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Good food near College Park

Alright, I did this once before last year and I got a few good ideas but I like to eat a lot so I need more.

I'm looking for a good variety of things, I'd prefer if it wasn't actually in DC, as the title says near college park, so think hyattsville, silver spring, greenbelt, laurel, etc (dupont is ok but please don't make that the majority). I'm not looking for anything in particular but please, no more pho, that's the majority of what I got last time I posted this. If possible I'd love a variety of atmospheres, everything from a big fun lively joint to the quiet intimate romantic hidden spot. Much like with the atmospheres I'm looking for a variety of food just please no more pho, price ranges can be anywhere from $10.00 a person to $40.00 a person.

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  1. Here's a start:

    La Sirenita, 4911 Edmonston Road, Hyattsville, MD, 301-864-0188, just a bit east of Kenilworth Avenue (Authentic Mexican)

    El Tapatio, 4309 Kenilworth Avenue, Bladensburg, MD, 301-403-8882 (Authentic Mexican)

    The Alamo 5510 Kenilworth Ave, Riverdale, MD 20737
    (301) 927-8787 (Tex-Mex)

    Costa Alegre Restaurant 5815A Greenbelt Road College Park, MD 20740
    (301) 850-2053 (Authentic Mexican)

    Food Factory 8145 Baltimore Avenue College Park, MD Phone: (301) 345-8888(Afghan) (get the lamb chop kabob)

    Ledo Restaurant 2420 University Blvd Adelphi, MD (301) 422-8122
    The original not anything like the chain versions. Stick with the (fantastic) pizza. The minestrone is also good.

    Franklin's General Store 5121 Baltimore Ave, Hyattsville - (301) 927-2740
    GET THE BROILED MUSSELS!!

    Udupi Palace 1329,University Blvd East Takoma Park,MD (301) 434-1531
    (Indian)

    Pollo Campero 1355 East University Boulevard Adelphi , MD
    (Fried Chicken - a chain, yes but damn it's good!)

    Pollo Fiesta 6408 Kenilworth Ave., Riverdale, MD (301) 277-0298
    (Peruvian-style roasted chicken)

    Sahara Oasis Restaurant 3010 Hamilton Street, Hyattsville, MD (301) 853-1280
    (Pan African) (get the ox tail)

    Chez Yonyon 834 Chillum Rd. Hyattsville, Maryland (301) 853-0404
    (Haitian) (stick with seafood - prices are well within your budget but bring cash - it's not cheap)

    9 Replies
    1. re: Rosco1

      Think you can tell me what these places are like atmosphere wise? I mean I haven't heard of most of these places but I'm seen Costa Alegre, it's it a hole in the wall that only does take out(that's not a bad thing, just asking)?

      1. re: hungry_fox

        You can eat in at any of these.

        Here are the atmosphere descriptions you requested - hope this is what you meant:

        sit down restaurant = real plates and cutlery
        has seating = plastic cutlery & no tablecloths
        "nice" = cloth napkins

        La Sirenita - Sit down restaurant - VERY casual dress code - occasional live music - very little English spoken

        El Tapatio - Sit down restaurant - VERY casual dress code - English OK

        The Alamo - Sit down restaurant - casual dress code - occasional live music - perfect English

        Costa Alegre Restaurant - has seating (it's NOT just take out). Good English. Very casual.

        Food Factory - has seating (also take out). Perfect English. Very casual.

        Ledo Restaurant - Sit down restaurant - casual

        Franklin's General Store - Sit down restaurant - casual

        Udupi Palace - Sit down restaurant - casual - "nice"

        Pollo Campero - has seating - atmosphere similar to Popeyes

        Pollo Fiesta - has seating - good English

        Sahara Oasis Restaurant - Sit down restaurant - casual - "nice"

        Chez Yonyon - Sit down restaurant - casual

      2. re: Rosco1

        Costa Alegre has closed, at least at the above location. Noticed a bridal store there this week. Anyone know if it has moved or will reopen elsewhere?

        1. re: spitfire.girl

          If you're looking for NY Pizza in Ledo's, you're looking in the wrong place. Try Valentino's for something resembling what you'd find at Ray's. Ledo's has always been described as rectangular, sweet sauce, cracker crust.

