Out of the dozens of restaurants available along H Street NE, choosing the best can appear next to impossible. Here’s our guide to the food on H Street that deserves to rank among the top D.C. restaurants.

Only a couple decades ago, the H Street corridor would be low on the list of anyone trying to name locations of quality D.C. restaurants. Now, the area has become a thriving hub of new business, housing, and restaurant options, but with gentrification comes the dangers of overabundance: when there are this many new restaurants popping up, it’s hard to gauge which places deserve to last. Popularity – and the money spent along with it – is the key component to restaurants remaining open, but every foodie knows that quality of food does not always follow popularity. Here are four D.C. restaurants that serve the best eats around, all located right along H Street NE. D.C. restaurants

Taqueria & Rosticeria Fresca

WHERE: 701 H St. NE HOURS: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. | Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Whether you’re looking for quality carne asada or hoping to pig out on an assortment of tacos, Taqueria & Rosticeria Fresca offers some of the best Mexican food in the entire area. Having been in operation for around two years, they have recently expanded next door to include a full bar. While this newer side is a little pricier than the fast-food-style restaurant up front, the bar-side restaurant also serves, without a doubt, the cheapest margaritas I have found in the entire city, which are quite delicious to boot. In fact, the crab empanada served in the bar-side establishment was some of the best food I’ve encountered in D.C. restaurants, period. D.C. restaurants

Ben’s Chili Bowl

WHERE: 1001 H St. NE HOURS:  Opens daily at 11 a.m. | Sun.–Wed., closes at 9 p.m. | Thur., closes at 10 p.m. | Fri.–Sat., closes at 3 a.m. Ben’s has long been upheld as the quintessential D.C. diner experience, but most people think of the landmark U St. location when the restaurant comes to mind. In 2015, the company opened a location that, while not their first franchised spot (like those at the airport or Nationals Stadium), is most similar to their first location, and feels like the first true extension of the brand. Chili cheese half-smokes, burgers, and fries are the top sellers on the menu, but the chicken sandwich is another MVP, making fast-food chicken sandwiches look truly sad. One of the added perks of this location is that the lines are remarkably shorter here (if there are any lines at all) when compared to the U St. location, and since they’re open late on weekends, you can have a night on the town with some spicy comfort food to close out the evening without waiting around a ton of other hungry, intoxicated folks.
 D.C. restaurants

DC Harvest

WHERE: 517 H St. NE HOURS: Brunch -- Fri.– Mon., 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Dinner --  Sun.–Thur., 5:30 – 10 p.m., Fri.–Sat., 5:30 p.m. – 11 p.m. Offering some of the freshest locally sourced ingredients in presentations both classic and innovative, DC Harvest is on the prowl for a Michelin star. With recipes like venison-stuffed cocoa ravioli and squid ink linguine with Maryland crabmeat, it’s clear that the restaurant’s head chef knows how to balance bold flavors with classic fare. Their cheese plates and desserts are also the best you’ll find on this end of the H Street corridor, with the only rival there being The Pursuit, all the way on the other end of the corridor. Once you factor in the full bar and fresh oysters on the half-shell, DC Harvest clearly becomes a frontrunner of D.C. restaurants. D.C. restaurants

DC Diner

WHERE: 802 13th St. NE (current entrance just past the corner of 13th and H St., on the right of the above picture) HOURS: Open 24 hours Wed.– Sat. | Closes at 6 p.m. Sunday | Closed Monday and Tuesday DC Diner is the newest of all the D.C. restaurants on this list, and you can tell they are in it for the long haul by the quality they bring to the plate. Diners with menus as diverse as this are often setting themselves up for failure, but not only is everything on the menu good, but it’s so good that you’ll wonder how you didn’t end up spending at least 25 percent more money on your food. The hours over the weekend can’t be beat, and neither can their breakfast food. Just take the website that Google lists as the company page with a grain of salt – the last time I ate at DC Diner, I didn’t see any Chicken Florentine or wine (and that’s probably for the best, considering it was about 3:30 in the morning). Do you know of an unsung restaurant hero on H Street that deserves to make the list? Sound off in the comments below!
Featured image: carne asada, beans and rice from Taqueria & Rosticeria Fresca, image by John S. on Yelp

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