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[DC] Ethnic Food (and more!) near metro?

Embla Sep 18, 2008 09:06 PM

I found a really cheap flight to DC for this weekend, so I'm running down there to hang out with a friend who just arrived there last week. I looove Citronelle as much as the next person, but it's not really within his budget. He's from a small town in the midwest and hasn't had much exposure to different types of cuisines, so I would love to take him around and be there for his first taste of everything... Kimchi? Laotian shrimp paste? hehe. :)

Could you please recommend some cheap, authentic ethnic food that is easily accessible by the metro?

He has been wanting to try mainly Asian and Middle Eastern food, so I would greatly appreciate recommendations for good shawarma, Lebanese, Persian, Vietnamese, Dim Sum (rolling carts), Korean, Thai, and Japanese. I know that you usually have to trek out of DC for these (K-town in Annandale, I wish I could go!), but we won't have a car and the trip will be really busy so a 30 minute metro ride may not be an option.

Lebanese and Korean are the main ones, though. :) I'll be arriving at DCA a bit before lunch time, too, so if there are any good Lebanese or Korean places outside of DC and closer to that area, it'd be great to save on travel time!

He has tried Ethiopian and wasn't a big fan, but I'll be taking him to my favorite place to try and change his mind.

Also, does anyone have recs for good South American food? And are there any frozen yogurt places similar to Pinkberry or Red Mango? I heard there was one somewhere in Georgetown..

As for me, do you have any bakery recommendations? I am looking for a French or Japanese style bakery with fancy cakes and pastries. I've been to DC quite a few times, but I have yet to find one like this...

Okay, and finally, does anyone have any bars/lounges to recommend? Nothing too upscale and crowded, but especially somewhere with a large beer selection.

All right, that was long!

Thanks so much in advance!! :)

  1. s
    Super Salad Sep 19, 2008 07:05 PM

    Hop the red line to Wheaton! As already suggested, you can get dim sum at Hollywood East and Korean at Woomi Garden (I really like this place and I understand that opinion is shared. There maybe be better in Annandale but this is just a few blocks from the Wheaton Metro).

    1. ktmoomau Sep 19, 2008 01:19 PM

      A lot of the best Middle Eastern is also in the burbs, I haven't been to Me Janna, I heard it was good, but a little pricey for that sort of thing.

      DCA isn't too far from Alexandria, The Pita House in Alexandria is good, I don't know how close it is to the metro. I have heard, but have never been to Mama Asheya's (sp?) in the Adams Morgan area is good. Lebanese Butcher is probably the best, Lebanese Taverna is an ok, alternative if nothing else, there is one on Pentagon Row which would be close to DCA.

      Cafe Atlantico has a latino dim sum brunch. If you want Peruvian Chicken, El Pollo Rico at Virginia Square Metro is good, and El Pio Pio is right there and isn't bad either. I think Adam's Morgan has some South American although I can't think of names.

      I can't think of any metro accessible french or Japanese bakeries near the metro...

      You might check out Tyler Cowen's ethnic dining guide- just google it.

      1. m
        mjhals Sep 19, 2008 10:38 AM

        For Lebanese, has anyone tried the place in Clarendon by the Courthouse metro, I think it's called Me Jana? Looks pretty upscale but I haven't tried the food, curious to see if anyone has any opinions.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mjhals
          MikeR Sep 19, 2008 03:43 PM

          There was some discussion about Me Jana when it first opened. Generally favorable.

        2. h
          hamster Sep 19, 2008 09:35 AM

          For dim sum, you can go to China Garden in Rosslyn. It is only one stop out of DC. Wheaton is a pretty long metro ride from the city center.
          For Korean, you can go to Mandu on 18th St. between Adams Morgan and Dupont. You cannot grill your own meat, but they do have a pretty tasty bibimbap and reportedly good bulgogi, etc.
          For Vietnamese, do not go to Nam Viet in Cleveland Park. A lot of people recommend it but after yet another mediocre meal there a few days ago (salmon soup), I'm officially anti-Nam Viet. I haven't yet tried Minh's, but Pho 75 is great.
          For Lebanese, there's a good casual felafel place called Old City Cafe in Adams Morgan. Lebanese Taverna is also quite tasty, as is Zaytinya (fusion Lebanese, Greek, Turkish), but these are both more expensive options. FYI, Kabob Palace is *tremendous* and it's only one stop away from National airport.
          For bakeries, I would recommend Patisserie Poupon, Dean and Deluca, or Leopold's, all in Georgetown. Leopold's has a very impressive array, but it's more of a sit-down place.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hamster
            mselectra Sep 19, 2008 09:44 AM

            A couple more to throw out for your Korean and Lebanese lists.

