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In town for the weekend from NYC- need help pleeeaasse :)

My BF is in town for a couple weeks and I will be meeting himthis weekend (Fri-Sun). We need some recs! Ive grabbed some great upscale suggestions off of other threads (Corduroy, Tosca, Restaurant Eve etc), but im looking for some great hole-in-the-wall, distinctly DC type restaurants. Were staying very near Dupont Circle, but are willing to travel for food. We love cozy restaurants with vibrant food. Price isnt tooooo important, but since i have lots of pricier suggestions already, Id love some slightly cheaper options. We eat ANYthing, so dont hold back!

thanks SO much and i promise ill reciprocate next time you need help from the NYC board! :)

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  1. The single most impressive hole-in-the-wall is the amazingly tiny Thai X-ing. Claim to fame here is the salmon red curry. It is a MUST ORDER. Other good orders are the tofu soup and the pad kana.

    Somehow, they have managed to cram about three tables into this incredibly small space. This is not at all like going to a restaurant, more like a friend's apartment for dinner.

    Thai X-Ing
    515 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

    1. It is hard to suggest a distinctly DC type place, mainly because DC is such a multi-ethnic/mulit-national town. You really should try one of the excellent Ethiopian places in town. Etete, Dukem, or Queen Makeda are all good choices and definitely not expensive. While not cozy Zyatinya or Jaleo would be good for tapas.

      1. I second Dinwiddie's Ethiopian suggesitons, and would add 2 Amy's for traditional Naples style pizza. Though go at off hours so you don't have to wait in line. Went for the first time a couple weeks ago and went back the next day it was so amazing. As authentic as anything I've had outside of Italy, and not just their pizza.

        Also, see this recent detailed post from a CA Chowhound's recent rounds at DC's soul food joints. Inexpensive and delicious, assuming cholesterol isn't an issue.


        3 Replies
        1. re: Meg

          thanks so much so far! keep em comin!

          1. re: bastet212

            Forgot to mention the cafe/bar at Palena, across the street from the Cleveland Park metro stop. Terrific food and much more reasonably priced than their formal dining area. And a block away is Dino. Terrific Italian wine bar with delicious and authentic meats and cheeses. Lots of options for nibbling on small plates as well as reasonably priced entrees. It's a lively but cozy atmosphere and ideal spot for a date.

            1. re: Meg

              If you're in DC for a few days, dont waste you time/money on italian. Tosca is one of the top italian spots in DC, you'll find countless better places in NYC.

        2. NYC has mediocre Vietnemese food at best, so I'd suggest a trip to the Eden Center in Falls Church, VA, or to the new Four Sisters location in Merrifield.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dpan

            I'd also reccomend Minh's for Vietnames in between Clarendon/Courthouse, it's wonderful and probably easier to get to via metro.

          2. While Korean is pretty great in NYC, none of the Korean BBQ joints in Manhattan at least measure up to Honey Pig in my opinion. Its a hike in Annandale but worth the drive. I think via transit it might be a pain.

            1. For "distinctly DC," I usually say:

              Ben's Chili Bowl (you will get naysayers, and it won't be the best hot dog you've ever had, probably, but it's DC -- get the halfsmoke with chili);

              Market Lunch at Eastern Market (only breakfast and lunch, no breakfast on Sunday, and you'll wait in line on Saturday but it's worth it, and convenient to the Capitol end of the Mall);

              Ethiopian at one of the places in Little Ethiopia (around 9th and U NW), which dinwiddie already listed. (We recommend against trying Ethiopian in another neighborhood.)

              For "cozy and vibrant" but not necessarily "distinctly DC" or so cheap -- I really like Bar Pilar and Cashion's Eat Place, Both are convenient to, but not right in, DuPont Circle. Cashion's is fantastic, and not expensive, for Sunday brunch, btw.

              I just had a wonderful meal at Corduroy, an end of the year splurge; last year the splurge meal was at Eve, and we were actually pretty disappointed, but apparently in a distinct minority in that, (I think they were having a really bad night).

