Favorite Restaurant in . . . Downtown/Metro Center
- Nate Martin
Okay, this is my last attempt to get a rousing discussing going. Others feel free to add their own zones and suburbs to the list, we should get a ton of these going. Like Bethesda, Arlington, Alexandria, Cleveland Circle, Wheaton, Silver Spring . . . you name it.
Okay, for downtown I have to go with lunch places again, because who the heck is downtown at dinner time, anyway. It's like a ghosttown in that area after 8 o'clock, other than at the theaters and the tourist places (Hard Rock, ESPN SportsZone, etc.). My all-time favorite is Ebbit Express, the takeout backdoor to the Old Ebbit Grill. Great food, constantly changing menu, restaurant meals at takeout prices and well-worth the line. There are also great food courts at the National Press Club and the Old Post Office, although you're advised to avoid either when school tour groups are in town, they can be nightmarish. Do others have more serious restaurant recommendations for this area? I know there are some fabulous restaurants, despite my earlier dismissal. Let's get some discussion going, people! I know there must be more "chowhounds" than this in the DC area, I've never seen so many restaurants (other than in NYC, of course) as there are around here.
Nate, our thanks for trying so valiantly to stir up chat! A few things:
1. we have very few users on weekends. Most people check us out on their boss' time! So don't expect much till Monday
2. the best way to attract chat is, as you seem to be realizing, by offering tips. People are more inclined to chime in when the discussion is already rolling than to answer a few Big Terse Questions.
3. Spread the word. These regional boards are picking up (it's a gradual process), but we still need to attract a critical mass on this DC board. Please, DC/Balt/Northern Va people: tell people you know, post about us in newsgroups (and other forums), and journalists: please tell your readers where they can find the most intelligent, entertaining, and obsessive food discussion on the 'net!
Don't do this evangelizing for me...do it for yourselves, so that we can eventually provide you guys with the same potent level of savvy info that the NYC (and, increasing, SF, LA, and Chicago) hounds currently enjoy. There are lots of chowhounds out there, and they sure aren't gonna be found swapping tips on the likes of Zagat. We have to let them know we're here.
It's been a long time, but when I last lived there, my most miraculous dowtown find was a wonderful, very-un-D.C. (a compliment) Cuban place that stole my heart. I don't recall the name--it was on E Street, I think off 6th St (it is between the same 2 streets that the building 601 Pennsylvania Ave, 2 blocks south, is between). It wasn't an obvious restaurant, just a dingy solid steel door on the north side of E Street, midway down the block, but inside it was somehow bright and cheery and these incredibly nice people served up mounds of excellent rice and beans and a very deep, wonderful ropa vieja. It was like being transported out of D.C. ickiness and predictability and back to humanity. I don't know if it's still there, I don't know if it's changed, but I recommend scouting along E, just in case.
That Cuban place near 6th and E that Mary remembered has been out of business for years. Speaking of chowhound-type lunch places not too long a drive from the Judiciary Square area, has anyone on these boards mentioned Mangialardo's, the great Italian sub place on Capitol Hill (south side of Pennsylvania Ave. SE, I think past 12th), or the subs and Italian wine and groceries at A. Litteri in the DC Farmers Market area?
Antonio's.....I used to work next door and this was the place to go three or four times a week for lunch....sausage sandwiches, rice and beans, and a real family atmosphere. Unfortunately, Antonio opened another place in Alexandria and I think he got stretched too thin. It has to be more than 10 years since the place closed.
Great Travels, Inc.
I feel certain that you are describing the late great Antonios, a divey Cuban place on the north side of D street, between 6th and 7th, with a steel door, friendly people working a counter, and great Cuban food. Alas, its has been closed for at least 4 years now, and the space remains unoccupied.
I used to work in this area, and unless you were headed for an expense account lunch, the good places to get lunch were not so numerous. There was a cart on the corner of 15th & K (near the CVS) that had great vegetarian burritos - all rice and beans (refried or black), lots of hot sauces, choices of tortilla and cheeses. Very tasty, I hope he's still there. Also, if you like NY style pizza, Vermont Pizza (Vermont Ave between K and L) sold nice hot slices. Not as good as some of the slices I've had in NY, but good for DC.
Another terrific place to grab lunch in the downtown/metro center area is Reeve's - not the healthiest choices, but fried chicken, hot grilled cuban sandwiches, many other choices, and desert to die for! I think they're famous for their strawberry shortcake, they seem to sell a lot of it. They're on G near 13th, NW.
If you're on the expense account, my clients seemed to like McCormick and Schmicks (K and 16th approx), Georgia Browns (15th & I), and Kinkeads (20th & Penn).
Cafe Atlantico - flashy yes, but also an amazing space and great food. I've never not had a good meal there.