We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Museum food - no way.”

Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe
Ranked #342 of 3,485 Restaurants in Washington DC
Price range: $15 - $20
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast
Neighborhood: National Mall
Reviewed December 17, 2012

Needed to eat before moving on to the next museum and couldn't have been happier with our good fortune to try the native foods cafe. The queuing was all over the place but the choice and quality of the food was worth it. If I'm ever back in DC this is where I'll be eating lunch.

Thank Andrewwf1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (922)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

619 - 623 of 922 reviews

Reviewed December 13, 2012

I work in L'Enfant Plaza, so everyone always talks about how great Mitsitam Cafe is. So, to be fair, when this area was a food desert, it was a great option. The food offers variety from the McDonalds, and many of the dishes are very good. However, it's really expensive for what it is. And, now that there are so many food trucks in the area, I'd rather eat at them for tasty, fresh food at better prices.

With that said, the side dishes at Mitsitam are generally very good. The ingredients are fresh and the flavors are interesting. I blogged about the cafe the last time I ate there and took some pictures, so you can check it out if you want a better sense of what the place has to offer and what menu items to skip: http://hungry-games.com/2012/12/13/mitsitam-cafe-museum-of-the-american-indian-washington-dc/

Thank Hungry G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2012

If I am lucky enough to have a meeting nearby I try to eat here during my lunch breaks (closes at 5 so food late in the day might not be as fresh-it is a cafeteria). It can be hectic and busy during lunch time, so I'm fortunate to have been here before AND to be American Indian myself so I avoid the lines for the high demand items (fry bread and wild rice dishes) because I can eat that at home. I usually hit up the Northwest coast area for some root vegetable dishes and cedar planked salmon. Otherwise I try some central and South American foods for variety. It is an expensive lunch, doesn't all get reimbursed under lunch periderm rates, but better than McDs or Quiznos! I also enjoy some of the different iced tea combos they serve. Biased, maybe, but also inside the most beautiful building on the mall.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Food
1  Thank Brooke A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2012

Incredible food in a less-than-often visited place. Do yourself a great favor and go!

The food is incredible and belies the location. Skip the Air and Space Museum's food court and eat great food and enjoy a bottle of wine.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank rgbeard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 29, 2012

Gourmet food in a museum cafeteria?? Who knew? Fortunately, I knew since I had been to the Cafe on a previous visit on the recommendation of a friend.

Even though I was visiting other museums along the Washington Mall I made a point of dropping into the National Museum of the American Indian for lunch. (Which was a good thing since it is only open for lunch – 11 am-3 pm...Actually it is open until 5, but not with the full menu.)

If you are a foodie and like to try unique food combinations with different tastes and textures, this is the place for you. The Cafe features indigenous foods from the Western Hemisphere, including North and South America. The menus change with the seasons and present the food and cooking techniques from the various native regions. The regions are: Mesoamerica, Northern Woodlands, South America, Northwest coast, and Great Plains.

If you visit during the prime lunch hour expect it to be crowded. Don't follow the crowd! Take a minute or two to roam and check-out the different offerings at each of the five different stations. It may be overwhelming at first since there are so many choices! Just take a deep breathe and relax...Don't rush. You can mix and match with the different stations. The offerings vary from basic and simple to elaborate and include snacks, chips & salsa, appetizers, soups, hot & cold side dishes, main dishes, tacos, burgers, sandwiches, desserts and beverages.

I wanted to go on a culinary adventure so I ordered a main dish from the South American station – "Chaufa de Carne con Verde Ala Plancha" (Cilantro & Green Chili Fried Rice, Seared Beef & Salsa Aji Limo). I had two sides of my choice, so while the beef was being seared to my order I did a sides search...You can add sides from any other station, so I had one side from the South Amercian station – "Casuela de Quînoa con Queso Blanco, Pepitas y Calabaza" (Quînoa Casserole, Pumpkin Seeds, Queo Fresco & Calabaza Squash) and one from the Northern Woodlands station – "Butternut Squash & Barlett Pear Gratin". To finalize my order I got a large slice of Blue Corn Bread from the South American station.

Everything was delicious and different with interesting tastes and textures. The food is pricey for a cafeteria, but you are having a unique dining adventure that is unlike any other museum cafeteria.

If you are visiting DC, take a walk on the "wild side" and drop in for a fun food journey through native America...You may also want to stay to explore the Museum, too!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Food
Thank Wayne N Karen B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe also viewed

Washington DC, DC
Washington DC, DC
Washington DC, DC

Been to Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing