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Aug 7, 2008 11:19 AM

Seeking dinner spot in Eastern Market/Capitol Hill?

Hello, chowhounds. I just moved to the area and am looking for a good spot for this Friday dinner near Eastern Market/Capitol Hill.

Am open to chowish dives or fancy schmancy, any ethnicity of food or standard American burgers -- just want it to be yummy. Cheap to mid-range would be ideal. I saw some posts about the Good Stuff Eatery but wondered if the long waits from last month's posts gone down? Any other gems I should try? Thanks for your chow leads.

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  1. Belga Cafe -- Belgian beers and food. The mussels are delicious, as are the frites.

    6 Replies
    1. re: epicuriousgal

      Belga is a good choice. I also like Sonoma, Old Siam, and I hear good things about Locanda and Montmartre.

      For dives--I'm always a fan of the Tune Inn and Hawk and Dove.

      1. re: Elyssa

        Belga, Sonoma, Tune Inn and Montmarte are all great. However, Cap Lounge over Hawk & Dove and let's not forget Conrad's.

        On the other side of the Hill, there's Cafe Berlin, a great German restaurant, and the Monocle, where you can dine old school along side Sen. Such and Such. Also, check out the diner, Jimmy T's Place on E. Capitol.

        As for Locanda, I hear that the original chef left and the quality of the food went with him. Has anyone been recently?

        1. re: FlaHopper

          Cap Lounge is also good. I mostly am there for the strong drinks over the so-so food. :)

          Where is Conrad's? Never even heard of it.

          Cafe Berlin is also a good recommendation. I always forget about the Senate side of the Capitol since I work over in Eastern Market.

          1. re: Elyssa

            Conrad's is the bar attached to Thai Roma on Penn Ave. It's a tiny, old place run by an septuagenarian bartender. It's a neat joint that flies under the radar.

            1. re: FlaHopper

              oh right, always feels like you're in a B&B in Cornwall like Fawlty Towers or something.

              1. re: hill food

                Cleese ran a much cleaner operation.

    2. dive-y dive (and that's an endangered species in DC) Tune Inn!

      Thai - Old Siam

      Indian/Pakistani - if you're willing to squint (unfortunate color palette but good lamb), Aatish

      haven't tried Cafe 8 yet, but it looks nice in a menu casual sort of way

      Belga is quite good, but on my higher-end range for the 'hood (not outrageous by any means), but with it I'd include Locanda and Montmartre (to list alphabetically) all three are very good, just not where I might go on a random night.

      Starfish is ok, but the chef is a bit too happy with dairy sauces on the fish (a little here and there on a menu is fine, but...)

      haven't tried Fusion since the re-tooling, Placitas usu. turns out a decent Pupusa and other Salvadoreno amidst a bunch of dumbed down Texi-Mexi.

      the Marine Corps barracks (8 & G) does the free concert on Friday PM until Labor day so parking can get really tight, plus the new rules now the ballpark is here. I don't have a car, so can't tell you the exact rules, but I do know it's a lot stricter and goes later than in the past.

      1. I'm not too familar with the cheap and mid-range options in that area, but for a more expensive night out one of my personal favorites is Bistro Bis. Excellent french style food, especially the escargot (I have yet to find better in the DC area).

        6 Replies
        1. re: dcfoodie13

          as long as escargot has plenty of butter, garlic and parsley it's kind of hard to go wrong. although if a place has fresh...

          keep meaning to try Bis, but I'm on the SE side.

          lots of options on the NE side esp. along Mass that I'm just not very familiar with. It's just too easy to get insular in this part of town.

          1. re: hill food

            Actually every kind I've had there isn't in butter/garlic/parsley and that is what I really like about it. Once it was in a puff pastry with vegetables and almost like a chicken-pot-pie-type sauce. Antother time it was layered between crisp flatbread with tomatoes (can't remeber the sauce but it tasted delicious).

            For the traditional escargot I like Marcel's.

            1. re: dcfoodie13


              interesting, I once saw a Basque prep using fresh (as in REALLY fresh, uncleaned straight from the garden, bless their parasitic hearts) on a grill drizzled/splattered in EVOO and garlic on PBS. Fat Man on a Bicycle? the show was named something like that.

              a place in SF was proud of theirs in walnut pesto and phyllo.

              I guess I'm too much of a purist about some things. which is actually weird.

              1. re: hill food

                You have to be careful about fresh straight from the garden as snails can eat plants toxic to humans, you are supposed to keep them in a container of cornmeal for a few days so they can cleanse themselves of anything toxic to you.

                At Bis, I had a red wine prep that was really good, it was the best escargot I have ever had.

                1. re: ktmoomau

                  I've also heard a few days or even weeks on lettuce and other greens.

          2. re: dcfoodie13

            Another excellent choice for brunch, lunch or dinner...over on the Senate side of the Capitol near Union Station.

          3. Has anyone tried the new Lola's? I'm not even sure if its officially open yet but I walked by it and it looks like (nice wood all over the place etc). It's the old Tapatinis place revamped.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Elyssa

              Lola's: thanks for the head's up, that's around the corner - will have to watch.

              always hated the name Tapatini's even if the place was ok.

              1. re: hill food

                Me too!!! I thought it was such a cheesy, annoying name. I couldn't find anything online about it. So please update if you see it open or catch a menu.

            2. Levi's Port Cafe on 8th past the Marine Corps Barracks. Great soul food and comparably cheap. I recommend the deep fried pork chop, collards greens, and mac and cheese.

              Levis Port Cafe
              1102 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

              1 Reply
              1. re: monkeyrotica

                thanks all for the great suggestions. sounds like i have many dinners to try!