Native Highlight: DC Nomster drops his go to spots in Washington, D.C.

Native Highlight: DC Nomster

We had the honor of getting to know a true expert in the DC food scene. Alex Vu, the owner of the popular DC food Instagram account DC Nomster (@DCnomster), gave us an extremely in depth rundown of why DC is one of the best cities for food. Alex is an absolutely incredible individual that lives and breathes DC and the surrounding areas. You can really see his sense of humor and personality in his posts and the answers he gave us. He didn't start DC Nomster for the followers or likes (although he has a ton of both). His goal has always been to share his deep love of food and the Washington, D.C. area while inspiring others to feel the same.

Check out the behind the scenes of an Instagram food blogger and find out Alex's favorite spots!

The inspiration behind the account

I was in my last year of college and wanted to start a foodstagram blog because I heard people get free food for doing this kind of thing (and that’s basically the dream after college), and I had a passion for food and the hospitality industry so this was a way for me to continue to explore my interests.

You've gotta have passion for food to take on the Foodstagram life, and for Alex, it's in his DNA. Sharing his passion with the world through social media seemed like a no brainer to him. 

We also loved his straight up honest answers. Seriously though, who doesn't want free food? We'd be lying to you if we said we didn't! He also said that his friends were a big reason for the start of DC Nomster. He joked about how they pushed him to start it because they were getting "annoyed" with the photo dumps on his personal FB. They still wanted to see all the pics of the amazing dishes, just not on his personal accounts.


Hooked on the DC food scene

The stereotypical notion that DC’s food scene is nothing more than power lunches for politicians and lobbyists is something I find less and less of.

Born and bred in DC, there is no question Alex is an expert in the DC food scene. What is so unique about DC is that you have access to the surrounding suburbs of Northern Virginia and Maryland that gives way to some epic hidden gems. 

He's a big fan of Vietnamese restaurants, being Vietnamese himself. We'll go as far as saying if you're looking for a solid Vietnamese place in DC, he is the number one resource to find it. So it doesn't surprise us one bit that he mentions a Vietnamese spot as one of his favorite places to go around DC.

Experiencing DC on a deeper level

For me, DC is slowly becoming a food destination that people need to go to for the food itself and not just some side mission after the monuments and museums.


Alex's commitment to help you experience a city on a deeper level falls exactly in line with what we are all about. You could visit the tourist places to check the boxes, or in Alex's words, you could, "get out of tourist mode and start to explore". That's where you'll truly experience how amazing DC really is.

He listed Dupont and Adams Morgan as good starting points, but if you really want to find the top DC food spots, he suggests you look in Shaw, Barracks Row, Columbia Heights or Petworth. 

Getting the perfect shot

When I was first starting out I was very self-conscious about taking pictures at restaurants. I’d try to be as “stealthy” as possible but honestly there’s no possible way to hide the fact that you’re trying to get a bird’s eye view of the table or a #foodintheair shot. The more I did it, the less I cared, and the better my pics got. You just got to accept that you’re doing it for the gram and go for it every time. You’ve got to do whatever it takes to get that shot.

Love the commitment here. We had to include this whole story because it's definitely something we were wondering. It's extremely difficult to discretely take an awesome picture of your food. We're pretty sure there is a strong correlation between embarrassment and quality of pictures, so the more judgmental eyes that are on you when you pull your your phone to take the pic, the better quality the picture is!

Pro tip for the "foodstagrammers"

... the best time to grab dinner is around that 5.00PM window when most restaurants just open. Getting a reservation is usually pretty easy, especially if you’re requesting a table near a window for that natural light (aka the key to amazing pics), and the more you are able to move around without disturbing other diners.

Not only has Alex given us pro tips on his favorite places below, he also laid down so pro tips on how to crush it as a foodstagrammer. He is definitely a guy you want in your corner (and who you want to follow) if you have aspirations for the perfect food shots.

Why you need to follow @DCNomster right now

For me, DC’s food scene isn’t complete without these smaller, lesser known spots. This is oftentimes where those big restaurants in the city draw from for inspirations, so to try the original dishes that inspired those is incredible. The dish may not look as refined, but the flavors you can tell are built on traditions. My account isn’t about finding the most photogenic or #foodporn -worthy shots, it’s all about the taste first and foremost.


On top of the awesome authentic pictures, Alex focuses on the smaller, but amazing places - which is what we're all about. He is more interested in the flavors and tradition behind the food than strictly getting the perfect shot. Too often we see a push for food that looks great on Instagram, but the taste is lacking. DCNomster's commitment to finding the best tasting dishes in DC and the surrounding areas makes him the perfect follow for finding hidden gems the local foodies head to!

DCNomster's favorite spots

1) Eden Center

6751 Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

Pro Tip: 

It's literally a strip mall completely devoted to Vietnamese cuisine. You'll find everything from basics like pho and banh mi here but you'll be able to get exposure to so many other dishes.


2) Rose's Luxury

717 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

Pro Tip:

Definitely one of the most hyped restaurants in the city, but it lives up to all your expectations. The wait times aren't as bad as they were before so definitely go here if you're ever in DC.


3) Whaley's

301 Water St SE #115, Washington, DC 20003

Pro Tip 

If you're into seafood, this is your spot. Right on the Navy Yard, you'll see a seafood heavy menu that is top notch.


4) Bread Furst

4434 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

Pro Tip

This is in my opinion the best bakery in DC. The focus here is bread so you can easily stop by to grab a baguette, but they do everything well here. It definitely has a neighborhood vibe here.


We are highlighting awesome experts in the Washington, D.C. area and their go to spots for dining and going out in the city! Be sure to subscribe to stay in the know!

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