Dining in D.C.
- stefan29 May 7, 2009 09:25 AM
I am going to D.C. for a long weekend with my girlfriend and I need some restaurant suggestions. I am not familiar with the scene down there. Looking for anything from highend to wine bars to cheap eats. Anyone can help???
These are the recent posts about DC's seafood restaurants. There are many more; these were just from the first page.
DC DOES rival New York, at least at the high end and with a number of ethnic restaurants which today have achieved a totally different level. Komi, the chef's table at Teatro Goldoni, the chef's table ("table 21") at Volt in Frederick, CityZen (the chef was formerly the chef de cuisine at the French Laundry) and others including excellent seafood restaurants, Black Salt (incredible "tasting room") and Kinkead's (continues in its multiyear excellence) along with Restaurant Eve and it's Tasting Room. Then we can factor in Present (Vietnamese equal to ANY in America) and Han Gang (Korean which approaches the best in Seoul) and Peruvian spit cooked chicken (El Pollo Rico, Crisp and Juicy) and this city is equal to any in America!
re: Joe H
While I wouldn't say that DC rivals NYC in the shere number of restaurants, after all DC is a very small city all things considered, the DC area certainly holds its own in terms of great restaurants, and in some ways is better in terms of ethnic food, especially Ethiopian, Korean, Peruvian, Vietnamese, and Thai foods.
JoeH's suggestions are spot on. If you can get a reservation, you should definitely try Komi. Other places are Corduroy for a calm atmosphere with superbly prepared food from the best ingredients. Palena (the back foorm for a formal dinner, front Cafe for casual meal) is very , very, good. And Restaurant Eve, Kinkead's and The Tasting Room are all excellent. For a good steak you definitely have to try Ray's.
If you are into wine there are plenty of places. Dino has one of the best, and easily the best priced wine lists in the city (especially Italian wine as it is an Italian restaurant) Proof has a very good by the glass selection, and Brasserie Beck is a great place to go if you are into Belgian beer. Citronelle has a fantastic wine list, excellent food and is considered one of the very best restaurants in the city, but it is very expensive.
For Ethiopian food most folks suggest Etete or Dukem and they are both good choices.
re: Joe H
DC rival NY? You have got to be kidding me! First of all, as a former NY resident of 20+ years, I take offense to your statement, especially because all you did was list a few restaurants that are highly rated by Zagat. In my opinion, just because a restaurant is labeled as high end, does not mean that it is a good restaurant. Furthermore, what defines a GREAT restaurant is the combination of things: food, service, and the "feeling" you get when you're there.
Over the years I have been a patron of many restaurants in NY, "high end" and otherwise. I was exited to move down to the DC area, and when I did so last year, I started "touring" the dining scene. There is one thing that DC has an abundance of, Bad Service. Whether it is the combination of poor training, or just apathetic servers. I have dined at neighborhood, ethnic, large-scale, small, AND high end restaurants in the DC metro area. One word comes to mind as an average, Disappointment. When I look back at all the restaurants that I have frequented, the times at which I had a Very Good to Excellent experience, is when I spent over $180 per person. I'm sorry to say that DC needs a Dining-Out makeover. I yearn for the days to come when I can go out and spend $60 on myself and walk away saying "wow" or "I can't wait to come back again," but I fear that it will be a long ways away.
And finally, I think that what DC restauranteurs need to realize is that food needs to be JUST as exciting on a simple/down-to-earth level as it is on an Uber-high-end level. For all of you DC soon-to-be visitors, I suggest you stay away from many of the destinations that are "labeled" as must-see by the reviewers. Here is a great really short list to go by:
High-end Meal: Komi
Steakhouse: Charlie Palmer
Ethnic: .... this all depends on your taste
I hope all of you readers take this to heart and not to offense. As for all restauranteurs and service people out there that disagree- too bad so sad; maybe you should take a train ride up to NY and go on a restaurant-crawl in lower manhattan; I promise you that you'll learn a thing or ten. Thank you.
Some places you might like:
For drinks if it is a romantic weekend I would try to get a reservation at PS7 it is a speakeasy with the best cocktails in our area. The bar area is really pretty and I find old town very charming, as a girl I think it is a good place for a romantic dinner and stroll then drinks. You could eat at Restaurant Eve (they also have Todd Thrasher's cocktails there because same owners) which is one of our top restaurants. I find that space really romantic, also Hank's Oyster Bar has low key good seafood, Vermillion also has good food in that area.
