Last Updated in September 2023! Most of our dairy-free listings are done by state, but this federal district stands alone. Washington DC is dense with dining and shopping establishments, and tends to be quite special diet friendly. So we’ve created this ever-growing guide to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, ice cream shops, and stores in the capital city that are friendly to dairy-free diners. It’s a collection based on research and reader recommendations (send yours!) that’s divided into restaurants & shops by city (first) and major chains found throughout the state (second). And we’ve started a section for specialty dairy-free foods produced in this state.
We Update Continuously! You can ignore the original date on this post going forward. We update the information below whenever we’re alerted to a new recommendation, change, or closure.
Dairy-Free Washington DC: Recommended Restaurants & Shops
The restaurants listed below are ones that we’ve discovered with a solid dairy-free selection. We’ve listed these recommendations alphabetically by restaurant or shop name.
⭐️ = Restaurant is either dairy-free, has a dairy-free menu, has dairy-free labels on their menu(s), or lists top allergens with menu items. (At the time of our last review.)
- &pizza – See our &pizza Dairy-Free Menu Guide for more details.
- Agora ⭐️ – You’ll find the usual dairy-free options at this Turkish small plates restaurant, but it’s still nice that they label dairy-free options right on the menu (along with gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan labels). Their lunch, dinner, and brunch menus each include a good smattering of dairy-free selections.
- Aloha Poke Co – They’re great about sharing allergy, gluten, and vegan info at this midwest poke chain. Most of their menu is dairy-free, but they state that their yuzu ranch sauce, “crunch” fried onions, and furikake seasoning to contain milk. They do have vegan and gluten-free sauce and topping options, too.
- Ambar ⭐️ – They serve Balkan cuisine at this small plates restaurant, and are extremely friendly to allergy and special diet guests. They offer full allergy menus for brunch, lunch, and dinner, which are liberally dotted with dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free icons.
- American Girl Bistro – This bistro is located inside the American Girl store, and host lunches and parties by reservation. See our Dairy-Free Tips for American Girl Cafe.
- American Son ⭐️ – A carefully curated menu from Chef Tim Ma is what you can expect for dinner and brunch at this hip restaurant. They label dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan options, and about half of the dishes are, or can easily be made dairy-free. This includes items like the Lamb Burger, Togarashi Tuna, Duck Confit Hash, and Yellow Veggie Curry.
- Anxo – This cidery sells all types of interesting provisions and serves tapas with several dairy-free options at their Florida Ave location.
- Baked by Yael ⭐️ – This is a nut-free bakery that offers some dairy-free options, including bagels, challah, and select sweets. They also have sandwich items, vegan challah French toast on the weekends, seasonal baked goods, and bake some gluten-free and vegan pastries. They have a bakery storefront, but also ship nationwide and are at farmers markets in DC, MD, and VA.
- Beau Thai – Jacquelyn recommended this restaurant. She said the staff is super helpful with questions, and their menus are well labeled. They have vegan and gluten-free labels on menu items, and most dishes are or can be ordered dairy free. They have a couple locations.
- Ben & Jerry’s – See our Dairy-Free Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop Guide.
- Bibibop – Thank you to Shawn for sending this recommendation, “A build-your-own bowl Asian fusion fast food place. Most of the menu is dairy free. They even have a coconut milk mango pudding that is dairy free!” They also provide full allergen information to make ordering easy, keep their kitchens peanut-free, and source higher quality ingredients.
- Bluestone Lane – This Australian-style cafe chain does a great job in labeling top allergens, and they offer a small selection of dairy-free sandwich and bowl options on their menu, along with a couple vegan items. Their full coffee bar has oat milk and almond milk options, and they sometimes have dairy-free specialty drink promotions.
- Busboys and Poets – Grace says this local restaurant chain “has a few vegan and dairy free options and a lot of things can be modified to be made dairy free if it doesn’t naturally come that way!” They serve classic, casual menus for brunch, lunch, happy hour, and dinner, and offer alternatives like vegan cheese. They even have vegan cheesecake on their dessert menu.
- California Tortilla – This build-your-own bowl or burrito chain offers a simple allergen menu, and almost everything is dairy-free. They also have vegan options.
- Carmine’s ⭐️ – It’s easy to enjoy family-style Italian food at this boisterous restaurant. They offer a dairy and egg allergy menu, which includes all of the menu items they can make without dairy and eggs on request – and it’s extensive! It includes many pastas, steaks, seafood, and sides.
- Cane ⭐️ – This Caribbean restaurant is rich in flavor, and offers just enough dairy-free options to keep us interested. Most options are meat-centric, but they do have a vegan dish, and at last check, all of their sides were dairy-free and vegan. Dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan are labeled on their menus.
