The area around the Walter E. Washington Convention Center is always buzzing, thanks to its busy schedule of conferences and events. Regardless of whether you're a local who happens to be in the neighborhood or a traveler attending a gathering, these spots will have you covered from daybreak to well past sunset.
Pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac's first solo spot, Buttercream Bakeshop, is a sweets lover's dream come true. Feast your eyes and stomachs on a tempting array that includes the Queen B (a riff on kouign-amann), muffins, Flakies (rolled croissant dough baked like a muffin) and CinnaScones (scone dough turned into a kind of cinnamon roll). There are savory options and Compass Coffee, too.
1250 Ninth St. NW. Open Monday 7 a.m. to noon, Tuesday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Bread is a strong suit at A Baked Joint, the sister bakery to Georgetown's Baked & Wired. The toasts created from the excellent house-made loaves are a good bet. For something between bread, consider a biscuit sandwich with eggs and cheese or smoked salmon on a baguette. Pair your meal with coffee or tea, of which there's an impressive selection.
440 K St. NW. Open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The plant-based pitas at Shouk will satisfy any diner, vegan or not. Think roasted cauliflower with tomato, scallion, tahini and jalapeño oil, or roasted fennel with crispy potato, red pepper and pistachio pesto. The quenching almond delight drink will knock your socks off, too.
655 K St. NW. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Michael Schlow's Italian trattoria, Alta Strada, has an excellent crispy eggplant parm, available only at lunch. You can also enjoy some of the same pastas and pizzas available at dinner but at a lower price point.
465 K St. NW. Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11:30 p.m.
For a pre- or post-dinner drink, you've got two very excellent nearby options. First is the Columbia Room, Derek Brown and Angie Salame's Blagden Alley cocktail bar with three different spaces: the rooftop deck Punch Garden, lounge-like Spirits Library and the ticketed, prix-fixe ($75 or $100) Tasting Room. Just around the corner is Espita Mezcaleria, which offers the best selection of mezcal in Washington. (Espita's Mexican fare, focused on Oaxaca, is noteworthy, as well.)
Columbia Room: 124 Blagden Alley NW. Open at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Espita Mezcaleria: 1250 Ninth St. NW. Bar opens at 5 p.m. daily. Lunch 11:30 to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; dinner 5 to 10 p.m. daily.
Catch up with acclaimed former CityZen chef Eric Ziebold in one of his two dining rooms. At ground level is Kinship, the a la carte yet swanky restaurant where showstoppers include the white mushroom torchon and whole roasted chicken. For an even bigger splurge, head downstairs to Métier, for a lavish -- jackets required, gentlemen! -- seven-course meal for $200 per person.
1015 Seventh St. NW. Kinship dinner 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Métier dinner 6 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, advance reservations highly recommended.
Never thought about mid-Atlantic cuisine? The region has one of the best ambassadors in Jeremiah Langhorne, who is doing justice to local ingredients and history while stationed at a massive hearth at the heart of the Dabney in Blagden Alley. Must-try: The signature cornbread.
122 Blagden Alley NW. Open 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
Step away from the Sbarro. Just a short walk away from the convention center is All-Purpose, an Italian-American restaurant from the teams behind Bloomingdale's Red Hen and Boundary Stone. Chef Michael Friedman's crusts are bready but crispy and covered in such interesting toppings as littleneck clams, zucchini caponata and fennel agrodolce. The Jersey-style eggplant parm and desserts from nearby Buttercream shouldn't be missed either.
1250 Ninth St. NW. Open 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday, 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday.