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in dc for a week - what restaurant gems do you recommend?

I'll be in DC for a week, staying downtown near Pennsylvania Ave. I'm looking for some good restaurants to try that are relatively reasonably priced, say, less than $40 or so per person for dinner. I have reservations at Oyamel but not sure where else to look. I won't have a car, so I'll have to get their by walking or metro/taxi.

Any recommendations? I'm not into Thai or Indian cuisine, but I'm up for anything else.

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    1. Matchbox (Gallery Place/Chinatown) for delicious mini burgers, pizzas, salads.
      Be sure to get the mini burgers! It is a fun atmosphere. Creme (U. Street) Comfort food with a twist. Again, a good atmosphere. Be sure to get the mushroom appetizer and coconut cake for dessert. Hank's Oyster Bar (Dupont) for delicious seafood (especially fried clams, oysters and lobster rolls.) I believe all these places are (about) in your price range. ENJOY!

      3 Replies
      1. re: chicken kabob

        Be warned -- do not go to Matchbox if you're looking to carry on any sort of conversation with anyone. And wear earplugs too. The place is deafeningly loud.

        1. re: chicken kabob

          You sound like you have taken over for Elyssa...those are her regular recommendations.

          1. re: Jacey

            Jacey-regarding your comment, I guess great minds think alike! =)

        2. I forgot to also mention 2 Amy's (3715 Maycomb Street NW off Wisconsin-Cleveland Park) for exceptional wood-fired pizzas. Fun vibe and in your price range.

          1. Either Etete (1942 9th St NW, at U St.) or Queen Makeda (1917 9th St NW, 1/2 block south of Etete & across the street) for superb Ethiopian. U St Metro on Green line. Take the station exit closest to the rear of the train if coming from downtown.

            1. For a lighter dinner, I would suggest walking up to Brassiere Beck (11th and K) for some mussels, frites, and some great belgian beers. Breadline (on penn between 17th and 18th) also really good for lunch. And yes it's a tourist trap, and yes it's cliche, but Old Ebbit is a bit of a DC institution, so maybe go for a beer and some oysters.

              And if you're here on the 30th, come watch the Gators' opener at The Pour House on Capitol Hill...Go Gators!

              2 Replies
              1. re: gatorfoodie

                Last time I was at Oyamel, I was really dissappointed.
                How about the Pre-Theater Dinners at Tosca (http://www.toscadc.com) or Zola. Both great places near your hotel. Great deals for the fix prix 3 course at $35 and $30, respectively.

                1. re: daves_32

                  I agree, I think Oyamel is overrated. I didn't have a great experience there last time. I would rather go to Oya.