Everyone has the “must-see” list when visiting the zoo: “Don’t miss the Pandas; be sure to visit the otters; whatever you do, check out the Elephant Walk!” The National Zoo’s on-site culinary team from dining partner Sodexo just made that list a little longer for visitors who come with an appetite. Discover these “must eat” locations at the National Zoo:
Seal Rock Cafe: Located on the American Trail, the Zoo’s newest dining delight is modeled after a West Coast surf shack. Open seasonally along the trail, Seal Rock Cafe offers a variety of light fare including our soon-to-be-famous salad cones and New England-style rolls. As a commitment to sustainability, Seal Rock Café features certified-sustainable seafood when possible. Kids, don’t miss the PB&J on goldfish bread!
Mane Grill: Near Tiger/Lion Hill you'll find traditional grill favorites like Angus burgers and all-natural, chemical- and hormone-free grilled chicken sandwiches and chicken tenders, kids’ meals, homemade soup, a selection of seasonal salads and deli sandwiches, as well as a good hot cup of Smithsonian Bird-Friendly Coffee.
Panda Grill - Italian Kitchen, Po' Boy Shack and Backyard BBQ: Located near the bus stop and gift shop at Panda Market Square, visitors can enjoy pizza, pulled pork and po’ boys. The catfish po’ boy is stuffed with locally-caught, sustainable catfish that’s hand-breaded and cooked to perfection. But another can’t-miss is the Brisket Nachos with beef smoked on-site daily.
Panda Overlook Cafe: While overlooking the Giant Panda Habitat, enjoy a fresh-pressed panini with pastrami or smoked turkey, or one of the fatoosh salads, made with shrimp or grilled vegetables and tossed with feta, romaine, onions, cucumber, mint and fatoosh dressing. And kids can’t pass up the peanut butter, banana, and honey firecracker. Panda Overlook also features a full barista featuring the Smithsonian Bird-Friendly coffee and freshly-made smoothies.
Hot Dog Diner: Located near the Reptile Discovery Center, Hot Dog Diner features all-natural and chemical-free beef hot dogs from vegetarian- fed cattle that salute D.C. neighborhoods like the Foggy Bottom, topped with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing and the Georgetown, topped with blue cheese and black pepper.
Other snack stands and kiosks are located throughout the park (hours vary by season) for snacks and beverages including our popcorn wagon, ice cream and other treat kiosks, like caramel apples, soft pretzels, funnel cakes and Dippin’ Dots. The Fresh Market Cart features healthier snacks like fresh fruits and juices.
Event space and catering is also available. Call 202.633.3045 for more information.