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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.

            2. Proof is good; it has a nice wine bar, good food & isn't loud like most DC hot spots. If you want something special, and it's on PA, you might think about Capital Grille although it will likely be above your limit. Adams Morgan is a fun restaurant area; you could metro to dupont and walk over to 18th and S and then just walk up 18th and browse....all kinds of food & budgets there. Cleveland Park is another good restaurant 'hood with a metro stop and all kinds of choices & prices (most a little more upscale than Adams Morgan). If you are willing to 'dress' (jackets req'd for men) 1789, one of the most iconic DC fine dining restaurants, is having a summer special thru Sep 17 of 3 courses for $37 which is a great deal. There is no metro stop near by but you could take a taxi there or metro to Foggy Bottom and cab it from there. I'm not sure where you are on PA so it's hard to judge your location...you could be anywhere from the Hill to G'town! :)
              enjoy your visit and let us know where you end up going.

              1. Given your locale -- I'd have to say Central, Brasserie Beck, and for tapas Zaytinya (Greek/mediterranean), Jaleo (Spanish). Proof for a glass of wine.

                1. These all sound like great suggestions. I'll post where I ended up going once I get back. Trying to get out today, but TS Fay is keeping me grounded for now.