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May 9, 2008 03:00 PM

Frustrated with DC

Hi all,

I moved to DC from New York two months ago. I am getting frustrated, and I thought maybe 'hounds could advise. I am looking for restaurants that are nice, with atmosphere, that aren't excessively expensive (I'm thinking entrees anywhere in the $15-30 range), and with solidly good food.

In New York it seemed like such restaurants were everywhere. In DC, I am getting the sense that the really high-end restaurants can be great, but below that, people start recommending Ben's Chili Bowl. I guess Central sort of falls in this price range, and that was AMAZING, but other than that, everywhere I've tried has been really... mediocre.

Am I just not looking in the right places? I just want good places I can go for a nice dinner (but not a special occasion or anything) and really enjoy the food. I have not tried all that many places, but this is my first impression... please help me change my mind!

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  1. There's a Zagat for DC. There's also Washingtonian (free online). There certainly aren't as many good restaurants in DC as NYC (I lived in the Village for 4 years) but there are enough.

    1. Well, what places have you tried? The first few places that jump to mind for me based on your description are Hank's Oyster Bar, Johnny's Half Shell, Cashion's, Zengo, Rasika, and Ceiba. Have you hit any of these places and found them lacking in terms of food, price or atmosphere? Do you want a lively bistro atmosphere like Bistrot du Coin or a more laid-back one like Bisto d'oc, or are you really seeking solid American food with flair, like a Tabard Inn? There's a lot to choose from, i think, but it's little harder to find than in New York... and let's be honest, New York has 8 million people to our 650,000, so there's just a whole lot more going on there.

      I think it would be easier to pinpoint if we knew what you had tried that didn't fit the bill.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ootek1

        A place like Dino makes up for lack of atmosphere by having really good food at really good prices. Besides, it's the people you're dining with that make atmosphere, IMO.

      2. One of the things this area does well and happens to fit your bill is Vietnamese. Do you have a car? Eden Center in Falls Church is a def area to try out.

        1. Brasserie Beck, Jaleo, and to some extent two other Jose Andres places - Zaytinya and Oyamel - Mendocino Grille in Georgetown, 2 Amys near the Cathedral, Colorado Kitchen, Nam Viet, Etete, and Pesce in Dupont Circle are all reliably very good/interest to great. That only touches some of DC. Branch out further and you will be rewarded with some pretty fantastic eating, but you'll have to brave the scary suburbs or the real holes-in-the-wall that get to the heart of Chowhound-dom.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Steve

            I second the restaurants mentioned above, but please do try the Vietnamese in Virginia. Try to make your way out to Rosslyn for some Pho 75 (the food makes up for the lack of atmoshphere), It is a short walk from the Rosslym metro but note it closes at 8 pm. We often go for weekend brunch. Rasika is pretty good for Indian fusion.

            On a different note- is Four Sisters still in Eden Center? (That area is also great for bubble tea).

          2. well of course you're frustrated, even McD''s delivers in NYC and anything is in fingertips.

            that's what makes the hunt here more fun.

            adjacent, convenient? no.