Utensils Optional: Best Places to Eat with Your Hands

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There’s a part of us that never grows up and, for some, that part is the kid who loves to play with her food. We don’t know why, but food just tastes better when you get to touch it before you chew it. So let’s face it: forks and spoons are overrated. We’ve compiled a list of exceptionally tasty restaurants where eating with your hands is not just condoned, but expected. These restaurants make for a very fun, finger-licking good family night out.


Photo: y i v a via Flickr

Brazilian Style Tapas at The Grill from IpanemaThe “Petiscos” at The Grill from Ipanema are bite-sized bits of yumminess that you and the kids will love to pop in your mouth. No utensils needed. Choose from a variety of small plates: fried cod fish croquettes, cubes of sautéed sirloin, spicy sausage slices, crispy fried chicken pieces, herb-basted shrimp, and many more. Order a few plates of small bites and you’ve got one delicious meal.

1858 Columbia Rd., NW (Adams Morgan)
Online: www.thegrillfromipanema.com

The first thing you do when you enter Marrakesh is wash your hands, so you’re fully prepared to use them as your main utensil. Then relax and get ready for a seven-course meal that you’ll eat entirely with your hands, while your eyes feast on talented belly dancers. Highlights of the meal include b’stella, a layered pie with chicken, parsley, eggs, nuts and onions topped with cinnamon and sugar. There’s also lamb with almonds and honey, fresh fruit and Moroccan pastries.

2147 P St., NW (Dupont Circle)
Online: http://www.marrakechrestaurantdc.com

Sticky Fingers Sweets and Eats
In addition to catering local events with very beautiful specialty cakes, Sticky Fingers features some of the tastiest treats in town at its downtown café, and none of them require utensils. Take the kids on a sugar binge with some decadent fingers foods, such as red velvet whoopee pies, cinnamon and walnut sticky buns, and pecan bourbon sandwich cookies. There’s also a full menu of finger-friendly breakfast and lunch plates, including burgers, sandwiches and wraps. The only menu items you might need a fork for are the salads. You decide.

1370 Park Rd., NW (Columbia Heights)
Online: www.stickyfingersbakery.com

GBD Fried Chicken and Doughnuts
You know that any place specializing in fried chicken and doughnuts is going to be finger-friendly, and GBD (Golden, Brown and Delicious) is definitely that. The chicken comes by the piece or the bucket, or on top of waffles with maple-chicken jus and buttered pecans (yum). You can choose between nine delectable dipping sauces for your chicken tenders – buttermilk ranch, jerk, chipotle bbq, and sweet and sour mumbo, to name a few. And don’t forget the doughnuts. They are baked fresh throughout the day and topped with classic and seasonal glazes.

1323 Connecticut Ave., NW (Dupont Circle)
Online: www.gbdchickendoughnuts.com

Do you have a favorite restaurant where the kids can (acceptably) eat with their hands? Dish in the comments section below. 

—Jamy Bond

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