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Need your help--suggestions for downtown Silver Spring MD

Hi—my students and I are compiling a list of restaurants to recommend that are walking distance to the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Silver Spring for an upcoming scientific meeting starting this Saturday. This is what we have drafted, but, really need your help in completing the list. Are there any of these that we should absolutely drop (e.g., we have dropped Nicaro’s since has changed chefs)? Any that we have missed? Thanks so much!

Addis Ababa Ethiopian Restaurant - 8233 Fenton St
For traditional Ethiopian dining, good for vegetarians, try the coffee ceremony or honey wine

Adega Wine Cellars & Cafe - 8519 Fenton St
For lunch and dinner, great salads, wines, other - Sat night specials; week-night happy hour

CakeLove - 935 Ellsworth Dr
See what the controversy is all about—some rave about their dense cupcakes with thick buttercream, others hate them!

Ceviche - 921-J Ellsworth Dr
For lunch and dinner, Latin American fusion fares

Crisfields Seafood Restaurant – 8210 Georgia Avenue
A Silver Spring landmark

Crisp & Juicy - 1314 East-West Hwy
Peruvian style charbroiled chicken

Cubano's Restaurant - 1201 Fidler Ln
For lunch and dinner, good Cuban food, some outdoor seating. Try the sopa de platano and the ropa vieja dishes

Da Marco Ristorante Italiano - 8662 Colesville Rd
For good sandwiches at lunch, Washingtonian Magazine “Cheap Eats 2009”

Eggspectation Restaurant - 923 Ellsworth Dr
For good red velvet cake and the local Smith Island cake

Ghar-E-Kabab - 944 Wayne Ave.
Nepalese restaurant

Highland Origin Coffee – 8200 Fenton Street
For excellent coffee and pastries

Jackie's Restaurant - 8081 Georgia Ave.
Eclectic American cooking, try the skillet-fried chicken, Washingtonian Magazine “100 Best Restaurants 2009”

Kefa Café - 963 Bonifant St
For breakfast and lunch, Ethiopian coffee house - pastries, quiche, sandwiches, gelato ... friendly, comfortable

Lebanese Taverna Cafe - 933 Ellsworth Dr
Good for lunch, try the demi-mezza

Lotus Café - 8077 Georgia Avenue
Vietnamese with outdoor seating

Mandalay’s – Bonifant Street
For lunch and dinner, good Burmese food, Vegetarian/Vegan, extremely good cocktails, Washingtonian Magazine “Cheap Eats 2009”

McGinty's Public House - 911 Ellsworth Dr
For good atmosphere and food

Mi Rancho Restaurant - 8701 Ramsey Ave
For lunch and dinner, good Mexican food with outdoor seating

Moorenko’s – Georgia Avenue
Excellent hand-made ice-cream

Olazzo’s – Georgia Avenue
Limited menu but excellent Italian food. The calamari and chicken parmesan are great!

Oriental East - 1312 East-West Hwy.
Get here early on Sunday for Dim Sum (opens at 11 am)

Quarry House Tavern - 8401 Georgia Ave
For good local microbrews and hamburgers – Monday night half-price hamburgers

Ray's the Classics - 8606 Colesville Rd.
If your parents are paying… Steakhouse, Washingtonian Magazine “100 Best Restaurants 2009”

Sabroso Grill - 8624 Colesville Rd
For good Bolivian salteñas (beef, chicken, or vegetable turnovers), and Peruvian grilled chicken

Sergio's Ristorante Italiano - 8727 Colesville Rd.
Local family run favorite, try the homemade pastas, fruta de mer and tiramisu

A Taste of Jerusalem - 8123 Georgia Ave.
Family run Middle Eastern

Taste of Morocco - 8661 Colesville Rd
For good belly dancing in the evenings

Thai at Silver Spring - 921-E Ellsworth Dr
For lunch and dinner, great Thai food

Thai Derm - 939 Bonifant St.

Whole Foods Market – 833 Wayne Avenue
Great for salad bar

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  1. Ray's The Classics - no need to wait for the parents to pay (take them to Crisfields and order the stuffed rockfish instead). At Rays, it at a table in the bar and order the Bistro Special or the chopped steak dinner, steak salad or Hell Burger. None of them will break the bank.

    1 Reply
    1. re: crackers

      I agree. This isn't a particularly expensive steakhouse, especially compared to Morton's or Ruth's. A steak will cost you between $20-30 in the main dining room. And the deals you can get in the bar area are an absolute steal.

    2. Cubano's across the street from MiRancho (1201 Fidler Ln) is nice too. Please note that some of the restaurants you listed are not as close as they seem. Crisfield's, Jackies, Lotus Cafe, and Taste of Jerusalem are a quick drive but a long walk from your hotel. Of course, that's my definition of a long walk and may be nothing for you and your students.

      4 Replies
      1. re: DCDeb

        "Crisfield's, Jackies, Lotus Cafe, and Taste of Jerusalem are a quick drive but a long walk from your hotel."
        Half a mile, tops.

        1. re: Mister Big

          Thanks for the replies. Cubano's is already on the list. Some will have cars, others will enjoy a walk (the weather has been terrific recently). Someone could eat at Jacquie's, Lotus Cafe, Taste of Jerusalem, Crisfield's and then have ice cream for dessert at Moorenko's or coffee at Majorga (need to add to list).

          1. re: Mister Big

            Actually, it's a mile. It depends on how old the students are. The traffic is pretty busy along Georgia Ave. I wouldn't want to hike it.