          As for the cutting, the thing's a rectangle. How are they supposed to cut it? Ledo's in Langley is definitely an acquired taste, and the servers can be tools, but it's still better than the franchise stores (think gradeschool cafeteria pizza with ketchup instead of sauce).

          1. re: monkeyrotica

            Always amazed that people still seek NY pizza or Chicago pizza in DC.

            Ledo's is still the gold standard for many of us who grew up in suburban MD.

            1. re: Mister Big

              Not just suburban Maryland. NoVA has the Mario's/Marino's rectangular pies as well. There's a ridiculously long pizza thread at WTOPNEWS that covers a lot of interesting DC pizza places. They ultimately settled on Ledo's.

              tp://www.wtopnews.com/index.php?nid=25&amp...

              I think it's completely valid to measure Ledo's against NY slice/Chicago deep dish. All are regional variations on a standard bread/sauce/topping theme. One tends to prefer whatever you grew up eating. But to say it's nasty because the crust is pie-like or the sauce is really sweet is like saying New Haven pizza is nasty because it doesn't have tomato sauce and is covered with clams. They are what they are.

              And anyway, I've met people from Naples who think ALL American pizza--NY/Chi/Cali-- is nasty. It's that built-in bias at work.

              Then there's that most frightening of variations: "Japanese pizza."

              http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Bun...

              1. re: monkeyrotica

                I almost always get pepperoni on my Ledo pizza because the salt in the pepperoni balances out the sweetness of the sauce.

                1. re: 4X4

                  The meatlover style does compliment the sweetness of the sauce. I recently tried one with "everything." Obscene amounts of toppings: big chunks of sausage (hand torn, none of those Sysco cryovaced nuggetized sausage like you get at Dominos), wedges of salami, and that big thick pepperoni they use. And the veggies were fresh. Like a deep dish but instead of two inches of bread, it was two inches of toppings.

            2. re: monkeyrotica

              It's NEVER been cracker crust at Ledo. More like pastry. They got the recipe from a bakery next door in Adelphi.

          2. I forgot about Caribbean:

            Crossroads ("classy")
            4103 Baltimore Ave, Bladensburg, MD (301) 927-1056
            The adjacent nightclub is a scene - where internationally famous bands draw huge crowds. Show up before 8pm before the crowds arrive for easy parking.
            http://www.crossroadsclub.com/Restaur...

            Jerk Pit (VERY casual or take-out
            )8145 Baltimore Ave College Park, MD (301) 982-5375

            1. This was discussed about a month ago.

              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/42860...

              There's a slew of Korean options in Beltsville, and some excellent Mexican/Salvadorean options off Kenilworth Avenue.

              Udupi is the sort of vegetarian place that can make a carnivore happy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: monkeyrotica

                I tried and enjoyed the Pepper Pot in Belltsville on Friday evening, grabbing a quick bite before seeing a show at UofM. Tried brown stew chicken, jerk chicken, and curried goat and particularly recommend the brown stew chicken. It was super moist falling off the bone and very flavorful. All entrees served with a heaping scoop of rice and veggies (that day it was cabbage and onions). You can get a big plate of food for dinner for less than $10. I didn't try the guyanese pepper pot (mmm...cow feet cooked with cassareep) so if someone tries that, please report back.

                They advertise a $6.95 lunch buffet which I really wanted to try, but they said they discontinued it, but may start doing it again sometime soon). Their website and menu is up to date:

                http://www.pepperpotcafe.com/

              2. College Park wasteland antidotes: Pasta Plus in Laurel--homemade pasta and zabalone for dessert.
                Hanami Japanese Restaurant--try the screaming salmon, cherry blossom roll, golden salmon asparagus--yum!

                1. I was driving down route 1 north of the university the other day and saw a sign for the opening of a new place called the Varsity Grille just north of campus. Stopped in an was pleasantly surprised. It was a sports bar with the usual tv's and cold beer but I was very impressed with the menu. At my table we had pizza, salmon and crab cakes and all were very good. I was impressed, would definitely go back

                  1. Platos diner on route 1 just south of campus is fantastic. All of their desserts are baked fresh on the premises.

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: steinre1

                      My friends and I are there on average twice a week every week. And yes their desserts are good, however from time to time I have heard that their apple pie crust tastes vaguely like bacon.

