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Oct 26, 2009 07:14 AM

Chow help: Downtown DC, 2 nights, Single female

I'll be staying at the JW Marriott on Pennsylvania Ave for 2 nights. I am looking for some places I can grab a bite to eat. I love Greek, Middle Eastern and Indian foods but am also happy eating standard steakhouse fare, French, get the picture. I am not fussy! I work on government per diem and don't mind spending extra from my own pocket when necessary but I would like to keep dinner to under $30. With that said, I don't need a $30 experience. If you tell me that the best damn falafel ever can be found for $5, I'm in.

Dinner will likely happen in the late evening, hence the reason I mention I am a single female. I don't mind seeking out a good meal but will be traveling solo at night. Even with the requisite street smarts, I am well aware there are always places where it isn't a good idea to venture without using the buddy system, especially in unfamiliar cities.

Additionally, if there are any good breakfast places or hole in the wall types where I can get a good breakfast sandwich, breakfast burrrito, or even a greasy spoon type place that I shouldn't miss, do tell!

Thanks in advance, DC 'hounds.

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  1. Where are you coming from? A quick word of warning, I am going to assume late evening isn't too late. You quickly find that DC restaurants don't really do late dining like NY or other cities - most close shop around 10/1030 on weekdays.

    Anyhow, close to your restaurant is Rasika (excellent Indian), Central (excellent French food), Cafe du Parc (excellent French). All of these are a within a few blocks away. Cafe du Parc has an excellent breakfast and its about 1-2 blocks from you in the Willard Hotel.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Adam23

      Dinner will probably be in the 8 or 9 hour but thanks for the heads up on closing times. I'll try to make it earlier rather than later. I live in Connecticut so I was thinking city time would run like NYC does. Good advice!

      1. re: mels

        I agree with these suggestions, especially Rasika - you can pretty much walk down Pennsylvania Avenue and take a left onto 7th to get to Rasika. It's a pretty walk and you will feel safe (says a former Connecticut girl). Rasika can be hard to get into, but when I travel and am eating alone I like to sit at the bar, which you can do without a reservation and without much hassle.

    2. Another vote for Rasika! It's one of my favorite restaurants in DC and it has a fun yet classy atmosphere.

      Bistrot du Coin is my favorite inexpensive restaurant for French food. It's got a bustling atmosphere, great beer & wine selections, and it's a lot of fun. Excellent restaurant.

      And French and Belgian food is similar, right? If you like Belgian, you've got to check out Brasserie Beck. You can sit down for a really delicious dinner or you can sit at the bar and choose from their crazy wide selection of Belgian beers.

      All of these restaurants are Metro accessible!

      1. Since you mentioned that you enjoy Greek and Middle Eastern cuisine, you might also check out Zaytinya. It's a few blocks down F street from your hotel, and they are open pretty late (by DC standards) on most nights. They serve Greek/Middle Eastern inspired small plates.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Dusk

          If you go to Zaytinya, get the bantijan bil laban, a trio of fried eggplant 'cakes.'

          1. re: Steve

            I am convinced I need to try Zaytinya and Rasika while in town. Both menus look fantastic! I am assuming it would be a safe walk (well populated) from either restaurant to the hotel at night or should I be thinking about cabs?

            1. re: mels

              Rasika is between 6th and 7th on D St. Your hotel is between 13th and 14 on E St. It's a long 8 blocks. Zaytinya is at 9th and G, about seven blocks. It's safe, but you will feel much more comfortable cabbing it, especially late. That's what I would do.

              The one dish which is a MUST ORDER at Rasika is the crispy spinach. I also once had a kind of meatball on a skewer that was amazing, though I don't know if it's always on the menu.

              Both these restaurants are right up your alley.

              1. re: Steve

                Ditto on the crispy spinach appetizer. It's called "palak chaat." Unbelievable. I could order two of those and eat them as a meal.

        2. I dine by myself quite a bit, many times after "normal" dinner hours. You are in luck because there are a number of great restaurants that are welcoming to a female solo diner.

          For Indian you should definitly check out Rasika. I've never personally dined there by myself but I know there is a bar where you can eat. You have to get the palak's unbelievable. There is also Heritage in Dupont Circle which is also very good and more affordable.

          For traditional French I recommend Bistro D'Oc and for more modern French/American I recommend Central (one of my favorite restaurants in DC). For Greek tapas I really like Cava, although it's up on the Hill and a little out of your way.

          Other places worth checking out PS7 (dine in the lounge, Gina will take care of you), Jaleo (nice Spanish tapas with outside dining), Taylor's Gourmet (2 locations, great lunch spot with yummy sandwiches), Hank's Oyster Bar (New England style fish---might be fun depending on where you are coming from), and Regent Thai (great thai food. If you are dining real late just take a cab since it's not super close to the metro).

          1 Reply
          1. re: Elyssa

            I wasn't aware that Taylor Gourmet had a second location at Mt. Vernon Triangle. This is so much more convenient - I can't wait to try it.

          2. I agree, Rasika is quite good, but it might be hard to get out of there with only $30 (I never do ). Maybe it's because my two favorite dishes--the fried spinach and sea bass--tend to add up on the pricer side, but with 10% tax, tip and if i want to get a side dish or a dessert let alone an Indian tea drink (or real drink), there is no way I've spent less than $30.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jacey

              Here's what I would order at Rasika:
              Palak chaat 9
              Seekh kabob 8
              Sev Batata Puri 7
              Garlic Naan 3
              Eau dans la facon paysanne... Free!
              Total $27 before tax and tip

              If the OP is feeling flush, add a chutney for 2.5

              1. re: Steve

                Rasika- the chocolate samosa for dessert-YUM