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Ben's Chili Bowl

1213 U St NW, Washington DC, DC 20009-4442 (U Street Corridor)
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Ranked #285 of 2,636 restaurants in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $0 - $7
Cuisines: American
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Takeout, Late Night, Dessert
Neighborhood: U Street Corridor
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1,042 reviews from our community

69% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
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English first
New York
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2014

This place has some great chili fries - but be prepared to wait in a long line, this places is such an attraction, the line can snake out the door and around the building! However, it's worth the wait, and the juke box rocks out some great funk tunes!

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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2014

I actually think the only reason this place is so popular is because it stays open late and there are few other choices if you are in a drunken stupor. But be forewarned-- ordering chili cheese nachos and a dog at 2am and mixing it with a night's worth of draft beer is not a wise choice. It left me... More

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Santa Rosa, California
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2014

My husband loves Skyline Chili of Cincinnati, so we thought he would like this place. He said it was the worst ever. His hot dog tasted as if it had been cooked days earlier. I had a hamburger, and it tasted as if the grill hadn't been cleaned in a year.

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Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Top Contributor
110 reviews 110 reviews
79 restaurant reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2014

Sorry to write, but my expectations were greater than my lunch. I have heard such great things about this DC institution. We order two half smokes with mustard, onions and chili. The buns are steamed not toasted. The casings in the dogs are thick. I could hardly bite thru mine and finally had to pull it apart with my fingers.... More

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2014

Highly recommend to this American Diner in DC. Bens Chilli bowl has a bit of a cult following with celebrity fans like Bill Cosby. Great date venue for a relaxed night out. The chilli dogs did not disappoint.

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Frederick, Maryland
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2014

After touring the mall on bikes, visited late Sunday afternoon (for the first time) to see what the hype was all about. Squeezed in the front door to standing room only crowd waiting to place, take out orders. Looked around and pushed through to the counter, front dining area when we were greeted by hostess who offered us seating for... More

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New Rochelle, New York, United States
Top Contributor
105 reviews 105 reviews
101 restaurant reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2014

I would always go by here when I was living in DC and the neighborhood has changed a lot. I mostly like to go back here for nostalgia. Nowadays, you'll be able to find more interesting chili dogs and fries elsewhere, but in DC this place was one of the originals.

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San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2014

FWII (For What It Is): Not really for the food (fairly good diner)---Ben's Chili Bowl is just classic, a historical diner landmark. The exterior colors and funky design are gorgeous. The crowds and eclectic people are interesting. Once at the counter, Jesse Jackson was at the booth behind me. Bill Cosby and others frequent the joint. A place so comforting... More

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South Africa
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2014

We visited Ben's Chilli Bowl in July 2014. Although we were there after the normal lunch hours, it was extremely busy with a long line for take-out. We were lucky to find seats at the main counter. We were helped quite quickly and was served ice water immediately, which was very welcoming since it had been so warm outside. We... More

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Havre de Grace, Maryland
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2014

Food - went with a large group, some items ordered off the menu were: half smoke, turkey burgers, veggie burgers (topped with chili), fries topped with veggie chili. Everyone like, not loved, their food. I liked my veggie burger. However, I didn't leave with the sensation that I'd just had the most amazing chili I've ever had in my entire... More

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