Washington D.C. for a weekend
My wife and I will be staying at the JW Marriott next Fri and Saturday. She is very old fashioned Italian and very conservative in her tastes (hates Chinese, Spanish, and anything "exotic"). She eats pasta five times a week and would be happy eating pasta over the weekend. Also any typically "American" food. Any thoughts for dinner??
I second the Dino recommendation. Wonderful Italian food, great and accessible (not intimidating) wine list, and a comfortable, homey place to be.
Just up the street from Dino, you might try Palena if you want something pricier and fancier. Their food is upscale, but still very accessible I think.
For a casual lunch/brunch or even dinner, maybe check out Luna Grill and Diner on Connecticut just south of Dupont. Soups, sandwiches, pasta options, all quite tasty...it can get crowded though.
Go to Dino, speak Italian to Dean, talk about Opera and you will have a great meal. And since the wine list is huge, and wonderfully priced, you can have a great bottle of wine while enjoying the meal. I especially recommend the Orechietti ai Funghi or the Pappardelle ai Cinghiale among the pastas.
The "old fashioned Italian" place in town is AV Ristorante http://www.hillnews.com/thehill/expor...
Across from your hotel in the Ronald Reagan Bulding is Aria Trattoria but it's really pedestrian.
On F Street, a few blocks from your hotel, Ristorante Tosca has upscale Northern Italian food but it's no spaghetti joint.
Near Dupont Circle, Sesto Senso has good Italian and is willing to alter dishes to suit your taste.
Dino's in Cleveland Park is a favorite of just about everyone who posts on the local board.
What seems to pass for "American" in Washington is steakhouses and there are several within a mile or so of your hotel. The new BLT Steak is getting good reviews. Capital Grille, Caucus Room, Charlie Palmer's, Morton's are all as you would expect. Les Halles is often panned locally because it can be erratic.
Then there's fish. Sea Catch in Georgetown is a lovely restaurant serving very fresh fish in excellent, fairly classic presentations. Oceanaire is nearby. McCormick and Schmick, a little further away. Both are parts of chains.
All of the above have websites where you can check out the menus so you don't have to take any great leap into the unknown.