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A month in Bethesda/DC- need MUSTS for my list

We'll be staying in Bethesda, working in DC for a month. What are places of all price ranges (I would prefer many casual/average places as we can only do a few pricey ones)

What are the MUSTS/not to be missed places? Also, any specialty places (like a bakery), not just meals wanted too. (we have a car) TIA!

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  1. I grew up in Bethesda and now live in Arizona, the two places I miss the most:

    California Tortilla: I'm in AriFREAKINGzona and can't find a burrito place as good as this, try what sounds good, but that Blacked Chicken Caesar burrito is delish.

    Chicken Out: Like Boston Market except really good, mash potatoes are to die for, like Cali Tor it's a walk up, order, and then pick up your food place.

    Both of those have many locations, so you can just look the closest ones up online.

    For Mexican (even though I'm discovering it's more Tex Mex) I would recommend Rio Grande, I miss their food even with all the local Mexican fare around here.

    For Indian Delhi Dhaba is the way to go, there is a better place (Passage to India), but they are much more expensive and have uncomfortable chairs. I was particularly fond of their Shrimp Vindaloo. It's also in a perfect location if you want to catch and Independent movie at Bethesda Row Cinema across the street.

    For Thai I would recommend Tara Thai, it has never let me down so far.

    I'm sure there are a ton of places in Bethesda I missed, I never went to any of the more expensive places, and I'm not a fan of Italian or French food. Never really ventured in DC for food, too much of a hassle when it takes the same amount of time to go to Rockville, and you can actually find parking.

    My only other suggestion is that you try some Ethiopian food in DC if you haven't yet, DC has something like the largest population of Ethiopian folk in the US. The one restaurant I would always frequent would be Dukem, and since an Ethiopian friend would always insist on going there, seems like the place to be.

    Oh and I forgot, if you like Chinese head to Full Key out in Wheaton. It's really not too far away from Bethesda, and if you order the Clams in Black Bean Sauce you'll find it very worth the trip.

    I just can't stop editing my post, for the quintessential Maryland experience, eat crabs at the Bethesda Crab House. Make sure you make reservation though (which includes how many crabs you want and what size) or you're bound to be shafted. Also make sure you eat outside.

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    Rio Grande Cafe
    4870 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

    Delhi Dhaba
    7236 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

    Tara Thai Restaurant
    4828 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

    Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant
    1114 U St NW, Washington, DC 20001

    1. Louisianna Express, a little restaurant across from Mercedes Benz on Bethesda Av. Great veggie jambalaya though everything is great and cheap there.

      1. Are you going to be working in a particular area of DC? Are you willing to travel around a bit? I can speak more to the DC request then the Bethesda request.

        It would also help to know where you are coming from and a few of your favorite types of food.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Elyssa

          I actually would like more DC recs, as I am more familiar with Bethesda/Rockville (I just don't live there so wanted to make sure there isn't some great place I don't know about)

          we eat everything! (but never had Etheopian)
          We are willing to travel around to some extent. (Do not need Baltimore or crab recs- family there)

          thanks everyone so far- looks great!

          1. re: readytocook

            In terms of lunch spots I love CF Folks in Dupont Circle. It's only open from 11:30-2pm Monday-Friday but they have some of the best lunch in town, not to mention my favorite crab cake sandwich in the DC area. They have a theme to their specials that changes every day (Italian, Middle Eastern etc.) and you always find their specials listed online at www.cffolksrestaurant.com. They also have great sandwiches.

            I also love California Tortilla in Gallery Place/Chinatown and Cleveland Park. I know its a local chain, but its super good for tacos and burittos. Great salads as well.

            For good burgers you should check out Five Guys---various locations all over town.

            For dinner some of my favorite casual, moderate priced restaurants are:

            *Hanks Oyster Bar-Dupont Circle area. Really delicious seafood in a small, New England-feeling fish restaurant. Outdoor dining and an excellent staff.

            *Cashion's-Adams Morgan. Ann Cashion is one of my favorite chefs in the area. Her restaurant's menu changes every day and is the perfect neighborhood spot with incredible, well thoughtout food. Outdoor dining as well

            *Dino-Cleveland Park. Rustic Italian with an excellent wine list.

            *Creme-Wonderful downhome, slightly southern home cooking in U Street. The mushroom appetizer and roasted chicken are the best on the menu. Very friendly staff in a laid back atmosphere.

            *Sakana-Really good cheap sushi on P Street in Dupont Circle. Try the Sakana Tempura Roll---you will wake up dreaming about it day after day.

            *Mark and Orlandos-P Street in Dupont Circle. This is another really delicious neighborhood spot. They have a more formal downstairs area and a casual upstairs diningroom/bar area. Upstairs you can order off of the downstairs menu as well as the much cheaper (nothing over $12) upstairs menu. Very good food.

            *Grill from Impanema-This restaurant doesn't get a lot of attention but I really enjoy it (Plus its where my bf took me on our first date so it holds a special spot in my heart). It's a fun Brazillian restaurant in Adams Morgan. Really good drinks.

            *PS7-A super chic restaurant and bar in Gallery Place/Penn Quarter area. They have a very fun menu meant to be shared with the table. They also have an excellent happy hour deal.

            Other ideas to check out:
            Palena (front of the restuarant is much cheaper and still excellent. Try the famous burger.), Zola, Cafe Atlantico, Butterfield 9, Acadiana, and Hook--these are all moderate to expensive then the others above.

        2. If you can drive don't miss the lebanese butcher or lebanese taverna market in Northern Virginia.

          Also there is some great chicken in Nova like Carribean Gill of Route 29 in Arlington.

          If you want a good italian sub either the Italian Store in NOVA again off 29 or Litteri's in NE, DC.

          On the upper side Komi and Citronelle are kind of the big deals here.

          And if you are from the north get some good southern food. And make sure to get some MD crabs and MD crabcakes in MD (worth a drive to b-more for the best crabcakes lots of posts on here about the best crab cakes and places to get crabs).

          There is so much more just read on here after restaurant week is over and you will get some great posts or search history for the "best (insert whatever here)."

          1. In Bethesda you should go to Jaleo for some tapas.

            For some pretty incredible sichuan and a cool little hole in the wall, head north into Rockville to Joes Noodle House http://www.joesnoodlehouse.com/

            Wheaton was mentioned earlier - Ruan Thai is there and was considered one of the 3 best thai places in the area a couple of years ago on this board. El Pulgarcito (if still there) is pretty fantastic Salvadoran fare. And then the Peruvian rotisserie chicken at El Pollo Rico (very much in the news and threads here recently) is a must - don't be afraid if the lines are in the parking lot - it goes pretty fast.

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            Joe's Noodle House
            1488 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852

            El Pulgarcito Restaurant
            11333 Elkin St, Silver Spring, MD 20902

            Ruan Thai Restaurant
            11407 Amherst Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

            El Pollo Rico
            2541 Ennalls Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

            3 Replies
              1. re: Dennis S

                Ohhhhh i certainly 2nd El Pollo Ricco. It's quite addictive though so be careful. You might want to eat it every single day for the entire month you are here. :)

                1. re: Dennis S

                  Oh, and I remembered that I forgot to add anything from the Black's. Addies, Black's, BlackSalt - I haven't been myself to the fourth one yet (not even sure where it is).