        2. thanks for this list. as someone still fairly new to the area this is a great refresher for what downtown silver spring has to offer. i do have to agree about editing the text for Rays the Classics. The bar there is one of my favorite places to eat in all of DC and for such a great price.

          2 Replies
          1. re: cambridgeMike

            Eggspectation is nothing special. Cake Love is also just ok. would recommend Adega and Ghar-E-Kabob and will agree with the recs for Cubanos.

            1. re: startsev

              Little known fact about Eggspectation. Although it is a Canadian chain restaurant, it sells cakes made by a baker in Ellicott City that are perfect when you have had a really bad day or want to celebrate (smile). Their red velvet cake has cream cheese frosting and a very thin layer of dark chocolate between the cake layers and is much moister than most red velvet cakes (as a cocoa cake, they tend to be drier than other chocolate cakes). And, they sell the unusual Maryland specialty--the Smith Island cake. In contrast, I have found CakeLove cupcakes to be extremely heavy and dry and the slab of frosting on the top to be just gross. I have only eaten at Eggspectation once (agree nothing special), but, have been many times to pick up a slice of cake to go (smile).

          2. This is the final list that we shared with the conference attendees for your information. Thanks for the replies again.

            Addis Ababa Ethiopian Restaurant - 8233 Fenton St
            For traditional Ethiopian dining, good for vegetarians, try the coffee ceremony or honey wine

            Adega Wine Cellars & Cafe - 8519 Fenton St
            For lunch and dinner, great salads, wines, other - Sat night specials; week-night happy hour

            CakeLove - 935 Ellsworth Dr
            See what the controversy is all about—some rave about their dense cupcakes with thick buttercream, others hate them!

            Ceviche - 921-J Ellsworth Dr
            For lunch and dinner, Latin American fusion fares

            Crisfields Seafood Restaurant – 8210 Georgia Avenue
            A Silver Spring landmark

            Crisp & Juicy - 1314 East-West Hwy
            Peruvian style charbroiled chicken

            Cubano's Restaurant - 1201 Fidler Ln
            For lunch and dinner, good Cuban food, some outdoor seating. Try the sopa de platano and the ropa vieja dishes

            Da Marco Ristorante Italiano - 8662 Colesville Rd
            For good sandwiches at lunch, Washingtonian Magazine “Cheap Eats 2009”

            Eggspectation Restaurant - 923 Ellsworth Dr
            For good red velvet cake and the local Smith Island cake

            Ghar-E-Kabab - 944 Wayne Ave.
            Nepalese restaurant

            Highland Origin Coffee – 8200 Fenton Street
            For excellent coffee and pastries

            Jackie's Restaurant - 8081 Georgia Ave.
            Eclectic American cooking, try the skillet-fried chicken, Washingtonian Magazine “100 Best Restaurants 2009”

            Kefa Café - 963 Bonifant St
            For breakfast and lunch, Ethiopian coffee house - pastries, quiche, sandwiches, gelato ... friendly, comfortable

            Lebanese Taverna Cafe - 933 Ellsworth Dr
            Good for lunch, try the demi-mezza

            Lotus Café - 8077 Georgia Avenue
            Vietnamese with outdoor seating

            Mandalay’s – Bonifant Street
            For lunch and dinner, good Burmese food, Vegetarian/Vegan, extremely good cocktails, Washingtonian Magazine “Cheap Eats 2009”

            McGinty's Public House - 911 Ellsworth Dr
            For good atmosphere and food

            Mi Rancho Restaurant - 8701 Ramsey Ave
            For lunch and dinner, good Mexican food with outdoor seating

            Moorenko’s – Georgia Avenue
            Excellent hand-made ice-cream

            Olazzo’s – Georgia Avenue
            Limited menu but excellent Italian food. The calamari and chicken parmesan are great!

            Oriental East - 1312 East-West Hwy.
            Get here early on Sunday for Dim Sum (opens at 11 am)

            Quarry House Tavern - 8401 Georgia Ave
            For good local microbrews and hamburgers – Monday night half-price hamburgers

            Ray's the Classics - 8606 Colesville Rd.
            Bistro Special or the chopped steak dinner, steak salad or Hell Burger are affordable options. Steakhouse, Washingtonian Magazine “100 Best Restaurants 2009”

            Sabroso Grill - 8624 Colesville Rd
            For good Bolivian salteñas (beef, chicken, or vegetable turnovers), and Peruvian grilled chicken

            Sergio's Ristorante Italiano - 8727 Colesville Rd.
            Local family run favorite, try the homemade pastas, fruta de mer and tiramisu

            A Taste of Jerusalem - 8123 Georgia Ave.
            Family run Middle Eastern

            Taste of Morocco - 8661 Colesville Rd
            For good belly dancing in the evenings

            Thai at Silver Spring - 921-E Ellsworth Dr
            For lunch and dinner, great Thai food

            Thai Derm - 939 Bonifant St.

            Whole Foods Market – 833 Wayne Avenue
            Great for salad bar

            1 Reply
            1. re: lacontessa

              Thanks for the insight on where Eggspectations gets their cakes! I had completely written the place off because the rest of the food and service are so lousy.

              I also agree with others that CakeLove is no great shakes. What money people will pay for dry, tasteless cupcakes!!!

            2. Tastee Diner - no earthshattering culinary experience, but open 24 hours. Very good for a more "traditional" breakfast.