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Mar 24, 2010 01:14 PM

Three Days in DC


We're from NYC suburbs and taking our first family visit to DC next week while the kids are on spring break. We'll be staying in a hotel near Fifteenth and M, and will be there Tuesday night through Friday morning. We'll be doing the big tourist activities: the Capitol, Library of Congress, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, Washington Monument. Smithsonian Air and Space and Natural History Museums, Spy Museum, etc. My wife and I love good food, but our boys are 8 and 10 and are not super adventurous food-wise (although they occasionally surprise us). I'd like to get recommendations for the following:

1. Good sit-down breakfast picks near our hotel;
2. Casual lunch spots in the downtown area we can go to during our days of sightseeing;
3. Dinner choices, both casual and better places that are not too (in the words of my 8-year-old) "fancy-pants" (i.e., no uniformed waiters, no hushed atmosphere, not super-adult). These can be in the area of our hotel, but we are also fine with hopping in a taxi to go someplace worth the ride.

We're looking forward to our trip, and any and all suggestions will be most sincerely appreciated.

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  1. I'm sure you'll get more obscure recommendations but my kids, at that age, liked:

    Mitsitam, the Native American History Museum cafe--a lot of selection, unusual foods where everyone can find something

    Ben's Chili Bowl: chili hot dogs, need I say more? I have to say it's not on the top of my list but it's fine for what it is and worth the visit just to see the pictures of people who have visited.

    Oohs and Aahs: I find it hit or miss on the food but the meatloaf and most sides are very good. My kids love the southern iced tea.

    Etete: eating with the fingers. They loved it.

    For a quick bite, there are On the Fly carts near the American History museum where you can get quick empanadas, etc. It's fun just to grab a few things to go and hang out on the mall, enjoy the carousel, etc.

    Around the Spy Museum, there is Cowgirl Creamery on the way, and Firehook Bakery where you can also pick up some things to go.

    1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

    Ben's Chili Bowl
    1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

    Firehook Bakery
    3411 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC

    On the Fly
    315 G St SE, Washington, DC 20003

    1. You might check out these threads for some suggestions:

      This thread has some good places and some high end places to ignore:

      And do a search for kid friendly as most of those threads seem to be tourist related kid friendly.
      1. Luna Grill and Diner.
      2. Matchbox, Ella's, Zaytinya (a little nicer but casual), Good Stuff Eatery, Cava, Market Lunch, Jaleo, Nando's Peri Peri, Chinatown Express, Tacklebox, Lebanese Taverna (near the Zoo). The cafe at the Newseum and Mitsam in the Native American Museum.
      3. Jaleo, Zaytinya, Zola, Cava, Ella's, Oyamel, Dino, Coppi's Organic Italian, Firefly, 2 Amy's (by National Cathedral if you are up that way), maybe Hank's Oyster Bar. If you are in Old Town perhaps the Majestic.

      Hank's Oyster Bar
      1026 King St Ste 1, Alexandria, VA 22314

      701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

      Good Stuff Eatery
      303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

      Market Lunch
      225 7th St SE Ste 12, Washington, DC 20003

      Chinatown Express
      126 Carroll Island Rd, Baltimore, MD 21220

      Coppi's Restaurant
      1414 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

      1. Here is what I'd do with my kids:

        Capitol Hill:
        Good Stuff Eatery Counter Service. I like the mushroom burgers, the rosemary fries, and the toasted marshmallow milkshakes. Milky Way milkshakes are excellent too. If your kids don't eat mushrooms, then the regular burgers I suppose are ok for them (but I've never had them).

        Dinner at Etete for Ethiopian food - yes, you eat with your fingers. Get the fastening food platter, the derek tibs, and add the fish for a bout $2. If they are too crowded, go across the street to Queen Makeda.

        White House:
        Breadline (midweek lunch only) Counter service. If you are there on a Friday, get the BBQ sandwich, if not get the Italian Sausage Sandwich. Felafel, egg salad, or Cubano (thursdays) are next best. Flavored water to drink.

        Bistro du Coin: boisterous, very informal.

        1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

        Queen Makeda
        1917 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

        Good Stuff Eatery
        303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

        1. There is only ONE must visit in DC......Dino