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Inexpensive but nice wedding dinner near White House

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My fiance and I are having a small (15-20 people) wedding ceremony in January at the Willard Hotel which is near the White House. Does anyone have recommendations for inexpensive but nice restaurants to dine in after the wedding? We'd like to stay within walking distance. Thanks for your suggestions!

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  1. Please define inexpensive. Since this is a wedding, that can mean different things to different people. A price range per person would help a lot.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Elyssa

      $50 per person or less, including alcohol. Thanks.

    2. Close by is Les Halles. It's not the best bistro in the world, but their prices are reasonable and - why I thought of it - they have a nice private room that would fit everyone comfortably, and they don't charge you to rent it so long as you spend a certain amount. I don't remember what the amount is, but it's very reasonable.

      A wedding at the Willard? How I envy you!

      That also brings to mind that the Willard just opened a lower-priced restaurant, Cafe du Parc. It might be worth checking out. The Willard is gorgeous, so it might be nice to spend more time there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: katecm

        I love the Cafe du Parc idea. Thanks for the tip!

      2. Both Butterfield 9 and Ceiba are nearby and have privat rooms. Both have great food and a nice atmosphere. Worth checking out...you would have to probably check with the restaurants though if they are within your price range since it might change for a private room etc.

        1. The Bombay Club is lovely, elegant and affordable. Definitely in your price range. Piano music too. Your party could have semi-private seating there.
          http://www.bombayclubdc.com/

          www.houndstoothgourmet.com

          1. Also if the above options are too pricey I know Old Ebbits does a lot of this type of thing and may be a little cheaper (or not).

            2 Replies
            1. re: ktmoomau

              I don't know guys, I'm doing the math, and I'm not getting the same places you are.

              $50 all inclusive means about $30 for food, a single inexpensive glass of wine, plus tax and tip.

              Assuming "dinner" means "appetizer, entree, dessert", there's no place in that area where you can get a 3-course meal for $30, sorry. All of the places named in this thread will go at least $10-$20/person over that threshhold. Unless you skip the appetizer and dessert, and just get an entree. Then you're probably fine.

              1. re: DanielK

                The OP can call the resto's to discuss their financial parameters and see if they can come up with a menu. With that size crowd it's certainly a possibility.

            2. While not totally walking distance, it's not to far away: Bistro D'Oc seems like it would fit the bill and you can be seated upstairs in the private dining area. Nice, cozy french bistro with excellent food. Worth checking out, especially since a lot of the restaurants in the immediate area might be a bit pricey (for obvious reasons...they are near the White House).

              1. For the most bang for your buck, check out Tuscana West @ 13th and I (eye). I've never had a private party there, but I know they have at least one or two areas for them.

                1 Reply
                1. re: burkemic99

                  Regarding Tuscana West, I've never had a private party there, but I've also never had a good meal there.

                2. Inexpensive? Near the White House? Maybe you should have a half-smoke party?
                  Sorry, that was rude, but honestly my first thought when I saw your post. You could probably try Bistro D'Oc, love that place and it's not too far away, probably in your price range but may be a bit of a walk if it's particularly frigid on your wedding day. I would recommend you consider upping the budget if possible, though. You can have a pretty memorable meal at many places which are much closer to the Willard. Butterfield 9 has had some problems with service in the past, but the food is fantastic. Maybe the events managers at some of these places can help you out a bit (finding bargain wines, etc.). January is a slow time for these places, unless it's restaurant week, in which case you're screwed, so I'm sure they'll be happy to work out a deal for your business.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Skittle

                    Just for the record I have never had service problems at Butterfield 9. I've eaten there about 1/2 a dozen times over the past year and a half and have always had great service. The food is great there, but you might have to up your budget per person by about $15 or so if you want drinks to be included. (Unless you want to bring your own wine and then just pay whatever the corkage fee is. You can get good cheap wine at Costco or Trader Joes)

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      What is the ambiance like at Butterfield? Is the food your basic modern American? Do they have valet? We've never made it over there...not sure why!

                      1. re: DCDOLL

                        I'm almost positive they have valet. The food is certainly modern American but they keep the menu seasonal and have a lot of options that are very good...and it's great if you have any vegetarians in the group since they have a seperate tasting menu that is all veggie and very good (they clearly put thought into it). The vibe is nice and relaxed. The last time I was there was on a brisk fall evening and I found the entire experience very warm and comfortable....candles on the table, just a warm feeling, inviting. Not flashy but they do have cool photography on the walls which I always really liked (I'm very into black and white photos so I like their decor). I haven't seen the private room so I can't speak to that.

                        The manager is often times there. I've seen him on a number of occasions and he's wonderful. The last time I was there he handed me his card and told me to let him know the next time I was coming into the restaurant...which is a nice touch since I am certainly a repeat customer.

                        Also I'm not sure if anyone mentioned this yet but you should really check when Restaurant Week is in January. It's usually sometime the 2nd week in Jan but you might want to double check this. This will certainly affect what restaurants you can have your wedding reception at. Butterfield 9 usually participates, and while I did have lunch there last week during RW I probably wouldn't want my wedding to be part of that madness.

                  2. Maybe one of the venues listed below would do some sort of a small buffet or family style arrangement for your reception? That might allow you to stay within the $50 per person limit. Maybe you could have each person served a champagne cocktail or something like that and maybe coffee and tea but for anything else they could go to the bar and purchase themselves. I thought the cafe du parc idea was a great one -- since your wedding is at the hotel they should be willing to work with you i would think? AND nobody would have to walk out in the weather nor would you have to worry about cabs & things. Ask them to throw in a night in the honeymoon suite! i saw it on "Great hotels" and it looks like a great big wedding cake!

                    1. Once I went to a small company Christmas party at the Willard in a private room that would be fine for a sit-down dinner for about 20 people. I remember the food being nice, but that was appetizers, and a few years ago. Could you just stay in house?

                      What a lovely place to have a wedding!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pomme de terre

                        From what I hear the Willard is a VERY expensive place to throw a wedding---especially if you include the reception, which is why I imagine you might want to be looking elsewhere. My best friend dreamed of having her wedding there and it was waaaay over their price point. But if the restaurant attached to the Willard can throw in some type of deal (not sure how associated they are with each other) that would be wonderful. Haven't eaten there yet but have heard great things.

                      2. The Occidental is also right next door, and they have private rooms.