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Feb 20, 2009 01:05 PM

Eating near DC Convention Center on a student budget


My girlfriend and I are heading up to DC for a conference next weekend and are looking for recommendations on where to eat around the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. We would appreciate both lunch and dinner suggestions and any type of cuisine is fine! As we are on a student budget, we're specifically looking for lunch places that run below $10 and dinners below $16 per person. Less is always better, but at the same time if a few more dollars could get us a noticeably better experience, we might be able to splurge! Thanks in advance!

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  1. Try searching for the Penn Quarter neighborhood for ideas. There's lots and lots of places, many have happy hour deals that could be great for you (PS7, for example). 7th street, south of the Convention Center, has a lot of good places for lunch. There's a Five Guys burgers at H and 8th. Matchbox, also on H, is really popular for beer, miniburgers, and pizza and might be what you're looking for (I don't quite get the appeal, myself, but it's fun).

    You might also do well to get out of that neighborhood and up towards U Street, it's an easy short Metro ride and then you can get great Ethiopian food which is amazingly inexpensive, plus there's lots of other good places for a budget up there.

    You'll get plenty of other suggestions, but that's a starting point.

    1. Chinatown Express would probably be a good cheap lunch for you. It is in Chinatown so a few blocks walking downtown, their menu is on menupages DC.

      Also Nando's Peri Peri for chicken would be a good cheap option in Chinatown too, with spicy good chicken.

      A bit further there is a greek deli on 14th and K that is good, and there is a German Deli on 13th and H that is really good for lunch, but I forget the name. That would be a walk in the other direction.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ktmoomau

        Nando's is a great rec.

        Don't know the greek on 14th &K; where is it compared to DC Coast?

        Also, the "Cowboy plates" at Capitol Q in Chinatown are good value.

        Not that close, but if you're strolling toward the White House, the "half" pasta at Old Ebbitt's Express is always a great deal for lunch. In the National Press food court, there's a good $6.99 half tandoori chicken special with naan at Naan & Beyond.

        1. re: ktmoomau

          KT, 13th and H - you're thinking of Cafe Mozart

          1. re: hill food

            That's it. And the Greek place is Port of Piraus (sp?) it's a chain I think, but has good stuff at not too bad prices, used to be near my old office, I liked their falafel.

            1. re: ktmoomau

              I was never crazy about Piraeus, except their Avegelemono soup and they carry H+H bagels

        2. I am a big fan of the Saints Paradise Cafeteria. Nice people, delicious soul/Southern food that is within your budget and located close to the convention center. The fried chicken, pork chops, greens, sweet potatoes, and most desserts are top notch. I don't care for the ribs. They taste as if they were cooked in a crockpot with bbq sauce. They serve breakfast, lunch, & dinner.

          Here is a writeup from the Post:

          I hope you enjoy your visit to DC.

          2 Replies
          1. re: OldSchool

            Mayur Kabob Place at 1108 K NW (very close to convention center). Lunch buffet is 7.50.
            Momiji Sushi on H street in Chinatown has good lunch special prices.
            Second, third, fourth Nando's.
            Kanlaya is a decent Thai place in Penn Quarter with very reasonable lunch prices.
            If you are willing to metro, which is easy and cheap, check out both the U Street Corridor (get out at African American Civil War Memorial exit and walk east to 9th for Ethiopian, or west along U for just about everything else.
            If you wal west as far at 14th (not a long walk, very interesting), turn south on 14th. A few blocks south is the unassuming Bar Pilar, which has terrific small plates of excellent quality. Very casual.
            Rice, near Bar Pilar, is a lively place for Thai fusion.
            If you metro to Cleveland Park, you have a lot of choices. At the metro is Palena. It is an upscale, high-priced experience, except in the cafe. Beware that the cafe gets slammed. Walk downhil from the Cleveland Park metro. Dino has great dinner specials. Spices is very reasonable, very casual. Nam Viet is reliable for Vietnamese. Quite reasonable. Bardeo, a sister bar to restaurant Ardeo next door, has nice small plates in a very nice setting. Vace has excellent pizza (no dining in - get a slice and eat on the street like everyone else).

            1. re: dcandohio

              Second Mayur. Love this place. Lots of good food - including veggies - on the lunch platter.

          2. If you want to stay near the Convention Ctr, then Vegetate would fit the bill. It's good, affordable, and about 3 blocks away. The grilled cheese is fantastic!

            1. Don't miss Full Kee at 6th & H for shrimp dumpling soup and some barbequed pork. Cheap cheap.

              Also, many restaurants are extending restaurant week through next week so check out the RW website to see who is still doing it in the area. If you're willing to switch dinner with lunch, you can get great three course meals for $20 and then just go easy on dinner. I ate at PS7 twice last week for lunch since I was at a meeting next door and was pretty happy with it.

              Another place I like in the area is Mehak Indian Restaurant. 817 7th St NW. Nothing fancy but the food is good and reasonably priced at dinner. Getting a few apps and sharing an entree will help to keep the price down too. Lunch is probably cheaper.

              Fados on 7th has reasonably good fish and chips and beer on tap. Won't break the bank. Have fun.