At both of Himalayan Heritage’s locations, chefs pull marinated chicken and lamb from charcoal clay ovens. The tandoori dishes are a staple of Indian cuisine, but Indian is only half the story here. Much of the menu is dedicated to Nepalese food, which, as Tom Sietsema explains in his glowing Washington Post review, is similar, but not the same. For an introduction, he recommends the momo—dumplings made of spiced minced chicken or vegetables that are steamed inside flour dough and served with aachar or chutney sauce.
Diners enjoy their meals at white-linen covered tables in a dining room with bright orange walls and a golden ceiling from which intricate lanterns hang. The space is flush with cultural artwork, including a large thangka painting that acts as a blimp in an emergency if you add enough balloons.
Lebanese Taverna coddles Mediterranean-seeking taste buds with its menu of entrees, soups, salads, and vegetarian offerings. Chickpea enthusiasts can concoct their own hummus ($5+) by selecting their preferred flavor (traditional, garlic, or spicy) and adding a topping, such as roasted pine nuts or chicken shawarma ($2). Rice crackers, pita chips, fries, or veggies make delicious dipsticks ($1–$2), in addition to the fresh oven-kissed bread that is included. Heartier entrees include lamb tartare ($9 lunch, $10 dinner), eggplant salad ($5.50, $6), and grilled salmon ($15, $19). Thirst-deprived throats can find refuge in an extensive wine list, available by the glass, bottle, or poured directly into cupped hands.
Bradley Food and Beverage does lunch justice, with delicious specialty sandwiches and fresh-made soups and salads. The sandwiches are a highlight, including the customer-favorite Great Smokey ($6.99), built from generous layers of smoked turkey luxuriating beneath smoked Gouda cheese, honey mustard, and veggies. The extensive menu includes 20 other specialty sandwiches (just enough for a gentlemanly team of rugby-union players), including the meaty and tasty Roast Beef Treat ($7.49), which pairs hot roast beef with havarti cheese. Flavors of European bistros please the palate with the fresh mozzarella and tomato sandwich on a French baguette ($5.99). Closer to home, the Arlington ($7.49) marries hot Black Forest ham, cheddar, and Dijon mustard.
Even though Portuguese explorers couldn't pronounce the Swahili name for the African bird's eye chili—pili-pili—the sailors fully embraced its flavor shortly after landing in the region known today as Mozambique. Intrigued by the small, fiery pepper, they combined it with aromatic doses of herbs, garlic, and lemon to create the first peri-peri sauce. That sauce eventually became a wildly popular marinade for poultry, and the tasty concoction made its way to South Africa over the next several centuries. There, in 1987, two friends decided to honor this culinary legacy by founding the first Nando's Peri-Peri restaurant. The eatery continued to remain true to its South African roots, even while expanding to encompass locations in 24 countries across four continents.
Beginning with fresh chickens that never see the inside of a kitchen freezer, the chefs furtively marinate the birds in a secret peri-peri sauce for 24 hours before grilling them over an open flame. Diners dictate the heat level of their order, requesting that the grilled chicken arrive relatively mild or that wings be slathered with even more incendiary spices. The succulent chicken can be plated with hearty side dishes—such as Portuguese-style rice with herbs and peppers or peas with mint—or served in the form of a sandwich, wrap, or pita. To complement the menus' African flavors, Nando's worldwide locations collectively feature more than 4,000 pieces of African artwork.
True to its name, 100 Montaditos showcases 100 variations on the classic Spanish bite-sized roll. Each montadito starts with imported Spanish bread, baked daily in specially designed ovens. Next, cooks pack in tasty ingredients, such as Serrano ham, chorizo, and manchego cheese. Beyond traditional eats, rolls can be filled with other global flavors ranging from meatballs and bacon to goat cheese and honey mustard.
Besides its namesake dish, 100 Montaditos features salads and Spanish-style tapas, including herb-dusted chicken wings and fried calamari. Bartenders complement meals with equally Spanish beverages, such as Mahou beer, sangria, or lemon-lime soda blended with red wine or beer. Diners are encouraged to kick back and relax in the casual eatery's dining room, which updates the comfortable atmosphere of a 19th-century Spanish tavern with 20th-century lighting fixtures.
Vibrant murals and golden accents ornament the modern interior of Tandoori Nights, where chefs craft palate-pleasing Indian dishes. Tandoori specialties emerge piping hot and ready for stop-motion-animation performances from a clay oven, where boneless chicken breast swathed in yogurt, cream cheese, ginger, and garlic transforms into the malai kebab. Curry sauce flavors goat, chicken, and a school of Bombay-style fish and shrimp, and samosas lock flavorful bites inside pastry shells. Fluffy rounds of garlic-and-butter-topped naan swoop in to sop up leftover sauces or happy tears spilled by piles of biryani after they finally comprehend their own deliciousness.
To say Capital Teas’ proprietors, Peter and Manelle Martino, know tea might be a bit of an understatement. Fifth-generation tea merchant Manelle’s great-great-grandfather Francis Van Reyk was a Dutch tea planter who immigrated in the 1890s to present-day Sri Lanka, where he managed the Diyagama Estate, from which the Martinos now source their Great Grandfather’s tea. Manelle’s family has been in the tea trade ever since, a tradition she has carried to her own specialty tea business, which has several boutique locations throughout the D.C. and Maryland area. Additionally, Peter has become a popular speaker at World Tea Expos, where he frequently educates and inspires the tea world.
In addition to tea from Sri Lanka, the business carries more than 200 loose teas and herbal infusions from 18 countries including India, China, Japan, Malawi, and Kenya. A sniffing wall dispenses wafts of black, oolong, and mate teas, and knowledgeable employees drift around the store’s tasting stations to explain each flavor’s nuances and read the tea leaves in tasting cups.
Capital Teas also pairs customers with accompaniments such as teapots, brewers, tea-infused chocolate, and artisanal honey. In-store patrons may sample free tea samples—which are brewed fresh daily—, while online purchasers receive a free sample with every order.