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Birthday dinner in DC

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I am coming out for the ALA conference. I need a recommendation for a birthday dinner reservation. I am looking for a small restaurant (not fine dining), prefer Italian (but not wedded to it), prefer a place that is under the radar or at least isn't in all of the guidebooks. Coming from the Bay Area, I have grown accustomed to organic/locally grown everything, so I think I need this in the restaurant as well.

Something like:

Lupa in NYC
Delfina in SF

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  1. Dino. They attemt to use sustainable ingredients, the wine list is well priced and the food is excellent.

    1. Off the beaten path? There are many good options. For Italian, yes, Dino is one of my favorites -- although it's definitely fine dining. (Second on the wine list, tho -- they have an excellent buyer!). Here are a couple of other thoughts:

      Colorado Kitchen -- modern Southern food in the upper 16th St neighborhood
      Indique, a more modern Indian restaurant in Cleveland Park
      Cashion's Eat Place in Adams Morgan -- American food, with a seasonal menu that changes almost daily

      Happy birthday!

      4 Replies
      1. re: ksherk

        It is and it isn't fine dining at Dino- you can certainly wear jeans and a nice shirt in there

        1. re: ksherk

          Dino is not fine dining. It is a popular, inexpensive, casual place that is quite popular but it is not fine dining. It is not known, to my knwoedge, for its use of local/organic food.

          Not Italian, but I would recommend Asia Nora. It definitely meets all of the poster's other criteria, as would Hook, if you like seafood.

          1. re: Dakota Guy

            Ok, but Lupa and Delfina aren't fine dining either. That is the point. Or, ok... whatever Lupa and Delfina are regarding "fine dining" Dino is also that. I've eaten at all three restaurants. To be fair, it is true, I do not know if they use organic produce. But Lupa doesn't either, as far as I'm aware. And, frankly, I'm not certain that Delfina does. I mean, it is SF, they are pretty earthy-crunchy, but it isn't Greens.

            I would say I probably prefer Dino to Lupa and Delfina to Dino.

            If price weren't an issue I would reccomend Obelisk it is fine dining in a very casual atmosphere. Wicker chairs, server in jeans. But expensive and probably the best Italian DC has to offer.

            But seriously, unless Obelisk sounds exciting, go to Dino.

            1. re: whiner

              Actually, in season, Dino does use organic and local produce from Tuscarora. All the meat is all natural and sustainable. The fish is from sustainable fisheries according to the Monterey Bay Acquarium list.

        2. Coppi's on U St was pretty good the one time I was there, and I rarely hear others mention it, so I'd imagine it probably isn't in many guidebooks.

          1. Dino is def. the place you want to go. It's in Cleveland Park and close to the metro.

            1. Dino.

              This is not a close one.

              1 Reply
              1. re: whiner

                Thank you for the recommendations. I will make the reso tomorrow!