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redheadednancy Oct 7th, 2009 08:36 AM

Where to eat in Washington DC
My husband and I are going to Washington DC the end of this month for a long week-end. We love good restaurants and are staying at the Willard. We don't want to drive far to get to a restaurant so would like to go where we can walk or take a short cab ride. We are not exotic eaters so sometimes "haute cuisine" at $200 ro $300 a person is not our thing.
Any suggestions? We love seafood and love atmosphere. Someone said the Old Ebbitt Grill or maybe we should eat one night at the Willard. Any opinions. THe Occidental was also suggested to's close.

bardo1 Oct 7th, 2009 09:17 AM

Here are a few great choices - all with great atmoshere and some seafood choices. All within walking distance to the Willard. The Willard restaurant is OK but also in the same building complex is the much better Cafe du Parc (serving breakfast, lunch and dinner). #2 pick #1 pick

And the best seafood restaurant in the neighborhood:

Oceanaire (no working website)
1201 F St. NW
Washington, DC 20004

Christina Oct 7th, 2009 09:37 AM

The restaurant in Willard is supposed to be pretty good (cafe du parc), I think they have a good brunch. That is very different from Old Ebbitt Grill, which would be fine if you want that wood-y bar atmosphere, it's comletely different. It's just a bar and grill, basically, although I think the food is decent.

It depends what you want, but there is a lot to choose from. I'm not familiar with the Occidental. For Italian, try Potenza at 1430 H st. Not far is Georgia Brown's for southern (not cheap southern, chic Southern) at 950 15th. For ethnic (not cheap ethnic around there), the Bombay Club is expensive but popular with famous people (elegant Indian) at 815 Connecticut Ave, and Taberna del Alabardero at I and 18th st is Spanish and also well-known. For modern American, I'd recommend Chef Geoff's at 1301 Pennsylvania Ave.

These are moderate to expensive. If you love atmosphere and good restaurants, I think these will fit the bill. All are within walking distance of the Willard.

bardo1 Oct 7th, 2009 10:01 AM

The wonderful Cafe du Parc is not in the Willard - it is right next door.

redheadednancy Oct 7th, 2009 10:03 AM

Thank you both, wish we would be there a little longer to try them all! Does Oceanaire have atmosphere? We are a second marriage and after three years we are still on our honeymoon so like to go where we can talk and sip our wine and still have great food. We are world travelled and are just starting to work the United States for long week-ends, etc.

bardo1 Oct 7th, 2009 10:43 AM

Oceanaire is both elegant and festive. Quite condusive to talking and sipping - a little like Le Dôme in Montparnasse.

marymarra Oct 7th, 2009 12:02 PM

Bardo has given you great suggestions; I think some of the best food in the city right now is at Central; it is a super easy walk from the Willard. Central is the great Michel Richard's bistro so it is reasonable for excellent food. IMHO, the Old Ebbitt is pretty touristy--you can do better. Central is on Open Table, if you want to go, reserve soonest.

Have fun,

Mary in D.C.

yestravel Oct 7th, 2009 12:18 PM

Good recommndations by Bardo -- I will add that Central is not romantic and can get very loud -- it's got great food, but is more of a casual type of place as compared to Oceanaire.

redheadednancy Oct 7th, 2009 05:28 PM

I love this forum and you are all so helpful. I outruled Central because of noise factor. Thanks to everyone we outruled the Ebbitt but will maybe stop in for a drink. We like Le Dome in montparnasse...had a great meal there. We did make reservations at Michel Richard's Bistro..going to World War II Memorial, the Newseum (we have not seen either) and have reservations at the Kennedy Performing Arts Center for Shear Madness and going to National Cathedral for church Sunday. The Spanish restaurant intrigued us because we love Spain and will be in Madrid next April, so may hit that the night we get in..Taberna del Alabardero. Cafe Le Parc is on our list and now Oceanaire seems like we can't miss it. I met someone recently..he's native born Washington and a lobbyist and he is emailing me his wife's list?!!! He also said to go to top of Wsshington Hotel for view.

In our past lives we have been to all monuments, White House, Arlington, Capitol, etc. etc. so just looking for new things. Wanted to do tea at the Willard but that will negate a dinner and can't do that, ha! Reminds me of high tea at the Pennisula in Hong Kong.

yestravel Oct 7th, 2009 06:18 PM

The Washington Hotel is no longer -- its a W Hotel since this summer. It has been hard to get into the terrace for the view, so call ahead. Same great view, just a bit more pricey. I may have missed something but Central is Michel Richard's bistro -- it's on Pennsylvania Ave. So not sure where u meant when u said "We did make reservations at Michel Richard's Bistro..."

