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Overnight in Penn Quarter

p
Phillyfan77 Jul 14, 2009 02:13 PM

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. littlew1ng Jul 14, 2009 02:24 PM

    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
      c
      chicken kabob Jul 14, 2009 04:20 PM

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

    2. d
      dcandohio Jul 14, 2009 04:22 PM

      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. hill food Jul 14, 2009 07:27 PM

        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. p
          Phillyfan77 Jul 15, 2009 06:56 AM

          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
            littlew1ng Jul 15, 2009 08:00 AM

            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
              k
              katecm Jul 15, 2009 09:48 AM

              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. m
            mjhals Jul 15, 2009 07:01 AM

            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
              p
              Phillyfan77 Aug 10, 2009 07:14 AM

              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

            2. t
              tifferbe_2000 Aug 10, 2009 07:52 AM

              Okay I have a few recommendations:

              Zaytinya is a must. Its my favorite restaurant in the city. Its Mediterranian/Middle Eastern that serves small plates (mezzes) mostly. Food and service is both very good.

              My recommendations for Zaytinya:

              Hünkãr Begendi -Lamb shank with eggplant puree

              Chicken Za’atar with preserved lemon

              Patates Tiganites Me Yaourti- crispy potatoes with yogurt and caper salt. I could eat my weight in those things.

              For something quick yet not fast food you might try Teaism. It's an Asian tea house and they have really good Bento Boxes which are the Asian equivilent to a lunch box meal. I love the Tea-smoked salmo bento comes with sweet potato salad and other sides, for less than $9. Teaism is itself two places: The Teaism cafe and the tea shop next door, both are worth the visit. The cafe is very nice, but extremely crowded by the government workers during lunch hours (myself included). The downstairs eating area has a koi pond and is very peaceful. Somethings I recommend at Teaism:

              Tea-Smoked bento box

              Ginger Scones (I don't even really like ginger and I'm recommending them)

              Salty Oat Cookie (trust me, don't leave without getting one)

              Any of their daily teas. my favorite is the Moroccan-Mint iced tea. Fresh mint leaves in the cup. Very refreshing, especially in the summer.

              You can look up both places online and check out their menus.

              1. i
                isabellaflynn Aug 11, 2009 11:01 AM

                My favorite spots in Penn Quarter are as follows:

                Rasika - delicious, innovative Indian food, nice interior design - you won't be disappointed

                Oyamel - interesting take on Mexican tapas with delicious margaritas

                Poste - for drinks outside on the patio

                Proof - fabulous wine list

                PS7 - fun, particularly the lounge menu with the mini hot dogs and tuna sliders

                Hope you enjoy - this is a great area with some wonderful places!

                1 Reply
                1. re: isabellaflynn
                  hill food Aug 11, 2009 11:39 PM

                  Isabella - Poste's patio can be annoying on service, but the space will make you you feel like an entitled, but neglected rockstar. so dress trashy be gracious and go already tipsy.

                  the space is almost like a James Turrell installation.
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roden_Cr...

                  but Neo-Classical

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