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lunch places near Library of Congress

Hi there. Could anybody please recommend some good places (not too expensive) for lunch by the LOC? Ethnic restaurants are always good!


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  1. It's not ethnic, but on 2nd Street just off of Penn. there is Le Bon Cafe'.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ChewFun

      Le Bon Cafe would be my recommendation as well. Their Provencal tuna salad sandwich is really good, as is their lavender lemonade.

      If you walk down a couple of blocks to Eastern Market you can eat at Market Lunch actually in Eastern Market. If you head down 8th Street there is a good Thai restaurant, Old Siam, and a Belgium restaurant, Belga Cafe.

    2. Petes right next to Le Bon Cafe has pretty good pretty cheap very quick lunches -- and the specials are usually good. Whatever you do -- DO NOT EAT AT THE GREEK PLACE on Pa Ave.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Teddybear

        TB, what's the gripe with the Greeks? I haven't been in a few years, and the food was never stellar, but never had a complaint. then again I've only been on slow Saturday afternoons for the beer and gyro lunch special.

        1. re: hill food

          Many years ago I used to enjoy it -- always had the appetizer plate. Went back this past spring and ordered my usual and was truly disappointed in the quality of the food.

        2. re: Teddybear

          Petes has some nice Asian specials that are suprisingly good. Other stuff are mostly greasy spoon...but good enough.

          1. re: scungilli1

            Also right next to Burrito Brothers there is the Asian deli-type place -- also good and quick

          2. For a casual bite, Burrito Brothers on Penn is decent, albeit a chain burrito joint. Grab a good burrito, sit by the window and watch the crowd pass by, not a bad way to spend a few minutes.

            1. Talay Thai on 1st is decent for lunch. The service is quick and friendy, Try the Siam fried rice or Red curry duck. Whatever you do, do not go to the Library of Congress cafetaria, it is terrible even by government cafetaria standards.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mrhonest

                I find their curries are much better than their stir fries or apps. (tend towards the greasy side) but in their favor they don't dumb down the heat if you specify.

                Jimmy T's on E. Cap (@4th?) is classic diner fare. not sure of the hours/days, went by on a Tuesday once and they were closed but I think that was a one time deal.

              2. This is a tough one - I spent years doing research at LOC and dreaming of good lunch options which pretty much did not materialize. One cheap and convenient option is the LOC cafeteria on the 6th floor of the Madison building - the food is Aramark or some similar concessionaire, but at least it's quick and there's a salad bar. You can walk a bit and hit Johnny's Half Shell, moderate-priced seafood, or Taqueria Nacionale, cheap and good Mexican takeout, at 400 N Capitol, but on hot days I found the trek to be too far. Le Bon Cafe is fine, not great, and I thought Burrito Brothers was unbelievably nasty. A final possibility is Firehook Bakery on Penn Ave, decent premade sandwiches and pastries.

                1. I totally agree with Le Bon Cafe as good eats -- but also check out the new Longworth Cafeteria - the old fast-food places have been replaced with healthier options, a good salad bar, and all of the paper products are compostable or recyclable - -the first phase of "greening the Capitol" --

                  1. Mitsitam Cafe in the National Museum of the American Indian. All kinds of ethnic, not too expensive. As this is tourist season, you will need to plan to go early (or late) to avoid the hordes. But it is really good food, all kinds of interesting stuff from all over the Western Hemisphere, at good prices.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Just Visiting

                      Good call! This is where you should go if you don't mind walking a few blocks. Otherwise stick to Le Bon Cafe.

                    2. Sonomas, Good Stuff Eatery