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Black Excellence: 12 Best Black-Owned Restaurants in Washington DC

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The bustling metropolis has a vibrant and diverse food scene, with many black-owned restaurants. They provide delicious dishes that showcase the heritage and flavors of the African diaspora, serving as essential pillars of the community.

From soul food restaurants that honor Southern cooking customs to cutting-edge fusion restaurants. These restaurants blend contemporary influences.

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Black-owned restaurants in DC not only tempt the palate but also offer a venue for celebrating the contributions of black entrepreneurs to the city’s culinary scene. 

Explore the best black-owned restaurants that represent the fusion of culture and cuisine in the heart of the nation’s capital as you embark on a flavorful journey.

People Also Read: Top 10 Black-Owned Restaurants in Orlando

12 Best Black-owned Restaurants in Washington DC

Below is the list of the 12 best black-owned restaurants in Washington, DC, ranking from the bottom to the top. 

Letena

Inside Letena.
Inside Letena. Image source: Facebook licensed under CC BY 2.0

Letena is home to every type of Ethiopian recipe you can imagine and has one of the largest Ethiopian populations in the community. The restaurant has a vegetarian sampler full of vibrant vegetables that’ll have you thanking whatever higher power you believe in for bringing you this far. 

Additionally, the restaurant’s walls are lined with framed artwork and rustic lanterns, giving off warm, vibrant orange tones that go beyond the food. After a few cups of honey wine and an order of the silky tiramisu, you’ll leave feeling buzzed and sanctified.

You can get your framed artwork on Amazon using this link.

Kitchen Savages

A bowl of greens by Kitchen Savages.
A bowl of greens by Kitchen Savages. Image source: Kitchen Savages licensed under CC BY 2.0

Community is at the heart of Kitchen Savages, which has opened a posh restaurant east of the river with black linen tablecloths, gold flatware, and cozy blue velvet chairs. It’s a great place to choose for a late-night date. 

You can taste the care that goes into creating each recipe, from the iconic Savage fries to the jerk lamb chops. You’ll love the lobster mac and cheese that comes topped with a perfectly fried lobster tail. You can choose between a sweet Irene or a variation of the French martini. The drinks are straightforward.

Ben’s Chili Bowl

Ben’s Chili Bowl.
Ben’s Chili Bowl. Image source: licensed under CC BY 2.0

The original chili half-smoke with all the fixings is a must-have at Ben’s Chili Bowl, even though it may not be the most well-known restaurant in Washington, DC.

You can look through the pictures of diners from various eras dotted around the restaurant and tell the story of Ben’s and “Black Broadway” inside. 

To order food, be prepared to wait in line. You can eat at the counter or, if lucky, in one of the few red booths. 

You can order their catering services for all occasions.

The Park at 14th

Inside The Park at 14th
Inside The Park at 14th. Image source: The Park at 14th, licensed under CC BY 2.0

A premier dining and entertainment location, The Park at 14th in Washington, DC, is popular for its energetic ambience and exceptional offerings. 

It paved the way for the Black Clubstaurant idea, allowing other restaurants to run with it. The spot is like killing two birds with one stone, as you can have your food and stay up late for clubbing. 

The atmosphere is always different depending on the time of day, the day of the week, and which of the four floors you are on. The Park, on the other hand, is a great place to go if you and your friends want to have a good time, eat some soul food, and soak up your alcohol.

Georgia Brown’s

Inside George Brown’s.
Inside George Brown’s. Image source: Facebook licensed under CC BY 2.0

This upscale eatery has been operating since 1993 and combines luxury dining with traditional southern fare. With a grand piano and arched windows, the restaurant aims to transport you to a New Orleans jazz club.  

You’ll feel not only satisfied after eating at Georgia Brown’s but also glad you came. Popular dishes that live up to the hype include catfish fingers, fried green tomatoes, and banana pudding. Georgia Brown’s is the place to go if you want a sophisticated night out and a traditional meal to go with it.

The restaurant is open for private events and catering.

Negril Jamaican Eatery

Rice and fish by Negril Jamaican Eatry.
Rice and Fish by Negril Jamaican Eatry. Image source: Negril licensed under CC BY 2.0

One of the top black-owned restaurants in Washington, DC, is Negril

A variety of Jamaican dishes and homemade drinks are available on this casual and colorful restaurant chain’s menu. 

They serve Jerk Chicken over the grill, a whole chicken coated with the marinade and marinated overnight. On the menu, you must try their scrumptious oxtail. You shouldn’t miss out on Negril if you want to try Jamaican cuisine.

Cane

A bowl of greens with rice by Cane
A bowl of greens with rice by Cane. Image source: Cane licensed under CC BY 2.0

When you enter Cane, the first thing you see is a painting of President Obama enjoying some doubles. And like the doubles in the painting, the doubles at Cane are stuffed full of curried chickpeas and spices. 

