Good Eats Near Old Town
A cocoa menu—we like the Audrey Hepburn, a shot of deep, dark liquid chocolate—plus sweets and savories make ACKC (inexpensive) a perfect spot for an afternoon pick-me-up or evening tête-à-tête.
California is in the air at Taqueria Poblano (inexpensive), a Mexican spot known for citrusy guacamole, delicious shrimp soft tacos, and turbocharged margaritas.
At the Wisconsin-inspired frozen-custard spot Dairy Godmother (inexpensive), flavors include chocolate, vanilla, and a daily special—such as pecan pie, with house-made pie smashed into the custard.
Cheesetique (moderate) has a 200-strong cheese counter up front and a marble-topped wine bar in back. Take a wedge of Jasper Hill bleu to go or settle in for a slice of goat-cheese-and-artichoke quiche.
Where else can you get either a burger or tuna tartare with spicy brown-butter jam and micro-cilantro? The beauty of Rustico (827 Slaters La.; 703-224-5051; moderate) is that it does both upscale and neighborhood eats—and does both well.
Across the street is Rustico’s little brother, Buzz (901 Slaters La.; 703-600-2899; inexpensive), where laptoppers and toddler-toters flock for Illy coffee and a sugar high. The breakfast brioche—filled with bacon, egg, and cheese—is the perfect morning fuel, while the pot pies are great for lunch. The cupcakes have a cult following.
Just Beyond Old Town
The Lebanese cooking at Zikrayet (moderate), just southeast of Old Town, has a pleasant homespun quality. Look for silky hummus, well-seasoned kofta, and kibbeh batata, a sort of Lebanese shepherd’s pie with pine nuts, onions, and beef. The only hitch: Service can be sluggish.