Have u been to the Portrait Gallery since it re-opened? Its really nice. Enjoy DC

redheadednancy Oct 8th, 2009 03:12 AM

No you didn't miss anything. I did. I thought Central was a different restaurant than Michel Richard...didn't know it had three names!! Oh well, we will try one night and live with noise for the good food. I think by what everyone said, I shouldn't misss Oceanaire. Thanks for tip on portrait gallery. We will try to do that.

yestravel Oct 8th, 2009 04:44 AM

As Bardo stated Oceanaire is the best seafood near your hotel (in the neighborhood). Some people love it others find it to be just okay. It is quieter than some restaurants. U can generally get seafood at any of the better restaurants. Tosca which is Italian, has a nice atmosphere and has excellent seafood on their menu. Ceiba also has good seafood dishes on their menu.

tahl Oct 17th, 2009 12:13 PM

I'm a big fan of Ten Penh, which is at 10th and Pennsylvania (get it?). Your hotel is at 14th and Penn., so you can see it's a straightforward stroll.

You also mentioned Taberna del Alabardero. I can confirm it's very good -- a little more on the traditional / formal side than Ten Penh.

flygirl Oct 21st, 2009 06:49 AM

I can highly recommend both Equinox and the Oval Room. Excellent food, a little spendy but not outrageous.

They are next to each other and not far from the White House (Farragut West Metro).

Ryan Oct 21st, 2009 07:22 AM

We stayed at the W in the summer, which is just around the block from Willards.

A friend is going in a few weeks and here's what I sent her as suggestions:

"We really liked Potenza, which is on 15th and H st. (About a block north of the White House on 15th.) Good Italian food, trattoria environment. Price was pretty reasonable.

We also went to this famous Washington Place on 15th called the Old Ebbitt Grill. We thought it was a steakhouse, it's really not. More pub type food, but looks like a steakhouse. Entrees were more in the $15 to $20 range, less than what we expected. Definately a place living off it's reputation, but actually not bad. At least when we went, which I think was a Saturday night, was crowded.

A few blocks from the Capitol and just across from Union Station there is a good Irish place called the Dubliner. Food was good. We've been for lunch and brunch.

If you do go to the Capitol, the public cafeteria was actually pretty good. Prices were also reasonable. They built a new Capitol visitors center and it's inside that. They have a variety of options a several stations.

We went to a Chinease place named Jenny's near the Boat Basin. Probably not worth going out of the way for, but if near there the food was pretty good.

For lunch, you might want to try POV at the top of the W Hotel. Great views of the city. Definitely need a reservation."

hazel1 Oct 21st, 2009 11:18 AM

What you might consider doing for the Old Ebbitt Grill is to stop in for drinks at happy hour, when their oysters are half-price. Not sure if the entire bar menu is 1/2 price then, but we had a huge oyster platter, and the best Bloody Mary of my life for less than $20.

redheadednancy Nov 5th, 2009 08:37 AM

Thanks everyone. We are back. Williard was wonderful and Cafe du Parc OUTSTANDING French. Their brunch was great. We were disappointed with Central...did not live up to the hype and very noisy as everyone said. Did not think the food was outstanding. Stopped in Ebbitt Grill, like it for a bar. Ended up stopping at Chef Geoffs for a quick bite, fun and good but not great food. Loved Taberna for atmosphere and tapas. We did go to the top of the W hotel. Very hip and great view. We just had appetizers and it was fun people watching. We actually ran out of allotted calories and definitely time...great tips from all. Thank you so much. We'll be back. Off to Central lAmerica in two weeks...

bardo1 Nov 5th, 2009 09:03 AM

Thanks for the update - very thoughtful of you.

yestravel Nov 5th, 2009 09:06 AM

Thanks for giving the feedback. I always wonder what visitors to our city think of the various restaurants. Sorry to hear about Central not being that good.

enjoy Central America.

kimamom Nov 7th, 2009 01:53 PM

We had Central on our list for an upcoming visit. I think we we'll try Blue Duck Tavern and Flume @ the Jefferson Hotel. We are looking forward to our first visit to the East Coast! ***kim*** ((#))

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