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Ben's Chili Bowl

1213 U St NW, Washington DC, DC 20009-4442 (U Street Corridor)
202-667-0909
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Ranked #252 of 2,624 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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1,027 reviews from our community

69% Recommend
    364
    349
    199
    73
    42
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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English first
Washington DC
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014 NEW

At $8.50 a bowl and good reviews by others I would have expected much better chili. There were so many beans I though I had the vegetarian variety, People who were beside me said smell was auwful. Save you money and visit Hard Times Cafe or try a can of Hormel ( it as much more meat

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Brampton, Canada
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2014 NEW

My husband has wanted to go to this place since 2010 or 2011 when we saw it on Man vs Food... We decided to plan a trip to Washington en route to Myrtle Beach so his dream could come true and it was everything he hoped it would be. Even though there was a bit of a wait, the chili... More

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Cleveland, Ohio
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
45 restaurant reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2014 NEW via mobile

Worth the wait to taste the half-smoke ~ the famous pork and beef dog served with chili and onions. The atmosphere envelopes you with bustle and hustle of cooks, servers, bus boys and diners of all ages moving to and fro. Always busy, the line allows you to linger in the restaurant which has made its mark. Take your meal... More

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Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2014 NEW via mobile

They don't call Ben's a Washington institution for nothing. Not only does it have probably the richest history of any Washington restaurant (the only place allowed to remain open during the riots in the late '60s....) the food is amazing. Well, the half-smokes anyway. I've never had anything but a half-smoke with chili. I mean, if it ain't broke, right?... More

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North Carolina
Top Contributor
133 reviews 133 reviews
75 restaurant reviews
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2014 NEW

If you're in DC this is a must stop.I had a burger (knowing I should have half smoke) which was fine. Others in my group had the half smoke and really enjoyed it. The homemade chili was good & had a little kick to it. My favorite was the hand-dipped milkshake made with real ice cream, the old-fashioned way. The... More

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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2014 NEW

Bens is my favorite spot for late night food. Although there is always a line, they have the service down to an art and it usually moves relatively quickly. The late night crowd provides for a lively (and noisey) atmosphere, but that's to be expected anywhere after 12:00. People have their favorites but the chili cheese fries is where it's... More

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Houston, Texas
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014 NEW

This place does a HECK of a business! There is a line, but it moves fairly quickly. It's cash-only, but they have an ATM inside...except on my visit it was out of order. Thankfully, there's a bank across the street. The food is good, not great. I guess living in Texas, I'm spoiled with REALLY good Chili, but I enjoyed... More

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Midland City, United States
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014 NEW

Well, all I talked about for four days during our trip to DC before we made the trip up to U Street was Ben's Chilly Bowl. I really wanted to eat at Ben's real bad. So after four days during our trip we went to Ben's. There was a long line & the atmosphere was loud( I could barely hear... More

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Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014 NEW

I was afraid that because this was a tourist trap, the food wouldn't be that good, but it really was. The staff was also very friendly too. I definitely intend to go back one day.

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Penang Island, Malaysia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014

I am from London, England and have never tried such cuisine. Bens chili bowl was a welcome surprise after seeing it in a magazine and we all agreed to give it a go. My two friends and I all enjoyed the food so much, we went back a second time within 4 days. Polite attentive staff in a family run... More

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