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One night in Dupont Circle - what to eat?

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I'll be in DC for one night, staying at the Westin Embassy Row. I'm looking for somewhere to eat nearby, as I won't have a car and don't want to venture too far away.

I'll take suggestions for spicy Chinese, spicy Indian, sushi, mexican (good, hole-in-the-wall taquerias preferred).

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  1. You basically chose four cuisines DC proper does not do very well! I guess depending on where you come from is how you would judge our sushi, though. People will tell you to head over to Sushi Taro in Dupont. It is quite good as well as Uni. Forget about good Chinese or Mexican. If you're really craving Indian head to Heritage.

    1. I like Raku, but not sure how 'authentic' it is. Thaiphoon is good too and it's SPICY. Polo Grill is decent indian.

      i would suggest you stop at Veritas wine bar first (FL & CT aves) to have a wine flight and some cheese. you can sit at the bar and meet some locals and enjoy some really good wine & cheese.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DCDOLL

        Just beware about Veritas, it is not cheap.

        1. re: vtHokies98

          very true...but you get what you pay for! :)

      2. The types of food you are interested aren't done very well in Dupont, except for Indian. I personally really like the Indian cuisine at Heritage.

        For sushi, most people like Sushi Taro, but my personal favorite neighborhood sushi joint is Sakana on P St. (if you go, make sure to try the Sakana Tempura Sushi...its delicious).

        If you are interested in other types of cuisines I would suggest Hank's Oyster Bar for seafood and fish (also a great meat and two deal), Regent Thai or Mai Thai for thai cuisine, Pizza Paradisio for pizza, and Firefly for American.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Elyssa

          I like the atmosphere at Raku but there food is very inconsistent. One day, their pad thai is excellent and the next it's made completely different. Agree with Thaiphoon though...spicy and good!

          Also, the metro can take you to Chinatown...lots of good eats there!

          1. re: wldmshrm77

            I agree. I more or less stopped going to Raku when I found better sushi and thai options in the area. I'm also not a huge fan of Thaiphoon, but that's more personal preference (I like Thai Chef, Mai Thai, and Regent Thai more).

            I hear that the Raku in Bethesda (possible different ownership?) is much, much better.

            1. re: Elyssa

              I went there.
              It was really bad. food. service. So uninteresting and bland.

            2. re: wldmshrm77

              Raku is a dump, and not a place for locals - it's mostly tourists from the burbs and the provinces. Best Chinese in town is Chinatown Express, 6th & H. It's a hole-in-the-wall, but most of the clientele is Chinese, and with good reason. Great spicy food, homemade noodles & dumplings and a huge helping of authenticity.

          2. If you like ethnic hole-in-the-wall places, maybe you should consider leaving Dupont Circle -- you don't need a car, for example, to get to the U St area, where I would recommend Ethiopian food, which can be pretty spicy. There are some decent taqueria kinds of places in Columbia Heights, too, although you find better Central American around here. If that interests you, you can get plenty of good suggestions. Just, like others have said, not really in Dupont.

            Oh -- if you walk up Connecticut from Dupont to the intersection with Columbia, head up Columbia a few more blocks, on your right will be a Peruvian chicken place that I really like -- that might be the kind of place you're looking for. it has a big sign that says "the original peruvian chicken" or something like that.

            17 Replies
            1. re: mselectra

              Taqueria Distrito Federal is a good option if you're willing to go all the way to Columbia Heights.
              I normally prefer a hole in the wall, but I actually tried Sushi Taro for the first time last week and was very impressed. I would go there if I were you.
              You could consider Penang or Malaysia Kopitiam for Malaysian, or Mandu for Korean. They're all surrounding Dupont.
              There is no impressive Chinese around there, although if you really want it, you could go to Great Wall on 14th Street. They have "ma la" dishes but I'm not a big fan.

              1. re: hamster

                Meiwah is actually quite servicable. It's mostly American-Chinese with a few authentic dishes thrown in (on the chef's specialties). That's probably the best Chinese in the area. Some people like City Lights of China but that's more Americanized. Penang is a chain and I prefer Malaysia Kopitiam over Penang.

                http://www.meiwahrestaurant.com/menu_...

                http://www.citylightsofchina.com/

                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                  I travel to DC several times a year, and always make it a point to go to Meiwah. Excellent fare, cheap by DC standards. The Chef's specials are to die for!!!

