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in dc, sun - tues. where to eat?

Hi all!

My mom & i are coming down to DC from NYC for a few days next week (sun-tues). I'd love to get some suggestions about cool / hip restaurants. Particularly looking for restaurants with great interior design (sleek, modern, minimal a plus!). Any cuisine/price will do (except Indian...i've been trying to convert my mom for years to no avail). Also, in the DC area because we don't have a car & will be cabbing it around town.

So far we have a Monday night reservation at Zengo.

thanks in advance!
Morgan

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  1. The first place that came to mind when you said cool/hip with good cuisine is PS7's. I thought the inside of the restaurant was very cool...great bar area and main dining room. They also have a great outdoor eating area which is shaded and if the heat isn't too oppressive that is also a nice choice.

    The food is really good and a lot of fun...lots of mini stuff---aka mini tuna sliders (basically tuna tartar on a great parker roll), mini hotdogs and red hots and sausages etc. They also have great drinks and the menu is set up so you are suppose to share. It's a fun environment with good service.

    Another idea is Cafe Atlantico which has a really good Nuevo Latin vibe. Very cool atmosphere with bright colors and about 3 different levels of seating.

    Zola is also very sexy and sleek. I haven't tried the menu since the new chef started but I heard its still very good. This restaurant is right next to the Spy Museaum and has a very cool James Bond/Spy theme to it. Think low lighting and red and black all over. If you go to Zola check out the bathrooms as well....very cool design there.

    All the above are in the Gallery Place/China Town area. Lots going on around there in terms of restaurants and bars.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Elyssa

      I had fun when I went with friends to PS7s, and they have a really good happy hour and friendly staff (based on my experience, anyway).

    2. Sleek modern and minimal describes the food at Zaytinya...oh you wanted restaurants :)

      Anyways- Blue Duck Tavern is what you seek in the park hyatt hotel- don't get thrown off that it's in a hotel- it's truly excellent.

      You also want Michel Richard Central.

      Finally I wish you could get a car for a bit and go to 2941- perhaps my favorite designed restaurant in all of DC- stunning modern interior design with a new Dali statute out in the sculpture garden.

      13 Replies
      1. re: jpschust

        I am seconding Zaytinya (Gallery Place metro right there only about a block from the metro two max) which I think really fits the bill my Mom is really hip and I keep trying to get her to come into DC so she can go here with me, And Oya right by it has a great lounge, but I haven't heard good things about the food.

        Central (federal triangle metro) isn't too hip in decor it is minimalist, but it is new and trendy and has great food.

        Zola is def cool and hip decor that you would love, but I haven't had their summer menu yet (I loved their winter menu).

        Poste in the Hotel Monaco (Gallery Place again) is also very trendy minimalist decor, I haven't been for a while now and I don't know if their menu is the same they had a great duck dish though. I have heard from the BF it is better for dinner than for lunch.

        1. re: ktmoomau

          I was really not reccomending Zaytinya, so you wouldn't be seconding it :)

          1. re: jpschust

            Well then I will first it, it is very trendy and hip with minimalist decor. I think there food is good (which you obviously disagree with and I respect that you have very good opinions with which I normally agree), but I really like tapas and spanish style food and think this is a good representative of that, I have always had very good food there, I especially like it if I can score a table outside which is a little quieter and has better service when they are busy.

            1. re: ktmoomau

              Aren't the tapas at Zaytinya more Middle Eastern then Spanish. I went about a year ago and was far, far from impressed and haven't been back since. So I might be wrong. But I don't think they are traditional Spanish tapas. Correct me if I'm wrong though.

              1. re: Elyssa

                Yep they are sorry for the mis-information doing too much at once... middle eastern tapas. I go quite often and have always had a great experience of course I usually go later on weeknights and I always go with a group so we gets lots of stuff and share. I love the Prince Edward mussels (not quite as good as Mussel night at McGarvey's in Annapolis but when I don't get that for a while fits the bill), the pita is excellent, I also really like lamb chop with chikpea puree, oh there is a lot of good stuff I have had... I remember the falafel being really good, I normally have good luck with their grilled meats. But again I go often. Why weren't you impressed? It can get quite loud at night, especially on weekends. And service when it is really crowded can be an issue I've heard only experienced at the bar. Lunch might be a good option I bet it is quieter then.

