Kalyn's Kitchen

Dining in D.C. at East St. Cafe

A few weeks ago I spent a fun five days in Washington D.C. and I promised I’d share my impressions of a few of the restaurants I visited. I’m starting with East St. Cafe, my all time favorite place to eat in D.C. This is a place I never missed visiting in D.C. back in the days when I was going to there four or five times a year.

Located in Union Station on the mezzanine level, East St. Cafe appears to be just another mall eating place, but the amazing tasting food is the reason this place is packed every day for lunch. I’ve waited in line to eat there many times. I could probably eat there every day for a month, try something new each time, and I would enjoy every visit.

The menu is very diverse, featuring food from the Phillipines, Japan, Thailand, China, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and every dish I’ve sampled was excellently prepared and seasoned. I’m not an expert on Asian food, but the food I’ve had here can compare favorably with any Asian restaurant I’ve visited. They serve everything from soups, salads, fried rice, noodles, noodle soups, and and curries, as well as specialty dishes with chicken, pork, beef, seafood, or vegetables.

I’m not the only one who likes this place. It’s featured on Things to Do In Washington D.C., Washington City Paper Restaurant Finder, and Washington D.C. Neighborhood Links.
This last visit, I was with a group of people and only knew one of them, so I was a bit shy about taking photos, but here are two of the dishes we really enjoyed.

One of my very favorite things to order here is the Grilled Chicken Thai Salad. In fact, ever since I tried this I don’t think I’ve ever visited East St. Cafe without ordering it. It features assorted steamed veggies and grilled chicken with a slightly spicy sauce.
Since I was on vacation and temporarily forgetting about my diet, I really enjoyed the Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura, which was crisp and not at all greasy, and came with a well flavored tempura dipping sauce.

In a city where many restaurants have prices that are geared to people who are eating on an expense account, East St. Cafe only has a few things on the menu that are over $10.00. The food here is so delicious, that the low prices are just a bonus. Next time you’re in D.C., hop on the red line Metro to Union Station and try my favorite place to eat in the nation’s capitol.

East St. Cafe
Union Station mezzanine level
50 Massachusetts Ave. N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
Phone: (202) 371-6788

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    5 Comments on “Dining in D.C. at East St. Cafe”

  1. Kalyn, this brought back serious memories of D.C.! I used to live there — and totally forgot about running to Union Station to grab a quick meal…

  2. The tempura looks delicious, and cheap prices too? Sounds like it’s time for a trip!

  3. Oh the food looks awesome there! Hmmmmm I am drooling now….

  4. Sounds like a wonderful visit.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Kalyn,

    You’re making me miss D.C.! I used to work just a couple of blocks from Union Station, and that was one of my favorite places to meet friends for lunch. I was always amazed at how great the food is, and I think it definitely escapes under the radar in the D.C. foodie scene, which is unfortunate. It’s definitely the best place for a good, sit-down, low-key meal in Union Station.

    The Inadvertent Gardener