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With Michelin stars now gracing our nation’s capital, it’s clear we’re serious about our food. But if the bike lanes filled with commuters weren't any indication, we want our food and lifestyle to be more functional, a sure-fire way to marry the two is by following our primal cravings, paleo-style.
Thankfully, DC’s dining scene has a ton of paleo-friendly options, you just have to know how to play the game. To help you get started, we've assembled our top picks to satisfy a paleo palate. Whether you’re in need of a happy hour oasis or a place to start your Sunday Funday, here’s your paleo guide to DC.
If you’re looking for the ideal paleo date night, take your cave king or queen to The Partisan in Penn Quarter. For a minimum of two people (and $50 a plate), you can order the coveted Pig Feast — a selection of the favorite parts of the pig from Red Apron Butcher. If you’re not prepared to enter a full food coma, their menu is stocked with our favorite plants and animals — we recommend the Sun Dried Duck, Japanese Eggplant, and Bacon Cured Spare Ribs.
Any paleo foodie can find something to devour in the aisles of Union Market. But if you’re looking for something more sit-down style, head to Bidwell for an unforgettable experience. Their seasonal menu is 90% gluten-free, with inventive dishes crossing the line between land and sea. Best of all, Bidwell is a roof-to-table restaurant, growing all of their fruits and vegetables atop Union Market. You can’t get much fresher than that!
Black Restaurant Group has contributed to the DC food scene in more ways than one. And our favorite spot might be the one that started it all: BlackSalt Restaurant. Situated next to the fish market of the same name, this gem strives to source their seafood from sustainable providers. The menu boasts every under-the-sea delicacy you could want — tuna tartare, sardines, clams, scallops, and more mussels than you can count. If you’re a seafood-lover and a paleo-follower, make the trek to Palisades to scope it out.
In the heyday of craft breweries, you might feel left out when the squad spends the day at Atlas or DC Brau. Have no fear — DC’s first cidery, ANXO, opened its doors in 2016 and has only developed their space and community since. Enjoy a few snacks or a charcuterie plate, then wash it down with your gluten-free cider of choice.
This family-owned Indian restaurant couldn't be cozier, with family pictures gracing the walls and chalkboard messages from owner to daughter. On that same chalkboard, you’ll find a menu laden with meat curry options, from goat to lamb to chicken prepared in tons of styles — butter, masala, spicy… you name it. Pair your main with vegetable sides and you’ll be hard-pressed not to return tomorrow and the next day. Just remember to pass on the rice and chickpeas if you’re a paleo purist.
As the sister restaurant to Farmers Fishers Bakers and Founding Farmers, this Chinatown restaurant brings the same farm-to-table experience we’ve come to know and love. Stop by for their never-ending weekend brunch, feast over a steak straight from Roseda Black Angus Farm in Maryland, or enjoy the day’s catch of sustainably-sourced seafood.
If you’re on a quest for authentic Thai food, Thai X-ing might be your best choice in The District. Come with an appetite — every night of the week is “chef’s choice” with the pre-fixe menu easily topping five courses. With no dairy in sight and each dish easily made gluten-free, you’re sure to find a feast to enjoy.
At Rocklands, a meat-lover’s paradise, the hardest decision you’ll have to make is how many meats you want to order. You can keep it simple and order meat by the pound, with options like grilled lamb, pit beef, and barbequed pork or chicken. Or, if you’re feeling particularly bold, opt for The Belly Buster, complete with two ribs, sausage, a quarter chicken, and brisket. Hold the potato roll and get the collard greens instead. Don’t worry — there are bacon bits in those, too.
One of the many mantras of True Food Kitchen is that better food = better living. Founded on the principle that food should make you feel better, not worse, TFK offers a menu for just about every dietary restriction you can think of. The paleo- and keto-friendly menus feature entrees like Spaghetti Squash Casserole and Grilled Sustainable Salmon, as well as helpful tips and substitutions for the lifestyle.
Rasa is a downright delicacy. This DIY Indian eatery lets you choose from a bevy of bases and any number of delicious meat mains — we’re partial to the turmeric ginger shrimp. From there, Rasa offers a seemingly endless rainbow of veggies, sauces, toppings, chutneys, and dressings to adorn your dish.
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