- Captain Cookie & the Milk Man – This is a mobile bakery and dairy, but they have more than one truck, so you can often find them in a few spots around the city. At last check, they didn’t offer any dairy alternatives or ice cream, but they do have fresh baked vegan chocolate chip cookies.
- Cava – This build-your-own bowl place has locations littered around DC. They offer an allergen chart that’s quite promising for dairy-free guests. All of their proteins, bowl bases, and toppings (aside from cheese) are dairy-free, and they have many dressings and sauces to choose from.
- Char Bar ⭐️ – Located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, this kosher meat spot boasts a completely dairy-free menu with classic American fare. It includes a range of burgers (dairy-free cheese is available), tacos, salads, and other entrees.
- Clyde’s – This old-world “American bar” continuously receives top marks from Allergy Eats for staff training and allergy awareness. Their menus cover brunch, burgers, bowls, salads, steak, and seafood, and they have protocols in place to safely prepare meals for most allergy and special diet needs.
- DC Harvest ⭐️ – The farmhouse feel of this restaurant speaks to their locally sourced cuisine. They’re open for dinner five days a week, and just three for brunch. Their menus are clearly labeled for dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan. Most of the dairy-free items are also vegan, but they have a couple “just” dairy-free options and some items that can be modified.
- DC Vegan Delicatessen & Cheese Shop ⭐️ – This casual American-Italian eatery features all types of sandwiches, a botanical bar, and a dairy-free cheese shop on the second floor.
- Donut Run ⭐️ – This is DC’s first all-vegan donut shop. They offer all the classics, like apple fritters, bismarks, and raised and glazed. But they also have creative rotating flavors with a range of icings and toppings.
- Elizabeth’s Gone Raw ⭐️ – Thank you to Jeremy for recommending this vegan fine dining restaurant. They have a six course vegan tasting menu.
- Extreme Pizza – They have a whole menu of vegan signature pizzas, and of course, you can build your own dairy-free pizza. You can also custom order one of their many salads.
- Fancy Radish ⭐️ – This is an upscale vegan restaurant serving a petite, globally-inspired dinner menu, a dessert menu that’s as big as the dinner menu, and a drink menu that eclipses them both.
- Federalist Pig ⭐️ – Thank you to Jacquelyn for this recommendation. She said their “regular menu at the restaurant isn’t labeled, but their online menu is. But they’re allergen friendly all around.” They specialize in barbecue fare, and have quite a few dairy-free options, including smoked meat platters, sandwiches, and a range of sides.
- Flower Child – This healthy restaurant chain serves salads, bowls, and plates with choose your own protein and side options. Their modern “hippie” menu is loaded with organic produce, whole grains (gluten-free, too), and house dressings. Their menu is littered with vegan and paleo options, and most items either are, or can be made dairy-free on request.
- For Five Coffee ⭐️ – Beyond beverages, this cafe serves breakfast and lunch menus with a smattering of dairy-free options clearly labeled. They offer dishes like Bibimbap, Poke, and a unique spin on Eggs Benedict.
- Georgetown Cupcake – Their is a lot of dairy at this cupcakery, but they offer Vegan Apple Cinnamon or Carrot Cupcakes with dairy-free cream cheese frosting, depending on the day of the week.
- Hell’s Kitchen ⭐️ – This well-known Gordon Ramsay restaurant labels their menu for dairy-free and gluten-free guests, and there are many dairy-free options to choose from! This includes seafood, steaks, and vegan options.
- HipCityVeg ⭐️ – Philly’s favorite vegan fast food chain found its way into D.C. Their menu includes burgers, sandwiches, golden nuggets, salads, sweet potato fries, and a full breakfast menu. They also offer smoothies, banana whip, and dairy-free milkshakes.
- Ice Cream Jubilee – Their sorbets range from fruity to creamy (made with coconut), and are dairy-free and vegan. They play off indulgent flavors like gin and tonic, coconut caramel, and horchata. You can also pick up vegan goodies from Sweet Crimes Bakery at this ice cream shop.
- Insomnia Cookies – This sweet shop has a few locations around the city, each one offering a small handful of vegan cookie flavors, like Birthday Cake and Double Chocolate Chunk.
- Jaleo ⭐️ – This Spanish restaurant has a lively array of dishes with many dairy-free options. They actually have an allergy menu that looks like a regular menu, but with labels on it for each top allergen.
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream – See our Jeni’s Dairy-Free Guide for details.
- JINYA Ramen Bar – Believe it or not, many ramen bases contain milk. But JINYA offers a couple vegan ramen options and most of their ramen dishes, soups, and expansive small plates are dairy-free. They have a great comprehensive allergen chart.
- Läderach – These Swiss chocolate shops now offer a full dairy-free and vegan line with various dark and cashewmilk chocolate options. The decadent collection includes bars, all types of barks, and some other confections.
