As the National Harbor celebrates its’ tenth anniversary, I am very grateful to have such a main attraction just a stone’s throw from my home. When the National Harbor debuted 10 years ago, I was a senior in high school who primarily opted for pizza and finger food, and had no interest in trying anything the harbor had to offer besides frequent trips to Godiva (no longer there). As I am maturing, I still enjoy finger foods, but also other options and thus can appreciate the plethora of options available at the National Harbor.
When my boyfriend and I started dating over a year ago, we frequented the National Harbor due to the short distance it is between the both of our homes. This past weekend, we stopped by the harbor to try the recently opened, Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls before heading to a movie. When we were in the car heading to the movie theater, it dawned on us that we have officially eaten at every single restaurant (many at least twice)at the National Harbor except The Walrus Oyster and Ale House. It wasn’t until recently that I learned they offered other items besides oysters so it is on my list to try, but not a priority.
Below, I will share my favorite restaurants for dining at National Harbor:
Succotash offers southern style cuisine with a hint of Asian inspiration. I actually loved the restaurant so much, I wrote a post on it. It is a wonderful spot to visit for brunch with friends and family! Their dinner menu isn’t my favorite, but some of the brunch items are still available to order. If you are going with a group, order, TASTE THE SOUTH, it allows you to sample almost everything they offer at a reasonable price. My updated favorites from this restaurant are the Fried Chicken and Waffles, Cheesy Grits, Biscuits and Gravy and the Pecan Sticky Buns. My boyfriend loooves the 20 oz bone-in ribeye, and it is currently his favorite throughout the DMV. Succotash made this list because out of the 5-6 times I’ve visited this restaurant, the food has been consistent with taste!
This has become our regular when we are craving crab fried rice. It almost tastes like the meal is grilled which intensifies the flavor of the crab! The decor is upscale Asian inspired, and you can see the inspiration everywhere throughout the 3 levels of the restaurant. As Succotash, this is another restaurant that is great for large groups that are celebrating. A favorite of mine is an appetizer, The Shanghai Chicken Wings. I know, who goes to an Asian restaurant and order chicken wings? I do! They’re fried just right, not too crunchy, but definitely not undercooked. For dinner, we always share the Crispy Beef. The strips of beef are small, but you’re given plenty, and the sauce is the same as the chicken wings which is kind of a sweet, teriyaki sauce.
Admittedly, I have not ordered anything other than pizza here, but the pizza is delicious! The pizza crust is thiiin, but overall, you can tell the ingredients are high quality.
Their Buffalo Jumbo Shrimp is worth the trip alone! They’re so good, many people have tried to imitate them at home to not have to make the trip so often. Since discovering Grace’s Mandarin and Succotash, I haven’t eaten here in many months, but I can attest that the buffalo jumbo shrimp, mac and cheese and cornbread (super moist and a tad sweet) are my go-to’s. Another plus for this restaurant is the view! It is positioned perfectly to enjoy the water and Capital Wheel views #romanticdatenight!
Honestly, their food is pretty average bar food, but it made the list because of their 21 oz Cowboy Ribeye Steak. We’ve eaten at many of the “fancy” steakhouses in DC, and my boyfriend is never impressed as much as he is with the steak from Cadillac Ranch. To put it simply, every time he’s ordered it, it was consistent and cooked exactly how he requested it. Sadly, I have to add he enjoys the steak from Cadillac Ranch over Bond 45’s Ribeye and Tomahawk steaks.
Again, their food is consistent with what you’d expect from a bar, but their Asian glazed jumbo shrimp, boneless wings, and batch 1,000 pork nachos are to die for! To start, their boneless wings are crispy on the outside, but the meat is sooo tender! If you don’t see the theme here, I guess I love sweet Asian sauces which is why the shrimp has made the list! It’s a sweet, but tangy with a little spice sauce that they glaze over the shrimp that makes them scrumptious! You’ve never had pork nachos until you’ve tried their batch 1,000. If it’s just two people, you can eat the nachos as a meal, that’s how much you get.
Short on Time? I suggest these places for a quick bite:
The last time we visited RedStone, we saw the coming soon sign for Mason’s and was super excited to try them out, but then we totally forgot. About a month ago, my boyfriend rediscovered Mason’s as a suggested place to try from Facebook since he has an arm’s length list of restaurants to check out between DC and NYC. We expected a meaty sandwich but was quite underwhelmed compared to the photos they posts almost daily on their FB page. It was one piece of bread folded in half with maybe an ounce of lobster meat (of course with fixings) and cost $15. Admittedly, The lobster tasted of good quality, and that’d be the only reason I’d return for a quick bite. They offer indoor seating, but wouldn’t accommodate more than 10-15 people comfortably. You can expect an average wait time of 5-10 minutes which isn’t long at all. The downfall, sides are limited to soup or chips and we actually left hungry and went to the Crab Cake Cafe.
The Crab Cake Cafe offers many crab cakes to choose from! We ordered the shrimp and crab cake sandwich and shared it since we had just left Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls. The sandwich resembled the large sandwiches you see on their website so I was actually impressed. The flavor was good, it was seasoned just right and it didn’t have too much filling. I understand why they have a 4.4 rating on Google! They offer indoor and outdoor seating. You can expect your sandwich to be ready within 5-10 minutes which is why it makes the list for a quick bite, but the sandwiches are actually filling.
With the exception of the two restaurants in the quick bite section above, my boyfriend and I have eaten at the other six restaurants at least five times so we know exactly what we like from those restaurants. Unless there are extreme circumstances, I actually try to give a place at least two tries to wow or deter me. The other restaurants at the National Harbor did not pique my interest enough to return for a second or third time, but don’t let that keep you from trying a restaurant that did not make my list.This post may contain affiliate links.