Where to eat in DC??
Our family of 4 will be in the DC area for the first time in March '07, for seven days, staying in the Georgetown area, and planning on being typical tourists [sorry!]. No car.
Are there any MUST visit eateries? Convenient gems in Georgetown area? Where does a midwest boy go for crab? What will keep the teens happy? AND, any other general tips for an unforgettable trip - eats or otherwise?
Thanks for the help!!!
As a native Washingtonian, I'd like to recommend some places I find to be excellent.
I recommend Leopold's in Georgetown. It's not too pricey and located in Cadey's Alley (design district) hidden away from the tourist filled restaurants on M Street. Modern Decor.
There are inexpensive burgers at 5 Guys on Wisconsin Ave. in Georgetown which the kids (and adults!) may enjoy.
Clydes is always good...especially late night.
Thomas Sweets in Georgetown has the best ice cream. Its located on Wisconsin Ave.
As people have mentioned, Washington, D.C. is famous for its Ethiopian food. There is a large Ethiopian community in DC. I recommend Meskerem in Adams Morgan, or Dukem on U St. I hear Etete is good, but I have never been. Also, Zed's Ethiopian is right in Georgetown.
If you are near the White House definetly try Breadline for Lunch. The line always looks LONG, but, I promise, it moves fast! The deserts (i.e., the double chocolate cookies and creme brulee are incredible). Its located at 17th and Pennsylvania Ave.
2 Amy's is my favorite Pizza in the City. However, its probably best to go at lunch as it is very difficult to get a table at night....almost impossible on the weekend! If you go at night, just expect a wait. I recommend visiting the National Cathedral, walking through the gorgeous gardens...and then crossing the street to 2 Amys. Macomb St. and Wisconsin Ave. (next to Cactus Cantina)
Pizza in Georgetown: try Pizzaria Paradiso
A fun, new Kid-friendly place is called Comet. The kids can play ping-pong...and the atmosphere is very relaxed. However, the pizza's are small and a bit over priced. From Georgetown it is probably easiest to take a cab (tenley and van ness metro are both about 20 minute walks). This may be out of the way....
If you are at the Zoo, I recommend walking North on Connecticut Ave. to Cleveland Park and grabbing a slice of pizza from Vaces. Its delicious and very inexpensive!
Try Zaytinya is you are in Chinatown (near the Verizon Center and the newly renovated Portrait Gallery). Zaytinya has Middle East, Turkish, Greek Tapas....
I think CMADC has great recommendations!
Enjoy your trip!
This is where I'd go in your same situation (all are highly affordable):
Amma's Vegetarian Kitchen (Indian) make sure to get the puri
Garrett's - There is a pretty atrium upstair, get the North Carolina style pork sandwich
Near the White House:
Breadline for midweek lunch only. Italian Sausage Sandwich.
Near the National Cathedral:
2 Amys margherita pizza and Italian small plates - rapini, polpete, suppli
Near the Museums: Jaleo for spanish tapas, try the tortilla espanol and the patatas bravas
After the zoo: take the Red Line to Woodley Park for Lebanese Taverna or go to the Cleveland Park Stop for Nam Viet.
I have lived in Georgetown for years and have found that the food there is excellent. It really is a neighborhood where it helps to know where to go though. Even people from the rest of the city treat Georgetown as if it is a different world. I would recommend Martins Tavern on Wisconsin for a good meal served in a Georgetown landmark. I also like Chadwicks on K St. where they have a really good cheesecake though they are known for clam chowder. I've never had crab there but would guess that with the clams being good the crab wouldn't be too bad either. There is also good seafood and a raw bar at J. Pauls on M st.
If you are looking for a more upscale dinner I would think about Nathan's at the corner of M and Wisconsin. If you want to just have burgers you might try Clyde's on M St. If you want a burger that isn't as good but which is very much in a place for locals go to the Tombs which at night is a college bar but during the day until about 9 or 10 is very much a locals burger joint. The food isn't the best but it's cheap and might be worth while. It's downstairs so the best way to find it is to walk down Prospect away from Wisconsin until you get to the super fancy restaraunt 1789. The stairs to go into the Tombs is right next door. Just about anyone in G Town will be able to tell you where it is.
As for food while you are out doing tourist stuff, I have always found the mall to be devoid of any decent place to eat. There is a large food court in Union Station, before 2 during the week there is pretty good caffeteria in the basement of the Longworth House Office Building so if you go up to Congress at any point you may want to pop downstairs for a surprisingly good meal. Around Capitol Hill there used to be a place called Bull Feathers near the Capitol South Metro but I'm not sure they're still open but you might ask somebody.
As Yossarian says, real people, with real families, actually live in Georgetown, so you won't have any trouble at all finding neighborhood restaurants. There's also 5 Guys, a local burger chain, wonderful seafood at Seacatch, terrific country French at La Chaumiere and the old standby Booeymonger's. Dozens of neighborhood haunts never mentioned on CH.
