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Aug 31, 2007 09:52 AM

Silver Spring Chow (near AFI)

I'm meeting some folks at the AFI Silver for the restored Lawrence of Arabia tomorrow afternoon, and it just occurred to me that with the movie's 4 hour running time, I'm going to be eating at least one (possibly two) meals up there. It's been about a year since I've been in that area, and I've heard that there's more chow there now than just the Panera and some chain Italian place that used to be there. Any suggestions for a good meal or two (preferrably within walking distance of the Metro? (One of the folks I'll be meeting is a pescetarian who can't eat crustaceans, so something that could accomodate him for dinner would be nice.)

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  1. The bandeja (sampling platter) at Cubano's is one of my favorite thigns to eat. Just make sure you ask for both the mojo sauce and the cilantro aioli . You'll have a tough time deciding which is more delicious.

    1. There is definitely a lot of new stuff! What in particular are you looking for? Ray's the Classics is almost right across the street from AFI and fantastic, Red Rock Grill is a chain but I've always really enjoyed it, there's an Irish Pub with great food. If you're looking for something more exotic, Moby Dick is a kabob place, theres Lebanese Taverna, Ceviche is a great latin place but does serve a lot of fish. Geez, eggspectation, austin grill... lots of choices!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jackcyn

        Something other than pub food would be preferred, so I think Red Rock & the Irish pub are out. I didn't realize there was a Lebanese Taverna there; that or Ceviche might be the best option for pescetarian-friendly food in that area, it sounds like. Any other opinions on Ceviche?

      2. Ray's the Classics is far and away the best meal in the area, and you can throw rocks from the front door of the AFI and hit the front door of RTC. However, on a Saturday night, especially for a group, you might have difficulty getting a reservation or walk-in table there.

        2 Replies
        1. re: DanielK

          Does Ray's have any good vegetarian or non-crustacean fish dishes? I've only ever heard people talk about meat and crabcakes being good there. (I'm also a little leery because I've heard more than a few folks complain about the service there.)

          1. re: sweth

            I've never had had service issues at Ray's, but I will add the disclaimer that I go often enough that I'm recognized by Michael and the staff.

            As to non-meat entrees, their vegetarian eggplant/mushroom stack was proclaimed "the best vegetarian dish I've ever had in a restaurant" by my vegetarian sister-in-law. The grilled salmon is a favorite in my dining circle, as are the blackened shrimp and scallops.

            But if you're going to walk in with a table for 4, Saturday at 7pm is about the worst possible time to do so. I'd call today, though they're usually already booked 1-2 weeks in advance for a Saturday. Though they don't reserve EVERY table, and tables in the bar (there are a number of them) aren't reserved, so anything is possible.

        2. In the non-chain realm, DaMarco Italian is the best of the lot near AFI. It's just a few steps from the corner of Colesville and Fenton, across the street and down the block from the theater. DaMarco is a mom-and-pop Italian but mom and pop are in their 30s and have a toddler. Dad is Italian-American but Mom (the cook) is from Rome. They change the menu often, but not surprisingly it's specialties of Rome. They make all their pasta fresh. Lots of dishes with pancetta, sausage, but plenty of veg options. Place started out as a deli but they're pretty much phasing out that side of it because the restaurant business has been booming. I believe they're open Wed-Sat, but that may have changes so call first.
          Damarco Italian Gourmet
          8662 Colesville Rd
          Silver Spring, MD 20910
          Phone (301) 588-6999

          3 Replies
          1. re: dan f.

            I went to Da Marco before a movie in SS and had horrible service. We told them we were going to a movie, but they were so slow that we ended up scarfing down our food and having to run to make the movie. The food was ok, what I remember of it. Had to eat it so fast I could barely tell what it tasted like. It might be better after the movie, when there are no time constraints.

            Eggspectations is solid and has some interesting things on the menu. Ceviche is ok, but not worth the hype. I would say go to Mandalay, 930 Bonifant St., which is Burmese food. Tasty food, low prices, quick service, about 5 blocks from AFI. Very good for groups and vegetarians/fish eaters.

            1. re: nikaplan

              Seconding Mandalay, which is just a few blocks away and has something for everyone, including your pescetarian and vegetarian friends. They even have boring ol' stir-fries for that one person in every group who's afraid of interesting food.

              However, assuming you're *not* afraid of interesting food, you would do well to get the ginger salad, mohingar, tofu with sour mustard, tofu with hot peppers, pork with pickled mango, or one of the specials if you're there on Thursday or Sunday.

              Mandalay Restaurant & Cafe
              930 Bonifant St, Silver Spring, MD 20910

              1. re: nikaplan

                I wanted so badly to love Da Marco - I used to shop for Italian groceries there all the time, and really liked the subs, and would hate for everything to turn into chains... But the one time we had dinner there it was horribly disappointing. I got lasagna, figuring that was the sort of thing they'd do well, but all it tasted like was salt. I hope they are doing a good business without me because I am very unlikely to go back for dinner.

                Ceviche has nice drinks - it's a nice place to hang out and drink and have a selection of appetizers. The entrees I admit are not fantastic but the place has it uses.

                Mandalay is the definitely thing that's really unique in the neighborhood.

            2. Sadly, the chain Italian place still takes up space. As does that Red seafood chain. [sigh]

              Up around the corner from the AFI is a small place called something like Adia ... it has some decent burgers/samitches and wine as well as tasty sides. And I'll second the plug for Austin Grill - they're consistent.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dacwdc

                You mean Adega? It's a good place if you want casual instead of a whole sit-down table service deal. Wine by the glass, pretty decent food.