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Foodie daughter turning 21 and we're celebrating in Washington

I'm bringing my daugher, her roomate and my boyfriend to Washington the first weekend of May for a visit with a dual purpose: look at law schools and celebrate daugher's 21st. My daughter is an adventurous eater who loves good food and we're looking for a special occasion restaurant to celebrate on one of the 3 nights we will be there. My sister and brother in law from NJ will join us for that meal. Price is not a huge issue, but of course, these days, everyone is looking to spend less rather than more.

Here are the problems: Her roomate is not as adventurous and is more of a meat and potatoes kind of girl. My boyfriend does not eat beef, pork, lamb or any other red meat. My brother in law does not eat pork or shellfish.

We are very open to a tasting menu or prix fixe menu, but it would have to be one with a fair amount of choices instead of a strict chef's menu, so that boyfriend and b-i-law could avoid their respective no-no's.

My bf and I ate at Cityzen a couple of years ago on another trip and had a fabulous meal. Is it still great? We would not mind going back if it's still recommended, or would love something similar, with choices or something a little less expensive???

We are staying at the Palomar, but will have a car. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

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  1. From what I understand CityZen is still very good, although I personally have never been. Perhaps you should check out the menu at Central. The restaurant has a great upbeat vibe, a fun and delicious menu and a great bar scene (she is turning 21 after all!). It's cheaper then CityZen and is more centrally located.

    It's a real hot ticket, so I highly recommend reservations. And your daughter might appreciate the open kitchen if she is a foodie, so you can make a special request for a table near the kitchen (although they tend to be a little noisier).

    Central's menu should also have a little something for everyone. The nonadventurous eater can try their great roasted chicken or cheeseburger. Your daughter should check out their faux gras and duck rillettes. And don't skip dessert. The kit kat bar and banana split are playful and delicious.

    1. Restaurant Eve (Old Town Alexandria) and Palena (Cleveland Pakr) both have tasting menus with a wide selection for each course. You can have all seafood or all redmeat at either restaurant. Both are considered top restaurants and fit for special occasions. Restaurant Eve now accepts reservation on Open Table (I think) but Palena still only takes phone reservation.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ericandblueboy

        It might be a nitpick, or limited experience, but I'm not sure I'd recommend Restaurant Eve's tasting menu if you are looking for a wide variety of options, including for nonadventurous eaters (or at least you should check out the menu online).

        I think Cityzen is still a great choice, as are Central and Palena. If you think an Italian restaurant would meet everyone's needs you could try Tosca or Dino.

      2. I second Central and Palena, perhaps Restaurant Eve's bistro menu would be better? All are good choices. I might also add Corduroy to the list.

        1. I would take a young foodie to Cha , Bourbon Steak, or The source.

          7 Replies
            1. re: Elyssa

              i think its the new todd english place. is it open? is it good?

            2. re: keithdcil

              We've been to Bourbon Steak (love it) in Miami, and we've recently been to Da Campo Osteria, a Todd English restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. What type of food is Cha?

                1. re: elegantelliot

                  Elegantellot, you are correct it's an asian fusion/sushi bar. I was fortunate enuoght to be a guest at a private party/dinner after the Obama concert. Dinner was excellent... but I do not know if the food is the regular menu.

              1. re: keithdcil

                What are the prices like at The Source? The online menu looks really good, but there are no prices listed.

              2. I would suggest Corduroy - New American in a great little renovated townhouse. Neighborhood is meh but once you get inside you're golden. Great variety of things from seafood to meat.

                I also second the recs for City Zen and Palena. Both incredible places.

                14 Replies
                1. re: DC Taco

                  Thank you all for your suggestions. I looked up a lot of your recommendations and based on online menus and our dietary limitations, I have narrowed my possibilities down to Cityzen, Restaurant Eve (bistro menu), Proof and Dino.

                  Let me also mention that we are thinking about Central and Founding Fathers for our other 2 dinners in town.

