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Dining in D.C.

Old Apr 9th, 2014, 09:41 AM
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Dining in D.C.

My husband, myself, and 10 year old daughter are headed to Washington, D.C. next week. We will be staying with relatives for a couple of days, and then we'll be staying at the Hotel George from the 16th through the 20th (flying home on the 20th).

I am looking for some restaurant suggestions. We like most everything, and we have a limited selection of 'everything' where we live. I'd like to try an Ethiopian restaurant, an oyster/seafood restaurant, and a good wood-fired or Neapolitan style pizza place. We also thought we'd try the restaurant at the Native American museum for lunch one day.

I've been looking at Ethiopic. Both Eat the Rich and Republic also look good. I've also checked out 2 Amy's for pizza. I'd love some suggestions or your thoughts on our initial picks.

I have a continental breakfast voucher for our hotel or we'll grab baker items. We like to do lunches out and then just do something easy like bread, wine and cheese for dinner in our hotel room. But I'd like to do one or two dinners out and one or two lunches out.
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Old Apr 9th, 2014, 10:58 AM
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Meskerem has always been my go-to Ethiopian in DC; it's been there since the stone age, and, as far as I know, is still good, although I admit it's been a few years since I've been. My other favorite, Red Sea, closed some years ago. I do not know the two you mention...

FWIW, my current favorite in DC is Le Diplomate: perfect French bistro cuisine, elaborately decorated to resemble--ta da!--an old French bistro The food is just great.

How about Indian? I love Rasika, for lunch or dinner, either location. Jaleo is fun for tapas and well located near museums.

You've made me realize we seem not to eat seafood or pizza when we are in DC!
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Old Apr 9th, 2014, 11:08 AM
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Browsing the Washington Post guide, I notice Meskerem does not get an Editor's Pick check mark, but Dukem, in the U street corridor, does. I'd forgotten about Dukem! It's very authentic, and, as I recall, very good.
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Old Apr 9th, 2014, 12:36 PM
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Thanks, NewBE.

I love Indian food and have looked at Rasika's website. It does look great.
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Old Apr 9th, 2014, 02:28 PM
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I thought of another place for lunch, Busboys and Poets in the U Street corridor. Chekc out the historic Ben's Chili Bowl while you're in the neighborhood!
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Old Apr 9th, 2014, 04:25 PM
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DC is slammed with visitors and conferences this week and next so my advice is to book now for your dinners out. Rasika, Jaleo and Le Diplomate are great suggestions but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to hear that they are already heavily booked for dinner next week.

Ethiopian. Ethiopic is one of the city's best restaurants. It's got a little more modern decor and service to it than the traditional Meskerem and Dukem. I'd eat at any of them (and add Etete to the list) but I really like Ethiopic.

Oysters. The issue with Eat the Rich and Republic is that they don't take reservations and they aren't open for lunch. Your family may have more patience than mine but the thought of queueing up for dinner after a day of touring would have us at each others' throats before the starter hit the table.

Alternative: Lunch at Hank's Oyster Bar. One at Dupont Circle and another on Capital Hill. Also, Johnny's Half Shell is right around the corner from your hotel. It's not my favorite (a little too corporate) but it has received excellent reviews for years.

Pizza. 2 Amy's is a great choice but, again no bookings taken, and Cleveland Park is a pretty far out of your way. One alternative is Graffiato at Penn Quarter. Another is Pizza Paradiso at Dupont Circle (no bookings there either)

One final suggestion if you are visiting east end of the Mall on Thursday, there is a sweet little farmer's market on 8th Street in Penn Quarter from 3-7. FarmFresh Market. Their season just began but that market normally has a nice selection of cheeses, breads, and pastries. Also quite nearby on Pennsylvania Ave is Paul, the French patisserie which has some wonderful baguette sandwiches and sweets.

And ultimately you can't starve! The restaurant attached to the George, Bistro Bis, is one of the best in the city and provides room service for the hotel.