The Metro is not accessible from Georgetown. There are however two really convenient bus lines. The #32 down Wisconsin Avenue will take you straight to the Museums on the Mall, the Capitol Building and the Capital Hill Historic District just to the east of the Capitol. That's another residential neighborhood full of families and Hill staffers so there are plenty of good restaurant options. The Connector Bus will take you across town to the Convention Center, just north of Chinatown and Penn Quarter, and then on to Union Station. There have been lots of recommendations for places to eat and things to do in those neighborhoods. From those bus lines, you can connect easily to the Metro if you decide to venture off the beaten track to eat. Rather than rent a car, investigate Flexcar or Zipcar, cars available at select Metro stops that you can rent at an hourly rate - less hassle than dealing with the rental agencies. Lots of non-car-owning city dwellers use them regularly. www.MetroOpensDoors.com
The Spy Museum in the heart of Penn Quarter is worth every penny of the admission fee and teenagers love it. Several of the good restaurants mentioned are within a block or two of it. Cowgirls Creamery has artisan cheese, breads, charcuterie, wine for a picnic to take to the food wasteland of the Mall Museums.
Eastern Market on a Saturday is a fun food excursion. The oldest continuously operating market in Washington (1873), there's a farmers' line outside on Saturdays and a large flea market your kids will enjoy. Market lunch inside has simple food but long lines. Montmartre down the street has good French food, Tunnicliff's has simple good American fare, and the Salvadoran place is always a treat. Barracks row has just about everything from Belga Café owned by the former chef at the Belgian Embassy, Tadoori, Levi's Soul Food, Fusion Grill, Trattoria Alberto, Banana Café, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks. The 200 and 300 blocks of Penn, SE have the classic greasy spoon, the Tune Inn plus Hawk and Dove and many more. Several places serve good breakfasts and brunches.
You don't need a car to get around DC, the METRO is quite good, and cabs will get you elsewhere. However, if you are doing the typical tourist thing, you may want to rent a car one day to do the thhere you are staying, or how old the kids are, but places to consider are grouped around typical stops on the tourist route.
Expect to spend at least a couple of days around the Mall at the Smithsonian. There is just too much to see in one day. The Museam of the American Indian has a nice restaurant in it. The best places to eat near the Mall are north of it. There are a lot of places around theGallery Place/Chinatown exit on the Red line of the METRO. For something different, try Burma Restaurant (740 6th St.) in Chinatown (about a block from the METRO exit) or if it is your thing Capital Q (707 H St.) for BBQ. Jaleo (480 7th St.) is good too, but I prefer Zyatinya (701 9th St.) Matchbox (713 H St.) has great wood fired pizza and burgers. Tony Cheng's Mongolian Restaurant (619 H St) is different to.
In Georgetown proper, consider Bistro Francais (3124-28 M St) especially if it is late, Heritage India (Glover Park really, at 2400 Wisconsin Ave) Mie N Yu (3125 M St.) or Pizzeria Paradiso (3282 M St.)
There is not much around the Zoo that is exciting, but one stop up in Cleveland Park (or a nice walk if the day is good and the kids are not too little and beat) try Dino for very good Italian (and a great list of wines by the glass for the parents who have been looking at animals all day.) 2 Amys (3715 Macomb St) for what some consider the best, if upscale, pizza in DC and Lavandou (3321 Connecticut Ave.) for good, reasonably priced country French.
There are lots of places to go for a fancy dinner if the kids are old enough, ore well behaved enough, but I think you can figure out those places from crusing the boards here.
Breakfast at Teaism, Firehook Bakery, or Tabard Inn (expensive) is also a good bet.
Oooh - go to Annapolis for crabs! There are tons of places, depending on your desired formality. I personally love Cantler's Riverside Inn... very informal, but lots of fun - if you want to spend the evening whacking things with little mallets. Also, Buddy's in Annapolis is fun. -both have great food and are fun, but can get a little noisy at times... so don't go for the nice intimate dinner.
As for IN Georgetown... If you want to try something a little different, Zed's is a great Ethiopian restaurant. Everything your group orders is served family style - on one platter... usually on injera (a really cool - kinda spongy flat bread).
For a nice dinner, I really enjoyed the 1789 Restaurant near the university. It's right over The Tombs - a great little bar... if you're needing to wait for a table or something.
Mie N Yu (Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, some Asian influences, - ethnic fusion) has a really fun atmosphere, and it's right on M Street. I think it would be an entertaining evening, if you're looking for something that would be good for a family. -also very date appropriate. On Friday and Saturday nights, they have belly dancers... otherwise, it has great wine and food - a neat bar area... and again, the atmosphere is really unique. The place hasn't been around that long - so it isn't what I'd consider a local staple - but, definitely worth checking out.
Here's a list I've posted before for DC. It's by no means all-inclusive and others are sure to disagree with it. Only places that are in/close to Georgetown (not a good food part of the city) are Pizzeria Paradiso and Kinkead's. But almost all are Metro accessible.
For crabs, you have to really go to Baltimore or Annapolis for the full crab experience but some of these places (like CF Folks) have crab cakes or other items on their menus.
Good breakfast: Colorado Kitchen, Teaism
Fun lunch: Colorado Kitchen, CF Folks, Breadline, Jaleo, Zaytinya, Belga Cafe, 2 Amys, Pizzeria Paradiso, cafeteria at the American Indian Museum, Taqueria Distrito Federal
Nice dinner: Palena, Corduroy, Vidalia, Charlie Palmer Steak, Montmartre, Kinkead's
Unique meal: One of the Ethiopian restaurants in the 9th Street NW area like Etete
For happy teens, I'd suggest the Indian Museum cafeteria, 2 Amys, Pizzeria Paradiso or Colorado Kitchen. Or an Ethiopian place, if they're adventurous.