Local restaurants serve international tastes


Margot Durfee

Summer tends to make people wistful for travel. In an ideal world, we could all jet off around the globe to the paradise of our choosing. Unfortunately, it’s unrealistic for most of us. Fortunately, DC is an international community, and there are many local eating options that serve different cuisines, so you can get the international taste without the international airfare fees. From Uyghur Chinese to Vietnamese, DC has it, so if you want to spend $10 instead of $10,000, check out these eating options near Wilson.

Dolan — Uyghur

3518 Connecticut Ave NW

Just across from the Cleveland Park Metro station, Dolan serves authentic Uyghur food. Uyghurs are from northwest China, a mostly Muslim province called Xinjiang, which is known for a cuisine that blends the lamb-based dishes of Central Asia with Chinese flavors. Dishes incorporate lamb and many spices like cumin and red pepper. Stepping into the restaurant, you are greeted by a friendly staff, some of which are Uyghurs. The sound of food sizzling in the kitchen and the accompanying smell of spices and grilled meat are enough to make your mouth water. There are two floors with plenty of seating, as well as an outdoor eating area. You can choose from a mix of popular Uyghur and Chinese dishes including lamb kabobs and Mapo tofu, ranging from $3 to $35. One dish that stood out particularly to me was the lamb kabobs. $3.50 a piece, the kabobs are made of tender grilled lamb that has the flavors of cumin and other spices. There are also many vegetarian options. I would give this restaurant a four out of five stars for its excellent food and atmosphere.

Pho 14 — Vietnamese

4201 Connecticut Ave NW (Van Ness)

Pho 14, known mostly for its $9 steaming bowls of pho, the classic Vietnamese soup noodle dish, is a perfect place for a meal with friends or family. The Van Ness restaurant is lively and bustling with chattering customers, waiters carrying trays of mouth-watering food, and the sound of chefs working away in the kitchen. The restaurant serves 22 different types of pho, and other Vietnamese dishes like banh mi and spring rolls, many of which are vegetarian. Pho is made with tender and chewy rice noodles and a flavorful beef broth, which is flavored with cinnamon, star anise, and herbs such as basil, bean sprouts, and cilantro. Pho 14 was opened by a Vietnamese man who was inspired by the dishes his mother made for him when he grew up. Many of the dishes at the restaurant are prepared using his mother’s recipes. Pho 14 has locations in Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan. This restaurant deserves to have five out of five stars, and I highly recommend it.

Byblos Deli– Greek

3414 Connecticut Ave NW

A 10-minute drive away from Wilson, Byblos Deli is a casual and tasty Greek deli. Next to Cleveland Park Metro station, the deli is easy to spot with its blue and white awning hanging over a couple of worn, marble tables on the patio. When you first walk in, you are met with the fragrant aroma of warm shawarma, a grilled meat dish, and baklava. The inside of the restaurant looks like it could be a 1960s style deli; a fan whirring above, an old drink fridge standing in the corner, and a display case filled with freshly made Greek pastries. They serve a variety of Greek deli food such as gyros, shawarma, and falafel. If you are vegetarian, don’t worry! Many of the foods such as falafel and hummus platters do not have meat in them. The dishes range from $3.75 to around $10, a good price for authentic tasting Greek food. Byblos Deli is probably my favorite restaurant out of all of these because of the delicious food and casual atmosphere. I would give it five out of five stars.

Cafe of India — Indian

4909 Wisconsin Ave NW

If you are looking for an option closer to Wilson, try Cafe of India. On weekdays there is an all-you-can-eat buffet special for $10 a person. Cafe of India is a peaceful place to eat, with traditional Indian music playing quietly in the background and tall windows letting the sun shine in. Different traditional Indian dishes are placed on the long buffet table every day, so if you visit more than once, there are many new things to try. Indian food has a combination of distinctly different flavors, whether it is a spicy vegetable curry with strong notes of turmeric and cumin, or a slightly more mild butter chicken. Most dishes are vegetarian. One dish I highly recommend is the Tandoori Chicken. The tender, flavorful chicken is marinated with yogurt and Indian spices. Cafe of India has exceptionally tasty food for a very good price, which is why it deserves five out of five stars.