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Need DC Restaurant Recs


menton1
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I believe Busboy may be referring to Bonaparte Breads at the Dupont Circlehttp://www.freshfarmmarket.org/farmers.htmlFarmers Market. I couldn't agree more. I picked up a piece of blueberry and pear tart along with a chocolate croissant last Sunday. I've also had the ham and cheese croissant, and the quiches look unbelievable. There is usally a line, but don't worry. They move the line along quickly, and along with a hot Starbucks coffee (also in Dupont Circle) it makes for a great breakfast and/or snack for later on.

Nearby to the White House, you and your family might enjoy some excellent tapas at Taberna Del Alabardero:http://www.alabardero.com/menus/Fall_tapas_06.html. Moreover, tapas are half price during happy hour M-F , 3-7pm.

Edited by monavano (log)
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That's it. Napoleon, Bonaparte, Louis cans, Pepe LePew -- I knew it was one of those French guys.

You can also pick up bread and cheese at the market if, like me, you always travel with a blade, and have a hotel-room picnic, unless it's one of those freakish global warming days, in which case you can nosh in the circle. Best (ie, only) wine in that area on a Sunday is probably one of the convenience stores on P Street, but since you're from PA you may not notice how bad they are. :wink:

Also, if you sneak out , Bell Liquors on M between 19th and 20th has a tasting every Saturday and while their selections is un-immense, is pretty good and well-chosen (if, like me, you always travel with a corkscrew, too).

Edited to Add: I hadn't thought of this because of the kids, but a excellent choice for a cocktail or hip dinner -- and they are nice to kids, just don't know if they kids would like it -- is Firefly, about a block from your hotel on New Hampshire Ave.

They also serve drinks and perhaps noshes all afternoon, for that post-prandial rejuvination.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I am so glad I found this thread! We are taking 2-17 yr old girls for a quick weekend in a few weeks. I've found some good ideas here!

We have it narrowed down to either Adams Morgan(never been) area or Dupont Circle(been to the mkt on a few sundays) to just browse and eat the whole time.

Keep the ideas coming!

Jennifer

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Not sure how adventurous the girls are food-wise or how glam they want to be, but Rasika, an extremely hip and very good Indian place in the Penn Quarter neighborhood would be a nice spot for everyone to put on their cool shoes and get all sophisto in the general vicinity of the kind of boys you want to keep them away from. :wink: I believe JennyUptown goes there, and she's the hippest person I know (or, at any rate, is hipper than anyone with a palate quite so good).

My Dupont reccomendations are above. I don't think I've eaten dinner in Adams-Morgan twice in the last year, even though it's just a 5-minute walk from my house. It's deteriorated into a more of a bar scene than restaurant refuge, though always fun to wander through once the crowds show up. You might consider La Fourchette, a very comfy -- if no longer cutting edge -- French place on 18th; Cashion's Eat Place, a well-regarded Washington institution (I'm eating there in two weeks, I'll post a few thoughts); Perry's, famed for its drag brunch and fine food, including pretty decent sushi; and -- for breakfast and coffee and a feeling that you're just about as cool as cool can be -- Tryst, favorite of my two kids, 18 and 14.

ETA: Also in Adams-Morgan, a small restaurant called San Marco, for tasty and unpretentious Italian cooking in a laid-back setting.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Flattery will get you everywhere. <bats eyelashes>

I believe JennyUptown goes there, and she's the hippest person I know (or, at any rate, is hipper than anyone with a palate quite so good). 

I do enjoy Rasika. If the teens aren't in the mood for ethnic eats, but you will be in Adams Morgan, try Bourbon. I had a great burger there Saturday (along with about a bucket of wine - urp). Just ask for your baked beans sans cheese. That is just weird.

Rumba Cafe doesn't offer haute cuisine, but the setting is rather funky, particularly if they have live music set up for the night in question.

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My Dupont reccomendations are above. I don't think I've eaten dinner in Adams-Morgan twice in the last year, even though it's just a 5-minute walk from my house. It's deteriorated into a more of a bar scene than restaurant refuge, though always fun to wander through once the crowds show up.

Agreed -- I live in Adams Morgan, and I love it there, but the restaurant scene will not keep you busy for long. (Though I do love San Marco, and the sandwiches at So's Your Mom.) Parking is also scarce and the Metro is not entirely convenient. I'd go with Dupont Circle instead, as a home base. Breakfast or lunch at Teaism, stroll down to Firefly for a cheese plate, poke around at the FreshFarm market on Sunday morning, lots of options in the area. Dupont also has a movie theater, little shops like The Propper Topper, and other places 17-year-olds might like to browse around in when they get tired of eating.

