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MN foodie visiting DC for 1st time over Memorial wkend

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My boyfriend and I will be visitng DC over Memorial weekend. My boyfriend has been to DC before, but I have not. We were thinking about going to dinner at either Mendocino or Kinkead's on Saturday evening. Any thoughts/suggestions?

On Sunday evening we will be going to dinner with my boyfriend's brother, sister-in-law; nephew; and another guest (total 6 people). What are your thoughts about Dino?

I was thinking about going to Blue Duck Tavern on Monday night, but am having second thoughts due to a thread that I read with bad reviews. Any other suggestions?

We will be staying at the Ritz in Georgetown, but plan on visiting the Smithsonian one day and Arlington Cemetary on Memorial Day. I would welcome any suggestions for either lunch or dinner close to where we will be staying or visiting. Thanks for your help.

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  1. Kinkead's should definitely be on your list. I like Dino, but after a few visits I haven't been overwhelmed by it. Try Palena instead. I've been to Blue Duck many times and never had a bad meal.
    Near the Smithsonian, you should try either Teaism or the cafeteria at the American Indian Museum for lunch. In Georgetown there's always Citronelle, but if you can't get a reservation or don't want to break the bank try Vidalia south of Dupont Circle.

    1. Dino is a perfect Sunday evening getaway- I think the food is wonderful and all bottles of wine over 50 bucks are 33% off- not a bad deal at all.

      1. Since you are staying at the Ritz in Georgetown I would highly suggest the restaurant in the Ritz called Fahreinheit...its very good. At least have a drink at the bar Degrees.

        Other ideas for Monday night might be Palena in Cleveland Park (same area as Dino just so you know). I personally LOVED Blue Duck Tavern and found the meal to be a delight but others have disagreed with me. In a similar price range is also Equinox which is a delicious, classy restaurant where the chef uses seasonal ingrediants. For a more creative touch there is of course Citronelle.

        I don't usually recommend lunch at museums or cafetarias but the food at both the cafeteria and restaurant at the American Indian Museum is realllllly good and fun since they serve American Native cuisine from around the ocuntry and you can mix and match from different regions. A good place since you will already be on the Mall.

        In terms of Arlington Cemetary--there really isn't anything out there. You will have to either head further into Arlington on the metro or come back into DC.

        1. Kinkead's used to be fantastic. It went downhill a few years ago and I have not been back. I would only go there if people are relating excellent experiences they've had in the past year or so. I'm not saying it went bad, just, based upon where it was a few years ago, there are a lot of better restaurants in DC.

          I LOVE Dino. Especially if you like wine, it is excellent -- and very well priced, too.

          For more expensive restaurants, my three favorite restaurants in DC, in descending order are:
          Taberna del Alabardero
          Palena
          Obelisk (much more casual than you would expect -- wicker chairs)

          I've heard great things about Komi

          1 Reply
          1. re: whiner

            Komi would be great, but I doubt you could get a reservation for Memorial Day Weekend at this late date since it is one of the hottest restaurants in town.

            Dino is more casual, but the food is good, and the wine list is fantastic and extremely well priced. As jpschust said, Sunday night is the night to go since every bottle on the list over $50 is 1/3 off. Since Dean's pricing policy is usually $20 over retail, you can get a fantastic deal on Sundays.

            If you are willing to spend the money, Citronelle in Georgetown is excellent, but it is very pricy. Another place to consider is CityZen in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel but again, very expensive. If you like sushi, one of the best is Sushi-Ko. You might also graze the small plates at Zaytinya, but they do not take reservations for dinner.

          2. what about trying something on U Street or 14th Street? Maybe some Ethiopian, or St Ex or Rice? Try to go a little more east of Dupont.

            I've been to Dino many times, and my worst experiences there have always been with a group larger than 5.

            If you're going to the Smithsonian/Capitol, head up towards barracks row. I absolutely love le bon cafe (right next to the library of congress) for lunch, and will miss it much when I leave working on the Hill at the end of the month. There are some great place on 8th St SE.

            Try to see more of of the city than the small slice from CT Ave/dupont to Georgetown. There's lot of variety.

            ETA: Zaytinya takes reservations up until 6:30. Again, tied for the best dessert I've had in this city!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Jeserf

              If you are interesting in eating on U St I highly suggest Creme. It's wonderful downhome cooking in a classy atmosphere. You HAVE to try the mushroom appetizer---its so simple yet so delicious. And someone should get the roasted chicken---a family recipe and very good.

              1. re: Elyssa

                Wow, thanks for all of the great recommendations. Citronelle and City Zen sound wonderful, but we couldn't get in. I think we might stick with Dino for Sunday night.

                I'll report back on where we end up going. I'm really looking forwad to exploring DC and all of the wonderful food you have there. Thanks much.

                1. re: mnfoodie1

                  If you wanted something on the higher end than Dino I'd head to Vidalia for a Sunday night.

                  1. re: jpschust

                    Plus side of Dino = good food and great wine value on Sunday
                    Down side = neighborhood restaurant in Cleveland Park so after dinner there's not really anything to do for out-of-towners but catch the Metro or a cab and go back to another section of the City or your hotel.
                    It is however a favorite for some locals for good reason especially if they live nearby.

            2. Perhaps you'd like to try Central or Brasserie Beck when you're downtown? I've been to the former and had a great, fun meal. The latter I'm excited about checking out.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Skittle

                I also recommend Marcel's -- precise, excellent French on Penn Ave, around 23-24th Street. Central is also definitely worth a visit, as the "in" "reasonably-priced" bistro.

                1. re: Skittle

                  Central is a great idea, especially since you couldn't get reservations at Citronelle. Central is Michel Richard's bistro and serves some of the same creative food. It's at 10th and Penn, very close to the Mall Museums and the National Portrait Gallery.