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help. small, funky, good karma, great food in DC

Traveling to DC tomorrow (Sunday) and need recommendations. I like smallish restaurants with lots of character and great food. Seasonal menus, supporting the local farmers, funky neighborhood vibes. I'll be staying very near Capitol Hill. 20 minutes in any direction is doable. BBQ and ethnic cuisines are also OK if the foods really good and authentic. Thanks, fellow Hounds.

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  1. Expensive, but a very good value would be Obelisk on Dupon Circle. The menu changes daily and is 4 or 5 courses depending upon what the chef thought looked good that day at the market. (Each course you are given 3 or 4 options.) iirc, there are only 36 seats in the entire restaurant. (I think it is normally a prix fixe of about $60). Despite the price, the restaurant is casual -- wicker chairs, etc.

    1. 2 things come to mind in that area: Two Quail and Cafe Berlin. They are right next to each other on Mass Ave (i think) right east of union station. Two Quail is funky personified...mismatched antiques & a very laid back, boho vibe. Good food & service. Berlin is obviously German food! Great fall menus. If you are into wine you could go to Sonoma wine bar first and have some wine & cheese and then wander over to Two Quail or Berlin for dinner.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DCDOLL

        The interior and furnishing of Two Quail is cute, to be sure, but it is the single worst dining experience in the metropolitan area. The food tastes like in came out of a can a week or so ago. The service is equally dreadful. Avoid at all costs.

        1. re: DCDOLL

          Cafe Berlin is pretty good if you are in the area. I use to enjoy it when I lived down the street but I have heard nothing but bad things about Two Quails. It use to be the #1 romantic spot in DC but everyone I know who has eaten there in recent years has complained about it. That's what has kept me away...not one good review.

        2. You'll definitely want to go to Eastern Market!

          1. Asia Nora and Nora's (Dupont/Westend)--pricey but uses a lot of organic and locally-grown food and intimate setting

            Viridian-Logan Circle
            Coppi's-Italian/organic U St.

            1. How about Colorado kitchen? Food is great, fits the bill re local produce.

              1. A few places I like for their neighborhood vibes and/or local sourcing are Cashion's Eat Place (Adams Morgan), Hook (Georgetown), Hank's Oyster Bar (Dupont Circle), Equinox (pricier but so worth it), Creme (U St), and Busboys and Poets (U St).

                On Capitol Hill certainly check out Sonoma and Eastern Market. I've also been hearing wonderful things about Locanda but I have never been. I hear their daily ravioli is incredible though.

                1. First place I thought of was Bar Pilar

                  1. If you want a good neighborhood BBQ joint, try Kenny's. 732 Maryland Ave, NE. Close to the Capitol - once you're a few blocks away, you'll find it by the smell.

                    And definitely try Market Lunch - I would recommend getting breakfast there. It's in the temporary market building across from the old Eastern Market which is being rebuilt after a fire. FYI, I don't think they're open Mondays...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JustinS

                      Or Tuesdays I think.

                      Their crab cake sandwich is good, as is their burger. But the breakfast is the best! (Especially the pancakes.)