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Will we be able to walk to Dupont circle from our hotel location at 23 and N?  Its the embassy suites.  On the map it looks close.  Is it relatively safe to walk from that area to Dupont circle?

It's definitely walkable, if a bit chilly at this time of year. :smile: I lived a few blocks from there and never had any hesitation walking around during the day - it was my route to work for years. At night I'd take the usual city precautions - being aware of your surroundings, etc.

My seven-year-old thought the lighted tree in the dining room at Firefly was very cool, and both she and the four-year-old liked Zaytinya (across the street from the Museum of American Art, see the Joseph Cornell exhibit!). If you're heading to the museums down on the mall I'd definitely consider lunch at the Mitsitam Cafe at the Museum of the American Indian, although as Miami Danny noted, the museum itself is not very interesting for kids. At the National Gallery of Art I can confidently recommend the gelato cafe and not much else.

This is a great time of year to see the pandas at the National Zoo; they will come outside and frolic around in cold weather instead of sitting like bamboo-eating lumps like they do when it's hot. And the zoo has a new hands-on farm exhibit that's pretty cool. Be sure to eat somewhere else though, food options there are uniformly awful.

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts isn't far from your hotel. It has a free concert every night at 6pm. They have a rooftop restaurant and a cafe - food isn't great, but you could get coffee and check out the terrific view.

Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Agreed -- I live in Adams Morgan, and I love it there, but the restaurant scene will not keep you busy for long. (Though I do love San Marco, and the sandwiches at So's Your Mom.) Parking is also scarce and the Metro is not entirely convenient. I'd go with Dupont Circle instead, as a home base. Breakfast or lunch at Teaism, stroll down to Firefly for a cheese plate, poke around at the FreshFarm market on Sunday morning, lots of options in the area. Dupont also has a movie theater, little shops like The Propper Topper, and other places 17-year-olds might like to browse around in when they get tired of eating.

Thanks! This is exactly how we were thinking to spend the weekend. Since the girls have done the usual DC things on school trips we'd like to show them more of the eclectic stuff around Dupont Circle. Except--I don't know how many pocket books and shoes I can stand to look at.

Jennifer

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Thanks! This is exactly how we were thinking to spend the weekend. Since the girls have done the usual DC things on school trips we'd like to show them more of the eclectic stuff around Dupont Circle. Except--I don't know how many pocket books and shoes I can stand to look at.

This is getting away from the food stuff, but you could, for example, leave them to poke around in the jewelry at Beadazzled while you browse books next door at Kramerbooks. Just don't separate and then plan to meet at Comfort One Shoes -- there are three of those on Connecticut just north of the circle. One of the charming oddities of the area.

On food: for the love of all that is holy, don't eat at Anna Maria's.

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Please, please don't miss a trip to the newly re-opened American Museum which is right in front of you should you take the Metro's red line to Gallery Place and get out at the exit marked "Galleries and Museums"--or something to that effect.

It's open 11:30 until 7 PM, which makes it perfect to combine with a trip to Jaleo--or Busboy's suggested alternative. Jaleo might be a better choice for a lot of children, though I don't know yours. At any rate, I think we're all saying you should eat at one of Jose Andres's restaurants. (I've never gone to Z, but reviews tend to be rather mixed when compared to his real successes.)

One of the reasons I recommend setting aside a good bit of time for the museum linked is an important exhibition of Joseph Cornell which your son should appreciate. The show's not nearly as huge as the big retrospective at MOMA more than two decades ago, which means it's not as overwhelming. Anyone who enjoys the whole mystique of the artist as recluse and eccentric will also be fascinated by one of the trends in museums around town these days: letting the public in on what was previously considered "background" and the purvey of curators alone. You can walk into the artist's basement, so to speak, and see shelf upon shelf of the kinds of things he hoarded to use in making his boxes and collages.

However, the five-year reconstruction of the museum is truly--and rarely--exemplary. Your family is invited to see what goes on in the art preservation lab. And don't overlook the permanent collection. To your right on the main floor, past a compelling photography/mixed-media exhibition on the South is the folk art. One of the most fantastic things in DC period is the visionary assemblage of an illiterate government employee that he realized in a garage out of cardboard, foil and light bulbs. Upstairs, in the wing devoted to contemporary art, ingeniously displayed in one of those soaring marble institutional spaces of this city, be sure you step into David Hockney's 3-D, Day-Glo landscape. It's down at the end of the hall, to your right, next to the upstairs doorway that leads into the portrait gallery.