Hope you have a super trip!
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Old Apr 9th, 2014, 06:08 PM
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Has anybody eaten at that outdoor restaurant that is attached to The Willard? Looks like a lovely location for a warm day - not sure what type of cuisine they do, or how pricey it is.
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Old Apr 9th, 2014, 07:13 PM
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I'm putting Ethiopic on my list for our next visit, thanks! And yes, excellent point about Le Diplomate, it is exceedingly tough to get into. It pays to check Open Table frequently, and it's possible that booking for lunch at Rasika, for example, would be more doable.
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Old Apr 9th, 2014, 08:13 PM
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Glad to see some good feedback an Le Diplomate, as I recently heard a couple people say that they thought the place was over rated. Still have not made it there myself, but it is on the list.
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 06:00 AM
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Hi kureiff, I'm no help for Ethiopian food but if you google 'restaurants near eastern market dc' Hank's Oyster Bar will come up. The Eastern Market has been running for over 100 years and there are quite a few restos in the area. Hank's opens at 5 according to the link.

There is an Eastern Market Metro stop within an easy walk to Hank's. Enjoy your stay.
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 06:22 AM
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I was in DC last weekend, and the best meal I had (by far) was at Founding Farmer's, but it was horribly crowded and not particularly child-friendly, though I think the menu is quite suitable for a child, especially the delicious mac-and-cheese.
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 06:46 AM
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Thank you for all of your suggestions.

Obx, thanks for the information regarding reservations, too. It won't work for us to wait an hour or more to eat; we'll be much to cranky.

Tdudette, I'll take a look at Hank's Oyster Bar. It sounds like that might work very well.

My husband is trying to get reservations to Ethiopic. I'll look into Rasika for lunch, too.

Doug, Founding Farmer's looks great, too.
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 07:40 AM
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Hanks does not take reservations and will be very busy for dinner -- another potential waiting situation which is why I suggested lunch. What is it with oyster bars and not taking bookings?

Eastern Market is a great suggestion for restaurants and a Saturday/Sunday morning destination.

Glad to see some good feedback an Le Diplomate, as I recently heard a couple people say that they thought the place was over rated.

JMO, not over rated but I can definitely see how someone might go there with exaggerated expectations. Logan Circle and the 14th Street corridor is swimming in new and interesting restaurants but Le Diplomate has definitely been the darling of them all in the last year. The setting is charming and the food is excellent & moderately priced. But it is, as NewBe noted, French bistro food.

I also like Founding Farmers and I think a 10 YO would do fine there. It's upscale-y comfort food but the ambiance is not at all stuffy. It **is** loud when that place cranks during a busy dinner service. Founding Farmers was Le Diplomate 3 or 4 years ago -- couldn't get a booking on a Tuesday night in January. FF does a great, artery crippling breakfast.
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 07:51 AM
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Yes, the thing about Le Diplomate is that it is not innovative; it won't surprise you. It serves classic bistro fare that is, IMO, perfectly executed. For example, the moules frites were the beau ideal of moules frites in just a simple white wine garlic broth; the same dish at Brasserie Bec, two nights later, was pedestrian by comparison. One of our friends was stunned by the omelet at Le Diplomate, having never had a proper French one before. Even the decor could offend, because it is a rather perfect recreation of a century old Parisian bistro, and some people will react negatively to the very idea.

On another topic, I think the thing about oyster bars and reservations is a matter of the fragility of the product: they would rather pack diners in and be sure of selling out their highly perishable stock than book up and risk cancellations. Maybe?
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 07:57 AM
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We have reservations at Ehiopic for Friday, the 18th. So that's one restaurant we'll get to try!
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 08:04 AM
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Post a report, please!!
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 08:06 AM
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I will! I'm excited to try it.
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 08:09 AM
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Has anybody eaten at that outdoor restaurant that is attached to The Willard?

I've never eaten at Cafe du Parc. The Williard is a beautiful old hotel with very high standards so I'd guess Cafe du Parc is both good and not inexpensive.

I don't know, NewBe. All of those places (and Republic's sister, Pearl Dive) have other things on the menu. I think they don't take bookings b/c they don't have to. For some that isn't a big deal and they're willing to hang around for a couple of beers waiting for a table. In my family that doesn't fly far. I like Brasserie Beck and its sister, B Too.

Sorry kurieff for the hijack!
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 08:25 AM
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Not at all. I think it's interesting reading. I love to read about new restaurants; unfortunately, we live in a very isolated area without a lot of good food.
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 07:07 PM
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I liked Brasserie Beck, too, and would go back there.

I have to be in the mood to wait around for a table: if we know we'll have to wait, we won't arrive hungry, we'll plan on having a stand-up beer or two, etc., and if there;s a chance we could eat at the bar, so much the better. There's nothing worse than being ambushed by a long wait! Which is why your info is so useful, obxgirl.
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