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Need help choosing 3 dinners in Dupont Circle area

We will be staying at Hotel Dupont in early August. We need 3 restaurants for dinner [Mon, Tu, Wed, if that matters]. We will have only public transportation.

We are from the SW, so we love seafoood, fish when we are on the coast, and it can be any ethnicity for preparation. French, Italian, Oriental all will work. We don't want Mexican for obvious reasons. Entree price around $25 -30 per person would be good, less would be better.

Give me your top 3 places that we have to eat at; we won't be this way again for quite some time. We have never been to Washington before and our dining experiences when we travel are very important to us.

Thanks!

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  1. You;'ve given me good advice in the past on where to eat in Albuquerque/Santa Fe. So here's a seafood suggestion in Dupont Circle: Hank's Oyster Bar: http://www.hanksdc.com/
    Had a really wonderful meal there not too long ago.

    Enjoy your stay!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Teddybear

      Thanks Teddybear! Glad I was able to help you while in ABQ! I love the idea of "paying it forward".

      1. re: DebitNM

        Komi (#1 restaurant in DC-expensive.)
        Mourayo's (Authentic Greek.)
        I like Hank's Oyster bar, too.

        -----
        Komi
        1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

        Mourayo
        1732 Connecticut Ave NW Ste 100, Washington, DC 20009

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

        1. re: chicken kabob

          Third or fourth Hanks. Cashion's also - but not just for seafood, and I haven't been since an ownership change (though I haven't heard much disparage from that).

          1. re: chicken kabob

            Komi is great but no where near the $25-30 price point for entrees--especially because it's pre-fixed.

            -----
            Komi
            1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

      2. Been to Hank's-loved it

        1. Staying within the immediate Dupont area...
          Hank's definitely makes my list as well,
          Zorba's is good cheap and quick Greek (but stick with Mourayo if you're looking for something nicer)
          Bistro du Coin is decent fairly authentic french that's not too expensive...

          Using the metro you'll be able to get to a whole lot more fairly quickly and easily... a couple of my favorites that are all easy to get to via metro, although a little more expensive than the other three...
          Zaytinya, really good Mediterranean
          Cafe Atlantico, Latin
          Central Michel Richard, Modern French I guess you could call it...

          -----
          Cafe Atlantico
          405 8th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

          Central Michel Richard
          1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004

          Zorba's Cafe
          1612 20th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

          Mourayo
          1732 Connecticut Ave NW Ste 100, Washington, DC 20009

          Zaytinya
          701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

          1. I would recommend taking the metro to Rasika. Make a reservation.

            It's very good and one of the best in DC. The pre-theater menu is a very good deal.

            -----
            Rasika Restaurant
            633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jeserf

              if you are going to take the metro- there are lots of restaurants in Penn quarter that have already been mentioned- to add to the list--- Proof, Matchbox, Coca Sala.

            2. Thank you ALL! I will start looking at each of your suggestions! chowhounders are the best~

              1 Reply
              1. re: DebitNM

                like Hank's much, they don't take reservations but if you call 15 or 20 minutes ahead they'll put you on the list. I either 2nd all the recs or if I haven't eaten there, I can say I've never heard anything negative. for Thai, Regent is prob. best, although Thai Chef and Thai-phoon are passable. budget blower Japanese would be Sushi Taro. more affordably I like Sakana but it's more of a Japanese food version of a nice diner (although the tempura sorta sucked at one lunch).

                you'll eat fine at that price point. maybe not always the absoulte best DC has to offer, but DC is kina funny when you get down to 15 or less for dinner, then you have to really hunt. or drop down to 5 and go with fast food crap.

              2. If you only want to stick to the Dupont area my 3 suggestions would be Hank's Oyster Bar for true East Coast seafood, Bistro du Coin for French bistro, and Tabard Inn for wonderful American (and outdoor seating).

                If you are interested in venturing outside of the Dupont Circle area though, let us know. There are other wonderful French and Italian restaurants.

