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May 20, 2009 05:07 PM

Fun restaurant in DC to celebrate graduation after day at the zoo?

I am taking a trip to the DC zoo with a friend of mine that just graduated from college. I want to take her out to dinner somewhere afterwards, so I need some ideas. Originally she wanted to go to the Rainforest Cafe in Towson, MD but we just found out that it closed! So I think we are in the mood for something similar. It would be enjoyable to be in a fun "theme" like atmosphere with some interesting food and lots of choices! We'd also like to be able to get a fun dessert and/or fruity drinks. Is there anything like that in DC?

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  1. Sorry, Nicole Marie, I think Rainforest Cafe pretty much has cornered the market on zoo-themed restaurants. However, there is a Kenyan restaurant called Safari DC on Georgia Ave. It is not a 'theme' restaurant, though. It really is Kenyan in a neighborhood where some real Kenyan people might live nearby. Music and dancing late on Fri/Sat nights.

    Safari DC
    4306 Georgia Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20011
    Monday - Thursday 5pm - 12am
    Friday - Saturday 5pm - 3am
    Sunday 5pm - 2am

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve

      Lebanese Taverna on Ct Ave....great lebanese food, you can eat outside, decent wine list, and the same metro stop as the zoo...what a deal...

    2. This is just brainstorming, not a recommendation. How about Medevial Times in Arundel Mills? I've never eaten there, but it certainly has a theme atmosphere. It's nowhere near the zoo....but, then again, neither was the Rainforest Cafe in Towson!

      Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
      7000 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover, MD

      1. Zola kind of has the spying theme, so that may be fun - moreso if you went to the Spy Museum, of course. Otherwise, Zengo, while not really thematic, has heavily fusion food, lots of mojito choices, and a very high-energy vibe.

        1 Reply
        1. re: katecm

          These might be a little pricey, but you might like Cheesecake Factory in Friendship Heights (on the redline). Upbeat atmosphere and TONS of food options--and huge portions.

        2. Thanks so much for all the suggestions so far! I think we may have to sacrifice the whole "theme" idea and just go with a good restaurant... so any other ideas of a unique place to eat are welcome!!!!

          5 Replies
          1. re: MissNicoleMarie

            I love Palena, one stop up on the Red Line literally next to the Cleveland Park Metro. However, even the more casual cafe/bar in front is more on the refined side than "fun," and it may be pricier than what you're looking for. But it was opened by former White House chefs and the food is terrific, including the desserts; I can't speak for fruity drinks.

            Otherwise, maybe Pizzeria Paradiso? (I haven't been there myself, I like Two Amys.)

            Edit: I just saw your other post and Palena will be too steep and the other places likely won't have the drinks/atmosphere you're looking for. Cafe Atlantico might meet your criteria except price.

            3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

            1. re: MissNicoleMarie

              What about Petit Plats in Woodley Park? it is close walking distance to the zoo and they have some private rooms?

              I don't much like the other restaurants on that strip

              1. re: MissNicoleMarie

                How about Spices, then? It's a mix of Asian foods, and they have some really lovely sushi. I have taken people there who claim to "not like Asian food" (huh?) and they have loved it. It's also very reasonably prices, nicely high-energy, and just a few blocks from the zoo.

                1. re: katecm

                  Spices is very good, and up the block is one of those yogurt shops that could be fun afterwards

                  1. re: katecm

                    I second, or third, this recommendation, having gone there for the first time last week and had a great meal. I don't know that much about Asian food, but considered it 'great' because the food tasted as though it was made with very fresh ingredients and had a lot of good flavor. The spicy scallop sushi was my favorite, but other good dishes were both of the dumpling appetizers, the 'Big Duck' (just like peking duck), the barbeque eel roll and a roll filled with tuna, pineapple, and cucumber.

                2. Mama Ayesha is close to the zoo and has great middle eastern/lebanese cuisine. Very cool atmosphere and pretty affordable (at least as much as I's been awhile since I've been there).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Elyssa

                    I've eaten at Mama Ayesha's recently. Good food and a very vibrant atmosphere. It's much more exotic inside than one would think from the outside appearance. Definitely worth a try near the zoo.