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Monday, April 15, 2024
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Escape the cold: Best places to eat in DC on a chilly day

A one-stop guide on DC’s most creative winter dining options for students

As students return to campus, going out to eat might not be first on their agenda. Indoor dining is no longer a safe option for students worried about contracting COVID-19, especially as the Omicron variant continues to surge. In addition, ice and freezing temperatures might discourage students from seeking safer outdoor dining experiences. 

Despite these challenges, many D.C. restaurants have taken creative measures to combat community fears and provide unique and pleasurable dining experiences. Here are some restaurants with comfortable options for students wanting to eat out despite COVID-19 and the cold. 


Located on Wisconsin Avenue adjacent to Giant, Raku offers an assortment of sushi and sashimi options, along with bento boxes and a variety of East Asian dishes. Inside the restaurant, modern decor and a hanging umbrella fixture creates a warm, relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant also has a heated outdoor patio and a happy hour from 4:30 p.m.- 6 p.m. EST Monday through Friday. 

El Techo

Fans of Latin-inspired cuisine can head to El Techo’s heated, enclosed rooftop, decorated with hanging plants and flowers. The atmosphere will transport diners from wintery D.C. to a warm, “tropical oasis.” Nestled in the bustling Shaw neighborhood, the restaurant is also steps away from a variety of bars, music venues and movie theaters. El Techo has happy hour every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5 p.m.- 6:30 p.m. EST, and is located just blocks away from the Shaw-Howard University Metro Station. 

Farmers Fishers Bakers

Love weekend brunch? Farmers Fishers Bakers, located in Georgetown, has a brunch buffet special every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. EST For $29.99 a person, diners can indulge in a selection of tasty “all-you-can-eat” dishes, including jambalaya, French toast and slow-roasted brisket. The location has a heated outdoor patio overlooking the Potomac River and is a 15-minute bus ride from Tenleytown. 

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana

Known for its tacos and Mexican street food, this colorful, lively spot in downtown D.C. is the perfect place to stop before heading to a museum or indoor event. Customers can dine in one of eight heated tents outside or in the restaurant’s brightly lit indoor dining room. Oyamel has happy hour, or “hora feliz,” on weekdays from 4 p.m.- 6 p.m. EST Tuesday through Friday. The restaurant is located steps away from the National Gallery of Art and the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. 

Duke’s Grocery

This British restaurant known for its assortment of hamburgers is about a 10-minute walk from the Dupont Circle Metro Station. The two-level location situated inside a historic row house also has heated patio seating overlooking the 17th street neighborhood. Duke’s is a “can’t miss” for anyone venturing through the Dupont Circle area. 

Union Market

Located blocks away from the NoMa-Gallaudet University Metro Station, which is easily accessible on the red line, this massive food hall hosts an assortment of vendors. From pasta, to donuts, to Korean tacos, vendors at Union Market offer a little bit of everything. On top of the building there is a sizable rooftop terrace lined with string lights, offering 365 degree views of the city. On this terrace, there is also a grassy turf area with socially distant circles for diners looking for an extra COVID-cautious experience. It is best to pick a warmer day to visit Union Market, as the rooftop area is not heated. 

All in all, despite the unfavorable weather conditions and lingering spread of COVID-19, D.C. still has a variety of incredible dining experiences to offer. Keep in mind that all D.C. restaurants are required to ask for proof of vaccination upon entry for all customers as of Jan. 15, so don’t forget your vaccine card. 

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