HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >

Discussion

Planning a weekend. What do you think?

I'm traveling with my best friend to DC for a long weekend next month. We're looking for good food, but want to avoid high end fine dining. Casual,moderately priced, fun places with great food and wine are the requirements and great fresh seafood would be ideal. We're looking at the following places and want to know if these fit the bill.

Central
Black Salt
Brasserie Beck
Zaytinya
Johnny's Half Shell
Matchbox (for pizza)
Cork (for wine)

-----
Brasserie Beck
1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

Johnny's Half Shell
400 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

Zaytinya
701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I consider Black Salt to be the best seafood restaurant in town - but to me it's "high end fine dining". I guess knowing your definition of "moderately priced" would help. Also, you need a car to get there.

    I don't think the pizza at Matchbox is anything special at all - though it certainly fits your requirement of "casual, moderately priced and fun".

    BBeck and Zaytinia would be perfect, I think.

    I like Cork, but I think it's pricey.

    I ate at Johnny's Half Shell a couple of years ago and can't remember anything about what I ate there. To me, it isn't memorable.

    I still have never been to Central - I MUST correct this oversight soon!

    6 Replies
    1. re: woodleyparkhound

      The prices online for Black Salt were fine. We just don't want to get too dressed up!

      1. re: olivertwist

        I've been to Johnny's Half Shell twice in the last six months and was not impressed -- I thought my meal at Hank's Oyster Bar (in Dupont Circle) far superior

        1. re: olivertwist

          My memory of it is that people dress nicely at Blacksalt. "Business casual" would be OK, I think.

          1. re: woodleyparkhound

            On weekend it is more casual, but all of DC is, I wouldn't wear shorts and an FBI T shirt, but khakis and polo tucked in for a guy, or a skirt or pants and a top should be fine. Mothers day lots of sundresses or casual cotton dresses were there.

            Weeknights there tend to be a lot of suits, but that is because the neighborhood is full of professionals and that is what they have been wearing all day.

        2. re: woodleyparkhound

          Another nix for Johnny's, there is just no reason to go out of the way for it. Zaytinya, is in my opinion, the better of the Andres restaurants at the moment. Seafood, by the way, is not a strength around here; I'd look into adding a steakhouse to your list in place of Johnny's.

          -----
          Zaytinya
          701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

          1. re: woodleyparkhound

            I finally went to Central last week and loved it. Really good food, unpretentious, and moderately priced (for DC). I think it would be perfect for your needs.

          2. I absolutely love Blacksalt. It is a cab ride, but definitely well worth it. They have great simply prepared fish, but things like their Boullibasse are really good too. And if you wanted to save some cash you could metro to Roslyn walk across the bridge to Georgetown and catch a cab there. And they also have big enough entrees I don't have to have a starter there or sometimes split and app or dessert with my husband.

            I agree that you probably really would enjoy Hank's too.

            I think Central, Zaytinya are also good choices. I haven't been to B. Beck in months, but really enjoy their mussels and desserts. Note they have big portions too. I like it though, and if you really like nice beer you will especially like it.

            I really like Matchbox. I can't articulate why I like their pizza so much except for it is thin, but holds up well with the toppings. And I like the sauce and cheese ratio. It is perhaps my number three on the pizza list currently. And they have two locations both pretty convenient to a lot of attractions.

            If for some reason you don't end up at Cork for wine, there are a number of other good spots, like Proof. Cork can get very crowded, just try to get there on the earlier side and you should be ok.

            But I think you have a pretty nice mix of places. I have never been to Johnny's on the Half Shell so I don't know too much about it.

            -----
            Zaytinya
            701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

            1 Reply
            1. re: ktmoomau

              I love Matchbox -But I go for the AMAZING mini burgers w/ fried onions!
              I also love Coco Sala- American tapas that specializes in chocolate desserts and tastings. It is a few blocks from Matchbox so it may be a fun place to go for dessert. Proof has an extensive wine list, good food, and is also a few blocks from Coco Sala. I also recommend Granville Moore's (would need a cab or bus to get there) but worth it for excellent moules & frites in a cool atmosphere. I like Central, Brasserie Beck, Blacksalt. I would also suggest Creme and Hank's Oyster Bar.

              -----
              Brasserie Beck
              1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

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

            2. Central really not moderate but good, Zaytinya good, don't waste your time at Beck (incredibly overpriced beer), others OK.

              -----
              Zaytinya
              701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

              1 Reply
              1. re: a1234

                I had one of the best meals I've ever had in DC at Brasserie Beck - mussels in an amazing veal and roasted caper broth that I wanted to bathe in, served with perfect fries accompanied by several delicious sauces -- for $20. There must have been two quarts of mussels/broth in my order. It was easily enough to feed two people and was stunningly delicious. I thought this was an incredible deal.

                The Belgian beer list is impressive - but steep, I grant you that. The cheapest one was $9, as I recall. Not a place to get wasted on the brewskis.

                -----
                Brasserie Beck
                1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

              2. On your list I would skip Matchbox (except for the mini-burgers) and Johnny's Half Shell (except for the wood-fired chicken wings).

                -----
                Johnny's Half Shell
                400 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

                1 Reply
                1. re: Steve

                  Johnny's has half-price oysters during happy hour.

                2. If you are really into wine, you need to consider Dino. Fantastic wine list at better prices than anywhere in DC.