                1. re: ktmoomau

                  We were sitting outside and our server kept forgetting about us. Maybe he was in charge of the entire outdoor area but still---that's no excuse. I thought the food was decent---nothing spectacular and certainly not as good as some of the other tapas spots in town. I felt like the bar scene got more attention and was the main focus with all the beautiful people. People talk about Zaytinya so much as if it's the best spot in town and I just thought it was so-so. I would rather spend my money elsewhere.

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    Hmm, well if you like tapas I would give it another try it is no Taberna for tapas, but also not the same price and easier to get into. The service can be hard (tapas coming out at odd times when it is really busy, especially on weekends) but I figured Sun-Tues are always slower nights and so service issues that arise on busy nights probably wouldn't be much of a problem. If I were you I would give it another try.

                    1. re: ktmoomau

                      I guess its worth another try. But truth be told I was a little turned off by the scene. It was a little too see and be seen type of place in my opinion. But I guess during the week it wouldn't be like that.

                      1. re: Elyssa

                        Hahaha I think it is always a little to a lot seen and be seen... if that is what you didn't like just avoid it... But since ThursdayNext asked for cool and trendy I am recommending hip and trendy. I don't mind the scene, but I am youngin who likes that kind of thing, especially with my see and be seen friends (wink wink).

          2. re: ktmoomau

            Poste is only okay: I have had mediocre service there, and I don't think the food is anything particularly special. Gallery Place has other chocies.

            What about Two Amys just off Wisconsin above Georgetown for gourmet pizza? You can get other dishes, but it's a fun, buzzy place with good service.

            Sorry you won't have a car, because D.C. cab rates have gone up significantly in the past few years. There's now a $1 a trip surcharge to account for gas price hikes. Trips that I remember costing $5 a few years back now cost $9. Likewise, people are complaining because there's been a big demand for Metro and the system has been slow to add cars, making for crowded trips. So it make sense to have a car if you think you can handle the driving/parking.

            1. re: brendastarlet

              The best thing about Poste is the tartare (steak) and the truffled frites.

            2. re: ktmoomau

              I had a good brunch at Poste with my parents. If you go get the truffle fries--they are addictive. They also have good bloody marys.

            3. re: jpschust

              Blue Duck Tavern is on the higher end but an excellent recommendation--and as Jpschust said the layout is def. sleek modern and minimalist. They also have an excellent open kitchen. When you make reservations you should ask to be seated near the kitchen.

            4. Central is definitely hot right now in DC. It's the only restaurant I've been to in recent memory with a line of people waiting to get in at 11:45 on a Tuesday. Only downside is that the food is kind of heavy for this time of year - nothing terribly light. The design also isn't fabulous. Another interesting spot is Ceiba, which does have a fairly good design. Last summer, I had some scrumptious yellow gazpacho there that really hit the spot on a hot day. I would avoid Zola - the design is interesting, but the food isn't much to talk about. It's too bad your mom doesn't like Indian - Rasika is really a nice spot, with a very sleek design. Other hot spots people are talking about: Dino - which has an excellent wine list, a stone's throw away from the Zoo. My colleague from Belgium knows his food and his wine and he was pretty impressed. Brasserie Beck is another hot spot in town right now. They have an extensive beer list and great Belgian frites. DC is a good bar town. There are a lot of places that serve a nice cocktail, where the food is not as desirable. Although the food isn't anything, you could choose to sit out by the water at one of the restaurants near the Potomac off of K Street - Agraria or Sequoia come to mind. It's nice to just have a drink and watch the world walk by. Again, forget the food though and afterwards, you could head over to Hook, a new spot that again, is getting a lot of attention.

              I wish you good luck - it sounds like a fun trip. I hope the weather is better when you're in town - it's insanely hot this week!

              Cheers and enjoy!

              1. Wow, thanks for all the great suggestions! I made a reservation for Zola on Sunday. Zengo on Monday night. I'm trying for lunch at Zaytinya on Tuesday. Hey, three Z's! The last time I was in DC my friend took me to Rasika which I loved. I remember having a delicious champagne, ginger cockatil.

                Now all we have to do is squeeze in some sightseeing!

                Thanks!
                Morgan

                3 Replies
                  1. re: thursdaynext

                    Another option is PS7 for lunch...at least I think they are open for lunch. It really fits the bill for what you are looking for and a lot of fun. Just another option.

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      I think that's a good bet, too...and less "offensive" on the boards then Zaytinya.

                      They have one of the best deals in DC happy hour. the spring rolls were great, and the crackers they have a the bar were also fantastic. The pear martini was rockin'.