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Parents in town, semi-picky, moderate priced...help! I've included all my Reqs :)

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Hello -

Parents are coming to town this weekend and I would LOVE recs for Fri and Sat nights. Requirements:

Location: Arlington, VA or DC location (Gtown, Downtown, Dupont, Chinatown...not farther out from Arlington like Adam's Morgan, etc)

Price: Entrees $15-$25...nothing TOO expensive

Acceptable Cuisines: American, Mexican, Asian-inspired (Thai, etc..but not sushi), Mediterranean, and/or Italian. Parents like food but aren't "foodies" so they won't do anything too gourmet/"weird". Dad won't eat seafood (no sushi)....it's okay that the restaurant has seafood but shouldn't be the main draw.

Atmosphere: Parents are fun, like to drink (so should have full bar and not only beer/wine). Shouldn't be stuffy. Should honor reservations, parents do not like waiting in line or waiting for a table for more than 15 mins :(


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  1. I think Zaytinia would be perfect. Mediterranean, fun atmosphere, full bar. They do small plates, so you should be able to come in at budget.

    1. Jaleo

      1. I would look in to Central, Acadiana, Poste, Siroc or Zaytinya. All of these places have good food and for the most part interesting cocktail lists (maybe not so much with Siroc, but they have a nice wine list).

        701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

        901 New York Ave NW Ste 200A, Washington, DC 20001

        Siroc Restaurant
        915 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

        1. PS7s has some of the best cocktails in town.

          PS7 Restaurant
          777 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

          1 Reply
          1. re: MrsWheatie

            I love PS7. Not sure if it's exactly in your price point though. But for cocktails and food in the lounge, it's perfect.

            PS7 Restaurant
            777 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

          2. Sounds like Tara Thai by Virginia Square metro would be an easy option if you get stuck. It's not a notable destination, but it's always tasty, has lots of drinks options, fun interior, and is in the pricing sweet spot.
            Lebanese Taverna also comes to mind as a likely hit with the parents.
            Then there's that French place in Georgetown with the prix fixe menu. And a couple of French places in Alexandria whose names momentarily escape ('fraid I don't get out much outside Reston since becoming a mom).

            1 Reply
            1. re: perries

              Bastille is in Alexandria. Also, could do Majestic or Brabo Tasting Room in Old Town.

            2. Carlyle in Shirlington

              1. I highly recommend Liberty Tavern for dinner, in Arlington. Very normal menu, but executed very well with very nice ingredients. The pork chop is a favorite of mine. Good cocktail menu, the bar is very very bustling though so plan to eat and get drinks at the table.

                Eventide at the other end of the block has a wonderful bar, as well. I have only been for dinner once in the main dining room, but thoroughly enjoyed it.

                The Liberty Tavern
                3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                2 Replies
                1. re: ktmoomau

                  I second both of these.

                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    Eventide or Liberty Tavern are good conservative choices. I personally prefer Liberty Tavern. A half order of pasta and an appetizer is the way to go IMO.

                    Eventide's menu is a little more adventurous but to me the food doesn't quite live up to the price and is a little heavy ( I ate there recently and the only thing that really stood out was an incredibile butterscotch semmifreddo-- which was just a small part of a larger dessert with several components). But alot of people like it. If you get drinks I'd say you'll spend at least 50 bucks a person after tax and tip. That may be more than you want to spend.

                    A more casual and more affordable option in Arlington is Minhs, a personal favorite. Spring rolls. Grilled Pork. Vietnamese Salads. I've also heard good things about the grilled eggplant, which I have yet to try. This is such a likeable restaurant.

                    Bangkok 54 is a good, moderately priced option for Thai in Arlington with a decent enough atmosphere and plenty of drinks. I like the curries, thai salads, any dessert with coconut milk, and several of the chili-basil stir frys. But if you're parents are the pad Thai and spring roll types they'll also be happy there, I think.

                    Honestly, though, I'd be more inclined to go one night to a cheap place in Arlington like Rays Hell Burger or Ravi Kabob and then the next night at a sit-down place. But that's me.

                  2. tallula in arlington, bistrot du coin in dupont, ten penh near metro center. i definitely echo the jaleo and zatinya suggestions. good luck! :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cutiefoodie

                      Tallula is another good call.

                    2. This might call for Old Ebbitt. Wide menu with something for everyone. Great bar that looks like a proper bar! Because it is! A lot of history so it is usually special for visitors.
                      Although a lot of people consider it a tourist draw, it has a steady clientele of locals, especially when they have to please guests with widely varying tastes.
                      Old Ebbitt has been buying local, seasonal food since before it was trendy, so you'll likely see some good specials.
                      The food won't knock your socks off, but it's good and your parents will probably enjoy it.

                      1. Thanks all....I really wanted to do Zaytinya, but they were already all booked up for this weekend when I checked on Monday. So, we're doing Oyamel on Friday night, and Present on Saturday night. Heard great things about Present!

                        701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jamiechiri

                          My recs for Oyamel are the albondigas and the chile en nogado. I'm not fond of the antojitos in general.

                          At Present, I adore the watercress and minced pork soup. Such a gorgeous broth.

                          1. re: jamiechiri

                            If you don't go to Zaytina too late (beyond about 7 I would say), you should be able to get a table. Only a portion of the restaurant is held by reservations. The rest are walk up. If you have your heart set on it, just try it a bit earlier.