DC with kids
Arriving with my 2 boys (9 and 7) for their first trip to DC (In-laws in tow). We're staying 6 nights at the J.W.Marriot (primarily for location near the mall + swimming pool). Looking for great eats (I must eat well and not just in Museum cafeterias) that is convenient for 2 'soon-to-be tired of walking' boys. We'll be spending much of our time around the Mall and Downtown -but willing to take the Metro for quick/tasty meals if convenient. We love ethnic; seafood; breakfast; local; great food. Thanks.
None of these are knock-your-socks-off good, but for when speed trumps all they are decent options:
For an easy daytime bite, the Old Ebbitt's Express is a block away and the daily pasta is the best, quick lunch bargain in town. In in the same block as the JW is a decent food court (such as they are) with a Naan and Beyond and other options, including a Five Guys. I like the smoothy place. All are easy take-away back to the hotel, but they close early (7 on weekdays.)
If you want to pack a sandwich, Cowgirl Creamery is a few blocks toward Penn Quarter.
Jaleo is a Spanish tapas restaurant by celebrated chef, Jose Andres. It is on the corner of 7th and E Sts, NW near a couple of Metro stops.
Go for the patatas bravas, tortilla espanol, grilled asparagus, spinach with raisins, date and bacon fritters, chorizo with mashed potatoes, bread with tomato and manchego cheese. My kids like the lemonade. Casual, not expensive.
If you can muster Chinatown, then Full Kee has good Hong Kong style food including duck stuffed with shrimp paste, oyster and ginger casserole, chicken and eggplant casserole, shrimp wonton soup, fried dumplings and chive flowers may be popular with the kids.
If you make it to the Washington Cathedral (and you should), then go to 2 Amys for one of the best margherita pizzas in the U.S. Also good Italian small plates of suppli, polpete, rapini, and others. Closed Mondays.
A block away from the White House is a great, great lunch spot, Breadline. Only open for midweek lunch. Specializes in sandwiches. Any day, order the Italian sausage sandwich or the felafel or even the egg salad. If you are there on a Monday, the Philly Cheesesteak, Thursdays go for a cubano, and on Fridays they have their best sandwich, chopped pork bbq (I order this on a ciabatta). All the best sandwiches of America in one spot!
Personally, I would stay away from Capital Q. I'm sure you have better bbq in Ohio.
Thanks Steve and everyone else for great suggestions. Are the following practical and still good: Komi; Pizza Paradiso; Market Lunch (at Eastern Market for breakfast); Cafe Atlantico Mini-bar; Teaism; Ten Penh; DC Coast. Also, my wife and I still love going shopping at boutiques (a la NoLita/SoHo -no chains) while dragging the kids for a small amount of time -is U-street; Dupont Circle; G-town worthwile?
Komi and Minibar are not kid friendly at all. But are fantastic! The other places are fine for well-behaved kids. Ten Phen has gone downhill in my opinion, if you want seafood Oceanaire or Kinkaids would be better. As for shopping, give Georgetown a pass, there is no shopping there that you can't do at any suburban mall in NYC. U Street would be more fun, Dupont as well.
It can be difficult to find restaurants close to the mall, but a few lunch ideas are Taqueria Nacionale - great authentic tacos, guac, agua fresca, etc., also I agree the museum food is not usually that good. One exception is the American Indian Museum - in fact, i've never actually been to the museum, just the cafeteria!
Downtown I like capital q bbq (chinatown) which kids would probably like as well - fun atmosphere, informal.
More formal restaurants downtown that are delicious are brasserie beck (belgium), central, equinox (near the white house).