* * *

The textile museum is worth a detour for residents or someone who collects or weaves. Otherwise, I'd say don't stick exclusively to Western/European culture. There's the Freer/Sackler, though the collection's hampered by lack of exhibition space. I'd have to second what's said about the Native American museum since its collections contain no real gems and the design of the displays match the FL Wright knock-off architecture in quality. Many do praise the restaurant's superiority to all others in museums on the Mall.

Often the most exciting place to go in recent years is The National Museum of African Art, conveniently close to the other place your modern-art lover would probably want to explore: the Hirshhorn, though the Johns show kind of eclipses it at the moment. The NMAA has interesting exhibitions whose subjects and forms overlap with those of "modern" art since they tend to feature contemporary works of living artists or newly assembled collections.

And if you can't fit your ice skates into your bags, you can rent some to glide within a second sculpture garden, across the street from the West building (older) of the National Gallery. In this weather, you'll want some hot cocoa in the small cafe next to the rink. It's unfortunately not a good place for a real meal.

Finally, do check through a few other, older threads here. There are many queries similar to your own, so you might find impressions strengthened or new ideas.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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P.S. Just saw Jenny Uptown's post about Jaleo which I find interesting since my last trip there (versus the Bethesda location) after praising it to visiting friends was disappointing; I thought it a fluke. Hmmm. And I see HJS already recommends the Cornell. Yes!

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Will we be able to walk to Dupont circle from our hotel location at 23 and N?  Its the embassy suites.  On the map it looks close.  Is it relatively safe to walk from that area to Dupont circle?

This also puts you in walkable distance to Georgetown. I don't have much in the way of food recommendations there (Pizza Paradiso has locations both there and at Dupont), but there's lots of shopping. Unfortunately, the quirkier Georgetown shopping locations have been paved over by chains. If you have a nice sunny afternoon, though, walking P Street west to Georgetown and meandering could be fun. The architecture is gorgeous, if you're into that kind of thing. Thomas Sweet shop in Georgetown (Wisconsin and P) is a great place for ice cream.
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  • 2 weeks later...

I want to thank everyone for all of your help. We had a wonderful time and thanks to you all we were able to find some good food.

We arrived in DC in the afternoon and we experienced the legendary downtown traffic. It motivated us to leave our car parked our entire stay and walk and use the metro.

We made a quick dash to the mall before the museums closed. We saw some of the air and space museum and then had some buffalo burgers and squash salad at Mitsitam. It was the most interesting food I have had at a museum cafe. Unfortunately, many of the stations were closed as we caught them just before closing, and many of the foods on the menus that were not available looked good.

That night we ate at Firefly, which really was just around the corner from our hotel. It was nice and cozy and the food was tasty and homey. The best thing we tried was a flounder and cauliflower gratinee with curry. I didnt like that they held our food on warmers and brought the whole order at once. I think if a restaurant is offering small medium and large plates they should be brought to the table as they are ready. I thought their artisan cheese selection needed work, but to be fair maybe their cheeses just didnt suit my taste. Why not feature some of the locally available artisan cheeses like the cheeses at the Dupont farmers market or from Cowgirl Creamery? We enjoyed their wine by the glass.

The next day after a very long day at the zoo we went to Cowgirl Creamery and had a hotel room picnic of cheeses, prociutto, bread, olives, quince paste, and almonds. We are familiar with their cheeses from our visits to the bay area. It is an awesome store. The staff is very helpful and they have no problem with you standing at the cheese counter and tasting multiple cheeses. They have an overwhelming selection. I wish they would open a Philly branch. The zoo was great, thank you Hshorter for the recommendation. The animals were all very active especially the giant pandas.

Pontormo, we would never have found our way to the Museum of American Art and the Joseph Cornell without the tip. What an incredible museum! I loved the modern art collection on the 3rd floor and the building and ongoing renovation.

