15+ Outstanding Restaurants Near the Tidal Basin in DC

Whether you walk the entire Tidal Basin, or cruise up and down, stopping to catch stunning views of nearby memorials, a filling meal is essential to bolster the cherry blossom viewing experience, along with your tour of the memorials.

Picnics are always encouraged, but for ease of preparation and maximum relaxation, there are a handful of nearby restaurants that are walking-distance to the Tidal Basin when collective hunger strikes.

Afternoon tea near me in Washington DC

10 minute Walk from Tidal Basin

Mandarin Oriental Empress Lounge

  • Walking time: 10 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 1330 Maryland Ave, SW, Washington DC 20024
  • Hours: Open 11AM-10PM (Wed-Sun)

Not only is The Mandarin Oriental Hotel a 10-minute walk from cherry blossom magic, but the luxurious and calming oasis serves as a relaxing break to cut through the of the peak of busy tourist season.

The Empress Lounge is the three-star hotel’s dining room, serving buildable bar bites and large plates and a unique afternoon tea offered Thursday through Sunday. The all-day menu blends Asian and American influence, including both food and drink.

Japanese whiskey and Thai beers match spicy and sweet chicken wings, miso soup, and club sandwich moistened with sriracha mayonnaise. The 12-layer cake is a true celebration, but the frosted carrot cake slice really speaks to a cheery spring season.


  • Walking time: 12 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 1120 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

The Wharf’s Officina is multifaceted, packing in five unique dining experiences into one Italian food destination. The al fresco Terraza is perfect for post-cherry blossom exploration and cichetti (Italian plates), the Trattoria labels handmade pasta the unofficial star, and the Salotto hosts DC’s only Amaro library in a cozy cocktail lounge setting.

A more casual Cafe serves both lunch and dinner, or prepares ‘picnic kits’ from the Cafe To-Go window. Batched cocktails and salumi will surely taste better under a cherry blossom canopy.

NOTE: Make sure to check the Officina website for special hours, as each space has different hours of operation.

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< 20 minute Walk from Tidal Basin

Colada Shop District Wharf

  • Walking time: 17 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 10 Pearl St SW, Washington, DC 20024

District Wharf’s Colada Shop honors good weather days with pastel colors, outdoor alley patio seating, and calming floral greenery. Cuban specialties are both refreshing and satisfying before or after a day making the Tidal Basin rounds.

The pastelistos seem especially appropriate for the spring season, filled with guava paste and creamy sweet cheese.

Hank’s Oyster Bar

  • Walking time: 18 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 701 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024

For a complete DC terroir experience, guild the cherry blossom lily with local oysters on the half shell at the nearby Hanks Oyster Bar. Lots of outdoor patio seating extends to views of the Potomac River and gestures in cool spring breezes from adjacent riverside.

Crab cakes, fish and chips, and lobster pot pie are among offer-able seafood classics.

Cafe du Parc

  • Walking time: 21 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004 (at Willard InterContinental)

White House neighbor The Willard InterContinental Hotel is a short walk from the Tidal Basin and guarantees a French Brasserie experience filled with warming comfort food charm. Grab an al fresco breakfast on the patio starting at 6:30am for pre-tourism fuel, or fill up on lunch from the all-day spread before a well deserved afternoon nap.

The Cafe du Parc ‘Le Café’ serves French pastries and coffee for near-instant energy.

The Intercontinental at The Wharf

  • Walking time: 16 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 801 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024

The Wharf’s Intercontinental has not one, but two dining options, under 20 minutes by foot from the Tidal Basin. Moon Rabbit’s dinner-only offering spotlights Vietnamese flavors with innovative culinary techniques. Plates of local fresh fish, perfumed lemongrass pork, and fried chicken kissed with a sweet fish sauce twist fit the seductively mysterious and warm dining room.

The water adjacent sister space, The Watering Hole, is elegantly casual with marina overlooks, all-beef wagyu hot dogs, and an open-air bar. An overhead sunshade canopy keeps the bright sun from interfering with food and beverage enjoyment.

NOTE: Moon Rabbit offers brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11:30am to 2:30pm. The Watering Hole is open Wednesday through Sunday.

GCDC Grilled Cheese DC Washington DC Restaurants near National Mall

20-30 minute Walk from Tidal Basin

GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar

  • Walking time: 22 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 1730 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006

There are few DC restaurants with unique grilled cheese dedication, and even fewer serving up a collection inspired by the Reuben sandwich, chicken parmesan, and pizza, all in melted cheese and toasty bread form. But GCDC is far from stingy with their cheese usage.

