DC/VA: Looking for birthday dinner location
We were looking to do something fun for a birthday event in a couple of weeks that would include dinner, then going out to a club or bar afterwards in DC. One idea given to us was the Honolulu restaurant in Alexandria, a tiki bar and restaurant owned by a former bartender at Trader Vic's. Has anyone been here?
While we're open to the idea of going to Honolulu, one problem that has been brought up is the fact that we would be arrving in DC past 10pm and having to park. Alternatively, we considered looking for a restaurant in the vicinity of the Farragut North (near Dupont) metro. This way, we could park at 8pm and have dinner and walk to nearby clubs, rather than worry about getting into DC much later. Does anyone have any ideas for a fun or funky restaurant in this area? We will need some good vegetarian selections for some of our party.
Marrakesh is always good for groups looking for something funky and fun. It's a morracan restaurant with a set menu of about 6-7 courses that the whole group shares. You sit on cushions and eat with your hands. The food is good and the atmosphere a little exotic. There is a belly dancing show during dinner as well. My favorite part is when they pour hot water on your hands and give you little hand towels. Just feels luxurious. The price is a little over 20 per person, which is a good deal for the amounts of food they give you - you have to save up your appetite. It's on NY avenue around 6-9th street, NW. Can't remember.
I live near Honolulu, and while it was reviewed in the Post recently and seemed decent, I've never been tempted to go in - it's got a real hole-in-the-wall look to it from the outside. It's on a main road in between a 7-11 and a gas station. Not sure if that's the aura you're going for.
It's also a significant drive from that part of Alexandria - just outside the beltway - into DC. Half hour, easy. Parking that late would not be a picnic. The Huntington metro is very near there, but then you're looking at a 40 minute train ride to get to downtown. I'd strongly recommend a place in DC for your dinner. Marrakesh is a lot of fun and I loved the food. It can be difficult if you have vegetarians, though, because all the food is communal and many courses contain meat. I've been there with some vegetarians before and while the restaurant was very nice about accomodating their needs - pointing out which dishes were vegetarian and providing a small portion of veggie dishes during some other courses - it was still kind of a pain.
Some other fun places in the city might include Buca di Beppo (getting a veggie dish there can be tough too, but doable); Cafe Asia is not a wild and crazy place but has kind of a funky atmosphere and I love their food; Levante's might be a fun atmosphere and has yummy middle eastern food; and I think Luigi's has a fun old-school Italian atmosphere. No tiki bars, but something.