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Someplace other than Old Ebbitt for dinner w/ visitors?

CaitRC Jun 23, 2008 08:37 AM

My parents and grandmother just decided to come to DC this weekend, and I'm trying to figure out where to take them Saturday night. I'd like it to be something that has sort of an "only in DC" feel. Old Ebbitt Grill was going to be my back-up if I couldn't figure out something more interesting, but it looks like they're booked so I'm starting from scratch. They're not terribly particular, and they have pretty simple taste, but I want to take them someplace they'll really enjoy. Dad's a pretty casual guy and will want someplace not too fancy or expensive. Mom is easygoing but would love some healthy, interesting choices. And grandma would probably appreciate someplace semi-quiet, food she can recognize, and easy & safe parking or Metro access. Someplace near a cool DC landmark would be great. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. BigEats RE: CaitRC Jun 23, 2008 09:18 AM

    Classic DC is the Market Inn behind the House side of the Capitol. Best crabcake in DC, in my opinion. Been there 40 years and even featured on Food Network.

    1. n
      nickdanger RE: CaitRC Jun 23, 2008 09:34 AM

      I know you are looking for something not too expensive, but have you thought about the Prime Rib, classic old DC, 1789, old Georgetown, or Capital Grille? I mention the last because, it is right on Penn. Ave, across from the Nat'l Gallery, and nera the newest tourist attraction,the Newseum. And right down the street, shining at night, is the biggest DC landmark one can see, the Capitol.

      1. monavano RE: CaitRC Jun 23, 2008 10:57 AM

        I think The Occidental Grill, or Cafe du Parc in the Willard Hotel would be very DC. I have not heard good things about Market Inn..
        I think Kinkead's is very DC too.
        Agree with Prime Rib and 1789

        11 Replies
        1. re: monavano
          CaitRC RE: monavano Jun 23, 2008 11:36 AM

          I appreciate your suggestions so far. The more I think about it, though, I'm pretty sure that more than anything, they would love a dynamic place that has real personality, and would provide a unique and cool experience that they can't get in Syracuse, NY (which is where they're coming from). They'd prefer to see the semi-casual, interesting, local, and maybe even neighborhood-y side of DC, rather than the upscale places frequented by the fabulous, the powerbrokers, and the tourists, know what I mean?

          1. re: CaitRC
            4X4 RE: CaitRC Jun 23, 2008 11:46 AM

            If that's the case, take them to Ben's Chili Bowl.

            1. re: 4X4
              CaitRC RE: 4X4 Jun 23, 2008 11:58 AM

              Haha, yes, my dad would probably be delighted with that. That's probably where we'll end up, after I spend my entire week stressing out over what nice restaurant I should take them to.

              Honestly, though, a step or two up from that would probably fit the bill. Any other U St. spots you would recommend? Creme? Marvin? Station 9? All look interesting, though reviews seem inconsistent...

            2. re: CaitRC
              nickdanger RE: CaitRC Jun 23, 2008 12:12 PM

              Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, U St?

              1. re: nickdanger
                CaitRC RE: nickdanger Jun 23, 2008 01:15 PM

                Yeah, any of those are fine. I live in Woodley, so I'm pretty familiar with the Adams Morgan/Dupont offerings. Am considering Casa Oaxaca. Less familiar with U St. restaurants, though the ones mentioned above look like possibilities. I just don't know anyone who's been to them and reviews I read online are mixed...

                1. re: CaitRC
                  ktmoomau RE: CaitRC Jun 23, 2008 01:43 PM

                  What about Dino, Italian is often a good compromise food Grandma will recognize, can get something a little more healthy, not extremely pricey?

                  I often take the folks who have mixed comfort levels to Spezie or Tosca for that reason.

                  It isn't necessarily only in DC though.

                  Also what about like Cashion's or even perhaps Lebanese Taverna, Grandma will recognize all the good chicken dishes (I believe they even have roasted chicken with choice of sides like veggie and rice or salad or something), Mom can pick something healthier.

                  Or someplace decidedly American like Agraria in the Georgetown Harbor which isn't too pricey, very classic american dishes, but I haven't been in a llloooonnnggg time now, but when I was there they had some well executed simple dishes. Or Firefly as I remember it is pretty American fare, but not outrageous, although it can be a little louder, but I was there for Vday when it was packed.

