The eating habits of students cramming for finals typically consist of by piles of Kraft Mac-n-Cheese cartons and strategically timed Starbucks runs. (Maybe a slice of lemon pound cake for good measure.)
Soon, you’ll have survived the semester, and that merits a full-fledged, non-microwaved meal from one of these multicultural food staples in the District.
Or, if you’re in more of a giving mood around the holidays, the website Giftly allows you to personalize a gift card by amount and even specify what it’s used for, like $10 for a drink or $20 for a dinner.
705 6th St. NW
Daikaya is a must-visit for adventurous food lovers. Daikaya has two floors, the first featuring its signature ramen dishes and the second serving as a cozy, dimly lit bar and lounge for Japanese tapas. Celebrate the end of the year with their unique sakebombs, a chef Katsuya Fukushima-original drink that wraps sake in seaweed and places it in beer ($7). After drinks, try their yamaimo ($6), Fukushima’s twist on spaghetti and meatballs, which features Japanese eggplant with salmon roe – drizzled in soy and basil – instead of pasta and meat. For something light, try the abura-miso, a traditional Japanese dish with sweet miso glazed pork in a rice ball ($3).
1924 I St. NW
For those of you who have been to the corner of 20th and I streets a thousand times but have failed to try El Chalan, you’ve missed out on some of the best Peruvian food in the city. This gem features rustic Spanish decorations and occasionally treats its patrons to live guitar music. Try their twist on classic dishes like arroz con mariscos, a Peruvian seafood paella ($17.25). If seafood isn’t for you, try the pollo a vino, a chicken dish cooked with Peruvian spices, red wine, carrots and raisins ($14.50). You can top off the night with a classic flan or sneak in a few pieces of their bread served with aji sauce. Plus, if you go Monday through Wednesday, you can get 10 percent off a dinner of $20 or more with a coupon from El Chalan’s website.
633 D St NW
Vegetarians, rejoice: Indian food is perhaps the most flavorful and vegetarian-friendly cuisines in the world. Rasika balances the deliciousness and complexity of Indian food without breaking to the whims of the American palate. But buyer’s warning: Prepare to share. Because Indian is such a diverse cuisine, it is best to order a bunch of dishes to share and dip with naan or rice. While you cannot go wrong with any dish at Rasika, give the tawa baingan a try, a delicious eggplant, potato and peanut dish ($9) or try their crispy kale fritter in a creamy yellow yogurt curry sauce ($8). For meat, try their take on the seekh kebab with the mint chutney ($9).
Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro
1801 18th St NW
While 18th Street has a lot of culinary options, try this Turkish-Italian restaurant and self-described Mediterranean Bistro just north of Dupont Circle. Rosemary’s portions are generous, and you have the option of going with Turkish mezes, pizza, pasta or any other Mediterranean staple you can think of. The stuffed spinach ravioli ($13.95) or their chicken shish ($14.95) are both worth the price – mainly because the latter comes with a giant house-made caesar salad. Or go for something Turkish like the pide, a flatbread stuffed with anything from cheese to delicious ground Turkish seasoned minced beef ($13.95). And if you happen to wake up in Adams Morgan some Sunday morning, Rosemary’s is also a great spot for brunch, and its daily happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.