HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


American food near Downtown/White House?

I'm looking for one dinner for American food near Downtown or the White House. Price: cheap to moderate. Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: monavano

      Old Ebbitt Grill is a noisy touristed nightmare serving 'corporate casual' food. You don't have to ask on Chowhound for this rec, just go up to any hotel concierge.

      Central is your best bet. Many people here would normally call it French because celebrated chef Michel Richard created the menu, but it has items like Fried Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, Hamburgers, as well as many elegant choices.

    2. Old Ebbitt isn't bad, and they have some good oysters, and I like their cheese plate and burgers for good ol American.

      I don't think Chef Geoff's is that bad either, it isn't the top gourmet list for DC, but I think it is well priced and solid food.

      1. Has to be Old Ebbitt. It takes a rap on this Board, but it has a very significant history and is worth the visit for that alone. Also, the Clyde's restaurant story is a real success story in this area. John Laytham started out as a dishwasher in the '50s and now sits atop the largest grossing restaurant chain in the DC area. And Old Ebbitt is the top revenue grossing restaurant in the entire DC area, and he rescued it from bankruptcy.

        That said, order carefully. The restaurant sells more oysters than any other restaurant in town, and flies them in from all over the country, so the turnover guarantees freshness. I would start with a dozen, and check the chalkboard for what's being shucked that day. I would then go for one of the American classics like liver and onions or baked Maine cod, but all Clyde's also have a good burger on the menu. And, by the way, all Clyde's will let you order anything you want, off the menu, if the ingredients are in stock. Use your imagination....

        1 Reply
        1. re: BigEats

          Thanks all for the help. I'll report back after my trip.

        2. Not to far from the White House is Butterfield 9. It's more upscale then Old Ebbitt or Chef Geoff's but they also have a pre fixe menu and I believe some sort of pre-and post theater special menu that's more moderate. Certainlly worth checking out since the food is great and they change the menu quite often depending on the season.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Elyssa

            Likewise Oval Room. I like B9 as well, and OEG for the simple things, as people have mentioned.

            I have NOT had good meals at Chef Geoff's, especially at their price point.

            1. re: DanielK

              it's odd about Chef Geoff's because I really like Lias. I wonder if Geoff is more "hands on" at Lias? or the menu/ingredients are better?

              Or maybe it's the really good happy hour deal....

              maybe C.G's should take a cue from Lias or somethin'...

          2. Can't get closer to the White House than Old Ebbitt - plus they have 1/2 off oysters after 10:30pm - always a good time.

            1. Cafe Soleil on 17th St. at Farragut North Metro, 2-3 blocks from the Whtie House. This is a place that totally flies under the radar. Never see it reviewed, no buzz in Post or Washingtonian, etc. But the food is great, it's ambiance is reasonably elegant and the prices, for DC, are certainly moderate. I've been going to this place off and on for years. Amazing to me how other places come and go with hype/disappointment cycle but Cafe Soleil keeps on keeping on.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dan f.

                This is the first mention on Cafe Soleil in a long long time, I would be curious to hear what else other people have to say about it. On a more related topic I second Steves rec for Central, their food is excellent american fare and you can't go wrong with anything on the menu

              2. I would also recommend the Washington Hotel Rooftop Restaurant. Some of the meals I have had there are good and the view on a nice night is great!

                Cap. City Brewery is not too far away and is pretty cheap. They have half price apps. and $3 beers for happy hour.

                1 Reply
                1. re: hopeinmee

                  I'm sorry, but if there's any consensus on this board it seems to be that while the Hotel Washington view is indeed great, the food is absolutely abysmal.

                  I also don't get what's so special about the Ebbitt. I'd just as soon go a couple of blocks down F Street to M&S Grill -- way fewer tourists and noise for the same environment.