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Jun 9, 2008 11:47 AM

DC eats with kids

We're traveling to DC this weekend (arriving on Saturday and leaving on Tuesday) and I'm looking for restaurant recommendations. My kids are 11 and 8 and are very well behaved in restaurants of all kinds (and I know a lot of people say that but it's really true; we're a family of food-lovers and they know restaurant behavior). They're both very good eaters and will try pretty much anything, so if you have kind of off-the-wall suggestions, I'll welcome those as well.

What I'm mostly looking for is bistro fare, Mexican, Indian, hole-in-the-wall diners, and seafood places. I've checked out other threads and found Teaism, Jaleo, Andale, Bistro du Coin, Montmartre, Ben's Chili Bowl, and Pesce. 2 Amys was also recommended and we'll try to fit that in at some point. If all those places are still around, great, but I'd love to hear more!

What I don't want is someplace stuffy where diners will glare at me because I brought my kids along. I also don't want chains or fast food (unless it's really good ethnic fast food). We'll have a car and we're staying on 16th St. NW. Also consider that we'll be doing all the sights as well.

Thanks so much!

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  1. Where on 16th? You're probably near the Whole Foods, fyi.

    Definitely think about Ethiopian, probably Queen Makeda, 9th and U. It's closed Mondays, I think, but there's other good Ethiopian in that neighborhood, too.

    Florida Grill for your hole-in-wall diner request (11th and Florida) -- but probably not a neighborhood you'd go to otherwise. I'd go to Ben's instead, probably.

    For lunch: Market Lunch at Eastern Market and the cafeteria at the Museum of the American Indian are always recommended for visitors -- both are convenient to the Mall and really worth the visit.

    Consider Busboys and Poets (V and 14th) only if you're around there -- perhaps for dessert after Ethiopian (that's what I always do with visitors), which also is a bookstore with lots of children's books. It's also very near Ben's.

    If you're a walking family and can handle the horrible heat, it's fun to walk up 14th to the U St neighborhood. Along the way, you all might enjoy ACKC chocolate cafe.

    If you're going to the zoo, check recommendations for Cleveland Park. Also fairly near there is Mama Ayesha's (middle eastern), which I think fits your request pretty well, I really like it.

    There's not very good Mexican in DC, but if you really want that, is it more tex-mex and margaritas or taquerias? DC is better for Peruvian and Central American, if that interests you.

    There is good Indian. Heritage India may be near your hotel. Others can tell you about Rasika, for example.

    Seafood -- maybe Tackle Box in Georgetown (I haven't been), which is next to Hook, that you can find lots of info about.

    Others can tell you about bistros (like Central -- I think kids would do okay there, personally).

    Don't drive anywhere in the city (except maybe 2Amys), use the metro and get your hotel to help you figure out buses or take cabs.

    1. My children are about the same age and really enjoy Etete, Ethiopian. Good food, something different and they liked eating with their hands. They also like just wandering the Eastern Market, as mselectra recommended and picking out different foods to try while walking around (though it's much hotter now and maybe not as fun). I like the Native American Museum cafe but it's hectic, especially on weekends. With the different areas, it's hard to look around and have everyone assembled together to eat w/out someone's food getting cold, unless you all want the same food. It is interesting.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chowser

        this town is infested with tapas interpretations (lucky for me - love it) and I think adventurous kids would be into that. Zaytinya before crush hour might be an idea. a little of this, a little of that... was there on a Saturday afternoon in Summer once and pretty much had the place to ourselves.

      2. First of all I highly recommend the cafeteria at the American Indian Museum. It's not your typical museum cafeteria food, but instead is divided up into regions of the country and serves traditional Indian cuisine for that region--think wood-plank salmon, tamales, bison burgers, and fry bread. I think its a great teaching tool for kids and a fun way to expose them to new foods.

        Bistro du Coin in Dupont is a good choice, as is Bistro D'Oc near metro center. I prefer Bistro D'Oc for french bistro cuisine, but Bistro Du Coin has an atmosphere that might be better for kids, although either would do.

        Also in Dupont you can go to Sette Osteria for pasta and pizza, Pizza Paradisio for the obvious (there is also a location in Georgetown), Heritage for great Indian, Mai Thai for Thai and Hank's Oyster Bar for New England fish, lobster rolls, and oysters.

        Also on the seafood front I think you would like Tackle Box. It's an old-school style seafood shack with picnic tables and you order at the counter. This would be great for lunch if you are in the Georgetown area. Afterwards you can grab a cupcake at Baked and Wired or Georgetown Cupcake.

        Also in Georgetown is Filomena for great hand-made pasta. While the kids wait for their food they can watch the Pasta Mamas make pieces of gnocchi and ravioli. :)

        In Gallery Place/Chinatown there are a bunch of dining options including tapas restaurants Jaleo and Zaytinya, both fine for kids. You might also like Cafe Atlantico a nuevo latin restaurant. They also have a very fun Latin Dim Sum brunch on Sundays which would be fun for everyone. There is also Matchbox which serves pizza and miniburgers, very kids friendly but can also get very crowded. I also think Acadiana would be kid-friendly. They serve cajun/southern/New Orleans inspired food.

        1. There's the Spy Museum, which is fun for kids and has a good restaurant, Zola.

          And since you have a car, you could consider Comet Pizza -- supposedly New Haven-style, various POVs from DC chowhounds. It's down Connecticut Avenue around the Van Ness area. Fun for kids because they have ping pong tables in the back.

          Hope you all have a great time!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Night Owl

            Wow, thanks everyone! The kids just read through the suggestions and they're really excited to try some of the places you've all mentioned.