Heavy hitters like oxtail and snapper escovitch are on the menu, which pays homage to the island’s Afro-Indian street food and other traditional Caribbean dishes. 

But if you only have time to sample one dish, go for the jerk wings, which are marinated in a 24-hour mixture of scotch bonnet peppers, cumin, and paprika before being smoked for three hours. 

You will eat them so quickly that you will find yourself licking your fingers and wondering who finished the last one.

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People Also Read: 10 Best Black Bars to Explore in Jacksonville, Florida

Nuvegan Cafe

Recipes by Nuvegan Cafe
Recipes by Nuvegan Cafe. Image source: Nuvegan Café licensed under CC BY 2.0

On your phone, it can be difficult to locate a local vegan soul food restaurant that is black-owned.

However, in Nuvegan Café, you’ll not taste the difference between how they make it and how your grandma makes it.  You will start drooling once you take a bite because their food is so delicious.

The best place to take someone for lunch is at this establishment.  Vegan fried fish and crab cakes are two of their most well-liked vegan foods.  You can also eat mac and cheese, okra, sweet potatoes, and collard greens.

Open Crumb

The mother-and-son team behind this West African takeout spot in Anacostia knows their way around the kitchen. A perfect example is the jollof rice, which might be your favorite on the menu. 

The rice is tender with spices like red pepper, curry, and garlic powder but still holds a bite. I recommend adding shito to the jollof if you don’t like it on its own.

You’ll also love the Ghanaian peanut soup with rice balls, which has you drooling already. Although the service is quick, I recommend ordering ahead of time just in case. If you order ahead, you can go in and out in under 10 minutes.

The Delegate

Recipe by The Delegate
Recipe by The Delegate. Image source: The Delegate licensed under CC BY 2.0

The largest Black-owned provider of food services and facility management is Thompson Hospitality. Warren Thompson laid the groundwork for the business.

Hearty American seafood and meat classics are served in The Delegate, a modern, brick-clad hotel restaurant. 

Brunch favorites like grits, sandwiches, fried chicken, shrimp, and meat are also popular. Pick up the appetizer menu while waiting and find a tasty snack. The staff remains present throughout, sits down, and fires a few shots.

Swahili Village

Inside Swahili Village
Inside Swahili Village. Image source: Swahili Village licensed under CC BY 2.0

East and West Africa come together at the Swahili Village in Dupont Circle for a delicious spread of food. The restaurant is a popular gathering spot for the who’s who of Black DC. 

Since the restaurant offers a variety of seating options, including roomy private rooms and a roped-off balcony that works great for guests looking for something more intimate, it’s a great choice for birthday dinners and first dates. 

In order to create a menu that will have you doing the Birdman hand rub while you wait, the menu combines traditional African dishes and ingredients like jollof rice, sweet plantain, and goat stew. 

You’ll love Nigerian suya–grilled and charred beef cubes served with freshly diced onions and tomatoes. 

Also included is a sweet but fiery dipping sauce for the beef samosas wrapped in flaky filo dough. 

Bukom Cafe

Jollof Rice served with meat and vegetables.
Jollof Rice served with meat and vegetables. Image source: Facebook licensed under CC BY 2.0

Since 1992, Bukom Cafe has been a mainstay of black-owned restaurants in Washington, DC, serving delectable West African cuisine in a warm, bilevel setting.

Each dish at Bukom Cafe is painstakingly crafted with a Bukom spin that maintains the authenticity of traditional West African cuisine, drawing inspiration from dishes and recipes from nations like Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia. 

With the addition of the energetic atmosphere produced by live music performances, tourists will undoubtedly check it off their must-visit lists!

People Also Read: 10 of the Best Restaurants in Nairobi to Explore

African American restaurants in Washington, DC, reflect the rich culinary traditions and entrepreneurial spirit of the community.

As a platform for supporting black-owned businesses, Spotcovery believes these restaurants not only allow you to taste delicious dishes but also contribute to the economic empowerment of black entrepreneurs.

By celebrating and embracing these culinary gems, you foster a dining scene that truly reflects the essence and diversity of Washington, DC.

Nearly 80% of consumers visit directories with reviews to find a local business. List your business for free in our exclusive Spotcovery Black-Owned Business Directory.

Spotcovery offers unique and fresh daily content on Black culture, lifestyle, and experiences. We talk about everything black, black people, black-owned and black-owned businesses. We also deliver authentic and relevant content that will inform, inspire and empower you! The future of black media is critical to today’s black experience! Our primary audience includes African American, African, Afro-Caribbean, and people of African heritage. Black culture is for the culture!

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Sedi Djentuh
Sedi Djentuh
Hey, Sedi here, a content writer. She's fascinated by the interplay between people, lifestyle, relationships, tech and communication dedicated to empowering and spreading positive messages about humanity. She's an avid reader and a student of personal weekly workouts. When she's not writing, Sedi is busy advocating for plastic-free earth with her local NGO.

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