Skip the hot dog vendors that circle The Mall, and head to Mitsitam Cafe. This cafeteria in the Museum of the American Indian cooks up dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients and native recipes. They try to use native vendors whenever possible. The salmon, shipped twice a week from the Quinault Indian Nation, is cooked on cedar planks over an open fire. Menus include tacos; garlic mussels; buffalo rib-eye steaks and burgers; and vegetable side dishes such as a medley of fiddlehead fern, corn, and asparagus. Consider this your splurge at about $15 per person. Open for lunch daily.
Another perennial favorite, the Pavilion Cafe, sits in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. It serves panini sandwiches, Tuscan chicken salad, and salmon Caesar salad plus hot dogs and pizza. A little less expensive, meals cost around $10 per person. Open for lunch and dinner daily.
Just off The Mall on 15th Street across from the White House, the Old Ebbitt Grill remains one of our favorite traditional power-broker lunch spots. Go for the crab cakes and grilled fish. Lunch costs about $15 per person. Open for lunch and dinner daily.
photo: Favorite Food: At Mitsitam Cafe, American Indian dishes include salmon that is cooked on a cedar plank over an open flame.