Washington DC: Finding Dairy-Free Eats in the Federal District

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Last Updated in September 2021! 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.

Washington DC: Finding Dairy-Free Eats in the Federal District - restaurants and shops with vegan and gluten-free options

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.)

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Astor Mediterranean – We love the selection at this casual restaurant. You can order pizza with dairy-free cheese, or one of their naturally dairy-free Mediterranean dishes, like Falafel, Baba Ghanooj, Kabobs, and various sides and salads. They have several vegan options available, too.
  • Ben & Jerry’s – See our Dairy-Free Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop Guide.
  • 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.
  • 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 dairy-free menu with classic American fare. It includes a range of burgers (dairy-free cheese is available), tacos, salads, and other entrees.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fare Well ⭐️ – This intimate bakery, diner, and bar is a spin-off vegan restaurant from the founders of Sticky Fingers Bakery (details below). 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.
  • Farmbird ⭐️ – Dairy-free and gluten-free options are clearly labeled on the menu at this healthy and sustainable chicken restaurant. Their dairy-free options include some plates, salads, and sides, each with fresh flavors and loads of produce. Their breakfast menu is light on options, so I would stick to lunch and dinner. They also offer tofu as a chicken substitute for vegan diners.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Washington Deli and Pizza – This take-out restaurant has a very full vegan menu and can make almost any savory item dairy-free with cheese alternative. Their are pizza, sandwich, and salad options galore, but skip the dessert and coffee bar.

Washington DC: Finding Dairy-Free Eats in the Federal District - restaurants and shops with vegan and gluten-free options

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.

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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