"You'll be in falafel nirvana," promised the guy behind the counter of Amsterdam Falafelshop (2425 18th St., NW; 202-234-1969; falafelshop.com). He was right: The warm, pita-wrapped chickpea patties, with toppings like vinegary red cabbage, dilled yogurt sauce, and eggplant, make an addictive late-night snack. The double-fried Dutch-style fries with mayo are heavenly, too. Open Sunday and Monday till midnight, Tuesday and Wednesday till 2:30 AM, Thursday till 3, Friday and Saturday till 4.
In the suburbs, the 24-hour diners–the kind with history, not the copycats–are the places to satisfy nocturnal cravings with stacks of pancakes, no-frills grilled cheeses, and other classic fare. In Maryland, head for the Tastee Diner (Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Laurel; tasteediner.com); in Virginia, there's Bob & Edith's (2310 Columbia Pike, Arlington, 703-920-6103; and 4707 Columbia Pike, 703-920-4700).
Washingtonian staffers contributing to this section were Cristina Abello, Susan Baer, Susan Davidson, Ken DeCell, Rebecca Dreilinger, Kim Isaac Eisler, Mary Clare Fleury, Kimberly Forrest, Brooke Lea Foster, Garrett M. Graff, Cynthia Hacinli, Thomas Head, Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Chad Lorenz, Leslie Milk, Aparna Nancherla, William O'Sullivan, Cindy Rich, and Chris Wilson. Also contributing were Cathy Alter, Ann Cochran, and Matthew Graham.