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DC Food Itinerary - What am I missing?

Reposting since my original message "disappeared"...

I'm planning our family vacation and would appreciate your advice on our food itinerary. This will be my stepchildren's first visit to DC (they're ages 13 and 17), and they are excited to try some new cuisine. My husband and I are thrilled about this...we've been trying to coax them out of their "picky eater" habits for years now.

After a thorough reading of this board, I've come up with the following options for lunch and dinner:

Lunch (predictably near the tourist sites): Jaleo, Teasim, Old Ebbitt Grill, Chinatown Express, Mitsitam Cafe
Dinner: Etete, Oyamel

I'd love more recs for dinner. We're staying at the Palomar, but we don't need to eat near Dupont Circle as long as the restaurant is Metro accessible. I'd love something that has entrees in the $18-$22 range (or less)....if there is such a thing. So far, many of the restaurants I've checked (Vidalia, Tabard Inn, Brasserie Beck, Cafe Atlantico, etc) seem to be more of the $25+ range. Maybe I'm just searching for something that doesn't exist?

Also - I would truly appreciate some recs for breakfast either near Dupont Circle or near the Mall, which is where we'll be starting most of our days.

And of course, opinions on what we've already "chosen" are welcome.

One last thing - Zaytinya is out of consideration. We've been before and will *not* go back. And Indian is also out. Despite my best efforts, its just not something the rest of the family enjoys. Yet.

Thank you in advance for your help!

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  1. You might want to try Matchbox, Zengo or Fado's over by the Verizon Center - I think they are all good and moderately priced. Also, there is Hank's Oyster Bar, which I hear is pretty good if you all like seafood.

    What kind of breakfast food are you looking for? Something quick, more of a brunch type of deal?

    1 Reply
    1. re: ALLex16

      We'll be there for about a week, so we'll probabaly be doing brunch at least once. But for the most part, we'll be looking for something quick.

    2. You are very close to Monsouris which is at 2002 P st NW right by your hotel. It is French bistro fare. I really like it, and you can get streak frites for about $20 (depending on which of the options you order).

      Near by on 18th St NW is Vapiano, which is a german chain of Italian restaurants (or something slightly strange like that). It has a nice concept for a less expensive dinner, where you go to the different stations and they make the food upon your order in front of you. Its pretty inexpensive for either lunch or dinner and because you don't have a server it can be a nice place to linger. Also near you in Dupont is Luna Cafe - on Connecticut -- which is pretty inexpensive as I remember.

      Thaiphoon and Mai Thai are Thai places near dupont that would fall within your price range.

      Near the National Cathedral is 2 Amys for authentic Italian pizza (yes, subject to constant debate) but its a good combination of tourist attraction plus food.

      The cafeteria in the American Indian Museum is good but beware - it quickly gets pricey!

      1. What a great trip you have planned! I hope you enjoy DC!

        Your family might enjoy Matchbox. It won't be "new" cuisine for your family, as it's pizzas and sandwiches, but the pizzas are more gourmet, for lack of a better word, than your stepchildren might be used to. I especially love the prosciutto white pizza at Matchbox.

        If your family plans to visit anything across the river, like Arlington National Cemetery, I highly recommend taking the metro into the Clarendon or Ballston area for Peruvian charbroiled chicken at Pio Pio or Super Pollo. It is excellent chicken! I think your family would really take to it as it's a familiar protein but a probably new taste. You can feed your family very inexpensively at either of these restaurants.

        The Mitsitam Cafe is a great choice! I think your family will enjoy that. I'm not a huge fan of Old Ebbitt Grill, but it is certainly worth a visit if you're visiting for that DC-insider sort of vibe.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dckw

          If you do make it across the river to Arlington, I would recommend El Pollo Rico over Pio Pio.

          There are several very good Vietnamese restaurants in Arlington. My favorite in Arlington is Minh's; others recommend Nam Viet. There is also pho at Pho 75, but that might be too exotic for the kids. All of these are walking distance from Metro stations.

        2. In Dupont Circle you can check out Pizza Paradisio and Bistro du Coin.

          There isn't a ton of breakfast options in the area. You can go to Luna Grill which has decent omletets, eggs etc. Hudson may or may not be offering breakfast yet...I know they have brunch on the weekends. (If you need brunch/weekend breakfast options let us know). Kramerbooks and Afterwards serves breakfast I believe. It's only so-so but it does the trick. If you are willing to walk up a little ways to Adams Morgan there is always the 24 hour Diner. SoHo coffee is a great little nieghborhood hang out on P St that serves breakfast. I personally like their breakfast burritto.

          In the moderate range there are a lot of options. Creme (your kids might enjoy checking out U St. Creme has great southern inspired down home cooking). Also on U St is Busboys and Poets which is a very cool spot--part coffee house, part restaurant, part art gallery, part lefty book store. Very unique DC spot.

          You should consider Jaleo since you can share all the options on the menu and therefore get out of there for around $22/person or so. Also near the Mall.

          There are some good Thai options around Dupont Circle. I personally prefer Mai Thai and Regent Thai...all affordable. For affordable and delicious sushi check out Sakana (try the Sakana Tempura Roll...best...roll...EVER) on P St.

          1. If you are looking for Brunch on Sat/Sun Dupont Grill is good for families.