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family of 4 coming for the week

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Hi, this is my 1st experience at chowhound; seems like it will be a great place to get advice on DC dining. my wife and I and our 2 sons (6 and 4) will be in DC for the week. the kids travel very well and have eaten at lots of high end places many times. Is it restaraunt week? (we will be in town the 9th - 14th) and will reservations be hard to come by? we are looking at a couple of nicer meals and then some fun more laid back - "pubby" places. any thoughts would be welcomed. short list of what we have looked at include:Zatinya, Komi and Oyamel. And then Five Guys Burgers and Ben's Chili Bowl. thanks!

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  1. Will you be taking your kids to the nicer meals? If so, I wouldn't go to Komi. From apprpwhat I hear the meal, at a minimum, is around 2-3 hours. It's a very small dining room and, while I'm sure your kids are well-behaved, it doesn't really seem appropriate for young children.

    If you will be here in August (9th-14th), you will be catching part of Restaurant Week. If you interested in taking part in some of those restaurants I would book ASAP on Opentable (or by calling).

    Some other places you might want to consider are:

    Cafe Atlantico -nuevo latin, moderate priced, great drinks and food and fun atmosphere

    Zola- this is attached to the spy museum and might be someplace you can bring your kids for a nicer meal

    Pizza Paradiso- more casual pizza in Georgetown and Dupont

    Jaleo -Spanish tapas, DC staple

    Filomena-great red Italian in Georgetown, HUGE portions and even bigger slices of cake for dessert. Very family friendly

    Regent Thai or Mai Thai-both affordable Thai cuisine

    Acadiana-Souther/New Orleans cuisine. Could also be a nicer meal.

    Dino- Rustic Italian, not that far from the zoo in Cleveland Park. I'm sure the kids would be welcome there.

    And certainly don't miss out on lunch at the American Indian Museum Cafeteria. A great variety and allows the kids to be adventourous in a fun way.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Elyssa

      thank you so much! will look into your suggestions. we live in the boston/providence area and if you are coming this way we'd be happy to help

      1. re: reedsox

        I'm actually a native Bostonian :)

    2. DC has some areas that are worth going to and walking around and grazing. These include Penn's Quarter/China Town (Eat First or Chinatown Express for authentic duck house chinese cooking, Jaleo for tapas, Cafe Atlantico for latin carribean, as well as a five guys for burgers, Clydes for american. Also there is Dupont Circle area, U-street area, georgetown and adams morgan locations. a good site to at least check out availability and menu's is digitalcity.com since they group restaurants by location.

      1. Here are my notes:

        Zaytinya is a very good place to go. Same chef also operates Oyamel. Oyamel is much less successful and has pared down its large menu. Now rests on antojitos (its weak point) more than ever. Still, some very good things to eat here like the salmon ceviche.

        Ben's Chili Bowl: the thing to get here is a half-smoke with chili. But you can get this from many hot dog vendors in the city. In the same neighborhood is the fantastic food at Oohs and Aahs Soul Food where you can get the food from the kitchen and eat it in the 'dining room' upstairs. Get the grilled shrimp, the lemon pepper wings and the turkey chop. This is seriously good food and it's almost criminal to miss this for Ben's Chili Bowl. You can always walk on over to Ben's and get a couple of half-smokes to go.

        1. that is RW, but most places seem to differentiate between the RW menu and the regular. reservations are often 2-tier, if you want the RW one, you often need to mention beforehand and those are harder (IMHO).

          just go early.

          'sides who wants to keep a 4 yr. old out late (no matter how great the kid is).

          I could see a kid having a good lunch at Zaytinya - gradual and varied nibbles. we did that at the old Meyhane (totally different place but had a coupla similar things) with a 3-yr old and she and I were vying for the last of the zucchini fritters.

          forget 5 Guys - Ollie's!

          sorry - I say that a lot. it's a personal tic.

          4 Replies
          1. re: hill food

            Hill Food: In terms of reservations, that is not true. You don't need to tell them beforehand if you're doing the RW menu nor are there certain "spots" at restaurants.

            1. re: Jacey

              I've heard complaints that the policy varies from place to place and that some do require the info in advance and some do not. the frustration being that there isn't an across the board policy.

              If I'm wrong, so much the better.

              1. re: hill food

                I would think that the "across the board policy" is that you do not need to tell them when making the reservation. It sounds like there may be some places who are making it difficult for customers, which to me means they weren't really interested in doing RW in the first place.

                I made a reservation for Dino's on Monday night through Opentable, and they email confirmation says to let them know when you are seated that you want the RW menu. I'm not sure if they're not going to offer it if you don't ask for it, but that sounds a little strange given that their RW menu is their regular menu.

                1. re: MisterBill2

                  The language about requesting the special menu is placed in the confirmation email by Open Table, not the restaurant. The message we supply Open Table does not make any mention of Restaurant Week, is just states our seating policy and gives parking suggestions. In fact, I was not aware of the restaurant week message until you brought it up here.
                  Dean Gold
                  Owner of Dino

          2. For "pubby" check out the Eatwell DC restaurant group. http://www.eatwelldc.com/ My suggested restaurants include Logan Tavern, The Heights and Grillfish. The are a little inventive, yet casual enough to accommodate kids, have kids menus and are reasonably priced.

            1 Reply
            1. re: smr232

              in that spirit, you won't go wrong with any of the Clyde's. it's NOT interesting or "foodie", they're nothing to remark about, but if little eaters are fussy, well...imagine a Target dressed as a Macy's with better customer service than either.

              reasonably priced, extensive choices, strategically located, the servers always have seemed very well trained and attentive when co-workers have dragged me one.

              let me put it this way: I won't go back by choice, but I also won't complain if asked.

              granted I'd rather be around the corner at the weirdo dump that spent a few days closed for 'unspecified reasons' last week. but that's just me.

            2. Your kids will love DC. My 9 and 5 year olds love to eat at "nice" restaurants in DC and are also very well behaved. I would recommend Central by Michel Richard. The menu has plenty of simple choices for kids (think burgers & macaroni and cheese) and yet plenty of more interesting choices for adults. My son loves their 72 hour short ribs. The Source by Wolfgang Puck is in the Newseum and is currently offering a special "Olympics Menu". It would make for a fun lunch or early dinner. You also can't go wrong with DC Coast.

              2 Replies
              1. re: linsep

                If you're in the Woodley Park area (took metro to go to zoo), I recommend Lebanese Taverna. My children love the pizza on their mezze menu and dipping bread into olive oil. I concur about skipping Five Guys.

                1. re: Martha

                  Hi, returned home, and thank you to all who posted. we had some great fun and meals. went to cafe atlantico - very friendly and great food. went to the cafe at the native american museum - great! tried BLT steak, not a great experience, but had a good steak. pizza paradiso in g'town was really fun, great beer list. bens chili bowl was ok, overall very good. tried twice to get to CENTRAL but waits were prohibitive.