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Nov 26, 2007 12:47 PM

Inexpensive wonderful meals at Dupont Circle?


I'm a former chef and grad student attending the American Anthropological Association conference this week in DC. I'm staying at the Hotel Palomar, and have a microscopic budget.

Does anyone have suggestions of places to go for good, really cheap food that is in walking distance? I'm afraid cab fare is out of the question, and I can't function or think on fast food.

Any help would be gratefully appreciated. I like and will try anything, and love pork with an unseemly passion.


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  1. Moby Dick's- it is med- really good. I recommend the Kubideh or chicken kabobs. Around 7-8 per person and nothing fancy but delish!

    1. You are in a pretty good area for decent food on a budget. First of all for lunch certainly check out CF Folks. They have a great crab cake sandwich (among other things) that is probably the best in the city. They also have a website you can check out for their daily specials that seem like they are all over the board but are actually very good.

      Right across the street from Hotel Palomar are some pretty good restaurants. Mark and Orlando's has good food and if you dine upstairs I think most dishes are $15 and under. Sakana has great sushi at an affordable price (also across the street). Try out the Sakana Tempura's to die for.

      Another good breakfast or lunch option is SoHo Coffeehouse across from the hotel. Try their pulled chicken salad wrap. They are not kidding when they say it's the best in the world.

      Zorba's has good Greek cuisine on the cheap. If you are looking for a good burger (but not that great fries) check out Five Guys.

      You can get fairly cheap French cuisine at Bistro Du Coin in Dupont. Pretty good but can be a tad noisy and over crowded at times. Pizza Paradiso is near you for pretty good pizza.

      A few streets away is the new Hudson. I find thier menu very affordable. Entrees are usually around $15-$25. Their risotto is fairly cheap and you can order the 1/2 portion, that's more then enough to eat since it's rich and delicious. Pair that with their incredible Parker House rolls and you will have a satisfying meal.

      Mai Thai has good Thai food and the prices are reasonable.

      If you walk up towards Adams Morgan you can find lots of cheaps eats at Amsterdam Falafal, So's Your Mom, The Diner, and M'Dawgs.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Elyssa

        Zorba's has a pretty nice skewered pork pita thing if I recall correctly.

        1. re: taryn

          I really like Zorba's for that area on the cheap too.

      2. I was just there at the Palomar last week. Pizzeria Paradiso is good, it's quite small so you can also do takeout pizza in about 10 minutes. The small pizza pictured was $11. Also don't forget Teaism (North side of R St. NW between Connecticut and 21st Streets). They are open for breakfast also. Delish curried lentil soup. Mark and Orlando's looked fairly reasonably priced, but not microscopically cheap. The Thai restaurant across the Street (Sala Thai) has discounted appetizers during happy hour.

        Pizzeria Paradiso - Dupont Circle
        2029 P St NW Ste 102, Washington, DC 20036

        5 Replies
          1. re: cleveland park

            What's your experience at Sala Thai for future reference? I didn't eat there myself, just saw the posted specials, but it's been recommended to me by others. Thai wasn't at the top of my list because I've got a favorite here in Long Beach that others can rarely match.

            1. re: mlgb

              Sala Thai isn't horrible. It's not great but its certainly not horrible.

              But I think there is better thai food to be found in the area at Mai Thai, Thai Chef (also serves sushi. They have a yummy salmon dish), and Regent Thai. All 3 of these restaurants are pretty affordable (and Mai Thai and Regent have great drinks). They are not like $7 type places but you can certainly get out for $25 or under if you are dining alone and avoid alcohol.

              1. re: Elyssa

                I've been to the one in Arlington and the one in Cleveland Park and I apologize for not getting into detail because I've never had anything even passable (not even the fried rice) and Sala Thai hasn't delivered. But I'm glad that it's not as bad as I think it is, I unfortunately haven't had the pleasure of enjoying anything eadible from there.

                1. re: cleveland park

                  I think the locations vary in quality. Haven't been to the DuPont one in a long time, but I actually thought it was nice -- unlike one or two others I've tried. But I think Elyssa's probably right, that there are so many Thai choices in that area.

        1. Thank you all so much...this is very helpful. I'm going to print your suggestions out and take them along.


          1 Reply
          1. re: faegood

            Make sure to report back and let us know what you liked :)

          2. I would go to Five Guys for cheap and delicious burgers and fries, Baja Fresh for tacos and a great free salsa bar, Potbelly for quite a good $4 sandwich, and check out the new "Meditalian" place Aioli, right down P Street from your hotel. Oh and Naan and Beyond also has good and cheap Indian food, on P Street as well.