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Aug 5, 2009 11:52 AM

Restaurant Recs around the Hotel Sofitel in DC

Hi CH'ers... I'm a LA Chowhounder.

I've read through the boards through July to get a sense of where to go.... but I'm not really sure where anything is in DC or how far/long it takes to get there. I'm hopeful some of you will help us narrow it down.

I'll be staying in the Hotel Sofitel (806 15th St NW, near Lafayette Sq).

I'm looking for restaurant rec's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It doesn't have to be fancy.

Some criteria to narrow it down....
1. Has to be within walking distance or easily accessed by the metro
2. has to be in a safe neighborhood.
3. has to have some pork-free dishes (my wife doesn't like to eat pork... sigh....) and items which aren't fried.
4. Pricewise... under 25pp for breakfast or lunch, and under 75pp for dinner (not including alcohol, tax, or tip).
5. Any quintessential "must eat" places to go to in DC? Or quintessential DC food to try?

I'd really like to have a good crab cake without going to Maryland.. and DC is closer than LA. ;)

From what I've looked into (for the past 30 days of postings).. I see Etete and Queen Makeda for ethiopian mentioned several times, and Coco Sala (for a dessert experience), Minibar looks interesting but I don't think I want to call at 7am one month in advance for reservations.

Oh, and I've eaten at Five Guys... so, you can skip that rec if you love the place.

Any standout fish restaurants? pizza? italian? bagel shops? sandwich shops? fish restaurants? greek restaurants?

Thank you.

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  1. Potenza has recently opened kitty cornered from your hotel and has decent pizza; Bobby Van's steakhouse is right across the street; Siroc (Italian) and Georgia Brown's (southern) are just one block over. Old Ebbit Grill has a decent crabcake and is a two block walk. Anything in the Penn Quarter is walking distance for you. Kinkeads on Pennsylvania Avenue would be a great place for seafood. Right at the end of the hotel block is a great NY-style deli called Loeb's. These are just a few and all are moderately priced. There are a lot of great options for you from your hotel location. The Washington Post website has a restaurant search by neighborhood which might be helpful to you.

    1. For a crabcake: I like the Market Lunch inside the Eastern Market. It gets very crowded on the weekend though. Also Johnny's Half Shell on Capitol Hill is good, so is the Prime Rib (they have a strict dress code fyi).

      Breakfast- If you are here on a weekend you aren't a far walk from Cafe Atlantico which has a latin dim sum brunch, but I actually really like their regular brunch too, they have a sous vide poached egg benedict that I really enjoy.

      I enjoy Matchbox brunch, Postes brunch, normal breakfast at luna grill and diner (not the location near to you, but they have one closer to where you will be).

      For fish I really like Blacksalt (which is not convenient you would have to Taxi) Tacklebox on a more casual level.

      For Pizza I really like 2Amy's and Matchbox, I also kind of like Pizzeria Paradisio. The last two would be more convenient for your location.

      For Italian I would check out Spezie, Obelisk and Tosca all a bit high end, but I think they will fit your budget. I also love Sonoma on the hill which is rather Italian, as well (they have some good fish too). Also a few metro stops away is Dino which I would reccomend you consider, as well.

      No idea where to get a good bagel.

      For sandwiches I like the cuban at Cafe Atlantico and ceiba. Breadline used to be my go-to place when I worked downtown on weekdays, but I don't know what its status is now.

      Most of the great sandwich places are not near to you.

      During the weekdays the Greek Deli at 19th and M is great. Mourayo also has good greek food, as well as, Cava on Capitol Hill. Although we have much more lebanese and middle eastern over greek. Well the restaurant voted currently number one in the area Komi is greek, they have a really weird schedule though so they may or may not be open.

      Five Guys is lousy compared to Ray's Hellburger- really the best burger I have had (Ray's the Steaks is in my top five of steaks, as well)

      There isn't really anything that is essential dc fare...

      I would recommend on dinners that you check out Palena, as well a local favorite, the bar area is more informal, but the back takes reservations. I really love Central, as well, but the food is a little heavier, fyi. Proof is also an excellent choice and not too far away. It and Vidalia have great lunch deals you might check out.

      1. teaism is right by there and great for cheap breakfasts and lunches. walkable from where you are equinox and oval room are both great choices for dinner in your price range (and are safe and pork-free). They're older restaurants; Potenza and Siroc are probably newer, hipper, etc.

        1. Hi DrBruin -- I know this is too late for your trip last year but on your next trip if you stay at the same place definitely try Siroc. I work around the corner and this is my go-to place when I have hungry visitors. You can read about one such visit at my brother Orson W.'s food blog,

          I had another lunch there just yesterday with some chowish Bostonians and they liked it a lot.

          The homemade pasta at Siroc never fails to impress. And the prices are moderate when compared with other standbys in the area -- Georgia Brown's, DC Coast, etc.

          You'd also be within walking distance of Brasserie Beck, another place I like to take my guests. The moules frites never misses. Actually, the walk back after a meal at Beck will feel good, because you'll be stuffed.

          Brasserie Beck
          1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

          DC Coast Restaurant
          1401 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

          Georgia Brown's
          950 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

          Siroc Restaurant
          915 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bob W

            Thank you much... definitely too late. The menu makes me salivate. Darn. However, I'll be in the area again but this time, Bethesda... but I'm sure I'll be around the White House again.