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Lunch Near 18th & K

I just took on a new project and will be working out of an office on 18th and K for the next few months. I'm pretty excited to be checking out a new area of town and their lunch options (as much as I love Lola's and Eastern Market, there isn't a whole lot of variety).

I will be getting take out most days and am not interested in spending a whole lot of money ($15 tops and it should be really tasty). I've eaten at Corner Bakery twice so far (I really like it...as far as chains go its perfect for lunch). I know Chop't and Au Bon Pain is nearby which I'm sure I will check out but any other ideas?

How is Nirvana? Thinking about checking that out today, but haven't heard much about it. I like sandwiches, salads, Asian/Indian, noodles, pasta, burgers....not really into super unhealthy stuff or fried foods.

Oh I also know I'm not to far away from Breadline so I'm pretty excited about that! Haven't had a chance to go down there yet (been super busy) but maybe tomorrow!!


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  1. I used to work at 17th and I, and I miss it so much! The food options are great:

    First off Breadline is awesome, only a couple blocks away from you Penn in between 18th and 19th. I really like their salads and their sandwiches, I really liked the sausage one, the chicken and goat cheese and would often get specials too.

    You are also close to Cafe Asia, I would often call in for their sushi lunch special with is around $9, it had 4 pieces, a roll and a big tub of miso soup. Their other entrees are huge I would often make 2 meals out of them.

    Dicky's at 17th and I has good custard and great cuban sandwiches. They have other panini's too.

    The Art Gallery Grille has good entree salads and other things and The Bottom Line is decent, I often got specials there pretty good too.

    You of course are close to the Greek Deli now at 19th and M.

    Julia's Empanadas isn't too far away. There is a Baja Fresh at 18th and I, and in the basement of the building there at 18th and I, I forget the name of the building, something international or trade related, there is a food court with a five guys, a chinese place that is decent and some other things.

    There is a little peruvian restaurant around 18th and I in the basement of a place that is good. And Aroma has decent to good Indian food, although Bombay Club is close and some of their stuff isn't too pricey.

    Heidi's Bakery on H between 17th and 18th has some decent sandwiches too, they are very big.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau

      Oh and then there is Teaism at 17th and H.

      1. re: ktmoomau

        This is a GREAT list to start with. Thanks so much!

        Any thoughts on Nirvana??

        1. re: Elyssa

          Never went, only had so much time to explore... I am a little sad their are now frozen yogurt places that are a decent walk away. I used to time court runs to correlate with the Penn Quarter market so I could get Dolcezza Gelato on the way back to the office.

          1. re: Elyssa

            Nirvana has a decent vegetarian Indian buffet. That said, it can be hit or miss and they do specific regions of Indian food depending on the day.

        2. Pret is pretty close to that.
          Breadline is great, but I've only had the veggie stuff. The mascarpone whoppie pie type of things are awesome - you have to try one.

          Also, not THAT far away if the weather is nice is the juice joint.

          Additionally, cafe asia/nooshi are not far away.

          $15 is a lot ($300 a month!) which gives you a lot of leaway to find some good stuff!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Jeserf

            I rarely spend $15 but if I know I'm going to be working late (through dinner time) and then rushing home and having a bowl of ceral for dinner I will have a bigger lunch. (Plus I bring lunch a lot but w/ all these new options I'm having a little fun :) )

            Has anyone tried Java Green?

            1. re: Elyssa

              Java Green is great, however its all vegetarian and vegan so be forewarned. They have soups, salads, sandwiches, and noodles and has a lot of Asian inspired dishes. They also have some excellent mock meat.

              1. re: districtSW

                Java Green's quality has been getting panned a lot lately on a lot of boards and sites. Prices went up a while ago, too.

          2. girl. great lunch places around here. organic to go, 17th and K, for quick and healthy. five guys or bourbon chicken in international square for guilty pleasure. capitol grounds at 16th and K for fast, delicious sandwiches. Teaism like somebody said. GREEK DELI, YES. Vidalia at 19th and M for longer lunches. CF folks. Oval room at 16th and I and of course, equinox for drinks/dinner after an exhausting day.

            10 Replies
            1. re: littlew1ng

              Eeeuuwwlll you could actually get to the Friday Equinox happy hours, I have been wanting to make those since last fall... stupid stupid Fairfax.

              1. re: ktmoomau

                Oooooo good call on the Equinox HH. Haven't checked that out but its one of my favorite restaurants.

