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why so difficult- moderate fun dining on a Sat night

Anywhere in DC, any cuisine, exotic or not... I'm racking my brain here. What's your favorites? Something less "fancy" and "business dinner" like than say TenPehn or DC Coast but not seedy hole-in-the wall. Why no "normal" restaurants that make you feel like you're having a nice night out with adults but won't break the bank? Something along the lines of Bistro du Coin but I've gotten fed up with inconsistency and service there.

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    1. belga cafe, if you like bistro du coin....

      1. Dino
        Cafe Montemartre
        Jaleo
        Carlyle Grand (Shirlington)
        a la Lucia (Old Town)

            1. re: jaydreb

              I love Rasika, but I'd hardly call it moderate. It's quite fancy and expensive. I'd add Evening Star and Vermillion in Alexandria.

              1. re: BrianD

                I'd hardly call it good either. :)

                1. re: jpschust

                  Nobody ever looks like they're having fun at Rasika either.

            2. A problem we have faced a few times. . ..my thoughts:

              Malaysia Kopitam- Huge menu, reasonable, delicious
              Spices- It's been consistent and tasty and afffordable. Fun for a group, movie at the Uptown
              Coppi's - mighty fine pizza, yummy wines and desserts
              Meskrem- Ethiopian in Adams Morgan
              Afghan Grill- Woodley Park, delicious and usually not crowded
              Montmartre -- so delicious, but not sure I would call it moderate
              Odeon Cafe- Last visits there were delicious. No, it's not 5-star, but it's solid

              Moderate and laid back area faves outside the city:

              Minh's- Some of the best Vietnamese around, relaxed w/ good service (on Wilson Blvd in Virginia, but so yummy.)

              Hollywood East Cafe- Wheaton (killer for dim sum, but some major standouts for dinner too)

              Saravana Palace- Consistent, surprising, delicious in Fairfax, billions of dishes, all vegetarian many surprisingly scrumptious.

              Viet Bistro - cheap, quick Vietnamese in the Eden Center (7 corners)

              Addis Ababa - was in Adams Morgan, now in Silver Spring (kind of hole in the wally)

              Alamo restaurant- Bladensburg - TexMEx and Mex done well

              dcfoodblog

              side note: Belga Cafe- delicious, but rushed, rude, confused service the three times we went

              1. In DC:
                Nam Viet
                Lebanese Taverna
                Nooshi
                Luigino's
                Jaleo

                1. Pesce and Zaytinya if you don't mind waiting for a table.

                  1. Zaytinya recently announced they'll take some reservations. What about Indian? Heritage? Curry Club? Jyoti in Adams Morgan? Or Rice on 14th for Thai. Viridian.

                    1. For Indian Bombay Bistro (I go to the one in Rockville, there is one in Fairfax too)
                      Ethiopian - Addis Ababa (I don't consider it hole int he wally)
                      Dino is always a favorite