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Oct 2, 2008 05:41 AM

Capitol Hill/RFK Recs?

Hi Chowhounds,

I'll be taking my husband to a DC United game this Saturday, and am looking for restaurants nearby- sounds like that's Capitol Hill. We'll be eating early (5:30/6 PM), so reservations shouldn't be a problem, but we'll be dressed casually for the game. $$ is no object- thanks!


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  1. there's a new "mid-east" style place on 8th street within first block south of penn. it's on the east side of the street. good ground lamb kabobs! mezze platter was nice, too. many people ordered the "pide" -- like a turkish calzone.... http://turkishkitchenmelbourne.blogsp...

    and i like banana cafe there on 8th as well (just a bit further south -- i.e., toward 395 -- than the mid-east place), although others here on the boards don't agree. i like their zarzuela de mariscos and love their ceviche! carnitas were pretty darn good, too.

    i want to try levi's port cafe, for fried chicken and more. (8th just the other side of 395 overpass).

    7 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      The med/mid-east place is called Cafe 8.

      Personally I think Banana Cafe is about as mediocre as they come.

      Also on 8th I like Old Siam for thai, Belga Cafe for Belgium food and beer, and everything I've had at the new Lola's is quite food (especially the salad with salmon).

      If you don't mind being further up the Hill near the House side you go to Sonoma for wine and cheese/small plates or Good Stuff Eatery for burgers and delicious shakes.

      1. re: Elyssa

        elyssa, i know you don't care for banana cafe, but i'm curious what you've eaten there that turned you off? people i've taken there all like the food. we've only been there on weekday lunch.....

        1. re: alkapal

          I've had at least 10+ different items there, usually the combo plates they offer for lunch. We use to go here a lot for work for going away parties or birthday parties because the one vegan in our group could order the veggie platter without cheese.

          I just always found the food so-so, the seasoning wasn't overly strong nor just right. It seemed slapped together. It didn't have a real authentic feel but it didn't feel exciting or new either. Not to mention our service could be slow at times.

          It's not my favorite type of food either....but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate it if done well and cooked with care. I personally feel they have rested on their laurels. That they were probably new and exciting about 10+ years ago but now I just feel like its so-so. We ate there a lot because it was one of the only options in the neighborhood for a long time. Now that there are other restaurants I would choose not to return.

          1. re: Elyssa

            I have to agree. I have seen Banana Cafe several times mentioned on these boards and never understood why. Everything I have had there is pretty greasy. The service has always been great and I like their patio but I wouldnt direct someone there.

            1. re: anunez

              yep, different stokes for different folks!

      2. re: alkapal

        cafe 8 menu:
        we got the "doner kebab" platter -- two nice size kebabs. rice was ok. served with broiled tomato, but no great shakes on that. had to ask for lemon to squeeze on kebab and perk it up a bit.

        the greek salad was fresh, and enough to split for two. on the app platter: hummus was ok, but the falafel had a weird taste and gooey texture; cigar borek was hot and crispy; stuffed vine leaves pretty decent. flatbread was good.

        1. oh, don't bother with the indian, or that "finn mccool's" place -- both on 8th.

          i forgot, there is also a decent central american/mexican place, on the west side of the street. i believe it is called "las placitas"

          1. There are a number of good options in the Capitol Hill area depending on what you are in the mood for.

            Locanda is a nice spot for italian, located right on Pennsylvania. I wouldn't be TOO casually dressed for it.

            Montmartre on 7th street near Eastern Market serves quality bistro-type fare.

            Belga Cafe is a nice spot as well on 8th Street.

            Old Siam is serviceable thai food.

            I personally would avoid Fin Mccools, Banana Cafe and Good Stuff Eatery. Good Stuff has decent burgers, but after that, everything else is mediocre at best...their fries included.

            Levi's Port Cafe, to me, is one of the best kept secrets in the area. Chicken is fried to order and the mac and cheese is awesome. If you are in the mood for that kind of meal, Levi's is your best bet.

            2 Replies
            1. re: caphil07

              I agree with everything caphil07 said. Not wild about Old Siam - only if you have a real hankering for Thai would I go, otherwise it's best to try the other recommended spots. I actually ate lunch at Cafe 8 last week. I used to live in Turkey, so I was particularly interested in trying some of the dishes. My friend ordered the falafel and it wasn't that great. On the other hand, I had the red pepper, pomegranite and walnut dip combination and that was very tasty with a kick. The bread is fairly dismal that they served, however, with the tasty dip. They should have had warm pita bread, and instead it was this thick, cold, flavorless bread for the spread - not very good. I did like my canoe shaped pizza, even if it tasted in no way like the Turkish pizza it was attempting to emulate. With a few changes, I think Cafe 8 might be worth checking out in the long term....

              1. re: isabellaflynn

                Thanks to all! I think we'll try Cafe 8, Monmartre, or Belga...

            2. If you're coming via car from the north, consider one of the taquerias in Bladensburg. We've been DC United season ticket holders from the beginning, and our pre-game ritual is El Tapatio.

              El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant
              4309 Kenilworth Ave, Bladensburg, MD 20710