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