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Above-average food in a non-trendy/fancy atmosphere? In Penn Quarter or Old Town?

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Looking for somewhere to go for an anniversary dinner. Normally we would go somewhere upscale, but we're both really swamped with work this month and just want to go somewhere with good food where we don't feel out of place because we're not on expense account or trendy 20-somethings.

We're also going to have to go right after work, so we'll be in business casual. Leaning toward "casual."

Work is in Penn Quarter, and Old Town Alexandria is on the way home. Any cuisine is fine, as long as there is a good seafood or vegetarian option. We're thinking maybe Hank's, but we were just there not too long ago.

Any and all ideas appreciated!

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  1. What about Proof in Chinatown? It has people of all ages when I have been there, has a wonderful seafood dish, the sablefish. I think the entrees are about the same prices as Hank's?

    Vermillion might be an option too.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau

      I second the recommendation for Proof. Also in Penn Quarter and casual w/ good vegetarian options is Jaleo. Haven't been to Vermillion in Alexandria, but have heard good things about it. Hope you have a happy anniversary!

      1. re: Gigi007

        Thanks!

      2. re: ktmoomau

        Thanks! I've never been to Proof and kind of forgot it was there...

        1. re: ktmoomau

          Proof is the definition of Trendy. When people can't go to Oya, Zaytinya or Indeblue they got to Proof.

        2. whenever i want casual and low-key and not trendy, but still romantic, i go to bistro d'oc. i love proof, it's one of my favorite restaurants in the area, but i feel it is a little on the trendy side for what you are seeking.

          1 Reply
          1. re: littlew1ng

            Thanks! Have you ever tried the pre-theater menu?

          2. I'll second Vermillion. You may want to consider Brabo, which has some excellent seafood options. Price point is comparable to Hank's, but you could get a couple apps and split an entree. They're pretty substantial.

            http://www.braborestaurant.com/old-to...

            1 Reply
            1. re: monkeyrotica

              Oooh, the Brabo tasting room sounds perfect. I've been craving mussels, too. Thanks!

            2. D'Aqua