- La Colombe – This coffee chain is known for their oatmilk draft lattes, which they also offer on tap. They also usually have some dairy-free baked goodies (some vegan, some with eggs), like quick bread slices and cookies, and biscotti. The options can vary by location, so ask for allergen information at the shop.
- Le Pain Quotidien – This Belgian bake shop has a plethora of dairy-free fresh baked breads, sandwiches, soups, and breakfast bowls (think oats, chia, and granola options). Almond, coconut, and oat milks are available or coffee drinks and tea lattes. And they often a dairy-free pastry or two – ask at your location.
- Levain Bakery – They bake fresh dairy-free breads, but also offer big, thick, vegan and gluten-free chocolate chip walnut cookies on their daily menu.
- Little Beet – This is a local New York chain with one location in Garden City on Long Island. They have a fast casual build-your-own bowl style for lunch and dinner. The menu is gluten-free, and they clearly label for vegan, vegetarian, and top allergens. Most of their menu items and components are dairy free, including all of their grains, proteins, and sauces, at last check.
- Mezè Restaurant ⭐️ – This multilevel Middle Eastern restaurant centers around a social concept with small-plates meant for sharing. And to ensure everyone is included, they label their menu items for dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan guests. At last check, they had about 25 different dairy-free dishes – including dessert! They also have a mojito bar and a late-night menu.
- Mita ⭐️ – This is a fine-dining, plant-based restaurant with a focus on Latin American cuisine.
- MOM’s Organic Market & Naked Lunch – The market is one of DC’s better natural food stores, with a lot of vegan and dairy-free brands. Naked Lunch is a bowl restaurant attached to the market with healthy organic vegetarian eats. Everything on the menu can be made vegan, too.
- Mount Desert Island Ice Cream – They offer a couple creamy vegan ice cream flavors, like peanut butter and cereal milk, serve non-dairy sorbets, and also make dairy-free shakes with oat milk.
- Nando’s – Check their nutrition information pdf for allergens and a dairy-free column! They seem to include eggs with dairy, but it is still very helpful. At last check, dairy-free items at Nando’s included most of their chicken (including their famous peri-peri), tons of sauces, a selection of sides, and more. They also have some vegan-friendly items.
- NuVegan Café ⭐️ – Formerly Woodland’s Vegan Bistro, this is a casual vegan soul food restaurant. They have a huge menu of sandwiches, entrees, and sides, and two locations in the DC area.
- Oyster Oyster – Thank you to Jeremy for recommending this local establishment. He says it’s “an intimate restaurant focused on seasonal, farm-to-table, almost entirely vegetarian (they serve both oyster mushrooms and oyster shellfish) that is extremely accommodating of dairy-free/vegan diners.”
- Pappe ⭐️ – Jeremy also recommended this “top notch Indian restaurant.” Both in-restaurant and online, they clearly mark their menu for dairy-free and gluten-free guests.
- Pitango – Their dairy-free sorbet selection rivals their gelato, with several fruit and chocolate flavors offered daily.
- Pizzeria Paradiso – Any of the pizzas at this local chain restaurant can be made dairy free by substituting their vegan mozzarella. They seem to be helpful in picking the right sauce and topping options, too. They also have a few salads and appetizers that are dairy-free, or can be made so on request.
- PLNT Burger ⭐️ – This quick serve vegan burger joint is located inside Whole Foods in DC. Their menu includes a selection of burgers, hot dogs, and fries, along with dairy-free soft serve, oatmilk shakes, and cookies for dessert.
- Pow Pow ⭐️ – Plant-based bowls, starters, and fried rice are on the menu at this casual, Asian-influenced eatery. They draw influence from Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines to create their completely vegan and dairy-free selection.
- Purple Patch – Jacquelyn recommended this American-Filipino restaurant. She said the staff is super helpful with questions, and their menus are well labeled. They have vegan and gluten-free labels on menu items, and most dishes are or can be ordered dairy free.
- RASA – Thank you to Jennifer for recommending this Indian fast casual spot. “They have several vegan bowls, and list the ingredients of each item, so you know what’s dairy free and what isn’t. The real treat is their vegan soft serve gelato in two delicious flavors, masala chai and mango lassi.”
- Rasika West End ⭐️ – Indian food can be tricky, so we truly appreciate the carefully done dairy-free menu at this local restaurant. They also have gluten-free and nut-free menus. You can find them in the Penn Quarter and West End neighborhoods – both are open for lunch and dinner.
- Rise Bakery ⭐️ – This is a strictly gluten-free bakery, and they clearly label items for dairy, eggs, nuts, and soy. For the most part, their dairy-free items are their vegan baked goods, which include pies, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and pastries. They also offer pizzas with vegan cheese, and other dairy-free options like cream cheese alternative, but you have to order it on vegan bread. Their bagels and most of their savory breads contain dairy.
