Weekend with Mom
I'm an NYC-based 20-something originally from Los Angeles who's meeting her mom in D.C. for a weekend. We're staying at the Capital Hilton (near the Farragut North metro stop, I believe) Fri evening-Sun afternoon, so that'd be at least 2 lunches, 2 dinners, maybe a brunch? Neither of us is a big breakfast person. Any dessert-type places would be great too.
The basic rundown on the criteria:
-- Fun, can be mildly trendy, not so loud we can't have a conversation or hear ourselves think, not stuffy or pretentious, preferably not totally touristy
-- Good food, but pricewise we're not looking for something on the Citronelle-level
-- We're not uberfoodies, but we like a wide variety of cuisines. She typically prefers things that aren't totally fatty/fast-foody, so maybe no burgers/pizza. I'll eat most things, but I'm not really into French cuisine. All other ethnicities (esp. Thai, Indian, Arabic) are fair game. I've done Ethiopian in D.C. a long time ago, but don't remember where I ate.
-- We'll have a car, but would probably prefer walking or taking the metro.
Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!!
Definitely try at least one place in the Jose Andres group of restaurants: Zaytinya (middle eastern small plates), Jaleo (spanish small plates), Oyamel (kind of nouveau Mexican). They're all fun and "mildly trendy" as you say, with good food. They're also moderately priced and really easy to access via metro (Gallery Place metro stop). I believe they're all open for lunch and dinner. If you want great, nice Indian food, try Rasika - it's pretty expensive for Indian food but IMO worth it. It's definitely not your typical Indian mom and pop place.
Since you mentioned Citronelle, you can have some of Michel Richard's excellent food much more affordably at Central. For Belgian, try Brasserie Beck, especially if you are a beer drinker. You may also enjoy Zaytinya, where you can have some good mezze and keep fairly healthy.
For brunch I would certainly check out either Tabard Inn (try to get a table outside in the courtyard area..reservations recommended) or Bistro Bis.
For lunch, if you are doing some touristy stuff and will be on the Mall I highly recommend the American Indian Museum's cafeteria. You'll find a lot of info on this board about it, but trust me it's not your typical museum food. It spanes the various cuisines and regions of the US--think roasted turkey, tamales, fry bread, salmon, wild berry tarts etc.
Also near the Mall is Cafe Atlantico for fun Nuevo Latin cuisine or Jaleo for tapas. If you are in Georgetown you can check out the new Tackle Box for lunch or Pizza Paradisio.
In terms of Indian I hear good things about Rasika but I've never been. I also really like Heritage.
For dinner I would look into the following: Central, Zola, PS7, Creme, Hook (but only if you guys like seafood. It's an all fish menu...amazing though), Regent Thai, Cashion's Eat Place, Palena (sit in the front Cafe) or Firefly.
For dessert you might want to check out the new Co Co Sala. They have dessert tasting menus for $30. Might be a lot of fun! Especially if you grab dinner in the Gallery Place/ Chinatown area.
Just had a Mother's Day weekend in DC and we had the best time at Proof. Small plates of delicious food (there are full dinners but we just kept snacking), nice atmosphere and great wine. Friendly service as well. Have a great time! I hope the weather holds out for you better than it did for us!
Thanks for the great recs so far! I haven't been able to find a res at the Jose Andres places or Rasika, but I'm going to keep trying. I've got a spot at Vidalia for tomorrow night (a rec from a friend).
Anyone been to Bombay Club? I saw it's part of the Rasika group and they've got a Saturday night res open...
I think you will enjoy Vidalia. I haven't been to Bombay club in a while, but it used to be tasty. Love Rasika. FYI- This is one of the busiest times of the year for DC dinning. Many places have blocked out their prime times on-line, you may be able to get reservations by phone.