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Overnight in Penn Quarter

My wife and I taking a quick "getaway" trip to Washington, DC. We are staying in Penn Quarter. We like to eat and try new and exciting foods on our vacations.

I need some recommendations for Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner and Sunday brunch. We would like to stay in the Penn Quarter area, as we would like to be able to walk and not worry about transportation.

I have heard that the Café Atlantico’s Famous “Nuevo Latino” Dim Sum Brunch is interesting and quite good for Sunday brunch. Also, I thought of dinner at Indebleu on Saturday night and maybe lunch at Zaytinya. Any help and or recommendations would be appreciated.

We like most kinds of food - we love sushi, but we eat it all the time, so we would like to avoid that. Also, we aren't interested in a steakhouse.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. proof for awesome wine and really impressive food — my favorite restaurant in town. rasika for upscale experimental indian if you enjoy those flavors. Teaism for lunch. unless you want to get spendier. I love Zola which is in that area. And for something casual and if you like chicken try Nando's peri-peri.

    1 Reply
    1. re: littlew1ng

      littlew1ng has excellent suggestions- I would like to also add Matchbox for lunch for
      GREAT mini burgers w/ crispy onions, salads, etc!

    2. I wasn't impressed with my last visit to Indebleu. Maybe things have changed, but there are better options in Penn Quarter.

      To the above suggestions I'll put in a shout for Acadiana, an upscale, lively place for creole food. I'm from New Orleans and I think it hits the mark on many dishes.

      Rasika is wonderful. It's Eurpean-inspired Indian - I've never had a less than wonderful meal there.

      Zaytinya has its detractors, but I like it, especially for lunch when it's less insane than at dinner. If the weather is nice, sit outside.

      I like the food at Oyamel very much - the service can be bad, though. If you sit at the bar you can order from the full menu with a high probability of good service.

      For drinks, I like the bar at 701, especially when there is live jazz (not so hot on the food) and the lovely patio at Poste, in the Hotel Monaco.

      Finally, you are not very far from Corduroy (certainly walkable if you are somewhat able-bodied) right across from the convention center on 9th. It has a bit of a persnickety dress code (so ask when you call for reservations) but the food is divine.

      1. I wasn't too crazy about Indebleu, it seemed to be confused whether it was a blingy night club or an Indo-European (to borrow a linguistic term) restaurant, but that was it's original incarnation, and I hear things have changed.

        Rasika however has never disappointed. if one is even just indifferent about Indian, it's a go-to place.

        1. thanks for all the great suggestions.

          I think we are going to do the “Nuevo Latino” Dim Sum Brunch at Cafe Atlantico on Sunday.

          For Saturday lunch, we are going to try matchbox. For dinner on Saturday night, we are leaning towards Rasika.

          Any thoughts on the Source (Wolfgang Puck's place)? Or Central Michel Richard?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Phillyfan77

            i had a great meal at the source but it was in the lounge, not the dining room. kobe beef sliders were great, the buns were dotted with these awesome black sesame seeds, pork belly pot stickers were insanely good, crab cakes, french fries. bar food. everyone says the dining room is great.

            1. re: littlew1ng

              Agreed - I love the lounge athe Source and have never successfully left without multiple orders of fries. And Central's lobster burger is a splurge that is not to be missed. However, I wouldn't replace Rasika. It's hard to find anything like it anywhere. Get the crispy spinach appetizer. Perhaps start the evening with an order of fries at The Source before walking over to Rasika? Perhaps share the lobster burger at Central for lunch?

          2. I loved the brunch at Cafe Atlantico. There are a ton of options, in hindsight I wished we'd done the tasting menu at $35 (IIRC), as I think it's a better deal and they serve you the highlights of the menu so you don't have to muddle through it yourself. Service is ok, but as the restaurant is spread out over at least three stories, it can be a bit of work sending a dish back if you get the wrong one. The tasting menu would have eliminated alot of confusion for us at least. The food is amazing and fun, but I wouldn't recommend it if you're looking for anything close to a "classic brunch".

            1 Reply
            1. re: mjhals

              Here's my report from the weekend:

              We had dinner this past Saturday at Rasika. It was an excellent meal. We tried a variety of appetizers, including the Palaak Chaat - fantastic. The calamari was amazing, nicely spiced and high quality squid. We also had the ragda patties - potato lightly spiced formed in a patty with chick peas and a fantastic sauce. We shared the tandoori lamb chops and a few vegeterian dishes. All terrific. The bill was extremely reasonable, even with the cocktails we had. I hope to be back many more times.

              What are the other restaurants like in the Raskisa group (Bardeo, Ardeo, etc...)?

              Sunday brunch at Cafe Atlantico was good, but not remarkable. We tried almost all of Dim Sum options (large party) with extra orders of the Conch Fritters. It is worth it just to go and have a brunch full of conch fritters. The scallops were nicely seasoned and tasty. While it was good and I recommend the experience, I don't think I need to make a return trip.

              Thanks for all the recommendations and help