In DC the Penn Quarter area is pretty happening, it is also walkable from the mall. If you like sceney places Zaytinya is always one, with Mediteranean mezzes, Sei has sushi and small plates and is very hip. I think Proof has good food and wine service if you are more into that.
You can easily search the board for the top places in our area. Komi, Citronelle, CityZen, The Source, etc.
Foggy Bottom during the weekend has fewer lunch and breakfast spots open as this is the main business area. Not too too far in Penn Quarter again Cafe Atlantico has good brunch and on Sundays they have latin dim sum brunch. Tabard Inn has a pretty patio and nice brunch if you want something a little more laid back and pretty.
If it is nice Poste, Cafe du Parc, Zaytinya all have nice outdoor seating areas.
You are near Westend, as well which has Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert (if you are from Manhattan though it is nothing like his NY restaurants), Blue Duck Tavern which has great roast meats, Marcel's for high end very rich French.
Are more casual whole in the wall places tend to be out in the burbs a bit more.
But again if you give more details on the mood of the weekend or activities we can be of more help.
If you like beer (I saw a couple posts in your history) Brasserie Beck has a huge selection of Belgium Beers and good food, as well.
For the best seafood I think Blacksalt is easily the best. Hank's is good for casual seafood. But many restaurants prepare seafood well such as Corduroy.
best wine bar and great food at proof. ethnic we have good ethiopian at dukem. in foggy bottom there's an amazing mediterranean place called the greek deli, best avgolemno soup, bread, string beans. great seafood at blacksalt. others would say kinkead's and hook but i've never been either of those places.
Adams Morgan: Cashion's Eat Place
Dupont Circle: Afterword's Cafe
Penn Quarter: Central
central, michel richard's bistro, is a very cool place to pop in. sit at the bar or grab a table. order some soup, a terrine or climb the food ladder. this is a mighty interesting place. you can be as plain as you want or as fancy as your budget allows. i like this place.
tosca is a semi-formal italian restaurant. the food is very good. expect to spend two hours or more over your meal. bonus points if you have a few words of italian. truly a civilized oasis in an otherwise helter-skelter environment.
cafe atlantico is the coolest place for sunday brunch: latino dim sum! yes!! jose andres has outdone himself here. great bar, great food. sit on the top floor after spending time at the bar so you can overlook everything going on below. maybe the best way to while away a sunday in all of dc.
Hi Hounds, sorry to interrupt the chow talk, but we'd like to request that everyone keep the discussion focused on finding delicious stuff in the area (the mission of this board) rather than debate the chow virtues of NYC vs DC (not the mission of this board and hence off-topic). please help us keep the boards focused on sharing chow tips relevant to the region -- it's for the benefit of all the hungry hounds that come here for delicious chow tips.
re: The Chowhound Team
Just returned from DC. I had the chance to eat at some of the restaurants mentioned in this post. Some of my thoughts:
Central - great looking bistro with a lot of energy. Very good food. Big menu, great wines at a decent prices.Yummy desserts Brisk service.
Founding Farmers - go to have fun. Eco designed with catchy theme, solid but average food. So-so service. Vibrant bar scene.
Proof - i really liked this place. Warmly light with cool atmosphere. Great menu with lots of options. Fresh and hot foods perfectly cooked. Huge wine list with great wines by the glass. Friendly and knowledgeable staff
Rasika - contemporary Indian food.Nice looking. Since I'm not very familiar with Indian food I thought there were to many choices. Tasty food. Desserts were fair. Very professional service.
Hook(lunch) - Not very busy. Nicely cooked seafood. Huge portions. Wonderful desserts. Friendly service. Great lunch prix fixe
Jaleo(lunch) above average tapas. I expected more from what others posted
Zaytinya - had apps and drinks. Very cool looking, busy bar, good food. Trendy
Oya - good sushi and cocktails. Dramatic design and hip
i like eating in d.c..
central is a favorite, tosca is wonderful, sunday brunch at cafe atlantico is a hoot.
many, many more places that are worthy of your time and dollars.