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Feb 5, 2007 11:07 AM

Inexpensive food near Natl Mall attractions? Maybe happy hour deals, etc, too?

I apologize if this has been asked and answered 100 times but I've been tyring to use the site search and not getting much that way.

We'll be visiting DC on a Tuesday & Weds, no kids. I know we'll be touring the Capitol bldg but nothing else is decided. I suppose we'll visit some Smithsonian museums (although I just read that the one housing Julia's kitchen is closed for renovations!), maybe the Library of Congress... beyond that I don't know, we're pretty open. Are there good but inexpensive places to eat in the area? Also, maybe happy hours offering a super deal on bar fare? Any tips for saving some money but not eating poorly? This trip wasn't in the budget but something came along and we're off. Still, trying to do it really inexpensively.

Many thanks.

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  1. My first thought is Teaism behind the navy archives. We usually pop in there for a quick breakfast or lunch. My personal fave is the cilantro scrambled eggs with tea cured salmon. Beware the chocolate salty oat cookie..addictive. Let us know if this is within the budget. Inexpensive can mean different things to different people.

    1. Near the Capitol, the best places are Sonoma (wine bar/restaurant) at 2nd and Pennsylvania SE and Montmartre (French bistro) near 7th and Penn SE. Murky Coffee near Montmartre is also an excellent place for coffee and hot chocolate.

      Near the Smithsonian museums: Teaism at 8th and D NW (great breakfasts/lunches/teas), Jaleo at 480 7th NW (tapas), Zaytinya (Mediterranean tapas at 9th and G). Burma (excellent and inexpensive Burmese place at 740 6th NW), Poste (bistro) at 555 8th NW)

      Also try also the American Indian Museum cafeteria. It has its detractors on here, but it's got an interesting assortment of food.

      1. The menu looks great. Actually, that would be on the upper end of what we'd like to spend. Perhaps I'm being unrealistic though?
        Maybe we'll pop in for a cup of coffee and a couple of those wonderful sounding salty oat cookies!
        Thanks for your help.

        1. Teasim is very inexpensive by DC standards.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chazas

            I agree with chazas. By DC standards, Teaism is quite inexpensive. You'll have a hard time finding food comparably good and comparably priced anywhere near the Nat'l. Mall.

          2. The area just to the East of the Capitol Building is a residential area of families and has lots of underpaid Hill staffers and students therefore lots of cheap eats. It's the Capital Hill Historic District, the largest intact Victorian neighborhood in the US.
            There are cafeterias in the House and Senate Office Buildings with cheap but very pedestrian food. If you get passes from Congressional Offices you can eat in the Senate and House Members' Dining Rooms which have better food (sometimes actually pretty good) and lovely historic surroundings. The Supreme Court and Library of Congress cafs are also open to the public.
            On E. Capital St. at 5th, Jimmy T's is a major local greasy spoon hangout.
            On Mass Ave, NE, the White Tiger has an Indian buffet at lunch for around $10. Pizza at Armand's. Mexican at La Loma. German at Café Berlin. All reasonable.
            On Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, the Tune Inn is cheap and a classic of the greasy spoon genre. Hawk and Dove and Capital Lounge have good bar food. Several other choices in that row less expensive than the very good Sonoma.
            Around the corner on 2nd Street, SE, Pete's has good breakfast and lunch at bargain prices. The little French café has good food too.
            Near Montmartre (the best of what's been mentioned above by far) and Murky Coffee, you'll find Tunnicliff's which has nightly bar specials on cheap drinks and food if you eat in the bar area. Something different each night. The Eastern Market itself has a great lunch counter that also serves breakfast.
            If you are watching a tight budget, you can pick up great prepared foods to carry for lunch as the choices near the museums are either boring institutional or downtown prices.
            Check out the Spy Museum. Major entertainment. Worth what may seem like a steep admission compared to the free museums. Several good restaurants close to it in Penn Quarter have been mentioned above. Check out Cowgirl Creamery for a fabulous selection of artisanal cheeses and bread for lunch. It's also close to the newly reopened National Portrait Gallery.
            If you go to the Renwick, Phillips or Corcoran, you should try CF Folks or Breadline. Both are terrific for lunch but a little far from the Mall and across town from the Capitol.