                Checked out Nirvana's Indian lunch buffet today. It was ok. I don't have a clue what I ate but it hit the spot. The circulate the regions every day and I'm a little clueless when it comes to Indian cuisine and regions. I know I love Heritage India but don't know what region it is.

                I would be willing to try another day (or if someone knows what days of the week are best that would be helpful).

                1. re: Elyssa

                  From the website

                  Our lunch buffet changes everyday, and is always as good, if not better, than the day before. Each day of the week is a diffferent region from India, so the tastes never get boring.

                  Monday - North Indian
                  Tuesday - Gujarati
                  Wednesday - South Indian
                  Thursday - Savories
                  Friday - Rajasthani

                  1. re: Jacey

                    Yes, I saw this on the website. I went on Thursday (it was just ok). I just don't particularly know the difference between the different regions to know which days might be best.

                    I probably will try Naan and Beyond the next time anyway. It was around $12-13 for the buffet which I think is a bit expensive for lunch, especially because I did take out.

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      Naan and Beyond is great! I used to work in the area and ate their about once a week. it's usually mobbed at peak lunching times (everything in that area is), but the line moves quickly (way better than say, Potbelly... which'll cost you at least 20 mins in wait time) and is worth it! I get the "meat platter special" which is $8 or $9 at lunch, and comes with butter chicken, a vegetable curry, a plentiful helping of rice and a naan. HUGE lunch and pretty delicious.

                      1. re: ec_washington55

                        That sounds great! Thanks for the rec.

              2. re: littlew1ng

                I know I have to try Greek Deli one of these days. My bf can't believe I've lived/worked in this city for so long and haven't tried it. Every time I walk by (when I was previously in the area for a meeting) I would see a long line and head elsewhere. But I promise to try it :)

                1. re: Elyssa

                  dude, i am eating their avgolemno soup right now. it is amazing. BEST BREAD EVER. for heavens sake go soon!

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    Tuna on pita or egg salad on pita are surprisingly good there.

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      Get the pork if its the special of the day. So tender and juicy!!!

                  2. Java Green on 19th is great for vegetarian/vegan (I love the spicy "beef" sandwich and their Jobche noodles). They have great healthy choices IMO.

                    The greek deli on 19th btw L & M is great as well as Nooshi (Asian) next door.

                    Nirvana is pretty good, but a bit pricey for lunch IMO and it's buffet at lunch. For my money I think Naan and Beyond is a better lunch option (carry out) on 17th & L.

                    For a great sandwich, I really like Capital Grounds at 17th & K (around the corner from Farragut North).

                    Good luck!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mrgenius

                      You know what? It was Naan and Beyond I was looking for. I agree...I paid around $12 or so for a lunch buffet and there were not a whole of options.

                      I knew there was a well-liked Indian lunch spot in the area....it must be Naan and Beyond. I'll check that out next time I have a hankering for Indian.

                    2. Malaysia Kopitiam is at 18th and M.

                      1. Nooshi on 19th above M is my current local favorite for Asian noodles and sushi. Next door is the Greek deli which always has long lines out the door but I've yet to make it inside but I will soon. CF folks is also on 19th. I work across the street from Nirvana, vegetarian Indian but have only eaten catered food at the office, which has been fine but not outstanding. I've been told the lunch buffet is decent. Java green at 19th and K has very good vegetarian and vegan food worth trying, although you can wait for a long time if you order soup - its made to order. Also second the recommendation for Julia's Emanadas on Connecticut above M. Chopt and Corner Bakery are ok if you've got a salad craving. Still haven't made it to Breadline. I tried the lentil soup at au bon pain in International Square today and it was very good, tasted homemade. There is also a Malaysia Kopitiam at 19th on M next to the "Gentlemen's Club".I have had excellent noodle soups there. And of course 5 guys in International Square if you have the occasional grease craving. There is also a Cuban place in the square that serve a variety of foods but I've only eaten there once since most of the food is fried and/or pretty heavy for lunch.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Ellen

                          Nooshie is the same owners as Spices, and for some reason I think Spices is much better - noticably better.

                          Julias Empanadas is awesome - the one in columbia heights has a $5 or $6 lunch special - one sweet empanada, one savery empanada, and a drink. It's SO good.

                          1. re: Ellen

                            Second CF Folks. The crabcake isn't any longer among the best in the area, but I had a solid special in mid-January.

