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Need Recs for D.C.

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My parents are coming to D.C. next weekend and I am taking the train down from NYC to meet them. None of us are at all familiar with D.C., and I would love some restaurant recommendations. Neighborhood and local favorites would be especially good, though my dad isn't a huge fan of ethnic cuisine, so little French places with really good food would be ideal. Nothing fancy or too expensive, between $30-$50 a person would be good, and they have to have a full bar. We're staying at Capitol Suites, 200 C Street, so things in that area would also be good.
Thanks!

PS (Please don't tell me to read through the boards -- I am a regular visitor to Chowhound but I don't keep up with the D.C. posting and I really don't have time to skim through all the old postings. Much appreciated)

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  1. I love Georgia Brown's. It is good southern cuisine with a full bar! I highly recommend the fried catfish. The address is 950 15th St. (b/w K and Vermont) - a little over a mile from Cap. Suites. Enjoy!

    1. Bisro Bis in the George Hotel at 15 E Street, N.W. (just a few blocks away) would be a good bet. Jeffrey Buben(sp?) of Vidalia fame runs the kitchen. The food is very good. It is true to bistro cooking with refreshing salads, pates, roasted chicken, long-braised dishes, and the like. The portions are large, the bread is fresh and the service is excellent. And although it is by no means inexpensive, it is reasonably priced. The restaurant manages to be both sophisticated and familiar, with a nice bar area in front, and large tables in the dining area i back. Try it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bill

        I would second Bistro Bis, and would add that it's really the only game in town in the Capitol Hill area.

      2. I would definitely do Bistro Bis for the Capitol Hill area. Other favorites that won't bust the budget include:

        Johnny's Half Shell (Dupont Circle P Street)-- wonderful regional seafood specialties in a casual atmosphere. Reasonably priced and well regarded.

        Jaleo (7th and D Streets) -- Spanish tapas restaurant, hip, trendy, big bar, something for everyone. You said no ethnic, but there's a wealth of choices for every pallate and its a unique D.C. spot, with fine cooking.

        Equinox (Connecticut Ave near White House) -- Todd Gray's cooking is among the best in the city. You'll be pushing your budget a bit, depending on how many courses you're interested in, but the food is supurb. New American cuisine -- simple elegant fish dishes, perfectly prepared meats and game.

        In the category of "little French" and cheap -- that's hard, but Bistro Lepic fits the bill in Georgetown. Reservations a must. Not cheap but moderate. I also like a little place called Le Refuge in Old Town Alexandria, but it sounds like you may want to stick to the city.

        Other high-end favorites include Butterfield 9, 1789, Obelisk, Vidalia, Tabard Inn, but again, this will be more than $50/per if you do drinks and three courses. I just point them out in case ...

        1 Reply
        1. re: JRinDC

          I was just at Jaleo this weekend and loved it! The food was great and the sangria was amazing. The wait was only 20 minutes as opposed to the hour they told us it would be. I would recommend this as a great place to eat with wonderful atmosphere as well.

        2. Hi Caitlin. I regularly read your posts on the NYC board and am delighted to offer some tips for DC. You've already gotten some excellent suggestions--it will be hard to choose among them. Bistro Bis is terrific and only a stone's throw from your hotel. It would be a great choice for dinner or brunch on Sunday morning. If you do dinner, I would recommend the mussels or escargot for apps, and the scallops, coq au vin (an inspired updated rendition), or lamb for mains. JRinDC has already recommended most of the other restaurants I would suggest. Here are two or three additional places to consider: for Italian with a Tuscan emphasis, try Etrusco at 1606 20th Street, NW (a half block from the Dupont North Metro stop). DC Coast, on K Street, is great for fish and seafood. More crowded and a bit louder than some of the other places that have been suggested, and closer to your $50 per person cost target, but very innovative and always delicious selections. For Sunday brunch, you might want to venture over to Gabriel at the Radisson Barcelo Hotel (on P Street, just west of Dupont Circle). Gabriel offers one of the best brunches in town, with something for everyone. In addition to traditional brunch offerings, you can choose among a full selection of tapas, a variety of Spanish and Latin American dishes, roasted suckling pig (and lamb and beef), and a calorie-laden array of desserts (don't miss the creme brulee). The cost is around $20 a person, and reservations are a must. Enjoy your visit with your parents in DC, and give us some feedback on the places you try.

          2 Replies
          1. re: NancyDC

            Good suggestions. Definitely call ahead at Gabriel, though, because I read they are closing for renovations. They want the ambiance to match their food. If they are open, the brunch is well worthwhile.

            1. re: NancyDC

              I can 2nd the Gabriel suggestion. They also have the best chocolate cake I have had in ages!

            2. If you're leaning towards (fairly) inexpensive bistro style french, my personal favorite is Bistro du Coin on Connecticut Avenue in Dupont Circle. It has a reputation for being overcrowded but of the dozen or so times I've eaten there, I've only once been asked to wait for a table, and that was only 15-20 minutes. The food is hearty and very tasty, great steaks and shrimp...and the best escargots I've ever tasted, even in France. Lots of decent wine selections under $25/bottle and the atmosphere is very lively (although I've never found it too loud to have a conversation). And if you haven't spent much time in DC, Dupont is a nice area to wander around before or after dinner.

              I hope you enjoy wherever you decide to go.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ronna

                I likewise heartily endorse Bistrot du Coin. Excellent food and really fun. 1738 Conn. Ave., www.bistrotducoin.com, phone 202/234-6969.