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SF Hound visiting DC - what do you think of my list?

I've done a bit of research online on places to eat. We'll be visiting Sept 28-Oct 4, 2007 to check out the sights & restaurants. No car, planning to use the Metro & walking lots.

Breakfast places - haven't looked into..any suggestions? 6 breakfast places.

Lunch & dinner places. We prefer cheap eats (up to $15pp lunch, $10-30pp for dinner). Any type of food ok, prefer places that take credit cards, casual places best w/o reservations but we eat early. 6 lunches/5 dinners choices.

Places on my list:

Greek Deli & Catering
Zaytinya
Etete
Two Amys
Brasserie Beck
Vace Italian Deli & homemade pasta
Five Guys
Malaysia Kopitiam

Amsterdam falafel shop
Rasika
Matchbox
Cashion's eat place
Sushi Taro
Ben's chili bowl
Cafe Ettore
Jaleo

Any suggestions on hotel to stay at that's close to sights & safe walking?

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  1. Zaytinya, Jaleo, Rasika, Cashion's, Ben's are all places that I have eaten and recommend. Two Amy's too, but expect to wait for a table, even early.

    IMO, Five Guys is kind of a waste of time. You have In 'n' Out, not to mention Taylor's Refresher out in CA, and to me Five Guys does not measure up.

    www.roguefood.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pool Boy

      I love Taylors ... Anyway, I'm thinking someone from SF might not be as impressed with Vace as DC people are. Unless you're going to the zoo, and therefore in the neighborhood, I would probably take that off the list. I like the place, I just don't think its worth a special trip.

    2. It's not on your list but I'd recommend Zola as well. I'm a NYC chowhound that was in DC recently and had an early dinner there. I think if you get there before 7pm you can do their $30 pre-theater menu which was pretty good. It's near the Portrait Gallery/Chinatown.

      Try the Tabard Inn for your hotel stay (where my coworker stayed while there).

      1. I like Zaytinya and I think you'll like Acadiana from the same restaurant family.

        Matchbox is way too noisy for me. Down the block in Chinatown is Full Kee and I would be interested in your impression of whether or not it compares favorably to anything in your Chinatown.

        Ben's Chili Bowl is DC. You may need an antacid afterwards....I agree with Pool Boy about Five Guys. It may be good for around here, but you have better.

        The one thing missing from your list is crabcake -- it is the dish of the Middle Atlantic. I would recommend Market Inn a few blocks from the Capital in SW. It is almost as "DC" as Ben's, and it's crabcakes are usually on everyone's top 5 list.

        Although it's a bit beyond your budget, I have eaten at the Mandarin Oriental in both DC and SF. Silk's was my best meal of 2007 so far, and CityZen was my best meal of 2006. I would be interested in a third party comparison....

        1 Reply
        1. re: BigEats

          AFAIK, Acadiana and Zaytinya aren't connected--the former is one of Jeff Tunk's places (Ceiba, TenPenh, DC Coast), and the latter is from Jose Andres (Jaleo, Cafe Atlantico, Oyamel). Both are good, though, although to me good Cajun places should (like Thai places) be dirt-cheap hole-in-the-wall gems, so Acadiana suffers by being typically priced for a mid-range DC restaurant.

        2. Places on my list:

          Greek Deli & Catering (carryout only. Plain, oily food. Enormous portions.)
          Zaytinya (a good choice)
          Etete (a very good choice)
          Two Amys (excellent)
          Brasserie Beck (you should go here, but can get expensive)
          Vace Italian Deli & homemade pasta (carryout only, better to order a pie)
          Five Guys (good choice for a chain. Fresh potatoes are a no-no for fries, though.)
          Malaysia Kopitiam (a mistake)

          Amsterdam falafel shop (nothing special)
          Rasika (Must Order the spinach. Don't compare to straight-up Indain food and you'll be ok.)
          Matchbox
          Cashion's eat place
          Sushi Taro
          Ben's chili bowl (there are four much better places in the nabe. If you are just a couple, then sit at the stools of Oohs and Aahs. If you're a family check out Pyramids. It it's dinner check out Thai X-ing.)
          Cafe Ettore
          Jaleo (lots of good choices here, especially the vegetarian selections but also cod or date/bacon fritters or stuffed chicken)

          Any suggestions on hotel to stay at that's close to sights & safe walking?

          I think Rosslyn, Virginia is an ok place to stay. Convenient Metro stop, walk to Iwo Jima. From there you can always eat at Guajillo, Ray's the Steaks, Kabob Express (Clarendon Metro stop, mostly kabobs but unusually good for the stew of the day and baklava - thanks to Todd Kliman of the Washingtonian for this suggestion). Or walk to Georgetown (Amma's Vegetarian Kitchen).

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          hhc Jul 21, 2007 02:11AM

          2 Replies
          1. re: Steve

            Suggesting that a visitor to D.C. should stay in Rosslyn is kind of like suggesting that a visitor to San Francisco stay in Oakland. Or maybe San Jose. Sure, it can be done, but it isn't really optimal.

            1. re: Hal Laurent

              Except that you can walk from Rosslyn to DC in less than 5 minutes, and you are just one subway stop away. Furthermore, the blue and orange line in Rosslyn leads directly to the tourist areas, as where the red line at Dupont Cirlce, (for example) you have to transfer. Maybe you're right, but the analogy is all wrong.

              Just so that we can keep this Chow-centric, Rosslyn is located in Arlington Virginia which has some of the best Thai, Vietnamese, and other cuisines in the area. It is also part of the ten miles squared which was originally set aside to create the District of Columbia, but Virginia took back their offer of the land because George Washington had business interests in a canal on the Virginia side. It was never completed, but the land remains in Virginia. Rosslyn is closer to downtown DC than many other parts of DC.

          2. Stay in the Penn Quarter/Chinatown area for walking access to good restaurants (many you already list) and the sights. Agree with others to skip Five Guys and Ben's Chili Bowl. Skip Italian, Chinese, and Seafood (except for perhaps a crabcake) as cuisines, no improvement there over what you have. Try at least one Ethiopian, Etete or Dukem's, vegetarian platter or doro wat. In the same area (U St, easily accessible via metro from Chinatown), Pyramids for homestyle Moroccan, try the carrot salad and bastilla for under $10 (U St/Cardozo stop, NOT U St/Shaw). A bit closer to the White House, Breadline for sandwiches and salad, outdoor seating as well. Jaleo, Zatinya for sure.