Pair the toasted sandwiches with unique takes on mac & cheese or griddled quesadillas.

Tonic At Quigley’s

  • Walking time: 25 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 2036 G St NW, Washington, DC 20036

Tonic At Quigley’s is first and foremost a historic 19th century pharmacy, secondly famous for tater tots, and close behind, a notorious spin know as ‘totchos’, or nacho inspired tots topped with taco beef, salsa, guacamole, black beans, and cheese sauce. Start with a ‘tot’ order before diving head first into meaty burgers, sandwiches and pizza slices.

Kingbird at the Watergate Hotel

  • Walking time: 30 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 2650 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037

Modern and fashionable, Kingbird’s groovy and massive dining room brings dishes from the French Riviera to the Georgetown Waterfront. For a more private and unique dining experience, reserve a Sunday Igloo for posh afternoon tea. Top of the Gate rooftop features 360 degree views of Washington DC city skylines with creative cocktails and wood-fired pizza to boot.

NOTE: Top of the Gate reopens for the spring in April 2022.


  • Walking time: 30 minute walk from Tidal Basin
  • Address: 480 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

This street-chic downtown Spanish landing spot is a local favorite. While the walk is a little longer, this culinary destination is in the heart of DC with excellent positioning for central exploration.

Order the pan con tomate (toasted pan de crystal with tomato, olive oil, and salt) before throwing caution to the wind and filling the table with an array of groovy small plates for the entire cherry blossom viewing party.

Central Michel Richard

  • Walking time: 25 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

Central self identifies as ‘an American bistro with a French accent’. Snack-able French cheese puffs (gougeres) and hanger steak commingle with burgers and celebrity chef Michel Richard’s infamous fried chicken.

Not including Mondays and Sundays, Central is open for lunch and dinner, which leaves great flexibility for meal time before or after visiting the Tidal Basin’s cherry blossom ring.

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana

  • Walking time: 30 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 401 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

Small plates are reimagined with Mexican flare at Penn Quarter’s Oyamel. Mexican street-style ceviches, vegetables, meats, and tacos fill a colorful and tastefully bright dining room with the smell of fried pork belly, fragrant salsa verde, and aromatic heirloom corn used for hand-made corn tortillas. The Oyamel margarita is a must order with a ‘salt air’ twist that doubles as an edible science experiment.

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

  • Walking time: 25 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 1308 G St. NW, Washington, DC 20005

Fried chicken and donuts are a unique combination, but upon deeper reflection, creates an indulgently harmonious sweet and savory match. Donut hits the shelves early and breakfast is served until 11:30am, while fried chicken, sides, and lunch/dinner specials pick up where breakfast leaves off and carries Astro through to closing.

For true donut fanatics, traditional sandwich buns can be swapped for savory Old Bay doughnuts starting at 11:30am.

NOTE: During Cherry Blossom season, do not miss out on their cherry blossom donuts, a must during the spring season.

Mitsitam Cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian

  • Walking time: 30 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 4th St SW, Washington, DC 20560

Diners couldn’t get any closer to the National Mall if they tried with a visit to The National Museum of the American Indian’s Mitsitam Cafe (meaning, “Let’s eat”). Five food stations share Native foods bounty indigenous to the Americas.

Each station shares a different native culinary approach, highlighting regional ingredients and environmental variation. The fry bread alone draws DC tourists and locals all year long.

Rasika (Penn Quarter)

  • Walking Time: 30 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 633 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004

Serving the most sought-after modern Indian food in DC, Rasika is entrenched in local culinary culture. Both the lunch and dinner menus showcase the exceptional versatility, complexity, and finesse of Indian food with traditional flavors and remarkable elegance.

Kennedy Center in Washington DC

30+ minute Walk from Tidal Basin

Victura Park at the Reach (Kennedy Center)

  • Walking time: 40 minute walk to Tidal Basin
  • Address: 2700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20566

Victura Park at the Reach is quite new, but serving as an extension of the Kennedy Center’s artistic distinction, the cutting-edge outdoor garden is innately calming and charming.

Browse the landscape, artistic sculptures, water features, and green grass before posting up with beer garden grub. Order a few beers, a glass of wine, or a cold cup of lemonade and feast on charcuterie boards and cheese plates.

Note: Although not geographically far, the walking route takes about 40 minutes from the Tidal Basin. However, most scenic routes take pedestrians through the MLK Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and/or the World War II Memorial.

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