                  1. re: Zina

                    I've found Meiwah extremely hit or miss. It's basically my neighborhood Chinese food restaurant (since Mr. Chen's won't deliver to me) but I've always ended up disappointed with what I order from there.

                    I do need to check out Malaysia Kopitiam though since I hear good things.

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      it's good Elyssa; you'd like it. One thing i like is they have pictures of every dish on the menu so you can see before you buy!

                      1. re: DCDOLL

                        Maybe I'll eat there in the next few days on one of my non-cooking nights. It's right around the corner from my apt. Anything in particular you suggest? Do they deliver?

                      2. re: Elyssa

                        having moved, the mei wah in Chevy Chase is officially better than its other location.

                        Which is too bad.

                    2. re: Ericandblueboy

                      I agree that Kopitiam might be along the lines the OP is looking for. I wouldn't bother with Chinese (in that neighborhood) if you come from anywhere that does it decently at all -- but I've heard about a good szechuan place at maybe 18th and I?

                      Heritage India is good, too.

                      1. re: mselectra

                        that would be Szechuan Pavilion 18th and K in the International Square building. and a takeout counter in the basement food court as well.

                        sidenote on Meiwah, they have really good Pad Thai that's not on the menu - you have to ask if they're making it that day.

                        def. 2nd Malaysia Kopitiam - looks like a dump, but I've always liked it.

                        1. re: hill food

                          Unless you're talking about the downtown food pavillion, Meiwah has pad thai on their menu. I eat there at least once a week.

                          I'll add that City Lights is no Meiwah. In fact, CL pretty much sucks.

                          Ditto for Veritas and Raku. And Heritage is rather dull, and definitely not spicy, but then again I travel to India a few times a year. So what do I know? :^)

                          If you walk over to P St (one block away) there's Uni Sushi, which has a good happy hour; and Aioli Mediterranean, which has awesome sandwiches and pasta dishes. Both are very reasonable.

                          Otherwise, Elyssa had some good suggestions: Head over to the other side of the Circle to Hank's, or either one of the Thai places. And note that Mai Thai delivers. Good luck and enjoy DC!

                          1. re: lynnbee

                            Why would someone want to sit in their hotel room and get delivery if they have one night in DC?

                            I would have to disagree big time about Aioli. Stay away from this place. I--along with many other posters here--have had terrible experiences there.

                            Thai Chef (for good sushi too), Uni or Pesche get my vote.

                            1. re: Jacey

                              sometimes holed up in a room with bad delivery is what you want.

                              lynn: CL does suck, as for Meiwah a former co-worker pointed out the PT off-menu 2 years ago. I guess they realized it was viable and added.

                              and I swear Szch has 2 places, a streetside restauraunt and the interior basement lunch counter. physically separate.

                      2. re: Ericandblueboy

                        Ugh. I just went to City Lights of China on Wednesday and its gone way, way down hill. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Poor service, we sat for a good 20-25 minutes waiting for our check and had to go find the waiter to get it. The food wasn't up to snuff either. The menu looked different and the dish I got, which is usually one of my favorites there, was pretty tasteless and didn't come with the same variety of vegetables as it had in the past. Definitely, don't waste your time.

                          1. re: WoodleyPkGrl

                            Isn't City Lights owned by the same people as Meiwah? I thought I heard that somewhere.

                            1. re: Elyssa

                              Mei Wah is owned by the guy who *used* to own City Lights, but he's been gone from there for years. Mei Wah is better, but there's great Chinese in the city, including Great Wall at 14th & P, and Chinatown Express at 6th & H.

                              1. re: Elyssa

                                Mei Wah is owned by the guy who *used* to own City Lights, but he's been gone from there for years. Mei Wah is better, but only just. Great - and very authentic - Chinese can be had at Great Wall Szechuan, 14th & P or Chinatown Express (talk about a hole in the wall) at 6th & H.

                      3. For Dessert - Larry's Ice Cream or Mr. Yogato

                        4 Replies
                              1. re: Elyssa

                                I pass by a sign for it pretty much daily.

                                sweet licks..it's off of 17th Street at...R maybe?