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Mar 16, 2001 02:51 PM

Comments on these D.C Restaurants

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We may be traveling to D.C. in the Fall for the first time in over ten years. We are considering these restaurants and would appreciate hearing any comments from you Washington chowhounds on our choices. The Old Ebbitt Grill, Reeve's, and either Petitto's, A.V. Ristorante or Famous Luigi's for Italian. Thanks for your help.

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  1. Hi,

    Bad news first. Pettito's (along with its much lamented cellar cafe, La Dolce Finale) has gone out of business, replaced by a French restaurant which I have not tried.

    I've only gone to Reeve's bakery for breakfast - which is quite good. The bakery products are fresh and there is an incredible selection of food. I don't really know anything about it as a lunch/dinner place however.

    Old Ebbit's of course is a Washington institution. Good solid, American style food. I don't eat there for dinner often, but lots of lunches. It's a fabulous place to meet if you have business near the White House. I've always kind of thought that it's reputation was based more on location and style than the food.

    I happen to really love A.V. Ristorante, but too many chowhounds have said A.V.'s is in decline for me to discount that. So consider yourself forewarned. I always order the white pizza and generally you can't go too wrong with the Spaghetti dishes. I also happen to like the old setting - it's the kind of place that people have gone to for generations.

    I don't know Famous Luigi's. My favorite Italian place of the moment is Odeon in Dupont circle but it's not an out of the way, missed treasure. I'm going to have to be careful with recommendations like that, one of these days someone's going to accuse me of being a foodie.

    Good luck and have fun when you're in town.

    4 Replies
    1. re: cap hill

      Caphill, thanks for the information. Too bad about Pettito's closing, that's one less choice we have now. Looks like Old Ebbitt Grill and Reeve's will be definite stops for us. We will still consider A. V. Ristorante keeping your warning in mind, but will consider some other choices as well. If you do stop by A. V.'s sometime, I would appreciate if you could post your impression. Thanks again.

      1. re: allen

        Even in its heyday, A.V. was known for its inconsistencies. Now it is way past its glory days....

        As much as I love the memories of A.V. in its prime, I would hesitate to recommend it to an out of town guest with only one shot at it.

        Jim Zurer
        Washington DC

        1. re: allen

          I am gripped by curiosity: why are you limiting yourself to just these three restaurants? Old favorites? Sentimental feelings? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? your last message sounds so sad and resigned. I say -- Chin up, sally forth! Plenty of great food to be had in this oft maligned town if you just expand your search a little.
          By the way, the cinnamon donuts at Reeves are worth the 10 pounds you would gain if you ate one a day for a year. (Personal experience.)

          1. re: pam

            Both sentimental and limited by time. We will be there for three nights. We will be busy seeing the sights during the days and probably eating on the run. With just three evenings available, we thought these would be good choices (and one can eat only so much). We are open to suggestions of other chowhound favorites which I should have mentioned in my original post. Thanks.

      2. Well, Petitto's has closed but it is now replaced by Petit Plats, which is supposed to be very good.

        Please check out some new spots, DC has changed so much in 10 years! I would recommend the following spots for a visit:

        Gabriel (Spanish cuisine, $$$)
        Jaleo (Spanish tapas, $$)
        For Italian: Vivo! or I Ricchi.
        Skip O.E.G. and head to Equinox instead.

        Have a great time!

        1. f
          Foodie Girl again

          By the way, I dated a guy who worked as a sous chef (6 years ago or so) at O.E.G. and based on what he said about the place, I have NEVER wanted to try it. Sorry to say, but scary, unclean stuff was discussed.

          1. If I had just three days to spend in DC, I would try to spend at it these restaurants...

            For high-end glamour meals: Yanyu (Cleveland Park, get the tasting menu) or Red Sage (downstairs only...great service)or Kinkeads. I would also investigate Barolo on Cap Hill (PA Ave at 3rd St SE). Havent been there yet but eager to try. Lovely inside.

            For a romantic and atmospheric dinner:Iron Gate Inn, 1700 block of N Street NW, across from the Tabard. Sit outside under the wisteria...

            For a convivial afternoon drink or snack on a warm day: Sequoia, outdoor table. On a cold day, the Willard first floor bar (Round Robin?...not sure). On a warm evening, the Tabard Inn garden.

            For moderately priced but wonderful Italian: Otello, Dupont Circle. I'm a huge fan. Any kind of fish livorgnese is wonderful, plain brushetta is amazing as are the appetizers on the table.

            For breakfast, on a weekday or early on Saturday: Market Lunch at Eastern Market. Get a ham, egg and cheese sandwich, and blueberry buckwheat pancakes (Saturday only). You could also hit Jimmy Ts on East Cap, at 5th. Atmosphere, normal breakfast food. Good waffles. Long lines on weekends.

            In Dupont Circle -- Cafe Luna, but go early on a weekday.

            For Thai on the Hill, try Talay Thai, 1st SE.

            For lunch, near the Smithsonians: Bento box or Seafood Udon noodle soup at Teaism on 8th and D NW, behind the Navy memorial. You could also hit Breadline near the White House to soak up some Federal City lunch angst.

            For dinner to feel like an insider, seek out Park Cafe on 13th Street SE at East Cap on Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill. Get the Peruvian seafood fajitas ... really, a wonderful smoky stew of shrimp and mussels.

            For donuts, the fifth food group: Reeves on G Street NW. Get there early for the cinnamon. They go fast.

            HAve fun...pam

            2 Replies
            1. re: pam

              Hi Pam. Thanks for the tips. We're going to be in DC this week-end and may well try Otello. We are also lokking for a place for Sunday brunch, and any suggestions would be appreciated.

              Mainly, however, the focus of this trip is on the giant pandas. I'm so excited - have you been to see them? And are the Cherry Blossoms as amazing as I hear?


              1. re: pam

                Pam; wow I was hoping for a few recommendations, but this is above and beyond the call! Not only do I appreciate the names of the restaurants but also your descriptions of them and what they serve. That gives us a better idea of what to expect. Looking forward to our visit. Thanks to you and all the other posters for your help.

              2. Famous Luigi's is the best Italian restaurant I've ever eaten at. The food is outstanding, and somehow they've figured out how to prepare Italian food that doesn't induce heartburn!!