I'm not here to talk about food-court food or that type of mall. I'm talking about the food in and around the Mall in DC.
When we first got to DC, the museums and food stands of the Mall were not exactly a 'food destination'. Boring and tasteless, with very few healthy options, or vegetarian options, or fresh foods. Case in point was the National Air and Space Museum. They had a cafeteria, but could not cook food there. The volatiles given off by cooking would harm the exhibits. So there, and I believe in ALL the museums, the food had to be cooked off-site and sent in by conveyor belt, sort of kept warm. The cheeseburgers were to die from, not for.
Best of the lot was a little restaurant on the ground floor of the National Gallery of Art, West, the Garden Cafe. It was very pleasant, quite overpriced, but had food that was nice. Second to that was the ice cream parlor in the American History Museum - great ice cream, AWFUL service.
That has changed over time. Not that I think that the fast food places that have been moved into the Air & Space Museum are worth the calories or my money - but at least they are cooking it on site with appropriate ventilation.
But now there are some OUTSTANDING places to eat. The Cascade Cafe, in the basement between the National Galleries, is wonderful cafeteria, with good sushi and other foods, outstanding desserts, etc. One of my favorite is bookstores there as well.
And, oh my Gods, the cafeteria of the National Museum of the American Indian! The Mitsitam Cafe features foods of the Americas. Amazing food. Pricey food, but worth it.