Recs for family visit to DC
Any suggestions for not-to-be-missed dining experiences in DC?
We are from Dallas and are staying at the Westin Washington at 1400 M Street NW for 5 days. We will not have a car, but will be depending on the Metro for getting around. Since we are traveling with our two children (ages 13 & 9) we will be somewhat limited to our dining choices, but since we are also accompanied by their grandmothers, we might be able to convince them to babysit one night while we enjoy a more romantic/adult dining experience! Since we will be out all day doing the usual tourist things (museums, monuments, etc.) we are open to breakfast, lunch, and dinner recommentations, but would prefer dinner either close to the hotel or easily accessible by Metro.
Probably need more kid-friendly recommendations, though our children are well behaved in the more adult restaurants. We enjoy all types of cuisine, but are definitely looking for more "local" flavor and atmosphere.
All suggestions are welcome and appreciated.
For your more adult/romantic restaurant you might consider Palena which is right at the Cleveland Park Metro stop.
Your kids could probably handle Dino (also at that stop).
Palena would be an excellent choice for the adult stop, as would Dino if you are into wine (He has the best wine list in town for the price) and want Italian. That section of town (Cleveland Park, has lots of restaurants within a block or two of the METRO stop). You might also consider 1789 in Georgetown for the adult meal.
You might also think about restaurants near Dupont Circle or Chinatown. There is a boom of restaurants near the Verizon Center in Chinatown and the kids might have fun at Zyantinya or Jaleo for tapas/meze, Tony Chang's for Chinese or Mongolian, or for great thin crust pizza and more I highly recommend Matchbox.
Near Dupont Circle try Firefly, Bistrot du Coin for a French Bistro (but it is loud) or for seafood, Hank's Oyster Bar.
Search for Old Ebbit Grill - its mentioned on here frequently. Its the classic DC place, with tourists, yes, but its good, kind of chaotic at times. The kids would probably be entertained by everything going on, and everything on the walls. You could find almost everything on the menu, though most people go for the oysters. I've brought many out of town guests and they have all enjoyed it after a long day of running arounds. Its near the White House, so might be a good stop after that.
The noise and tourist crush of Old Ebbit Grill might be worth it if it was for really good food instead of the corporate factory menu they serve. Just going to the bathroom in this place during peak times is like fighting through a mob scene.
My kids' (11 and 8) favorite places in DC would be any Ethiopian (Etete is the Chowhound choice, but Zed's in Georgetown is fine too), Full Kee in Chinatown (duck stuffed with shrimp paste) , 2 Amys for Napolitan pizza and Italian Small plates, Nooshi for Pan-Asian noodles, Nam Viet for Vietnamese (steak, roast quail, lemongrass pork), and Lebanese Taverna (mezze).
If you want a bit upscale that everone can enjoy, I highly recommend Central, a French-American Bistro (from fried chicken to pate de foie) where reservations are needed or if you can slip away for that one special meal, then the lounge at Citronelle (mushroom cigars, tuna napolean) from the same chef.
Another thought. I don't know how adverturous your kids are, but DC is one of the best places in the US for Ethiopian food. While Etete and Dukem are the two that are most often suggested, there are others that are good too. My kid liked Meskereem in Adams-Morgan, and Zed's in Georgetown is not bad. But search the board since there are at least 20 Ethiopian places in the DC Metro area.
I'm sure it's been mentioned before on the boards, but the cafeteria in the National Museum of the American Indian has the best food of the Mall attractions. The other museums...not so good.
Only two blocks from your hotel on 16th and M, the National Education Association has a cafeteria that's open to the public and serves breakfast. Very cheap, you can have eggs, pancakes, etc. made to order. If you get tired of hotel breakfasts, that's an alternative, although it's only open weekdays.