Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe

Review by: Marvin Nakashima

Mitsitam is a unique dining opportunity for visitors to the Smithsonian Institution museum complex on the mall in Washington, DC. Apart from the Garden Cafe in the National Gallery of Art (old building) your dining options are cafeterias/fast food. The Mitsitam Cafe is a cafeteria, but it also offers the chance to taste Native American cuisine beyond Navajo tacos.

The cafe is divided into regional cuisines: North Woodlands, Mesoamerica, Great Plains, South America, and Northwest Coast. Steaks are cooked to order in the Northwest Coast section, a pretty unique offering for a cafeteria. Here are a sampling of things you can try: fiddlehead fern, wild rice and watercress salad, roasted sunchoke and nettles, brined turkey, and planked salmon. Vegetarians are well served here. Entrees are served with choice of two sides. Tarts are a must eat.

There is traditional fare, and value items, but be prepared to spend more than at the other dining opportunities on the Mall, e.g., $60-80 for four. It is important that, if you wish avail yourself of the full menu, you be there at lunchtime since, from 3-5P, a limited menu is started in anticipation of the 5:30P museum closing.

Directions & Hours

11am - 4pm
  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

What To Eat

Maple brined turkey

Lake trout

Braised duck

Chocolate tart

Pinenut and rosemary tart


Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe Recipes


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