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Yummy lunch near cherry blossoms

Hi! I'll be in DC for a day trip next sat for the cherry blossoms. Any suggestions for a great place for lunch within walking distance? I love french, italian, new american..and also seasonal cooking using fresh ingredients (preferably under $40 for lunch).

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  1. Bring a picnic :-)

    Seriously, the mall area itself doesn't really have many restaurants outside of places in the museums. Believe it or not, the cafe in the new American Indian museum is pretty cool although a hike from the Tidal Basin. The Tidal Basin isn't close to much unfortunately. The one exception I can think of is CityZen. It is a expensive restaurant nearby that gets rave reviews...not sure if they even do lunch though.

    1. No options within walking distance. Your best bet near the museums is Jaleo at 7th and E for Spanish tapas. I recommend spinach with raisins, queso de tupi, patatas bravas.

      1. Montmartre - not near the cherry blossoms, but a great place for lunch/dinner (French)
        It is near the Eastern Market on the Hill.

        1. The area's a notorious cuilinary dead zone. About the only things worth eating are the roast beef sandwich at Atrium Cafe (closed on the weekend) and the she crab soup at Market Inn (can't recommend anything else there).

          If you feel like standing around in the cold, you could get a boiled crab at Maine Avenue Fish Market, and just eat it as you walk to the Tidal Basin. At least you won't get lost, you can just follow the trail of crab parts!

          1 Reply
          1. re: monkeyrotica

            Thanks for all the ideas! i might check out the Maine Ave. Fish Market then!

          2. The best Metro stop for the Tidal Basin - the epicenter for viewing the Cherry Blossoms - is the Smithsonian stop on the Orange and Blue lines. You could walk to the Maine Avenue fish market from there. Dodging the cars on the interstate will be easier since they'll be at a dead stop, gawking at the trees.
            Or you could take advantage of that line to visit Eastern Market as BRI328 suggested, either to eat at one of the great restaurants near that Metro stop (I second Montmartre) or to buy food for a picnic at the Market itself. Near the Capital South stop there's another group of good restaurants, like Sonoma or the Hawk and Dove.
            A quick transfer to the Yellow/Green line will take you to the Archives/Penn Quarter stop. After the Cherry Blossoms, reward yourself with dinner at Michel Richard's Central, a bistro version of his 4-star Citronelle. The food and atmosphere are great. It may be hard to get reservations but there's a terrific bar area. Right at the Metro stop is 701, great food and a very relaxing piano bar. There's a few tapas-type places but you'll probably be tired from your excursion. Go someplace relaxing and have a good meal.

            2 Replies
            1. re: MakingSense

              I'd talk a walk down Maine Avenue to the outdoor fish market for oysters, hush puppies, etc. It's just past where you cross under 395.

              1. re: MakingSense

                Actually, every tourist in town will be arriving at the Smithsonian Metro stop as well. That one is always a riot zone come cherry blossom time. L'enfant Plaza Metro would be the less crowded alternative. Once above ground, they can take L'Enfant Promenade to Banneker Circle and cross at the stoplight at Maine Avenue.

              2. I think you should picnic, honestly. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, you can get off at the capitol, see that (where there are also cherry blossoms, and it is beautiful), grab some sandwiches and picnic.
                I like the sandwiches at Le Bon Cafe best, as the other places right near the house side of the capitol are pretty bad (Cosi, Firehook, etc). They are fresh, and have outside seating if you choose to eat there.
                If you walk from the House Side, you can also go to the Native American museum which has fabulous food.

                But, I think picnicing in lovely weather near the cherry blossoms is something you can't get anywhere else.

                1. if you can make the trek up to the White House then your best bet for lunch in all of Downtown DC is the Bread Line (on Penn Ave. between the White House and the World Bank)

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Niebylski

                    Or not, depending on what you order and when you go.


                    Are they even open on Saturday?

                    1. re: Niebylski

                      Breadline is only open weekdays - Monday to Friday, 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        Has anyone tried this waterfront place? It looked pretty good when Chris Cognac visited it...


                        1. re: bordeauxfan

                          I hear the owner also owns Capital Q, the Texas barbeque place in Chinatown. It's open to the elements so not a good choice unless the weather is good. Mostly a bar with drinks in go-cups and a more-interesting-than-average bar food. Supposedly it gets pretty busy and has live music weekends during the summer.