                  I want to make reservations as early as possible, because I think that weekend is graduation weekend. I noticed that opentable doesn't take reservations for any of these place yet, though. It's too early.

                  1. re: tlubow

                    I would call each of the place regarding reservations, rather then relying on OpenTable in this case. They might be able to take your reservation over the phone early or let you know when the reservations will be available, so you can call that day and not get closed out.

                    A lot of places (especially for larger groups) get filled up quickly when the various colleges have graduation.

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      Thank you all for your suggestions. My daughter chose Proof as her first choice. Unfortunately, they only take reservations one month in advance, so I will have to wait and give it a try. In the meantime, we made a back rup eservation at Brasserie Beck since this place appealed to her as a second option and was available.

                      Now I need a little more help: We will do one of these 2 places on Sat. night, and I have a reservation at Central on Monday night. We need to find something for Sunday night - hopefully a little more casual, fun, good food, etc. It can be any type of food/seafood, or ethnic food as long as there are poultry or fish options. We live in South Florida so we don't have great Indian or Chinese food - so either of those may be a treat.

                      Thank you again for your help!

                      1. re: tlubow

                        Although Proof is a hot restaurant right now, the last 2 times I went recently, I made my reservation about a week in advance and there was space, so I do not think you will have trouble getting in at all.

                        1. re: chicken kabob

                          Weekend night, though, anywhere from 6-9 are hard to get.

                        2. re: tlubow

                          Rasika is a delicious, stylish, elegant Indian restaurant in DC.
                          Be sure to get the chocolate samosa for dessert!

                          1. re: chicken kabob

                            Wow! Chocolate samosa?? I really do need to try Rasika. I think I'm going to be trying it in April when my bf comes to visit with his brother and sister-in-law. They love Indian food.

                            1. re: Elyssa

                              Rasika is fantastic!! You will not be disappointed. The chocolate samosa is incredible...my mouth is watering just thinking about it! Also worth a try is the cardamom ice cream. If you can, definitely opt for the tasting menu...

                            2. re: chicken kabob

                              It sounds great, but I don't think Rasika is open on Sunday.

                            3. re: tlubow

                              Indique and Indique Heights for great Indian. Indique is in Cleveland Park, while Indique Heights is in Chevy Chase, on the NW D.C./MD border. They are both less pricey than Rasika, but more traditional as well menu wise. Rasika is more contemporary by way of it's menu. All three restaurants are great for what they are.

                              1. re: tlubow

                                If your daughter's friend isn't adventurous are you sure she'll eat Indian? I think you'll be in a food coma after a weekend of eating, so Heritage in Dupont is a chill Indian restaurant. Ir you might want to grab some "gourmet" pizza at 2 Amy's or Pizza Paridiso. Another fun place is Bistrot du Coin for Belgium beer/mussels and French food. Or Lavandou, a lighter version of French, in Cleveland Park.

                                1. re: Jacey

                                  I 2nd Heritage, Bistro du Coin and Pizza Paradisio. All are good neighborhood spots that don't require (or take in some cases) reservations.

                                  Also in Dupont is Hank's Oyster Bar if you want New England-style seafood. You can also try Hook in Georgetown. I took my parents there this past fall on a Sunday and it was a really nice, relaxing dinner. I usually go there on a Friday or Saturday night and its pretty loud and happening, but on Sunday it had a more relaxed vibe.

                                2. re: tlubow

                                  I've heard New Big Wong in Chinatown is really good (probably the best Chinese food in the District itself). Unfortunately, everything good is posted on the wall in Chinese. The waitstaff is helpful if you engage them. Fresh seafood kept live in tanks.

                                  1. re: tlubow

                                    As an Asian-American who has lived in DC for 3 years, my recommendation would be to skip Chinese food here. Go with Ethiopian (Etete) or Middle Eastern (Neyla, Lebanese Taverna). If you -really- want Asian food, go for Korean BBQ in the suburbs OR Vietnamese noodles (pho) in Arlington.