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Restaurant Advice - Union Station area

NYC Chower will be in DC on Wednesday night. I will (hopefully) find myself free for a 9pm-ish dinner and am looking for a great place to hit. I'm staying near Union Station, so if it's in the area (or nearby), that's a plus.

Ideally a high-end seafood place or French place, but I'm open. Probably just me, but that should alter the suggestions.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Bistro-Bis is a nice French place that is nearby.

    1. If you opt for the French, I would suggest Bistro Bis in walking distance. It's in the Hotel George, just a few blocks away from Union Station.
      If you're willing to get on the metro, take the red line a few stops away to Metro Center and go to Bistro d'Oc.

      Bistro Bis
      15 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

      Bistro D'Oc
      518 10th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

      1. Bistro Bis is exactly what you are looking for. Delicious french cuisine close to Union Station in an elegant but laid-back environment. Their french onion soup is excellent as are almost every entree I've ever had there (in particular a salmon dish I had a year or so ago). If you are dining alone you can get a table but I've also had great service at the bar, with a usually friendly bartender.

        In terms of seafood, also nearby is Johnny's Half Shell but I've never been there so I can't personally suggest it. The other high end restaurant in the area is Charlie Palmer's Steakhouse which has a lovely view of the Capitol.

        1. Union Station isn't the safest area to be in that late at night. So, if you do go anywhere that is not in a very short walking distance, I recommend taking a cab or metro.

          For high-end seafood place, catch a cab and go to Hook on M street in Georgetown. They have an extensive wine list and server delicious incantations of fish I never eaten before. I loved the barracuda and recommend it to anyone who's a.) never had barracuda before and/or b.) to people who like fish that's not oily.

          2 Replies
          1. re: botnot

            I've never had a problem in the area at night. There are a lot of homeless people in the area, but I've never experienced any crime. I often walk from Union Station area bars to Cap South Metro so I can skip the transfer @ Metro Center. It's not a short walk though with all the construction around the Capitol.

            1. re: JustinS

              I usually walk the opposite direction to Chinatown and I've been told by people that live in the condos over there that walking by oneself after 9 pm in the area between Union Station and Chinatown is not a bright idea. Then again I've been yelled at and followed by homeless people in the middle of the afternoon in that area. But, my expereinces aren't everybody's experience. So, just be smart and aware of your surroundings no matter where you are. That area around Union Station and Cap Hill is beautiful and really should be given a chance.

              Anyhoo, back on topic -> I'm dying to know where the OP goes to.

          2. Le Paradou is very high end French, and is nearby. On the Washington Post chats, the place gets high marks for food and low marks for service. See for yourself at www.leparadou.net.

            1. For seafood, Jonny's Half Shell is an easy walk. I've only been for lunch but thought it was quite good.

              1. I can't believe anyone didn't mention Montmartre in Eastern Market! i wouldn't call it high end but the food is delicious, the service warm & lovely and the atmosphere makes you feel like you are in Provence. You can metro from capitol south to the eastern market stop or you could cab it. wouldn't advise walking. There is a fun tavern across the street if you like that sort of thing for before or after.
                Or, you could hit Sonoma at Penn & 2nd beforehand for some wine & cheese. don't eat there though; it's completely underwhelming as a dining establishment.

                6 Replies
                1. re: DCDOLL

                  I happen to disagree, I've enjoyed my meals at Sonoma. That being said though, Eastern Market is a tad far away that late at night and Bistro Bis is so much closer and so yummy. If you want french, Bistro Bis is closer.

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    Maybe we just hit it on a bad night. But i think other people must have had a similar experience to ours (or heard bad things) because if you notice, when it first opened it was hard to get a res there. But now you can get one any time you want on open table. However the bar is still slammed which i think is because the wine and cheese are good.

                    1. re: DCDOLL

                      Excellent food and fun atmosphere at Sonoma. You're going to judge based on your luck getting a reserv? I duuno, for me, its hard for me to judge a meal by the reservation book. Just sayin'.

                      I do hope the OP went to Bistro Bis. No reason running around DC when a lovely spot in one of the requested styles is practically across the (safe) street.

                  2. re: DCDOLL

                    Metroing to Eastern Market via Metro Center is really round about and not worth the effort.

                    1. re: Teddybear

                      Which is why i changed my post to say go from Cap south...look above... :)

                      1. re: DCDOLL

                        Capital South Metro isn't a solution. It's almost as far to walk there as to walk to Eastern Market.
                        Everyone who lives on the Hill knows that there isn't a Metro way to get from Union Station to EM without using Metro Center or 2 transfers on other lines or the bus.
                        Let's get back to food. The OP said that nearby was only a plus so there's a willingness to cab, Metro or whatever to go farther afield.

                  3. Working in the Union Station area, I would heartily recommend heading to Bistro Bis for your dinner (their French onion soup is some of the best in the city), or to Charlie Palmer's if you decide you want steak instead of French (CP's view of the Capitol is beautiful, esp if you can get up on the roof!).

                    However, I wouldn't go to Johnny's Half-Shell, no matter how much you think you're in the mood for seafood. The cooking there is uneven - you never know if what you're ordering will be great or terrible - and more often than not the cooking is rather flat.

                    If you do want high-end seafood, I think you'll have to get out of the Union Station area - I would suggest taking a cab to either Oceanaire (1201 F St., NW) or to DC Coast (1401 K St., NW).

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: jawk1202

                      Or Hook which is excellent. But it's in Georgetown and pretty far away from where you will be.

                      1. re: Elyssa

                        But remember the Connector bus takes you straight from Union Station to G'town. Not worth it though when there are so many good choices right there at Union Station. That area is perfectly safe on the evening.
                        Bistro Bis is a winner as is Charlie Palmer's. Johnny's has been a disappointment.
                        You could also try the newish Brasserie Beck - Flemish/Belgian food at 10th and K with a great selection of Belgian beers. Mid range restaurant opened by the chef/owner of the upscale French Marcel's.

                        1. re: MakingSense

                          > the Connector bus takes you straight from Union Station to G'town

                          Do you mean the DC Circulator bus? If so, it only runs until 9:00 PM, making it not necessarily a good choice for an evening restaurant excursion.

                          1. re: Hal Laurent

                            Thanks, Hal. Both good points!
                            I'm so used to grabbing it, I don't even look at the name. And then I usually grab cabs after 10 PM. Cheap insurance for safety even though I live here and my neighborhood is considered safe.

                            1. re: MakingSense

                              I am a big fan of the Dubliner. Their fish and chips are great and it's a real cozy atmosphere.

                              1. re: xena1441

                                Oh no way, if you can go to Bistro Bis or Charile Palmer even B. Smith sooo much better there isn't even a competition IMHO.

                    2. Not too terrible 'high end', but if you want a 'working man's' meal, I have always enjoyed the Dubliner. Get an order of the world's best fish 'n' chips and a cool pint of Guiness.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Plankwalker

                        Really? World's best? I feel like I've been missing out on always skipping out on the food there and sticking to beer instead.

                        1. re: Elyssa

                          It is certainly not high end but their fish n chips are the best I have had at the price around this area. Not too greasy and the batter is very tasty. The fish of the day is always excellent too. You should give it a shot if you are there.