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Sep 20, 2009 07:41 PM

Restaurant advice -- 3 nights in DC; first visit ever

My wife and I are traveling to DC for 4 days at the end of the month. 11 yr wedding anniversary trip. I'm embarrassed to say I've never been before ... that said we're thrilled! We're staying near DuPont Circle.

Before we had kids (twins 2 yrs old) we went out 2-3 times a week; now it's a rare deal. We like all types of cuisine, and tend to be more casual when we go out. Affordability is a factor ... but a big-night may be in the cards.

No clue here; so I'm looking for suggestions on seafood, someplace that has great beer selection, breakfast (greasy spoon or unique), the more ideas the better ...

Help and thanks!!

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  1. For great beer as well as some excellent seafood and gorgeous raw bar, try Brasserie Beck. You'll never find another beer selection like it. If you want something more casual with great beer, consider Pizzeria Paradiso. The one in Georgetown has a basement birreria, and I believe the newly renovated location in Dupont has something similar.

    1. I assume you will be doing some of the normal tourist things. I also assume this is sans little ones?

      I don't know if you will have a weekday lunch, but if so the Greek Deli at 19th and M would be a good stop between Dupont and the White House/Mall.

      Proof is really good and it is in Penn Quarter near the Spy Museum, Portrait Gallery and not too far from the mall. They have a really good lunch deal at the bar. It is kind of a wine bar/bistro with really good food.

      Capitol Hill has the Eastern Market on Saturdays which is fun to wander. You could brunch at Bistro Bis or Art and Soul or hit up Market Lunch (the lines can be long depending on the weekend) for breakfast or Lunch. There are also crepes on the street and other good stuff. Or if you want greasy spoon breakfast Tuncliff's has pretty good breakfast too. I really like Sonoma on Capitol Hill for their pasta or seafood and they have nice charcuterie and cheese boards. I think it is pretty reasonable dc wise.

      In Dupont Hank's Oyster Bar has good casual seafood, I like their brunch too.

      Blacksalt has good seafood as well, but you would have to catch a cab for that.

      I second the Brasserie Beck recommendations. They have big portions, good food and good drinks. I love their mussels and duck, they also have some very good desserts.

      Corduroy also prepares seafood well, it is a little more upscale.

      If you are in Old Town Alexandria Restaurant Eve has a really good lunch deal at the bar called the lickety split (I think it's on their website) that I try to eat as often as possible.

      I really like Poste for brunch, but the Tabard Inn would be closer to you. DC doesn't have a ton of breakfast. I really like Cafe Atlantico (you can do their Sunday latin dim sum brunch, but I actually like their Saturday brunch just as much, the sous vide eggs benedict is really good).

      If you are down near the mall you might try to grab lunch at the Source or Central both nice restaurant but pretty good lunch prices.

      1. don't miss out on Mitsitam at the Indian museum on the mall for a lunch.

        1. Hanks Raw Bar and Cork, both near/in Dupont, are good choices. Obolisk would be a nice choice for your big night out. Have fun.

          2 Replies
          1. re: vega4933

            I love Granville Moore's for the best mussels & frites in an offbeat, old pub. Cool place!
            Great beer list.

            Eastern Market on Sat was a great suggestion (get there early-ish on Sat) if you want there awesome bluebuck pancakes- they stop seating at noon. In my exerience, the line has gone by fairly quickly.

            I also love Proof (great wine list) Coco Sala (3-course desserts and americanized tapas), Central, Brasserie Beck, Komi, Mourayo's (Greek) and Teasim (snack, light lunch, breakfast) and Founding Farmer's (although on this site, people either love/hate it- I happen to love it.) ENJOY!!!

            1. re: chicken kabob

              I will check these out for sure, thanks!!

          2. You may want to consider Kinkead's as a splurge and seafood choice. Upscale casual.

            While many on this board hate it for being touristy, Old Ebbitt Grill is a DC landmark. They have a nice assortment of daily oysters, and it's one of the few places that serves breakfast every day. You can easily get a late night bite there if needed, and I think the pricing is very reasonable. (Krammer's in Dupont for late night as well) Casual.

            If you are in a steak mood, I always recommend Charlie Palmer's for visitors. I think the food's great and the views of the Capitol are spectacular. If you go, tell them you are visiting and ask to go to the rooftop to snap a few pictures. The interior decor is very uncharacteristic of a steakhouse -a different feel from one of my favorites, Manny's, in your neck of the woods. Upscale casual++

            Someone mentioned Obelisk in Dupont. It's Italian and would be great for your big night, but you may have a tough time getting a reservation; it seats about 36. It's the most reasonable boutique restaurant in DC at $75/person for 5 courses. Menu changes daily, so you would need to be a little adventurous. Casual+


            3 Replies
            1. re: georgetownronin

              Someone else reco'd Kinkead's; sounds great. Glad you've been to Manny's; it's one of the best (although I'm in Chicago today and still like Gibson's a lot too).

              Random follow up on apparel ... is DC any more formal than anywhere else for evenings out? Obv. depends on where we're going ... but just want to be prepared.

              1. re: bigroy

                Other than the most upscale places, you can get away with nice jeans and a dressy top or jacket. If you end up at Kinkead's, you'll want to be more upscale. Places like Brasserie Beck, while a nice restaurant, would be fine in nice jeans.

                1. re: bigroy

                  Hard to say because everything everywhere (every city) has become so casual these days -it really depends where you're going and when. For instance, I really couldn't see myself going to Charlie Palmer's on The Hill during the week and not wearing a jacket. I might suggest nice slacks and a dress shirt for Kinkead's; maybe a sport coat if you feel like it. You can go just about anywhere in the city with a casual sport coat and not look out of place. At the same time, nice jeans with a dress shirt are also fine at most places. You can always ask when you make the reservations. There are some places that are jacket required, but not many.