                      1. re: hungry_fox

                        Have you tried Tommy LEDO's Pizza yet!? This is not part of the chain of Ledo Pizzas in the area. This one was on Oprah a while ago -- for their great buttery, flakey-crust pizzas. Very casual, full bar & carry-out side room, too.

                        Ledo Restaurant
                        2420 University Blvd Adelphi, MD
                        (301) 422-8122

                        1. re: inbox_blues

                          From NY, no pizza down here compares, not even Tommy Ledo's.

                          1. re: inbox_blues

                            After having tried the TERRIBLE pies at the Ledo's chain stores, I hit the Original in Adelphi. Still a good, unique, local DC pie: flaky crust, but not too buttery; smoked provolone, BIG pepperoni, served on cafeteria trays. Nothing like NY thin or Chi thick but a good pizza nonetheless.

                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                              Like apples and oranges -- can't compare NY-style pizza with anything around here, even Tommy Ledo. BUT I still think die-hard pizza lovers would enjoy a trip to TL, it's a different animal entirely though; biscuity crust, light on the sauce, smoked cheese blend. My favorite combo is the mushroom and sausage. Mmmm!

                              1. re: spitfire.girl

                                Every time I have eaten at the original Ledo's in Adelphi, it's been great, and I get carryout there too. The crust is non-standard, so Chicgo purists will blanch--it's like a phyllo dough, which sounds weird but tastes really good with crispy edges. If you order a pizza half or 3/4 cooked, and let it stay in the fridge overnight before baking it the rest of the way, it's ten times better than having it there before the sauce has developed. It freezes exceptionally in the 3/4 cooked state, and a couple minutes in a toaster oven at 250 makes it perfect. I've noticed the carryout people, who are also the bartenders and phone responders, have a lot to do, are a little spaced out and tend to have little patience with people who aggravate them. The spun-off Ledo's are all pretty lame, as far as I can tell, but the original is a great asset to the are, and very cute, in a 1950's time warp way. Cuter than some others.

                                1. re: chowsearch

                                  I'll second original Ledo's. Had it just last week and it's solid. Ordered a plain, a pepperoni, and one with everything. The latter had OBSCENE amounts of toppings; particularly liked the chunks of bacon and the hand-torn pieces of sausage (no Sysco cryovac nuggets here).

                                  Original Ledo's and Italian Inn are keeping the REAL DC pizza tradition alive and well. Highly recommended, but don't go expecting anything like Chicago deep dish or NY slice.

                                  -----
                                  Italian Inn
                                  6221 Annapolis Rd, Hyattsville, MD 20784

                                  Ledo Restaurant
                                  4509 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740

                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                    As much as I love the enthusiasm and as much as I get your love of Ledo's, I am unfortunately from NY and pizza down here just doesn't compare.

                                    1. re: hungry_fox

                                      Who's comparing? Comparing Ledo's to NY pizza is like comparing NY pizza to Chicago deep dish. They're totally different animals.

                                      My point is, people in NYC don't complain that there's no DC style pizza in Manhattan, do they? You have places like Valentino's that does decent NY style pizza, but it'll never really be NY pizza because Fairfax isn't NYC. So, when in Rome...

                                2. re: monkeyrotica

                                  I used to eat at the Adelphi location when they first opened and recently since it moved to College Park. Its not the same anymore (but what is). My dig is that the crust is not only biscuity, it tastes like Bisquick. Doesn't appeal to me anymore.

                                  1. re: mforeman15

                                    That's sad to hear. The Italian Inn in Landover Hills (just off the BW Parkway) has been around since the 1960s and serves Ledo's style pies in vintage decor. I found their crust more like the old Ledo's. Unfortunately, they made the swtich from hand-torn bits of sausage to that horrible pelletized stuff.

                                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                                      Speaking of old school square DC pizza, has anyone been to the remaining pizza oven in riverdale?

                                      I was going to a pizza boli that made pizza oven pizza on request in Beltsville/Silver Spring to relive my childhood pizzas. It's on the other side of the big verizon building.

                                      1. re: arglebargle

                                        I keep meaning to make it out to Pizza Oven, but circumstance always conspires against me.

                                        http://riverdalepark.patch.com/articl...

