Arena Stage area restaurants
I live right near arena stage, and unfortunately there are not too many food options that are acceptable. Capitol Hill is a ten minute car ride from there and there are several restaurants worth going to....depending on what type of food you like. If you like Thai food, I'd recommend Thai Roma. There is also a pretty decent cuban restaurant at 8th and Penn. SE called Bannana Cafe.....neither of these restaurants are as dressy as Le Rivage, so if you are looking for something that is more that calibar it's more difficult.
if we're going to talk about Capitol Hill we've got to do it in a little more detail.
Pre-Arena on a Friday night I would hit Anatolia (get the Friday night special, definitiely order baba ghanoush as it is the smokiest, garlicyest in the city) and the house wine is good with the food. Penn, just below 7th)
Aatish is really good Pakistani food -- excellent shrimp on a grill, terrific naan, good raita. Nice prices.
(Penn just above 6th)
Barolo is fancy pants Italian that I have neer eaten in but it looks great -- always busy, worth a venture and the decor is beautiful.
Several friends are raving about Starfish Cafe, Washington POst notwithstanding. Starfish has sort of inventive seafood/american fare, on 8th near G street SE)
Montmartre -- really nice French bistro food. good fish, rabbit, good salads, great bread. 7th between Penn and Cstret, near E Market)
Banana Cafe is good Mexican, La Lomita is good mexican (3rd and Penn), Young Chow -- very good Chinese (next door to La Lomita), Talay Thai -- great Thai food on 1st street by D, SE. Especially like Chili Beef with sno peas.
Arena is also just a hop skip and a jump from downtown/7th Street NW area, especially if you are taking a cab (no parking worries).