                -----
                Tabard Inn
                1739 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036

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

                1. Thanks for all the great replies; I am working on culling the info and narrowing it down. What is the dress code in August for these restaurants? Slacks and a collared polo for hubby? Capris and blouse for me? OR do we need something dressier? Thanks again to all who replied so far!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: DebitNM

                    It depends where you decide to go but I think what you described would be ok for most places.

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      yeah apparently even 1789 has relaxed their standards. that said, DC people do tend towards a bit dressier than many cities, but just keep it tidy like your instincts and you'll be fine. (and in August, nobody REALLY gives a ahem... just don't scare the children or give yourself a chill when you walk into the AC) although I would suggest your hub's slacks be linen. sure it wrinkles, but as I said, in August nobody will care and he won't chafe.

                  2. Suprised it hasn't been mentioned yet, but I love dinner on the outdoor patio at Blue Duck Tavern, and it's definitely in the neighborhood (and a 1000 pt reservation on Open Table if you make a late dinner reservation). The dress you describe would be fine there. Entrees are $25-35, plus side dishes (which are excellent, by the way). And save room for the apple pie. If I remember correctly there are some interesting seafood pizzas at Pizzeria Paradiso, also in DuPont and likely less than $15/person. I haven't been yet, but I've also heard really good things about AGORA - closer to you than Zaytinya, and also Meditteranean. If you really like seafood I don't think you should pass up a sushi counter reservation at Sushi Taro. It'll be $100-125/person, but it's more courses than I remember and truly an experience that you will always remember (but may also ruin you on sushi elsewhere) - just prepared to eat some truly unique things in addition to the sushi and sashimi courses. Dress was "smart casual" - my girlfriends and I wore jeans and nice sweaters. That's pretty much all I've got for the DuPont neighborhood. If you're willing to take a stroll up P St to 14th St, check out Churchkey - the beer lounge over Birch and Barley - on a Sunday afternoon - great flatbreads and bar snacks and the best beer list I've ever seen with 2 oz tasting pours available for all 50+ beers on tap, including a few cask ales.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Raids

                      We won't be in DC on a Sunday -- does Churchkey do the tasting pours on other days? DH would LOVE that - 50 + wow!

                      1. re: DebitNM

                        Oh yeah, you can get all their beers as tastes anytime, it's just often really, really busy at other times. I think you'd be able to get seats and have access to the very knowledgeable bartenders earlier on a Saturday - like 5-6ish? - or at 5pm on a weekday. It's really a lot of fun to create your own flights. And they have Kasteel Rouge on tap. Man, I love that place. But at 8pm, you're waiting in line at the door, which just *doesn't happen* in DC. I'd sit at the bar instead of the tables if you can and want to chat about the beer offerings.

                        The Brickskeller is actually in DuPont and theoretically has just as many beers, but they're always out of everything and the service level is not comparable. But you can easily get in there at 8pm on a Saturday because it's not the local hotspot that Churchkey is.

                        -----
                        Brickskeller
                        1523 22nd St NW, Washington, DC 20037

                        1. re: DebitNM

                          Hi, I've enjoyed your NM recs too (as a former ABQian)- I haven't been here long enough to try many places, so can't really add to the names already given, but I wanted to point out that Restaurant Week is in August, IIRC. So you may want to keep an eye out to see if you'll be here then- you get some great values, though seats go fast at the top places! Hope you enjoy your visit! (how I wish we could arrange a trade of fresh roasted chiles for something from here... :-) )

                          1. re: MoCoMe

                            Small world! I am happy that I have given 2 of you some ideas on ABQ food spots! Do you know the exact dates of Restaurant Week? I can't find them anywhere online. We will be in town 8/9 to 8/12. Thanks.

                            1. re: DebitNM

                              I don't know the dates- I can't find them anywhere yet. Maybe someone 'in the know' can post

                              1. re: MoCoMe

                                Resto Week was just announced with an August 16 start date - sorry!
                                Working just off Dupont Circle for over 25 years - tabard and hanks are good choices for your needs; first visit to Agora (brand new in May) is tomorrow - will let you know if it's a letdown.
                                If you try Pizzeria Paradiso (crowded except off-hours), you will encounter top-notch beer list and creative pizza, right across the Circle from your hotel!

