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Mar 23, 2009 06:41 AM

Ethnic Restaurant Ideas

I have been asked by a group (4-6) of elderly women for advice and assistance on two unique restaurant experiences for dinner in Washington DC this summer. What is the type of ethnic dining where you feed other people? I saw it on the travel channel but I forget what country was represented by this type of experience. Also any other ideas on dining experiences would be appreciated. These women are adventurous and would enjoy a new experience. The actual food while important, is probably secondary to the experience, if you know what I mean. Thanks for your help!

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  1. Eden Center at 7 Corners in Virginia probably tops all other ethnic experiences. It's a Vietnamese shopping center full of restaurants, bakeries, night (& day) clubs, sandwich shops, grocery stores, all of Vietnamese persuasion. It's a trip for me and I live only 15 minutes away.

    Honey Pig as well as other Korean BBQ joints in Annandale are always interesting.

    Eating with your hands at one of the Ethiopian restaurants?

    1. >>>>What is the type of ethnic dining where you feed other people?<<<<

      for the entire meal?
      "elderly" ladies at eden center might be overwhelmed. i'm just sayin'..... it is hectic, and varied with holes-in-the-wall eateries and shops, there would be lots of walking and it'll be HOT and HUMID. not easy to park. on the other hand, maybe that's what they want. "welcome to little vietnam" (sans the communists....). i shop at that grocery every now and then, and it is interesting to go see the fish in the back, and the ducks in the front, and buy green papaya for my som tum.

      i'd take them to vietnamese in the clarendon neighborhood of arlington, to nam viet. good service. good food. cold beer. calm atmosphere. easy to park. not any "scene" or excitement, but vietnamese is a cuisine that is special here in northern virginia.

      how old are the ladies, what health are they in, where are they from, what foods are they used to eating?
      i'm thinking of my mom. she would not like eating with her hands. (but i think ethiopian food is a one-note johnny, anyway.....).

      2 Replies
      1. re: alkapal

        Alkapal, have you been to Present? includes photos of a recent multi course meal that seven of us had there. I believe it is the equal of any Vietnamese restaurant here or even on the West Coast.

        1. re: Joe H

          joe h! you are a naughty, naughty boy, tempting me with that incredible place while i'm hungry. on their website, their dishes look so beautiful and delicious.

          i also enjoyed the discussion and reviews on don rockwell. i need to start looking at that site.

          my first order at present must include the crispy rockfish, most certainly -- and pretty darn soon, at that!

          thank you very much for the tip.

          how would i ever have known to find vietnamese food at a restaurant called "present"?

      2. If you want ethnic in DC, I'd recommend Ethiopian food for adverturous eaters, but be warned, it is spicy for the most part. There are plenty of places to try, do a search for them on this board.

        The DC area is also well known for Thai food, again there are lots of good places, the ones I know are in the MD suburbs as unfortunately the best ones are not in DC proper.

        In Arlington there are lots of very good Korean restaurants.

        2 Replies
        1. re: dinwiddie

          annandale has the korean restaurants. arlington, none that i know of....

          1. re: dinwiddie

            "The DC area is also well known for Thai food"


          2. They are in their early 70's pretty fit, they all walk about a mile per day. They live in Lancaster County, PA, right in the heart of the Amish country so they are used that type of food but we have lots of different cuisines nearby. While the ideas you gave sound great and I will surely pass them along are there any suggestions for specific restaurants especially those located within the city of Washington.

            1. Not sure, but I have a feeling the "feed to each other" idea is from a travel channel show that visited Etete, an Ethiopian restaurant at 9th and U NW. I don't know that feeding to each other is actually much of an Ethiopian thing or not, but I do remember that another customer fed the host (what's her name, sorry) and they kind of made a big deal of it on the show -- so maybe that's what you're thinking of? I haven't noticed a lot of strangers feeding each other when I've gone out for Ethiopian. BUT I do think your ladies should definitely definitely get Ethiopian food while they're here!!, and Etete would be a good place for them. Actually Queen Makeda, across the street might be better. Dukem around the corner is pretty fun and a lot bigger. There are a couple others around there that are supposed to be good. Just be sure to go somewhere in Little Ethiopia, around 9th and U (using the U St Metro stop), that is recommended, really that's important.

              I think they'd love Eden Center, too, but it's not right in DC and might be a bit of a pain to get to for them. But it's certainly a special thing about this area.

              Would middle eastern food seem "unique" to them? If so, they might enjoy Mama Ayesha's, which is in DC proper (nearish the zoo and convenient to the Woodley Park metro stop) and not too loud or crazy. But it's not as special as Little Ethiopian or Eden Center.

              I wouldn't describe early 70s as elderly! Isn't 70 the new 40? They sound totally up for a good DC visit.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mselectra

                You are exactly right when describing the show on the travel channel, I also forget the name of the host. These ladies are cool and you are right again, 70's are the new 40 and I am in my late 40's and I think these women could run circles around me. Thanks for the excellent recommendations, I think Ethiopian one night and middle eastern, thai, or korean the other night.