DC at Night

DC at Night

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dining in DC: Mitsitam Cafe

If you were visiting the Smithsonian museums and wanted a unique, tasty meal, you'd probably leave the National Mall.  But you don't have to. You can head to the Mitsitam Cafe at the Museum of the American Indian, which last year was named best casual dining restaurant in all of DC..

Mitsitam, which means "let's eat" in the Native language of the Delaware and Piscataway People, features indigenous cuisines of the Americas. There are 5 food stations:


  • Northern Woodlands- Region that spans from the Atlantic Coast to the Mississippi and from Southern Canada to the Chesapeake
  • Mesoamerica- Home of the Papago or "Bean People" and spans from the American Southwest  to Mexico and Central America
  • South America- Region that encompasses the entire southwestern hemisphere
  • Northwest Coast- Region that stretches from Southern Alaska to Northern California
  • Great Plains- Region that stretched over the great landscape from Alberta, Canada to Texas
Each station employs the related cooking techniques, ingredients, and flavors found in both traditional and contemporary Native dishes.

We usually eat at the cafe if we are spending a full day on the mall. At our most recent visit, I put together a meal from the Northern Woodlands station. For an entree, I had maple brined turkey with cranberry maple syrup and green apple compote. The 2 side dishes were smoked turnip puree and bean an corn succotash.

Mitsitam is also great for vegetarians. There is a Plate of Color special which lets you select 4 vegetarian items. For example, at the South America station you could design a meal from options such as
fried yucca, sauteed kale, grille chaote squash, Peruvian lima bean salad, merken oil purple potatoes, white quinoa, or fava bean salad with ricotto pepper vinaigrette.

If you like your meal, but won't be coming back to Washington any time soon, you can pick up the The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook, which was named  the best cookbook in the world at a recent competition in France. The book features the most popular recipes from the cafe.

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What others say:

The Prices Do DC rating::
  • ****^ - 4 1/2 plates out of 5

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