Foodie with less adventurous friends
I'm going to be in DC around NYE. I'm hoping to go to as many good places to eat as possible, but I will be with several people who are less adventurous eaters. Plus, they aren't as willing to blow a ton of money on fancy food. What places would you recommend for lunch and dinner that are pretty reasonable, but have great food too.
For example, I saw the menu for Birch and Barley and thought that it looked great. I don't think my friends would be interested in Braised Pork Cheeks for $24 (oh my God, that sounds awesome).
Any good pubs that serve great food?
Bistrot du Coin is fun and serves delicious food. You can eat sweetbreads, cassoulet or rabbit stew and your friends can have steak frites. It's also well priced and in a great area.
Dino is a good choice. St. Ex is good, and Bar Pilar has the MOST AMAZING food, and they are small portions with low prices.
I would add Vapianos to the lunch list. It's simple, stylish, cheap. While not adventurous, you won't feel bored or like you're pandering.
Rosa Mexicano is good too especially for non-foodies. It's tasty, the menu has sophistication and it's approachable.
Commonwealth Pub is a "gastropub" good food and good beer. I'll second Matchbox for good american food and a good list of beers. If you find yourself in Georgetown, Clyde's is part of a local chain where the food is reliable and moderatly priced. If they are willing to try it Brasserie Beck has a fantastic selection of belgian beers, you can get the moules and they can have steak frites!
Try Dino in Cleveland Park. They have great food and wine specials. You can get uncommon dishes and your friends can order "safer" dishes.
It is right across from the Cleveland Park Metro and there is street parking available. If you get desperate, there is even a paid lot across the street.
I would recommend Ristorante Tosca; it's N. Italian so your friends woudln't think it was too 'out there' but it's really wonderful and if you go and eat before 7, you can get a 3 course meal (with many choices) for $35 -- one of the best bargains in DC. It's got really good service and atmosphere too; you would want to wear "dressy casual" or better. For something a little more unusual but still approachable, try Lebanese Taverna, locations in Arlington and Woodley Park; great food at a good price.
Perhaps try Cava- it is tapas, but they have big portions (each person could order say 2 or maybe 3 for a good bit of food), greek food but very approachable.
I might also put someplace like Matchbox on the list pizza, burgers, salads, but good. Or Pizza Paradisio in Dupont, or 2 Amy's up in NW.
Nando's Peri Peri is chicken spicy or lemon garlic with sauces you can put on and sides of rice, fries, corn etc. You order at the counter, but they bring it to you.
Cafe St. Ex might be another option.
What areas will you be in that might help more?
You could also check out Brasserie Beck or Granville Moore's or Et Voila.
Surfside if you have a car.
Cava and Brasserie Beck are good ideas.
Other places you might enjoy are Central--you can get cassoulet or the foie gras and your friends can get fried chicken or a gourmet cheeseburger.
Pizzeria Paradiso-- Really good pizza with fresh toppings and a great beer list. Locations in both Dupont and Georgetown
Creme--Yummy and affordable home style cooking with a slight Southern bend.
For lunch, eat at the bar at Teatro Goldoni. They have a wide selection of plates of high quality food for only $14, and that includes a glass of very acceptable wine.
Oyamel has good variety and isn't too painful.
I haven't been in a while, but Full Kee used to be sensational, with an outstanding Hong Kong style noodle soup with shrimp dumplings or roast duck, etc., wonderful vegetables sauteed with garlic, and everything from standard Chinese fare to jellyfish and stir-fried duck's blood. Downside -- no liquor license, no credit cards. Open till the wee hours