10. Lost Dog Cafe (5 Locations in Northern Virginia)
The atmosphere at Lost Dog is laid back and friendly, and that feeling translates into their Lost Dog Chili. Described as Santa Fe Style on the menu, this is a fairly mild bowl loaded with beef and beans, topped with onions and shredded cheddar.
9. Protein Bar (3 locations in downtown DC)
Protein Bar not only has the best quality ingredients of any quick serve restaurant in the city, they also serve a great bowl of chili. They offer a hearty chicken quinoa chili that could be a meal all by itself, and a veggie quinoa chili that's both healthy and delicious. For the diet conscious, both bowls are gluten-free.
8. Hill Country Barbecue &anps; Market (410 Seventh St NW)
Everything about Hill Country Barbecue exudes authentic Texas, and that includes the spicy chili that's so loaded with meat you can stand your spoon upright in it. There's just a hint of barbecue and tomato sweetness in play here, but mostly this is the meatiest bowl of chili you'll find.
7. The Tombs (1226 36th St NW)
The Tombs is a well-known college hangout pub and grub, but that doesn't mean they don't know how to sling a great bowl of chili. For starters, they serve their own version of Clyde's famous chili, which is hearty and almost as good as the real thing. Their 8 bean chili is also delicious, and comes with your choice of sour cream, cheese, and onions on top.
6. The Peacock Café (3251 Prospect St. NW)
Situated in the heart of Georgetown, The Peacock Cafe is upscale and fancy, but Executive Chef Maziar Farivar isn't afraid to get rustic on a fine bowl of chili. His vegetarian chili makes tomatoes, beans and mushrooms sing together under a bonnet of shredded aged cheddar and fresh sour cream.
5. District Commons (2200 Pennsylvania Ave NW)
Speaking of fine dining, that's what District Commons is famous for. At lunch, however, their Texas-style chili is willing to challenge all takers. This is a no-beans, spicy chili made with high-quality beef and served with a wonderful, crumbly star-shaped cornbread.
4. Dangerously Delicious Pies (Two DC locations plus food truck)
There are dozens of ways to make chili, but we're not sure we've seen anyone try to do it like the pie-crazy folks at Dangerously Delicious. They stuff a pie crust with their chili, and as crazy as that sounds, it actually ends up being delicious! DDP offers both a savory vegan chili and a spicy, fully stuffed steak chili pie which we cannot possibly recommend more highly.
3. Hard Times Cafe (13 locations in the greater DC area)
Hard Times specializes in chili, and offers four different types. You can try a traditional Texas chili, a Cincinnati chili (sweeter, made with cinnamon), a Terlingua Red (which is as spicy a chili as you'd ever want) and a vegetarian chili. They offer individual chili bowls and samplers if you can't make up your mind.
2. Clyde’s (10 locations in DC and surrounding suburbs)
There are two great bowls of chili that any aficionado needs to try when visiting DC, and Clyde's is one of them. Although the restaurant is upscale, the famous chili hearkens back to the casual bar and grill beginnings of this local chain. Offered by the bowl or cup and topped with cheese, onions, and sour cream, Clyde's uses only the freshest ingredients in a chili that is often imitated, but never topped.
1. Ben's Chili Bowl (1213 U Street)
For chili aficionados, there's Ben's Chili Bowl and everyone else. This plain-looking stand has been a District institution since 1958, and on any given day you're likely to see some of the most powerful politicians in America stopping by for a chili-topped half smoke, chili cheese fries, or just a regular bowl of this famous chili. The style is unique, with the spices giving the chili an almost dark brown color and a rich, spicy flavor that cannot be easily forgotten.