News & Politics

Make Your Life Easier: Delivery Service Ratings

We test four food delivery services so you can pick the best.

What if your favorite restaurants don't deliver, or don't deliver to your neighborhood?

Services such as Takeout Taxi may do it for them.

We tested four services. Most delivered within the promised time, usually an hour. As with carryout, the food stayed warm but usually not hot. Our advice with any delivery: Order foods that travel and reheat well, including Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and some Italian. Stay away from hamburger, steak, noodles, and pasta as well as anything fried.

You can order by phone or online. Delivery zones can be confusing if you live on a border. A staffer in Chevy Chase DC who called Takeout Taxi had food arrive 45 minutes late because the food came from the restaurant in downtown DC, not the nearby Bethesda location.

Delivery costs $3 or $4, but the fine print may reveal other add-ons such as processing fees and credit-card surcharges.

Delivery Service Delivery Area/Fee Restaurants What We Liked What We Didn't
A la Carte Express, 202-232-8646, Covers most of DC; $4 and up, based on zones. 80+ eateries, including Spices, Yanyu, Galileo, Heritage India. Order-taker was well informed. Some food spilled; Web order was not confirmed.
Doctor Delivery; 703-524-0800; Mainly Arlington; $3.99 delivery plus 5% service fee. 65 eateries, such as Tara Thai, Hard Times, Il Radicchio, Guajillo. Food arrived on time; friendly staff; also runs errands. $1 fee for using credit card.
Partners in Dining; 703-816-8880; Arlington only; $2.99 delivery plus 5% processing. 25 eateries, including Mexicali Blues, Delhi Dhaba, Silver Diner. Fast, hot delivery–in less than 45 minutes. Limited choice of restaurants.
Takeout Taxi 703-578-3663; 301-571-0111; Areawide; $3.99 delivery, "out of zone" $5.99 and up. 130 eateries, such as Aangan, Café Europa, Levante's, Malaysia Kopitiam, Crystal Thai. Some dishes actually arrived quite hot; pleasant staff. That 45-minute delivery glitch.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.