                      2. save up your money and go to Obelisk. Exquisite Italian fresh ingredients. Lots of discussion here. Not open Sunday or I think Monday and you will need a made in advance reservation.

                        1. 1. Hank's is a solid choice.
                          2. Pick one of the new -- both very highly reviewed -- tapas/Turkish places (Ezme or Agora).
                          3. Mercury Grill is vastly underrated. Get the lasagna.
                          4. Pesce (Hank's is better though)
                          5. Taiphoon
                          6. Meiwah
                          7. Tabard Inn
                          8. Cafe Nonna might be open by then
                          9. Al Tiramisu (probably the best Italian option) or Sette
                          10. Urbanna
                          11. Firefly

                          Those are your best options -- all within close walking distance to Hotel Dupont.

                          -----
                          Pesce Restaurant
                          2016 P St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

                          Meiwah
                          1200 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

                          Tabard Inn
                          1739 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036

                          Al Tiramisu
                          2014 P Street, Washington, DC 20036

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: masonuc

                            I have to disagree on Meiwah, it's all right and probably some of the better Chinese in the 'hood (although just a little farther and a lot better is Sichuan Pavilion down on K) a co-worker loved Meiwah, but even she ordered stuff that wasn't on the menu and you wouldn't expect, she swore by their Pad Thai (I know, the last thing one would expect in a Chinese place).

                            the Cafe Dupont in your hotel can be hit or miss, I had the steak tartare and caesar and was perfectly happy, my companions work around the corner and eventually later declared they were never going back - best to keep it simple should you decide to eat in. but it's a slick space and a pleasant place for drinks if the weather cooperates, another place for a drink nearby is Gazuza's 2nd floor terrace. both offer good people watching as do all the sidewalk places along 17th near Hank's. the cool thing about the Dupont area is that it's so close to downtown that everyone just walks home so the period of 5-7 is sort of amusing at any of these places if you like to watch the world go by.

                            -----
                            Meiwah
                            1200 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

                            Cafe Dupont
                            1343 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

                            1. re: masonuc

                              I would take Urbanna off the list unless you are looking for exceedingly bad service and amazingly loud music

                              1. re: Teddybear

                                I agree it has both those things but the food -- last time I went -- was pretty good, after several years of being terrible.

                                1. re: masonuc

                                  My food was good too but not good enough to justify an hour's wait after ordering it -- no lie!

                            2. Very odd that the best places in DC (other than Komi and Obelisk) haven't really been mentioned yet. I'd try for Pesce (for seafood) and Eola.

                              -----
                              Pesce Restaurant
                              2016 P St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

                              Komi
                              1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Marty L.

                                I heard that Pesce is no longer there- and there is a Turkish restaurant in it's place called (I think) "Esme." It got pretty good reviews.

                                -----
                                Pesce Restaurant
                                2016 P St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

                                1. re: chicken kabob

                                  Nope, Pesce is still there - or perhaps it moved...I just rode by on the bus and it's definitely there on P St. Ezme is in another spot...

                                  -----
                                  Pesce Restaurant
                                  2016 P St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

                              2. Kellari on 17th and K is excellent Mediterranean seafood. I had a meal there with a friend not too long ago and was BLOWN AWAY. http://www.kellaridc.com It's not too far from DuPont Circle. The Farragaut North metro is right across the street.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: thefabfoodie

                                  kellari is indeed excellent, not sure if it fits into the price point for the OP - I was fortunate to be the guest on someone else's dime. but I do recommend the grilled octopus.

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    They have a pre-theater menu that is $35 per person for 3 courses. Each dish I had was amazing.

                                2. Getting close to finalizing:

                                  1) Tabard Inn of Blue Duck Tavern for American fare??

                                  2) Agora or Kellari for Greek??

                                  3) Hank's - stands alone!

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: DebitNM

                                    Well I know I'm in the minority here, but I was not impressed with Blue Duck Tavern. Food seemed heavy and the much praised duck-fat fried potatoes did not seem like anything special to me. Minor point (although it bugged me at the time). Asked for the ladies room and was told I had to wait -- then the waitperson returned, took me on a tour of the kitchen (as if I cared) and then, finally, took me to the ladies room. It all seemed a little pretentious to me. But if the menu appeals to you (it did not to me, but my sister wanted to go) then you may have a better time.