We tried Zaytinya that day for a late lunch. That was our favorite meal of the whole weekend. We had tired ourselves out at the museum and walked out into a Chinese New Years parade. We made a silly attempt to walk two blocks to Full Kee and soon realized that we couldnt move at all on the sidewalks, especially with my son on crutches. We were hungry, tired, miserably cold, and it had started to snow. We doubled back to Zaytinya and were seated immediately at a round booth near the gas fireplace. We had a very knowlegeable, very good waiter and we quickly ordered an incredible middle eastern feast. The chicken soup avgolemono was the best I have ever tasted. The broth was poured into the bowl at the table so the soup was nice and hot and it made for a nice presentation with all of the goodies piled in the middle of the bowl and the broth poured around it. The broth was lemony, light and creamy. The kibbe was excellent served with a lucious thick and sour labneh. The chicken stuffed with apricots and currants was delicious. The goat cheese in grape leaves with a sweet tomato jam was yummy. The fried squid were perfectly crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside and the mussels were cooked to perfection, just barely done with a tomato feta broth that was excellent. At another table we saw the giagantic sea scallops and the sauteed shrimp served and they looked great. The basket of house made puffy pita bread was wonderful. Service was attentive and perfect.

That afternoon we went to the East building of the National Gallery and saw the Jasper Johns exhibit. I loved the building by I.M. Pei and the Andy Goldsworthy sculpture Roof.

The next day we decided to try Jaleo for lunch. The meal came to an unauspicious start when we walked into a half empty restaurant at about 3pm on President's day and we were shown to a table that was in front of the bus station and kitchen door. The service was not good,we were left with dirty plates on our table for long periods of time, more bread was not offered, we had no olive oil on our table, water was not refilled. The food came out at uneven intervals, a bunch at a time and then a long wait. They forgot to serve one of our dishes. The food was good, but I have had better tapas. We ordered a special seafood paella as they were having a paella festival. It was good but the rice was overly salty for my taste. It had a nice seafood flavor and the fish and seafood in the paella were cooked nicely. It lacked a socarat, something I have not been successful in achieving in my home attempts to make paella, so I was dissappointed that they did not make it this way. I asked the manager about it and he said that the Spanish chef Mari Carman Velez whose paella recipe this was based on makes a quicker cooking paella with more broth and no socarat. The flan was incredibly good, light and eggy served with orange flavored whipped cream.

We had very spicy (as ordered) delivered Thai food from Sala Thai one night and we were very happy.

I also want to thank those who mentioned the Dupont circle farmer's market. We enjoyed pastries from bonaparte breads and we picked up a delicious cheddar cheese from one of the dairies.

We saw a free concert at the Kennedy Center on Monday. We ended the trip by heading out to the second Air and Space Museum out by the Dulles airport. We saw the Enola Gay and the Enterprise space shuttle. We should have inquired about food out in that direction, because we didnt find anything worth eating. How could they have McDonalds at their cafe!

We were unable to do so many of the great things everyone mentioned and we couldnt eat everywhere! We shall return.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My husband, (very young-at-heart) father-in-law, and I will be visiting DC from Sat afternoon (3/31) through Mon afternoon (4/2) and have a pretty packed touring schedule (mostly historical and political stuff this trip). This thread has been incredibly helpful in helping me organize our meals for the trip.

So far, I have booked dinner on Sat night at Zaytinya (rather than Jaleo) since we will be coming from the International Spy Museum nearby.

On Sun, I'd like to have lunch at Teaism in Dupont Circle (between a visit to the Holocaust Museum and the Air & Space Museum) - is there a closer location that is open on Sundays? If not, is Dupont Circle very out of the way? We will be a little pressed for time so can't afford to spend too much time traveling to and from a restaurant.

Our hotel is located just north of the White House and most of our touring will take place in the downtown area so for dinner on Sun, I was thinking of going to Georgetown so that we can see another neighborhood. Ideally, I'd like to score a table in the lounge of Citronelle (is this impossible?), failing which I am considering Bistro Francais or Mendocino Grill based on recommendations above - are these my best bets in Georgetown?

Also, any recommendations for a quick but yummy lunch near the Capitol or Supreme Court buildings on Mon would be appreciated.

Many thanks in advance!

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On Sun, I'd like to have lunch at Teaism in Dupont Circle (between a visit to the Holocaust Museum and the Air & Space Museum) - is there a closer location that is open on Sundays? If not, is Dupont Circle very out of the way? We will be a little pressed for time so can't afford to spend too much time traveling to and from a restaurant.

You are much better off going to the Teaism in Penn Quarter for a couple of reasons: one, it is much nearer to the Mall than Dupont Circle is, and two, it is much larger and more comfortable to sit in. The Penn Quarter Teaism has a large downstairs area with lots of tables (and a koi pond!) whereas Dupont is more cramped.

If you follow this link it has the address and appears to link to a map.

