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Lunch Near the Spy Museum?

Any suggestions for lunch during the week near the Spy Museum? We're completely open regarding type of cuisine. Thank you for your suggestions.

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  1. You can't get any closer than Zola; the Spy Museum and the restaurant share space in the same building. You can count on a tasty meal and fun checking out the details of the decor.

    On our first visit to the Spy Museum, we bought tickets to two displays: the permanent collection and a special, temporary exhibit. We organized our entry times so we left the museum after visiting one exhibit, ate lunch at Zola, and returned to see the second show.

    1. You have LOTS of choices from the Spy Museum. Poste (in Hotel Monaco), Zaytinya, Oyamel, Jaleo, Ella's Pizza, Matchbox. Walk just a bit further to find Acadiana. In Chinatown, just to the east, I like Kanlaya for Thai. The food at DA's/RFD on 7th isn't great, but if you're in the area they have a nice beer selection.

      1. Oh I so so so love Zola. I have to second that. Poste is good, kind of trendy though BF took some clients there for lunch and didn't like it near as much as dinner. Also second Zaytinya and Jaleo. Matchbox is decent pizza, but I think it has gone downhill since it first opened, but better pizza than Ella's and they have good mini burgers (Matchbox). Ella's has some good pasta dishes though. But my first choices would be Zola and Zaytinya.

        1. Daisy, thanks for asking this question. DH and I will be in DC in August and plan to stop by the Spy Museum. Now I know where to get a good lunch too!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: HungryLetsEat

            Just FYI, the Spy Museum has a nice cafeteria with pre made sandwiches and salads. Just in case you wanted very convenient and cheap food, perhaps saving for a dinner splurge.

          2. My top pick would be Zaytinya. Was in town this past weekend for a conference and had the best meal of my trip there. Had a lovely Saturday lunch sitting outside on the patio -- great time to go since you can order off of the brunch as well as the regular menu. Be sure to save room for dessert. And try to go early -- by the time I was leaving it was packed!

            I had dinner that same night at Zola and wasn't very impressed. The service was wonderful, but my main dish (a mushroom dish) was super-salty, and my dessert was a disappointment (the banana berg -- described as a cross between a bananas foster and a baked alaska -- kind of a gloppy, merengue-coated mess with a few tiny banana slices as an aside).

            I'll also second the suggestions for Jaleo.

            2 Replies
            1. re: spyturtle008

              A third for Jaleo.

              Where else did you eat on your trip to DC?

              1. re: Steve

                Let's see... Fire Works in Leesburg, VA for pizza before a show at the Wolf Trap -- good food and accommodating service -- I had a pizza called 'the Soprano' tweaked to be vegetarian (mushrooms, truffle oil, eggplant, etc.) that was delicious. Vaipano on M Street, which was fair -- nothing out of the ordinary, assembly line cooking. Meskerem, which I just posted about on another thread -- good food, lousy service. The food court at the Native American Indian Museum -- got to try lots of unique stuff there (hazelnut soup with strawberries, for one). But I wouldn't recommend going anywhere near the normal lunch hour -- the organization / space leaves something to be desired and it gets awfully crunched.

                The only spot among these that's within reasonable distance from the Spy Museum would be the NAIM food court, but that would be a hike in the hot summer weather.

            2. I highly recommend Rosa Mexicana is you want good Mexican- good margaritas too. I went to the spy museun a few weeks ago and went to dinner at Rasika's (Indian) which was a disappointment- too pricey for not the greatest Indian food.

              1. I think Poste is a great option...make sure to get their truffled fries. They are addictive!!!

                I also really love Zola but have never had their lunch menu so I don't know if it's similar to their dinner menu--which is great.

                Another option for something totally different is Cafe Atlantico, where you can get fun Nuevo Latino cuisine.

                And I'm not sure if it's open for lunch or not but PS7's is a new favorite of mine. They have tasty food that is very playful---think gourmet red hots and mini hotdog platters, and tuna tartar sliders. There is also a covered outdoor seating area which is really nice.

                For something more casual you can try Matchbox and there is always Urban BBQ for something super casual with good tasting traditional BBQ and sides (right next to Matchbox).

                1. I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Bistro D'Oc thus far. It's just two blocks away.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: dpan

                    Bistro D'Oc is one of my favorite restaurants in DC but I thought I would suggest a place closer to the Spy Museum itself since there are a bunch of really good restaurants literally within a block radius.

                    1. re: dpan

                      Gordon Biersch is right across the street but it's a chain so technically you could get that anywhere. I second Rosa Mexicana for Mexican, Zaytinya for cool and hip, and Matchbox for just yummy mini burgers and those onion straws on top. Mmmm!

                    2. Just wanted to say thank you for everyone who gave such great suggestions. We ended up at Matchbox for lunch. We loved the little burgers for appetizers. My husband had a delicious pizza and I had a terrific steak salad with gorgonzola dressing. Service was very good and we were seated right away...even though we got there around 12:30. We went to Zaytinya for dinner. What a fun place. We shared lots of wonderful dishes. Particuarly good were the lamb chops and chicken with garlic sauce. My only complaint...boy was it LOUD in there. I mean really, really difficult to talk. Thank you again. DC is just a great city and we did thoroughly enjoy the Spy Museum.