                                    Haven't been to Tabard, so can't say.

                                    Haven't been to Tabard Inn

                                    -----
                                    Tabard Inn
                                    1739 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036

                                    Blue Duck Tavern
                                    1201 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

                                    1. re: Teddybear

                                      "was told I had to wait" WTF? I would have just started wandering, but that's ridiculous 'cause you might have had a medical issue or something. it's situations like that that make me want to practice spontaneous projectile vomiting "make me wait? I'll show you (grumble)". I think I would have asked the manager if that is truly the policy and if so explain the asinine ill-considered pretense and needless time wasted (on the part of their staff at the expense of other guests if nothing else)

                                      1. re: Teddybear

                                        Teddybear- I do not like Blue Duck tavern, either.

                                        1. re: chicken kabob

                                          ok, so I guess it's Tabard.

                                          What about Agora vs Kellari?

                                          1. re: DebitNM

                                            Given the info in your OP, I don't know how in the world you wound up deciding on Hotel Tabard Inn except that it is close (hardly the Chowhound spirit). I highly doubt it is in anyone's top three in DC, except considering location only. And even then.....

                                            You can easily get to Againn and Bibiana, and they are putting out really high caliber food. These are memorable restaurants.

                                            www.againndc.com

                                            www.bibianadc.com

                                            -----
                                            Tabard Inn
                                            1739 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036

                                            Bibiana
                                            1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                                            1. re: Steve

                                              I would go there over any of the restaurants mentioned also (including the places I mentioned), but, hey, if we're going to go with the "Chowhound spirit" and leave Dupont altogether, why stop there?

                                              To the OP, Estadio just opened and is probably relatively close to your location. Just go to Tabard for brunch.

                                              Go to Blue Duck, sit outside, order the buttermilk brined chicken, enjoy some of the really nice vegetable side dishes, and whatever you do, don't skip the apple pie.

                                              It is true that the restrooms are forever far away from the dining area from the restaurant and fully require a dedicated guide to get you there. I almost got lost trying to get back. Probably whoever was asked had to drop something off, and so the patron was asked to wait for the escort for a second. And the kitchen is on the way. Probably another route was blocked with something. That's my guess. Having been there, do either of our objectors think for a second they could have found the way themselves??

                                              1. re: Raids

                                                I think Blue Duck Tavern is much much better than Tabard Inn. Their grits are really good, their roast meats are spectacular. The brunch menu at Againn doesn't really thrill me which is a shame because I absolutely loved dinner there.

                                                I haven't been to either Agora or Kellari- but Kellari seems to be getting better reviews, fyi.

                                                -----
                                                Tabard Inn
                                                1739 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036

                                                Blue Duck Tavern
                                                1201 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

                                                1. re: Raids

                                                  Raids: if that's the case a quick explanation would have eased the poster's tension, just a quick "it's complicated, one moment please" and again if the route had to go through the kitchen or if not asked if the guest wished to see it.

                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                    Actually my sister and I could barely keep from laughing out loud -- "Not now" has become a family joke. And I do believe the waitperson could have pointed out the easy way (I figured it out myself later on) but felt compelled to show me where they baked etc. I'm sure some may have enjoyed that, but I found it all laughingly pompous and ridiculous. And I didn't like the food.

                                                    1. re: Teddybear

                                                      Ah well, if you were close enough to that back hallway that you could have found it by yourself, then I don't see why they couldn't take the time to point you in the right direction. And if they actually really just said "not now" and ran off - that's inexcusable.

                                                      If you didn't like the food, though, will you tell us what was ordered?

                                                      ktmoomau - Regarding the brunch at Againn - the asparagus/chorizo frittata is amazing, the corned beef hash is awesome, the french toast is good (but where is french toast bad?), and all the breads are excellent - scones and the grougeres, particularly. I've had the open faced BLT and thought it was not as good as the other options. The bacon is really great, but the undercook it sometimes, so you might want to pass on some direction on that point through the wait staff. One side of it would be plenty for 2-3 people.