Dining Gift for Friends New to DC
I have some friends moving to DC from London, England and I thought a welcome nice gift for them would be $150-200 gift certificate for a restaurant in DC. Unfortunately, I live in LA and have never been to DC.
Perhaps American/Modern American would be best, and I'm hoping someone out there may have some great suggestions as I'm at a complete loss.
Their new address is 19th Street NW (which, again, means a nothing to me!).
Thank you so much!
I second Central- it is very DC and for that amount they should be able to get a great meal. Restaurant Eve is wonderful but is in Alexandria, which is a suburb of DC in Virginia (not such a long drive but many of my friends who have been here forever are hesitant to cross the bridge into VA, and it might be even more overwhelming to someone who is new to town).
Some other great choices include Palena, Proof, or Mendocino Grill (this is in Georgetown so they would get to see the DC's most famous area).
Another thought is perhaps providing the gift certificate for a family of restaurants: the Jose Andres group comes to mind. He owns a number of tapas oriented restaurants, most of them a very short metro ride from 19th street NW.
In this family (all located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood; Jaleo has one or two other outposts as well):
Zaytinya (Middle Eastern)
Cafe Atlantico: "New Latin" More entrees, less tapas (except Sunday brunch).
These are all popular, generally well reviewed places and a GC in the range you are considering would allow them to enjoy more than one meal in their new city at these locations. (e.g., our last bill at Oyamel, with drinks and a heavy selection of tapas was less than $100 with tip).
I assume a gift certificate could be used at the various places, but you'd want to check.
Another small family: Brasserie Beck (Belgian with a strong focus on Belgian beers) and Marcel's (French)
I was going to suggest a gift certificate to a restaurant group so your friends have options, and they can possibly use it for two meals at different restaurants. Check out Passions Food: Acadia, TenPhen and Ceiba or the restaurant group that owns Bardeo, Ardeo, 701, The Oval Room, Rasika and the Bombay Club.
I am seconding/thirding Central, Brasserie Beck. Coming from London they might appreciate the beer at Brasserie Beck, but the food at Central is outstanding, especially for the price point.
BTW, if they're coming from London, you may also want to pass along two local tips for items/meals they may miss:
British Pantry (a long drive out into the VA countryside). Run by British expats. Full english breakfast on the weekends and a small store selling a small, but nice variety of British products (we stock up on Horlick's, among other items, when we're there. Heinz 57 beans, PG tips and bangers are readily available in the DC area otherwise and don't require the drive).
Royal Mile Pub in Wheaton (metro accessible): Best "pub" in the area in my opinion and often recommended on this board. They do Scottish and Irish breakfasts on the weekend. Tetley's, among others, on draft. Lots of Scotch too.