National Museum of the American Indian Cafe

One of my favorite places to eat on the Mall in Washington DC is the Mitsitam Cafe in the National Museum of the American Indian.  The first time I ate there on a recommendation while I was on a solo trip to DC.  This time I brought my kids!  The Mitsitam Cafe is set up in five food stations that show the cooking style and food flavors of the American Indian.  My children loved wandering through the bustling cafe as they watched the people dish up heaping piles of buffalo, cooking over an open flame, make fry bread, and piece together tacos.  The Spring Menu includes items like turtle soup, acorn squash, salmon sandwich, guava tapioca, and blue corn zuchinni cake.  It takes me forever to wander around and finally make a decision about what I want to order.  I finally chose a meal from the Great Plains: an Indian Taco with buffalo chili on fry bread topped with pinto beans, lettuce, chiles and shredded cheese.  And don’t forget to stop by the Meso America region where the guacamole is possibly some of the best I have ever tasted!  I skipped dessert because I was disappointed that I didn’t find my favorite available: pine nut and cranberry cookie.

food (Small)

Stop by Wanderlust and Lipstick to check out Wanderfood Wednesday.
Washington DC Things To Do


  1. 1

    this looks fantastic – we’ll have to go there next time we’re in DC! Thanks for the great, great rec.

  2. 2

    It’s really nice to hear of kids enjoying eating out and expanding their taste buds – even though that looks suspiciously like a burger!

  3. 3

    Jessie-You will love it and the museum is great!
    Heather-LOL-in my defense it was buffalo and covered with things I don’t touch usually-onions and chiles!

  4. 4

    My kid loves museum restaurants too, At home he doesn’t eat anything.

  5. 5

    We didn’t make it to this museum on our DC trip. We can always go back, right? 🙂 We love DC. What a perfect place for family vacation!

  6. 6

    When it first opened there wasn’t much there. Seems like they’ve upgraded the food – always one of the better parts of a long museum trip.

  7. 7

    There’s a native American Pow Wow held every year in Seattle that brings thousands of Indians from around the world. The costumes and dancing are fantastic – but I love the Indian fry bread (sans meat). We’re fortunate to have such an event held in our own back yard.

  8. 8

    Marina-Isn’t it funny how they will eat like there is no tomorrow out at places like this but won’t touch the food at home?
    Amy-The third floor has a short 15 or so minute movie that your child might enjoy but I found that the museum and the artifacts are better served for the older children. I think if I had spent more time reading books to my kids with more background info that they might gotten more out of it. There is some really neat stuff though if he is interested! The food is worth the visit!
    Anil-I wouldn’t say that this museum is my favorite one in the Smithsonian collection for sure, but it does have a great collection. We didn’t even travel through the museum with the kids because I knew that it wouldn’t hold their attention the way that Air and Space or Natural History does. The food is by far some of the best though!
    Wanderluster-How cool to have the native American Pow Wow. My kids would love that. The fry bread is so good isn’t it?