The District is an amazing place to learn about other cultures, whether by exploring its museums or attending a heritage festival on the National Mall. For some, a taste of the many world cuisines D.C. has to offer is the best way to discover more about other cultures — after all, the way to the soul is through the stomach. Here are five restaurants in the D.C. area sure to satiate appetites and give customers a taste of something new.

PHO 75

PHO 75
PHO 75

For the best pho west of Nha Trang, Vietnam, visit Pho 75 in Arlington. A short walk from the Rosslyn Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle bus stop, Pho 75 is one of the most popular Vietnamese restaurants in the area, with branches across Virginia and Maryland — visitors should expect a wait. The cash-only restaurant is a no-frills establishment, without fancy decor or upscale ambience. With one large room with rows of cafeteria tables and beige walls, Pho 75 provides a down-to-earth atmosphere that allows its visitors to focus on the food. Customers can sit back and enjoy a massive bowl of authentic pho for just $7.95. The restaurant serves little else on the menu and simply does not need to — its pho is more than enough for a satisfying meal. More adventurous diners can try Vietnamese treats like tripe in their pho or drinks like the surprisingly delicious Salty Plum. For mouth-watering pho that will leave you — and your wallet — full, try Pho 75.

Shanghai Lounge

SHANGHAI LOUNGE
SHANGHAI LOUNGE

Sitting on Wisconsin Avenue a few blocks up from campus, this Chinese restaurant serves both familiar American Chinese food and more traditional Chinese dishes. Shanghai Lounge is great for a relatively cheap casual meal in a location close to Georgetown University. Despite its low prices, Shanghai Lounge still provides a cozy sit-down experience, with high-quality authentic Chinese cuisine. Savory ginger chicken and steamed vegetables stand out as excellent options on their menu. Georgetown may be lacking in options for an inexpensive meal, but Shanghai Lounge stands out as a great place for a meal with friends. Conveniently, Shanghai Lounge also does fast late-night takeout.

George’s King of Falafel and Cheesesteak

GEORGE'S KING OF FALAFEL AND CHEESESTEAK
GEORGE’S KING OF FALAFEL AND CHEESESTEAK

A local favorite, George’s King of Falafel and Cheesesteak offers customers a savory selection of shawarma and kebab. Located just off M Street, the Lebanese restaurant serves wonderful Middle Eastern meals at a reasonable price. Just $8 dollars can purchase a roasted sandwich stuffed with meats  or fresh vegetables, bringing the flavors of Beirut to you. Though often crowded, this restaurant features outdoor seating, perfect for enjoying the warm summer days ahead. Set aside from the bustle of M Street, George’s relaxed atmosphere offers a welcome reprieve from fast-paced D.C. life. Visitors will come to George’s for delicious Middle Eastern lamb, but stay for the opportunity to relax in its quiet confines.

Pearl Dive

PEARL DIVE
PEARL DIVE

For those looking for a meal that tastes closer to home, look no further than Pearl Dive — an All-American restaurant in the heart of Logan Circle that promises a “touch of Southern Hospitality.” Pearl Dive will please the most intrepid eaters and seafood lovers alike with its fresh catches and a chic upscale setting. The restaurant has titled itself the “Oyster Palace”  — an honor which it certainly deserves. Pearl Dive has its own collection of locally farmed oysters with delicious sauces, while also featuring a full menu of fresh seafood. The Angels on Horseback, oysters wrapped in bacon with vinegar reduction will blow eaters away with their flavor. In addition to a fine assortment of oyster dishes, Pearl Dive has a lively ambiance that will please any diner. This restaurant is perfect for a night out on the town, with an unrivaled oyster selection to top it all off.

Flavio

FLAVIO
FLAVIO

Flavio is perfect for an old-fashioned, rustic Italian meal in a modern environment. After its renovation last year, the open layout and contemporary design of this Italian restaurant, located in the heart of Georgetown, is perfect for a date or celebration. The restaurant will not surprise its visitors with experimental flair or cross-cultural flavors. Instead, Flavio serves up traditional Italian fare done right. It is hard to beat a classic bowl of spaghetti bolognese or fettucine alfredo, and Flavio proves that its recipes can stand the test of time. Polished plates of old-fashioned Italian veal and seafood mesh well with the sleek decorations in this stylish establishment, creating a luxurious ambience. Although visitors can expect a pricey meal at Flavio, as the restaurant caters to more upscale visitors and Georgetown residents, it is worth every penny.

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