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Nov 7, 2008 01:58 PM

Three Fun Family Dinners in DC

We're coming to DC next week and I am looking for three great family dinners. The kids are 12, 10, and 7. Upscale is not a problem but they are not particularly adventurous eaters -- they don't need a kids menu but they do need some good basic options like a burger or steak, caesar salad, pasta, or something fried ;-). I'm thinking that our best bets would be American, Italian, seafood, and maybe bistro. In doing my research, the following sounded good: Central, Matchbox, Ella's, Hank's Oyster Bar, Westend Bistro, Clyde's, Old Ebbitt's Grill, Paolo's, Pizzeria Paradiso. I think Jaleo seems fun but I don't know if it's too adventurous for the kids. I'd like experiences that feel very DC, either because of the ambience or because it's one of the city's best and/or most popular.

Here's the itinerary, location-wise:

First night should be near the hotel, since we'll probably be tired. We're at the Embassy Suites Downtown, on 22nd. I have Firefly booked right now but am open to suggestion.

Night 2 we were thinking of eating in and exploring Georgetown.

On night 3, two of our group are going to a concert at the Verizon Center, while the other three may try to catch a movie. We need something convenient for both, either near the concert venue (or a convenient Metro stop) and close to a nearby cineplex.


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  1. My children are very close in age to yours and my recommendations for Georgetown would be Pizzeria Paradiso or Clydes. I would not recommend Paolo's. For dessert, a real treat would be a visit to Kafe Leopold.

    1. On Night 3, I'd recommend Jaleo for tapas...I know you said they were not adverturous eaters, but mine aren't either and they love this place. Most other kids I know really like it too.

      3 Replies
      1. re: marleymom

        What sorts of things will they eat there? What kind of wait can we expect around 6 pm on a Saturday?

        1. re: jaschultze

          you can check out the menu at There are a lot of choices to chose from and some are exotic and others very rustic spanish style cooking.
          they do not accept reservations but the place is large and seats a lot of people.
          the biggest problem on Saturday night will be that the Caps play the Rangers tonite with gametime at 7:05PM so all restaurants in the Chinatown/Verizon Center/Penns Quarter area are going to be busy and how long of a wait is going to be a roll of the dice.

          1. re: dining with doc

            Close to Georgetown is a new restaurant called Founding Farmers that is environmentally friendly and serves local food. i went last weekend, and I really enjoyed it. It would be perfect for kids. I started w/ the bacon "lollipops", had grilled cheese w/ tomato soup for my main, and chocolate pudding for dessert- all excellent. They have an extensive menu including short ribs, salads, gourmet flatbreads, even deviled eggs and kettle korn!

      2. Central and Matchbox are definitely great choices.

        For pizza though, I would go to Two Amy's instead of Ella's or Pizzeria Paradiso - IMO Two Amy's has the best pizza in d.c. and also delicious appetizers.

        While Clyde's and Old Ebbitt are basic American and will definitely have items for your children to enjoy, if you are looking for great food you will be disappointed. Every time I've been to either the food just doesn't taste fresh...

        Some other places you might want to look into would be Brassiere Beck, Creme Cafe, and Marvin.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dcfoodie13

          I second Creme (be sure to get the mushroom appetizer and warm coconut cake for dessert), Matchbox (be sure to get the amazing mini-burgers w/ crispy onions) and
          Central and 2 Amy's!

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