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Visiting from NYC

My boyfriend and I are coming into D.C. for a weekend in February.

I'm looking for interesting, ecclectic restaurants that serve up good food for less than $20 an entree. Favorite cuisines: Japanese, Mexican, and Indian. A great burger joint would be nice too.

We're not big drinkers or dessert eaters, just want to know of places the locals truly love.
NOT interested in tourist traps.

Lunch and dinner suggestions are best.

Also, we're staying in Arlington, VA and this is our first visit, so we're literally clueless about the area and how to get around. But I'm willing to do the travel research if you can give me the name of the place.

TIA!

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  1. Skip Mexican, you aren't going to find good Mexican in this town whatsoever. Indian- Rasika may fit into your budget- metro accessable and reviews have been great. For great burgers I do adore the burgers over at Boulevard Woodgrill in the Clarendon region. Try to get to Dino for some great Italian that is certainly not a tourist trap- they are doing a 3 course restaurant week for 30 bucks a person including entree, appetizer and dessert- now that's a steal! Japanese there is Sushi Taro in DC.

    To get around DC avoid driving and get ye a metro card. The metro is cheap, easy to navigate, safe, and clean.

    1. I still call it the subway...and the fare card is zoned, not flat rate like NY. For something a little different, try Teaism, www.teaism.com, all near a met, uh train station, for breakfast, lunch, dinner or in-between.
      Also, one person's tourist trap could be another's local culture, such as Ben's Chili Bowl on U street for half-smokes. Not necessarily recommending Ben's, but if you go there, or near there, you will find lots of local places, such as Cafe Saint Ex, and Cakelove, as formerly seen on Food Network.

      1. Specifically, where are you staying in Arlington? That might help narrow down your choices.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kcm19

          I'll be walking distance from the Rosslyn Metro stop.

        2. Childe Harold in DuPont for burgers.

          Thai Square for Thai - on Columbia Pike near Glebe in Arlington. Fallback is Bangkok 54, just down the street (same side) headed east.

          Metro runs less often than the subway, and closes around 1 or 2 depending on the night.

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            1. If you do either of the andres restaurants with the prices you'll pay for the amount of tapas needed to get a similar amount of food you'll be over your budget. Plus you won't be missing all that much but you'll be paying a lot to be trendy.

              1. re: jpschust

                Then where would you go? The trouble is, there are not so many great cheap ethnic places in DC (esp. when compared to NYC). Why not find a place with good drinks and a fun atmosphere? I maintain that if you get the right things, both places can be quite budget friendly.

                1. re: JAC13

                  There are tons of ethnic places with great atmosphere- how about all the ethopian places for example?

                  1. re: jpschust

                    Agreed- I love Ethopian but they didn't mention any desire to try it and you have to admit it takes an adventurous person. Again, you fail to mention any options. It is fine to disagree but bring something to the table if you do so. JUust to prove my point- I actually just had a cocktail hour at Jaleo and I got gazpacho, seared salmon and a glass of sangria for until $25.

                2. re: jpschust

                  Carlywood, if you're eating in DC, do yourself a favor and go to Jaleo. The tortilla espanol, date and bacon fritters, and the spinach with raisins are more than enough food and will set you back $15. That's what I usually spend on food there.