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Compass Rose
1346 T St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

Cost: $$$
Our bill: ~$180 (food, beverage, tax and tip)
Our rating: ★★★★☆
Vibe: Casual
Cuisine: International street food
Reservations: yes, recommended

Our thoughts:

A solid choice if you’re looking for international cuisine and tasting flavors from around the world without leaving the country.

As you can see in the first photo, there is no big sign for Compass Rose, just the restaurant’s name painted on the brick and a compass sign hanging near the doorway.

When we walked in, we were greeted by a polite and smiling host. We didn’t have reservations (which we definitely recommend), but since we were there before the dinner rush, there was no problem seating us quickly. I chalk that up to luck, especially on a Saturday night!

When we got to our table, we were given several menus by our awesome server, one of which included the Tour of the World. Since it was our first time here, we opted to take the tour because we felt that this was the best way to get a feel for all their dishes in one sitting. It’s a quite a large menu and you definitely leave stuffed!

The portion sizes were generous, as opposed to just one-biters you get at other places.


The food comes out as it is ready so you may have several dishes at your table at once — not a bad thing!

Their dishes range in spice and there were some that were fairly spicy where my tongue felt like it was on fire, so definitely be sensitive and aware of that.

If you go with a group of people, the entire table has to commit to it. It is $60 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. They also offer a $40 drink pairing package that you can add on, or you can order drinks a la carte. We went with a couple “Draft Moscow Mules” and an old fashioned. Aaron favored the mules over the old fashioned, however, I wasn’t a fan of the house made ginger beer.

Bacalao, Mchicha Wa Nazi, Sambal Udang, and Grilled Turnips

Other dishes on the menu cost less than the tour, so don’t let the cost of our tab discourage you from trying this place. You could do a date night here for around $100 or so including a couple drinks, tax and tip.

The Tour of the World is great to do for your first time at Compass Rose because when you decide to return (which we most definitely will), we now know which dishes were our favorites to order again, and we get the opportunity to try new dishes, as well.

The following were our favorites:

  • Aguachile
  • Spanakopita
  • Bacalao
  • Sambal Udang
  • Spice Bag
  • Khachapuri
Spice Bag
Curried Lamb

Quick tips

We recommend snagging reservations online. They have three different kinds of reservations so be sure to read up on the site which you are reserving.

They also take walk-ins and have first come, first serve seating at the bar.

We wore casual street clothes and didn’t feel out of place. Don’t feel obliged to dress up in business casual or elegant attire. The atmosphere is very chill, which makes your dining experience very comfortable.

As mentioned previously, the outside is very nondescript; you would walk past it if you weren’t looking for it. Look for the Compass Rose lettering painted on the brick, the bedouin tent out front, and the wooden compass sign by the front door. The host area is small, so if you have a large group, you may as well wait outside until your table is ready.


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