Enjoy your visit!

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Also, any recommendations for a quick but yummy lunch near the Capitol or Supreme Court buildings on Mon would be appreciated.

Many thanks in advance!

Le Bon Cafe, on 2nd, between Independence and C, SE (opposite Madison Bldg. of Library of Congress) has nice simple cafe fare. It's a bit pricey and seating is limited (if it's warm enough, there are tables outside). You order at the counter; no table service. I love the curried turkey salad sandwich, which comes with a side of delicious potato salad.
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  • 4 weeks later...

Next week, my husband and I will be visiting DC (from Seattle) for the first time. I have been reading tons on all of the boards and getting advice from friends who have been before as well as those who used to live there. I've got a couple of specific things I haven't been able to nail down yet.

Our flight gets in around 9:15 Saturday night. By the time we get luggage and check in to the hotel (Hotel Madera on Dupont Circle, by the way) I figure it will be 10-ish. Where would you suggest for a late night bite? I understand that DC is not a late night town, but there must be some place we can go, right?

We're in need of decent, not fancy, breakfast places near our hotel. The plan is to eat there, then take off for the museums, galleries etc.

Paul and I both enjoy cocktails and little ms foodie and TallDrinkofWater were kind enough to point us in the direction of some that they enjoyed on their visit last year (write up can be found here. Are there any new places with interesting cocktails that we should know about? Obviously we'll be hitting Firefly, since it's in our hotel. How is the food since the chef has left?

My dialing finger was too slow and we weren't able to get a reservation at Minibar - next time. We are having dinner at Citronelle Monday night. I'm very much looking forward to that.

Thanks!

Lauren

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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I would try Bistro du Coin in Dupont Circle or Bistro Francais in Georgetown. Both are good (but not stupendous), and more importantly, open late. I think both serve food until 1-2 am. A lot of DC chefs head to Bistro du Coin after their shift for a drink (or several drinks) and a bite to eat.

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Both Bistro du Coin and Bistro Francais are certainly open quite late and are good options.  But it doesn't sound like you're really going to be super late.  Most of the downtown hot-spots seat until 11pm or so on Friday nights, and the kitchens are generally open until midnight or beyond -- I know this is the case with Zaytinya, and I think also with Atlantico, DC Coast, Tenh Penh, etc.

Maybe best to look at something near your hotel so you don't have to rush -- what part of town are you staying in?

Eric

We're staying at the Hotel Madera on Dupont Circle so Bistro du Coin sounds perfect for our Saturday night dinner.

We're planning to hit Zaytinya for lunch one day - after the Spy Museum!

Any breakfast recommendations?

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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Both Bistro du Coin and Bistro Francais are certainly open quite late and are good options.  But it doesn't sound like you're really going to be super late.  Most of the downtown hot-spots seat until 11pm or so on Friday nights, and the kitchens are generally open until midnight or beyond -- I know this is the case with Zaytinya, and I think also with Atlantico, DC Coast, Tenh Penh, etc.

Maybe best to look at something near your hotel so you don't have to rush -- what part of town are you staying in?

Eric

Actually, my experience is that very few places really seat until 11, regardless of what their posted hours are. We've had Symphony tickets for many years now, and finding late eats afterwards -- even on a Friday -- has been quite frustrating. Tenh Penh specifically declined to ask us over when called 10:30-ish, and I have a vague memory of DC Coast and Zatinya closing earlier than I'd expected, as well.

Central Michel Richard claims to serve until 11:30 -- I haven't been there late to test it, but I suspect they're a good option. The best food of the bistro lot, but you may need a reservation. The chefs hang at BdC on Saturdays, by the way. Fridays it's just us civilians. (If you choose BdC, ignore the wine list on the menu and look for the specials posted above and to the right of the bar. Not cheap -- $30-50 -- but usually excellent price/quality ratios).

If you're not up for the bistro thing, Rasika serves fairly late and offers up very good Indian food in very hip surroundings. Sette Osteria is in walking distance of your hotel (as is Bistro du Coin and, on a pleasant night, Bistro Francais). They, too have been known to close the kitchen earlier than thier posted hours, but if you're feeling Italian they fit the bill. And, of course, if you just want some good old burgers and martinis, there's the good ol' Old Ebbitt Grill.

Botton line, though: Unless you're going to one of the Bistros, call first and gauage the enthusiasm of the voice on the other end of the line. No point being rushed through a meal because the host was more enthusiastic than the kitchen staff.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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