                          2. There is this sushi joint (I think it's 19th and K - top of Washington Sports Club) that is pretty good. Japanese owned and operated - you can get a rainbow roll with bowl of miso soup for 5.25 + tax if I remember correctly. Also, there is a sandwich shop in the next building (closer to 20th and K) that has the best freshly carved turkey sandwiches. I can't remember the name at all but they also have freshly carved roast beef as well. Their cookies are addictive too! Enjoy.

                            1. Go to Breadline on a Friday and ask for their bbq on a ciabatta. A five-star Chowhound delight. Ask for the flavored water to drink.

                              1. Thinking about checking out Cafe Asia today. Can't decide if I'm in the mood for fried rice or sushi. Has anyone had their fried rice before? Do you have a favorite?

                                Thoughts on which rolls are the best?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Elyssa

                                  i have not had their fried rice but the sushi rolls have been pretty disappointing. good sashimi and nigiri. you know, if you want a great roll, kaz sushi bistro is about 90 times better than cafe asia and it's like two blocks away...at 19th and I.

                                  1. re: Elyssa

                                    Don't go to Kaz for lunch if you have a time limit, and it is super expensive compared to Cafe Asia. Cafe Asia isn't super creative but they have good fresh fish. I always got the sushi lunch special because it was cheap and filling. I like their spicy tuna better than any high end sushi joint's. I also like the cucumber rolls and a couple others that I can't think of their names. I am never really disappointed, but I never expect tobe wowed, just to have good, cheap, fresh sushi.

                                  2. I went to Pret last week...it was awesome. Boyfriend LOVED the salad and love bar that I got him...the other guys at his unit were like "oooo what's that?".

                                    1. to the earlier posters that have walked by Greek deli and moved on because of the line - GO the line moves fast.

                                      just get a Gyro or Moussaka or whatever is on special the first time and grab a takeout menu so you can make up your mind early for the next time. and for god's sake don't hold the door open. Kostas is usu. just kidding, but he can be a little cranky (and his food is so worth it)

                                      also Sichuan Pavilion takeout in the Int'l Square food court is fairly good. they have a street front sit-down operation as well on K.

                                      1. can't believe i forgot to mention daily market. they use actual grilled chicken in all their yummy sandwiches and always have a good soup selection...last week had this maine lobster chowder in a creamy tomato-rosemary soup.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: littlew1ng

                                          Where is Daily Market located? I feel like I've seen it before.

                                          1. re: Elyssa

                                            k street and connecticut, next to nine west (resist the urge) and bravo bravo (never had lunch from there). like a few doors down from farragut north metro stop.

                                            1. re: littlew1ng

                                              Ok I know exactly where it is now. And btw...I didn't resist the urge at Nine West. I bought a pair of shoes on my lunch break last Friday. :)

                                              1. re: Elyssa

                                                it's a great area to work in for the shopping. at the risk of getting a lecture from the chowhound team, you should go browse through unique boutique up at i street and 17th. maybe it's 18th. maybe it's connecticut actually? ANYWAY. i know it has a cheesy name but they have the cutest stuff there. it's next door to the dickey's custard place which i think was already mentioned on this thread. to make this post legit i guess i'll mention the fantastic cuban sandwich and panini amor from there...i crave it all the time.

                                        2. I just started a new job in this part of town (Yaaaa for a new job!!!) and am wondering if there is anything new I should check out that might have no been there back in March.

                                          I've mostly been grabbing lunch at Jack's and Nooshi due to the crappy weather and the fact that my first week was crazy busy.

                                          I'm trying to eat more healthy for lunch these days, so anything healthy with flavor is always appreciated. Thanks!

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: Elyssa

                                            did you ever wind up going to greek deli? their avgolemno soup is perfect for this weather :)

                                            1. re: littlew1ng

                                              Not yet. The line is always so darn long haha

                                              1. re: Elyssa

                                                hahahahaha i know girl. but don't worry it moves fast!!

                                            2. re: Elyssa

                                              Juice Joint and Organics to Go can be healthy depending on what you order. Well, all places can be healthy--or not--depending on what and HOW you order.

                                              1. re: Jacey

                                                I heard the sandwiches at Organics to Go are about $10+ each. Yikes!

                                                1. re: Elyssa

                                                  I think most sandwiches at places are rip-offs. I don't know how much they are here because I never get them. Go with the salad bar or other options.

                                            3. If you want to go for a little walk, I suggest the new G Street Food -- near intersection of G and 17th - opened by Mark Furstenburg, who founded Breadlines and Marvelous. Great sandwiches.