- Rita’s Italian Ice – See our Rita’s Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
- Rush Bowls – This smoothie and smoothie bowl chain isn’t dairy-free, but they are happy to accommodate. They offer oat, almond, coconut, and soymilk options. Some menu items call for froyo, but you can sub banana for no charge, or acai for an additional charge. At last check, most of their toppers and all of their boosts (except for whey – they do have soy protein available) were made without dairy.
- Sandella’s Flatbread Cafe – This is a great spot for bowls and burritos with dairy-free and gluten-free options.
- SeoulSpice – This local area chain serves Korean comfort food made with farm-fresh vegetables, local proteins, and house-made sauces and marinades. They shun hormones, additives, MSG, freezers, microwaves, and gluten. Not only are they gluten-free, but they’re almost completely dairy-free – just the ranch sauce contained milk at last check. They also have a generous list of vegan options, and their allergen lists cover some rarer food allergens.
- Shouk ⭐️ – Thank you to Jeremy for recommending this local chain! It’s a casual vegan and Kosher Israeli restaurant that focuses on plant-based street food.
- Silver Diner – Their allergen menu reveals a surprisingly range of dairy-free options. They include plant-based shakes (made with oatmilk), dairy-free omelette and egg breakfasts, vegan just egg breakfasts, pancakes with dairy-free whip, wings, tenders, salads, sandwiches (most can be custom ordered as most of their breads are milk-free), burgers, fish, and more.
- Sticky Fingers Bakery ⭐️ – It all started with Cowvin sandwich cookies, Little Devil chocolate cake sandwiches, and Sticky Buns in Doron Petersan’s kitchen. But now this eatery is one of the most popular all-vegan bakeries in the country. Theymake cupcakes, custom cakes, and an array of bakery sweets, but they also have savory menus. They serve brunch and have a petite line up of quesadillas and wraps.
- Sticky Fingers Diner ⭐️ – (Formerly known as Fare Well Diner) This intimate bakery, diner, and bar is a spin-off vegan restaurant from the founders of Sticky Fingers Bakery. Their cuisine is modeled after casual New York eateries, with a range of comfort food dishes. The menu includes everything from standard mains like Burgers and Pierogis to modernized small plates like Buffalo Cauliflower Dip and Polenta Fries. And of course their bakery has fresh pastries, croissants, and various breads.
- Sweet Crimes Gluten Free Bakery ⭐️ – In addition to gluten-free, many of their baked goods are dairy-free, including breads, cookies, and other pastries. They also offer vegan donuts, and bake custom cakes. They do cater to additional special diet needs, too.
- Taberna del Alabardero – Gretchen W. recommended this upscale Spanish restaurant. “Taberna del Alabadero in Washington DC is simply amazing. They even worked with me to be sure I had a vegan wine as I’m so allergic that even wine fined with casein is a problem. Cannot recommend them enough! Definitely high end, special occasion, but worth it.” Their menus include a generous array of tapas, paellas, fideuas, and several other entrees.
- Unconventional Diner ⭐️ – This hip bistro and bar makes upscale dining easy for special diet diners. They label dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan options right on their menu. They also indicate which items contain nuts or seafood. The dairy-free options include a global selection of entrees, snacks, and shareables.
- Uno Pizzeria & Grill – This popular chain restaurant has one location in Colorado. See our Uno Dairy-Free Menu Guide for details.
- Van Leeuwen ⭐️ – This popular localized ice cream chain sells their pints in grocery stores, but they also have scoop shops. They churn both classic dairy ice cream and a huge array of dairy-free flavors, which are made with cashew and coconut milk or oat milk. They can also make you a vegan ice cream sandwich with chocolate chip cookies, blend a dairy-free milkshake, or craft a sundae with vegan whipped cream, hot fudge, and various other toppings.
- Vegan vs Fries ⭐️ – This is a spin-off from Man vs Fries that offers a Mexican-inspired, vegan menu of fries, burritos, quesadillas, and more. They work on order and pick-up or delivery only.
- Vegetable and Butcher ⭐️ – This is a meal-delivery service for DC that is completely dairy-free and gluten-free. They offer vegan and non-vegan options or their menu items, and prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees.
This Guide is Continuously Updated with Recommendations
We welcome you to recommend other dairy-free friendly restaurants. Leave a comment or contact us and tell us why you like a certain restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees are also invited to reach out and let us know how you welcome dairy-free customers.
Please kindly let us know in the comments if any of these restaurants close. We want to keep this list current for you, but aren’t always notified when a restaurant closes. Let us know and we will quickly update!
This Guide is for Informational Purposes Only
Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.
There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.