Impromptu weekend trip to DC
So I'm taking an impromptu trip to DC this weekend -- haven't been in many years, though I used to go all the time as a kid -- and I need some restaurant recommendations. Asking Chowhound really paid off when I did the same thing in Philly earlier this year, so I'm sure you people will come through.
My hotel is in Arlington, one Metro stop away from Georgetown. We'll be rolling into town Friday around dinner time, but we'll be exhausted from a long drive, so I definitely want to stick to Georgetown. I'm looking for a good, innovative, hip but moderately priced place -- entrees more like $20 or under, not $30 -- in the area.
I also need a few choices for Saturday dinner and Sunday brunch. (Already have Saturday brunch reservations at Tabard Inn.) Going out to eat is a great way to see a city, so I'd like to go to a couple of places that aren't in touristy areas but are still accessible by Metro -- I'll have a car, so that isn't absolutely essential, but I'm a train guy and I hate parking/paying for parking. Same specs -- young, cool, great food, won't break the bank, and ideally the neighborhood would be an interesting place to see without being a neighborhood that the tourist hordes have discovered. Discovered by locals is fine!
Cuisine isn't too important. I'm in New York, so hopefully something that this town isn't too overrun by -- no Thai or Japanese, basically. Anything else I'm willing to consider. Unique to DC is a plus. Oh, and let me know if I need reservations. (Actually, come to think of it, I have no idea what time I'll be in Friday, so I need a place I can just walk into in Georgetown.)
Thanks in advance!
In Georgetown I would check out:
Hook- seafood pretty hip decor, entrees are in the mid to high 20s. I haven't been here since they lost the past chef, but it still gets good reviews on the board so you might investigate that.
Tacklebox- Hook's casual cousin that has very good grilled fish (the fried clams weren't special, the lobster roll was normal).
Bodega- Spanish tapas.
Mie N Yu- I haven't been for a while, but I have always liked it, although it isn't for everyone very cool interior and good cocktails.
And Dolcezza which is up the hill a bit for great gelato if they have cinnamon that is really good, marscapone is great too and lemon, honey, cardammon
For unique neighborhoods that aren't touristy you might check out Clarendon- away enough from the city but close to you that it is mostly locals. Eventide and Liberty Tavern are both good (the bar food is good at both too). Eventide has a spectacular lobster pasta dish that I love. Liberty Tavern's vermont pizza, pork chop and octopus salad are all great. Lots of boutiques and shops and bars. You might want a reservation if on a weekend night. Eventide has a nice rooftop bar too. And there is good gelato down the street across from the Whole Foods.
Alexandria- while touristy has some really nice qualities and is a locals spot too. For casual lunch I like the Pita House, Hank's Oyster Bar has good brunch and dinner too, Vermillion is nice, and Restaurant Eve is very highly rated I think they do weekend lunch (their weekday lunch is awesome). Then you can make a reservation at PX which has fantastic cocktails by Tod Thrasher (you can also get these at Eve). There are fun boutiques. Eammons has great fish and chips.
Capitol Hill- while also somewhat touristy by the capitol and there will be some tourists at the Eastern Market there are a lot of locals too. I like Sonoma, Cava get good reviews, the market itself is kind of fun to wander (not a huge market but...) Bistro Bis is a bit more touristy (us locals normally wait till non-tourist season to go, but has great brunch. You could also go to Art Smith's Art and Soul for brunch.
For something different you could drive out to the Eden Center which has all Vietnamese restaurants, backeries, groceries and etc. I don't know how many shops are there, but it is a lot.
U St. is also pretty fun, you could get soul food Creme and Marvin are worth checking out.
For the nights you might want reservations, most places are on opentable. Brunch you don't have to worry as much, except maybe at Tabard or Cafe Atlantico (Art and Soul may be really popular now because of Top Chef)
Then Penn Quarter is the big restaurant neighborhood which both locals and tourists go to.
Are you staying in the Rosslyn section of Arlington? (I am guessing from the Metro stop) Ray's the Steaks and Ray's Hell Burger are great casual choices there.
Thanks a lot for these recommendations -- I think I'm leaning toward Tacklebox for Friday night (will probably walk over the Key Bridge; it's just about exactly a mile, Google Maps tells me), will probably go for the gelato afterwards. Still making my mind up about the rest.
Deb, yes, I'm in Rosslyn. I've heard great things about Ray's Hell Burger and had no idea it was there. I was planning on just winging it for lunch (if I even have room for lunch considering my brunch aspirations), but that sounds like it might be the way to go.
I will of course keep you updated on what I end up doing.
Tacklebox is a good choice (Hook's entrees are easily in the high $20s to mid $30s). I honestly have to say that I avoid Georgetown after living there for several years; the neighborhood gets very touristy on the weekends, and you may face some long waits if you just stroll into a restaurant. You can go just about anywhere from the Rosslyn Metro stop. If you Metro up the hill to Clarendon, I would certain throw The Boulevard Woodgrill into the mix. Their food has also been solid and the pricing is reasonable. They also have outdoor tables, but these will probably be filled by reservations.
Old Town Alexandria has some very enjoyable restaurants, and it is far less touristy than Georgetown. I really like the Warehouse Bar and Grill, which has a slight creole influence. You should probably drive to Old Town, but you should also be able to find street parking. I like the idea of PX for drinks, but reservations will be difficult on the weekend and it is not casual at all.
The Dupont area is great for food, and I may recommend Bistro du Coin or Sette Osteria for you.
I know it's touristy, but Old Ebbitt Grill is a DC landmark. Reservations for Sunday brunch are essential.