              Ben's Chili Bowl
              1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

              Queen Makeda
              1917 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

              Eastern Market Grocery
              225 7th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

              Cashion's Eat Place
              1819 Columbia Road NW, Washington, DC 20009

              Bar Pilar
              1833 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

              1. If you're staying in Dupont you might as well book a meal at the Tabard Inn.

                For your money, it's definitely not the best food for your buck. While the food is good (genuinely good, just pedestrian), it is not outstanding. But what you're paying for is the ambiance and nostalgia of the surroundings.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Midwestkid

                  I have to recommend Tabard, too, if only for drinks. I love bringing out of towners there because it's so surprising. In the heart of DC, it's a quiet, cozy, country inn on a gorgeous, quiet, tree-lined street. Grab a seat by the fire and sip a sidecar. You'll think you're in Vermont for an hour.

                2. I know it was mentioned upthread, but go go go to Eden center, get Vietnamese. My favorite is:


                  You can get decent pho and good bahn mi as well.

                  Near you in dupont, Hank's Oyster Bar is one of my favorites, and cheap greek there is Zorbas. There is also a affordable Malay place:

                  Malaysia Kopitiam

                  and one of my favorite lunch carryout joints:

                  Greek Deli

                  Good luck!! But def go to Eden center.

                  1. Staying at Dupont? You should really go to Komi and Obelisk (but chances are you won't be able to get reservation).

                    1. OP...what were your choices? My wife and I are going to DC (Dupont Circle area) from NYC and we were wondering the same stuff...many of these seem like good ideas.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pastoralia

                        Though neither qualifies as hole-in-the-wall, I second Hank's and also Etete (http://www.nomsequitur.com/2008/12/re...). I would not go to Tabard for dinner, but I would definitely go for brunch. Don't miss the donuts.

                        Amsterdam Falafel in Adams Morgan definitely does qualify and makes a great late-night snack ( http://www.nomsequitur.com/2009/01/ne... ).

                      2. Im from NY too and I always bring my out of towner friends to Granville Moores. Its a nice diversion outside of downtown for me too. Not cheap but worth the trip and probably something your friends will remember when they go home. Great food, cool, kinda run down place(faux or not) with extensive Belgian beer selections. Mussels and fries to die for. Take a car though. You will be glad you did.

                        1. Pizza Paradiso is near dupont circle and has grown up versions of pizza from a wood burning stove and is cheap and casual
                          Chinatown Express and Eat First are 2 excellent and crummy but good restaurants located in chinatown (red line galleryplace/chinatgown exit) that have authentic cantonese food. get the roasted duck and pork, clams in black bean sauce and the clay pot chicken.
                          Also Jaleo for tapas (Penns Quarter near Verizon center) and the Cafe Atlantico are good choices. The area near the Verizon center is hopping and will be busy on saturday night due to a hockey game bit will empty after 7pm untill about 10pm

                          1. Hey guys,

                            Im so sorry it took me so long to get back to you all! Here's what we ended up hitting:

                            Pizza paradiso- it had been recommended by several people we know and we needed something easy and low key. The pizza was fantastic but we made the mistake of ordering a lamb "panini." Why we would do that at a pizza place, im not sure.....but it wasnt very good and wasnt even a panini ( not pressed, or even warm). def. stick to the pizza!

                            science club for drinks- just wandered upon it, but really liked the vibe.

                            kramer and afterwords- drinks and books. We sat in the bar on the book side, not the restaurant side. I really liked it, but maybe that was because we were right beside the cookbooks and i could drunkenly ( it was our 4th stop, late at night) wax poetic about alice waters, lol. Good times.

                            Bar Pilar- we LOVED it. Good food, cozy atmosphere. You walk in and it looks like a cozy little irish-like bar at which you might grab a burger, but the menu was so interesting! We had rabbit rillette, pork confit with polenta, anchovies on toast, roasted artichokes, and sardines. The food was just delicious and simple and the prices were good. HIGHLY recommend it!

                            Tabard for drinks- Sat in front of the fire with a bottle of wine. LOVED it too. Whomever said it was just like being in vermont was totally right. Kitchy little inn....will definitely go back for brunch.

                            Those are the only places of note that we made it to. Im bummed that ethiopian didnt happen, but im definitely going back, so there will be another chance. Thank you all sooo much for your help, we had a wonderful time!