50) — a necessary nighttime splurge — and, for sweet tooths, the Kinder chocolate crepe ($6.50). 1071 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Open until 2:30 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday; 3:30 a.m. Thursday; and 4:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. — M.M.
Just as the late-night stomach yearns for things fried and crispy, so, too, can it want something crusty. Generous slices of pie — and not the Italian kind — are out of the oven at H Street’s Dangerously Delicious, along with a recently opened bar and music venue upstairs. Order at the downstairs counter, but know it may take time to decide among the 30-plus sweet and savory options, such as chicken curry, ratatouille and chocolate chess (and, oh, look, there’s quiche, too). Even with a steady stream of traffic — some picking up orders and others stumbling and settling in for something filling — it’s quiet downstairs. (This is almost definitely due to the upstairs space, which also includes a rooftop deck.) Bring a friend, or even a book, and relax. 1339 H St. NE. Open until midnight Monday through Thursday; 3:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 p.m. Sunday. — K.E.