            Not sure where you'll be in DC, but there's a good hole-in-the-wall Korean place in Mount Pleasant called Adams Express (convenient to Columbia Heights metro). Just a couple chairs at a counter, run by an older Korean couple.

            Also think about Mama Ayesha's (instead of Lebanese Taverna and less expensive than that or Zaytinya, but really comfortable and pretty place.)

          2. d
            dpan Sep 19, 2008 05:57 AM

            If you want good dim sum, Oriental East in Silver Spring ( 2 blocks from the Silver Spring metro station on the Red Line) is the best bet in the DC area.

            1. o
              OneMoreBite Sep 19, 2008 03:40 AM

              Welcome to D.C.! You arrive a bit before lunch, just get into town and out of the burbs. First go to Naan & Beyond near corner of 17th & L (Farragut North metrostop) for the yummiest samosas, either chicken, or spicy peas & potato, incredibly cheap, one of each would be a light meal or heavy snack. Beer selection-the legendary, been-there-forever Brickskellar, near Dupont Circle. Also if you go to the Penn Quarter area, 7th & G, there is a beer place called RFD on 7th Street, but don't eat there-good beer bad food. However, also on 7th Street is a yummy Latin/Asian fusion place called Zengo where you can order small plates/tapas. If you want Lebanese, IMHO the best is Lebanese Taverna, a local family owned chain. You can take metro to their Connecticut Avenue location which is across from a metro stop. Bakery cafe fix for Saturday morning could be Le Pain Quotidien, on M Street in Georgetown. It's a Belgian chain. You can get all kinds of breads and baked goods plus omelettes, sandwiches, etc. I would recommend 7th Street for Friday night because it's very lively with lots of places all within a three block walk, so you could do beer at RFD and asian/latin small plates at Zengo, then Saturday late hangover brunch at Quotidien, then maybe dinner at Leb Taverna Saturday. Hope this helps!

              3 Replies
              1. re: OneMoreBite
                Ericandblueboy Sep 19, 2008 05:31 AM

                The only edible dim sum in DC is Tony Cheng's in Chinatown. As for Persian, try Moby Dick in Georgetown (it's a hole in the wall). As for Japanese, Makoto in the Palisades may be hard to get to (and hard to get a reservation). For Lebanese, I liked Bacchus of Lebanon (in Bethesda, but I haven't been in years) and I think they were better than Lebansese Taverna.

                1. re: Ericandblueboy
                  Lori D Sep 19, 2008 06:40 AM

                  Makoto is quite expensive.

                  There is no such thing as a Japanese bakery in the DC area, period (although I would dearly love to be proven wrong). The closest thing are some Chinese ones, and they don't fit your geographical parameters. I understand that Patisserie Poupon in Georgetown is quite good, for French style.

                  For Vietnamese, Pho 75 in Rosslyn or Minh's in Clarendon are Metro-accessible and not too far away from DC.

                  There is also another Moby Dick near Dupont Circle.

                  1. re: Ericandblueboy
                    mselectra Sep 19, 2008 08:47 AM

                    You CAN take the Metro to Wheaton for dim sum, Hollywood East I think gets the most recommendations, but I haven' t been yet (or I guess to Silver Spring as dpan says below.)

                2. Dennis S Sep 19, 2008 02:41 AM

                  Not Lebanese, but what about Kabob Palace in Crystal City? It'd be an extremely short cab ride or a good walk, with a bus ride as a third option. There's at least one bar on 23rd street there, with outside seating.

                  Kabob Palace: 2315 S Eads St, Arlington, VA 22202

                  I don't really know of any good options within your parameters for Korean or Lebanese.

                  The other thoughts I'd have is to ride to P-City and take the bus up Columbia Pike to Thai Square, or ride the orange line to Clarendon and hit Nam Viet or El Pollo Rico. You'd get a few choices on bars in Clarendon.

                  1. e
                    Embla Sep 19, 2008 12:52 AM

                    I just found the answer to my frozen yogurt question. If anyone is interested, the Post did an article about it in July and it mentioned a few of the froyo places already open. Read and google for addresses. :)


                    Does anyone know if any of these have mochi available as a topping?

                    edit: Nevermind! I found at least once place that does. :


                    Mr. Yogato in Dupont: http://www.mryogato.com/menu.php

                    Mochi AND li hing mui, red bean paste, and... balsamic vinaigrette(?!) Strawberries and balsamic are a wonderful combination, but I'm a little doubtul that strawberry yogurt with balsamic vinaigrette would be as good.

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