                                        1. re: arglebargle

                                          Ledo's pizza in College Park still produces a good product and its friendly on the wallet.
                                          Also further down Route 1 in Hyattsville you can hit Franklins, Elevation Burger or Busboys and Poets. There is a new Indian spot opening soon called Spicy 6

                            2. South Street Steaks is good for a artery filling Philly style cheesesteak sandwich. Atmosphere is college carryout with seating joint.

                              -----
                              South Street Steaks
                              7313 Baltimore Ave Ste B, College Park, MD 20740

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: chaojareon

                                If you like gyros, try Marathon Deli.

                              2. I had a really good burger at the Thirsty Turtle last Saturday. I've been avoiding this place because it's another crowded student bar. It was pretty empty Saturday afternoon, and they have a burger/grilled chicken special (I think Monday - Saturday), $4.99, from 11 am - 4 pm.

                                The staff were friendly and attentive, and the burger was really good, cooked to order, with fries. I'll definitely go back on a weekend, or a weekday when I'm not working and check out some other things on their menu.

                                1. Jungle Grill next to Food Factory in Campus village . really good portabello burger (with beef not vegetarian) and their ice cream is good too. casual with sit in.

                                  Hunan Treasure at the shopping center where Greenbelt road intersects 295 with the Chevy's and Jasper's. actually has a few authentic chinese dish thats decent like chow fun, egg noodles, kingdom pork, roast duck and steamed whole chicken.

                                  1. I stopped in to catch some of the Olympic Trials one evening, the food was good, beer cold - several sports options on the tv's, all in all a good time. Think there were a number of lacrosse coaches attending at camp at the university and they were a little loud but a lot of fun. Seems like a good place to watch sports and grab a bite and a beer.

                                    1. I stopped in the Varsity Gille in College Park to catch some of the Olympic Trials one evening, the food was good, beer cold - several sports options on the tv's, all in all a good time. Think there were a number of lacrosse coaches attending at camp at the university and they were a little loud but a lot of fun. Seems like a good place to watch sports and grab a bite and a beer.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: terpfan

                                        I ate at Varsity Grill last week for lunch....slowwwwww, inattentive and apathetic service. Food was so very average. Menu is sports themed and hard to read. Bar looks like it could be a hangout.

                                      2. There are now a number of choices at Town Center, in Hyattsville (?), including Old Dominion Brewpub, about a mile from campus.
                                        http://utcolddominionbrewhouse.com/ab...

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: nickdanger

                                          Last weekend, my husband and I went to the Old Dominion Brewpub and had a very mediocre experience. I was excited to try it because we like the Old Dominion beer and root beer and I thought it would have good food and a good atmosphere. When we first walked in, I noticed that the decor was pretty bland and there were random beer signs and decorations haphazardly placed like an afterthought throughout the restaurant like a hotel sports bar. Then when we sat down, we got both a Dominion Brewpub menu and a sushi restaurant menu. For a second I thought that we were in the wrong restaurant, but it turns out that you can also get sushi at the pub. The menu was standard bar fare like burgers, chicken sandwiches, crabcakes, nachos, etc., along with some random "fancy" items along the lines of a baked chicken dish and some other "chef's specials." The menu looked like it was just printed off of a laser printer on a pre-printed template. Anyway, the food was mediocre. For an appetizer, we had nachos, which inexplicably had both melted cheddar cheese and nacho cheese on them. I had a crabcake sandwich that was just pieces of seasoned lump crab placed on the bun so that every time you took a bite, pieces of the crab would fall off the bun. My husband got a burger which turned out to be a burger sub. The whole experience puzzled me. The conclusion that I came to (only a guess) is that a sushi restaurant wasn't doing so well and they somehow partnered with Old Dominion Brewery to brand the restaurant and serve their beer, but they're not doing the best job. Kind of makes Old Dominion look bad. Definitely a disappointment.

                                          1. re: tracy_dc

                                            Just out of curiosity, I'm pretty sure that the Old Dominion Brewpub near College Park is relatively new. Do you think any of this negative experience could simply be the result of a new restaurant opening and working out the kinks of possibly opening too soon or not having proper management/cook staff to start with or do you think it's just a disappointing restaurant in general?

                                        2. Fishnet on Berwyn Road. Good grilled or fried fish sandwiches on a delicious ciabatta, tasty fish soup.