                  Or what about Hank's Oyster Bar, Grandma will enjoy some more classic fish preperations, Mom will definitely find some healthy choices, and Dad can enjoy the DC seafood? They don't take reservations, but they do call ahead?

                  1. re: ktmoomau
                    Jeserf RE: ktmoomau Jun 23, 2008 02:38 PM

                    Agraria was pretty boring when I went, FYI.

                    Firefly was very enjoyable, but it is loud. I do think they have a back room, however, which may be more quiet.

                  2. re: CaitRC
                    katecm RE: CaitRC Jun 23, 2008 02:47 PM

                    In Adams Morgan, Black Squirrel has some lovely food that is mostly updated versions of classics. They can experience something new but not be too scared away, and it's a cute, neighborhoody setting.

                    1. re: katecm
                      CaitRC RE: katecm Jun 24, 2008 09:02 AM

                      I was thinking about that -- I've never been there but I've heard decent things about it. Is it more bar than restaurant, though? I guess my question is, would it be an OK setting for a family dinner? Not that my family is in any way opposed to bars or drinking, just want to make sure it's somewhat calm, etc. I've never been inside.

                      1. re: CaitRC
                        katecm RE: CaitRC Jun 24, 2008 11:25 AM

                        It's definitely a bar at night, but not even a crazy Adams Morgan bar. They do half-price burgers on Thursday, so you could check it out if you're nearby. I was there for dinner at 9 on Saturday and it was fairly quiet, with plenty of tables available. But maybe you should do recon just to make sure it's up your alley. If you go, definitely get the duck spring rolls!

                2. re: CaitRC
                  StephenB RE: CaitRC Jun 24, 2008 11:52 AM

                  I suggest Sea Catch on 31st NW, Georgetown. It's on the canal, so you have a unique Washington view (if you have a window table). The seafood menu is familiar to anyone, and some of it, esp the clams, is excellent. It is nicely decorated with a friendly staff. And by the way, they have free parking.

              2. monavano RE: CaitRC Jun 23, 2008 03:22 PM

                How about the Tabard Inn?

                1. d
                  dcandohio RE: CaitRC Jun 23, 2008 05:13 PM

                  What about 701, with the views of the Navy Memorial fountains? Bonus is outdoor seating, weather permitting. Great cocktails, too. RIght at the exit to the Archives metro.

                  1. k
                    kyfoodieindc RE: CaitRC Jun 24, 2008 11:58 AM

                    Whenever I have family or friends in town, I love taking them to Lauriol Plaza. The food is fantastic and it of course has a lively atmosphere. if you don't mind sitting inside, you can usually get seated pretty quickly, and it's much quieter than on one of the patios.

                    If you don't mind venturing outside the city, I recently had a fantastic experience at Indigo Landing of the GW Parkway, just south of DCA. The food was terrific, and there's plenty of window/outdoor seating right on the river front with great views of the city.

                    Good luck!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: kyfoodieindc
                      arugulafilesdc RE: kyfoodieindc Jun 24, 2008 06:14 PM

                      I want to second Hank's Oyster Bar. The food is tasty and they do lots of unique little things, like give you pepperidge farm fish before the meal and then chunks of chocolate after.

                      Another possible place Coppis on U Street. Tasty!

                      1. re: arugulafilesdc
                        monavano RE: arugulafilesdc Jun 25, 2008 07:25 AM

                        I love Hank's (Old Town)-but be aware that they dont do dessert. Just FYI

                    2. l
                      lcool RE: CaitRC Jun 25, 2008 02:02 PM

                      ? why not GEORGIA BROWN'S,a good fit with the family descriptors

                      much classic DC are relics in the BURBS,OLD ANGLER INN MRS K'S TOLLHOUSE

                      also with better than decent food

                      1. h
                        hotel RE: CaitRC Jun 26, 2008 05:54 AM

                        I had a great time/meal at Mendocino Grill in Georgetown not too long ago. You can have a conversation in there, it's not overly expensive, has great wine and healthier food.

                        1. b
                          Balto RE: CaitRC Jun 26, 2008 08:32 AM

                          I would suggest Monmartre on Capital Hill; great little French bistro near the Capital & the food is great for the price.

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