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ethnic btwn chinatown bus and kennedy center

coming down from Philly for the ballet on Saturday. Hoping to walk from 5th St NW and H St NW to the Kennedy Center and get grubs on the way. Any recommendations for good, cheap ethnic near the bus station for lunch and dinner?

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  1. That will be one heckuva walk. Maybe 25+ blocks. Hope you're not planning on walking back after the ballet.

    China Boy on 6th st. between H and eye has really cheap and good beef chow fun and also crepes (ie. roast pork, beef, shrimp, etc.). It'll be a lunch, not dinner option, b/c they close early.

    Also, right next to the bus station is Full Kee (between 5 & 6 st on H), where you can get some tasty dumplings in a peppery broth. They'll be open for lunch and late dinner. Nothing in these parts will be cheap compared to NYC Chinatown and Philly though.

    1. I'll second Full Kee for Cantonese items like oyster and ginger casserole, duck stuffed with shrimp paste, and pan fried dumplings.

      1. The route between Chinatown and the Kennedy Center is pretty much a wasteland for cheap eats on weekend nights since it takes you through the business district of town. Almost everything is closed except high-end restaurants and some touristy places.
        Best you listen to Steve's and Chownut's recommendations for places in Chinatown. We've loved Full Kee for years - always dependable and interesting. I think they're still cash only.

        Chownut is right about the long walk. Fortunately, the 80 bus goes straight from 5th and H to within 1/2 mile of the Kennedy Center. We're due for our first real winter blast this weekend so it might look like a good option.
        There's some food service at the Kennedy Center but the prices are high.

        1. cool, thanks, I'll try one of those two and take the bus.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Smellchipper

            If you want a lot of options, choose Full Kee. If you just want something quick and simple like chow foon or crepes, go with China Boy.

          2. I agree on Full Kee. Capital Q BBQ is you're up for that too.

            As for the bus, the Circulator is a good option -- costs only a buck. And it may run more frequently on Sat. than the 80 bus. You can catch it up at New York and 5th (a block and a half north of H).

            It will go down K Street across town -- ask the driver to let you off at the closest spot to the KC. (will be about a 5-6 block walk from there).

            1 Reply
            1. re: BuckyinDC

              Circulator is the best deal in town. And it's the easiest way to avoid parking woes in Penn Quarter and Georgetown. Just park anywhere along the route.
              It is correct that it runs much more frequently than the 80 although it will drop you off much further from the KC. If you got to the Foggy Bottom Metro stop, there's a free shuttle to the KC.

            2. I'm not as enamored of Full Kee as the other posters, but there are tons of restaurants in that area, and only a few are Chinese. "Chinatown" in DC amounts to a couple of blocks. The area around there, known as the Penn Quarter, is a very lively place with many, many eating options, from fast food to high-end. So if you come in early you can wander around and see what strikes your fancy. If your budget is really limited, you might want to stick to Chinese. There's also a branch of a local chain called Five Guys on H St. that is famous in the area for its burgers, dogs and fries. I like it, but don't think it's anything special.

              One other thing: the 80 bus takes you right into the KC, stopping outside the doors. It's probably your best transportation option, though if you want to get a look at our lovely (compared to other cities') metro (subway) system, you can take the Red line one stop to Metro Center and change to either the Blue or Orange line to Foggy Bottom. Outside the FB metro station the KC has little red buses that take you into the KC for free.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Arista

                Uhhh, just b/c we recommended Full Kee doesn't mean we're "enamored" by it, because I'm not. It's at least probably the most decent choice in chinatown.

                1. re: Arista

                  Aside from "wander around and see" in the Penn Quarter, do you have a specific recommendation for "good, cheap ethnic near the bus station for lunch and dinner" as stated by the OP?

                  1. re: Steve

                    Pretty much nothing is really cheap in the Penn Quarter or Chinatown. Even Fuddruckers has jacked up their prices due to the high rents.

                    1. re: Chownut

                      There's still some of the old places left from when that area had many more Chinese residents than it does now. A few mom-and-pop joints survive but they're not much to look at and serve the residents of Wah Luck and some of the apartments and townhouses. The food's not remarkable.
                      DC used to have a big office building on the street so there's still some of the places that catered to the lunchtime crowd. And a few as you go over to the Court buildings.
                      People still live and work in that neighborhood or come back on Sundays for church at Our Lady Star of China Mission and eat there.
                      The OP might find something interesting we don't know about if he has the time to explore.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        Yes, one would be China Boy as I mentioned earlier. Another would be Chinatown Express, but their grub isn't that good. There's also that Goods deli (sandwich shop) and Li Ho Food (sells mostly americanized grub these days). All 4 joints have been there at least 25 years.

                2. Full Kee is cash only. Another choice is Eat First on H between 7th & 6th. (609 H St. NW) Very good Chicken/Ginger casserole. Both Full Kee and Eat First are open until 2 a.m. or later.

                  1. Bus broke down on the way - only had a half hour for lunch so we went with 5 Guys. Different bun than the one in Philly and less cheesy, but still quite tasty. Had more time for dinner so we went to the Thai place btwn 6th and 7th on H. Pretty good Green Curry, altho lacking a couple layers of flavor and not nearly hot enough. Wide noodles with beef was tasty altho a bit too sweet and cloying. American Thai, not Thai Thai. Nice ambiance. Thanks for all the recs.