Sunday afternoon in Georgetown
We will be visiting Alexandria and are thinking of spending Sunday in Georgetown. What does it have to offer to foodies from NC. We prefer only independant restaurants where the food is fantastic. Other than that not picky about cuisine. We are having dinner that night at Jaleo in Crystal City.
Agraria, by the waterfront, has a nice view and their brunch looks good. Hook, on M Street, is delicious seafood and you can eat there with a good conscience. I like Leopold's for more casual cafe dining, in Cady's Alley (Belgian, I think). Neyla is upscale middle eastern food. Ironic that you're going to Jaleo's in Crystal City because that is a local "chain," even if it is owned by Jose Andreas and it is very tasty (original is downtown). And for cheap eats, Moby Dick House of Kabob.
Georgetown has surprisingly few really good restaurant options. I have three suggestions. First, Leopold's Kafe & Konditerei is an Austrian restaurant a few steps down from M Street (http://www.kafeleopolds.com). The interior is trendy Euro (not oompah). If it's a nice day, you can't beat their brick courtyard patio tucked into Cady's Alley (an area full of high end home furnishing stores). They serve a range of food, from tarts, salads, and charcuterie plates to full meals, and have a pastry counter running the length of the restaurant. Don't be put off by the bad Washington Post review when it first opened -- it was based mostly on poor service, but I've found the service fine (then again, I've never been in a hurry when there). A more upscale option is Hook, on the other side of M Street. It's a new, stylish restaurant that serves sustainable seafood (http://www.hookdc.com), though it looks like it's only open for brunch (not lunch) on Sundays. Finally, Pizzeria Paradiso, also on M Street, is a very good pizza place with birreria downstairs(http://www.eatyourpizza.com/). All three of these restaurants are within a couple of blocks of each other.
I 2nd the recommendation for both Hook (my new favorite restaurant in DC! Really amazing!!!) and Pizzeria Paradisio.
If you like french food you can check out Bistro Francais. They serve both brunch and lunch and its good basic french bistro cuisine.
While you said you don't like chains, Clyde's is a local chain (similar to how Jaleo is a local chain). It's good basic American cuisine and the Georgetown outpost is not only the original but the best in my opinion.
I'm not sure if they are open at the time you're looking for, but I think eating at the lounge of Citronelle would definitely count as a foodie experience!
Personally I am nota huge fan of Jaleos...I used to work in the Crystal City area and there is this one area (I think it's eads street) with a bunch of good restaurants (I recommend Enjera if you want something ethnic- it is Eritream which is similar to Ethiopian) and there is also a very good Thai place there. Even if you do end up going to Jaleo it is worth the one block walk over to the strip- there is the Crystal City Sports Pub which is excellent for a beer- try to make it to the new 3rd floor.
In dc, I have heard only positive things about Hook although it is pricey. Pizzeria Paradiso is decent for pizza but I was not blown away. Moby Dick is always great- but don't expect anything fancy I guess it is more of a lunch spot. Citronelle is supposed to be very good- it was on the Food Network as well. Oh and Cafe Milano for Italian.
Let us know where you end up!