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Inexpensive date night?

I realized the other day that the only time the husband and I have dinner out, just the two of us, it's because we're too tired to cook. So, I've decided to take him on a date Friday.

We're trying to be good about our spending in order to save up for vacation next month, so I don't want it to be too expensive. We do Matchbox all the time (miniburgers and a glass of Penfolds is the perfect meal) so that's out.

Tom Sietsema always recommends Straits of Malaya. Anyone have any experience with that? Are there other, brilliant ideas? It'd be nice if there was a good spot for an after dinner drink nearby, too.

Thanks, everyone!

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  1. Are you tied to DC? What about Tallula? If you're tied to DC, I'm a huge fan of the always solid and never terribly expensive Little Fountain Cafe for a nice date.

    1. Never been to the Straits of Malaya...

      Palena Cafe in the front of Palena is actually quite reasonable and very good?

      I always like Regent Thai on 18th St. across from Lauriol Plaza and that is a good value and it has nice atmosphere. Also on the Thai note- relatively cheap dining option there is a place in Alexandria that is right on the water that is thai and nice atmosphere for a date.

      The 13th and U area has some good places that aren't outrageous... Oh I forget the names though I didn't live there long enough to be able to frequent them. I will try to figure out what they were while others give you some other good options.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ktmoomau

        "Palena Cafe in the front of Palena is actually quite reasonable and very good?"

        Well, you're half right. We've never got out of there for less than $100.

        1. re: chickenlover

          Not if you get the burger. Isn't their INCREDIBLE burger around $10 or so? I think my boyfriend and I were closer to $50 or less when we went. Both got burgers, split and appetizer, and skipped dessert (because we went next door to the little market to get gelato instead :) ). And I think we didn't get a bottle of wine...probably just a glass each if that.

          1. re: Elyssa

            In my opinion, if you just get the burger you're kind of missing the point. I'm in the minority, but I think it's overrated. $100+ represents 2 dishes and 2 drinks each plus a shared dessert. I generally don't care about dessert but I would never skip it at Palena. It's one of their strengths.

      2. Straits of Malaya is nice. I had some of the best eggplant ever when I was there. And if you want to dine alfresco now that we got a break in the humidity, you can ask for a table on their roof. Always nice for a date!

        1 Reply
        1. re: debit

          I also vouch for their eggplant dish. It's a must order. Oh and if you like spicy food, make sure to let your waiter know that you want it to be spicy. I found in the past that if I didn't request it to be spicy, it came out good, but tame.

        2. Mourayo in Dupont maybe? Dino can be fairly inexpensive if you go on Sundays.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cleveland park

            I heard Mourayo is actually more moderate priced...and on the higher end of that. I've wanted to go a few times (this is the Greek place right?) but everytime I think about it I end up someplace cheaper like sushi or Bistro du Coin.

          2. My husband and I attempt to do date nights on a monthly basis to try places we've never been. Usually they're on the higher end, but on our list is to go to Etete and check out some jazz nearby. From their website it looks reasonable, and the place is always recommended by chowhounds.