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Where do you take out of town guests?

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I have some family in town from CA. They are not necessarily foodies, but since i have to go with them I want good food. I am racking my brain for someplace to take them that is relatively casual and unique to DC. We have already done Thai and Burgers. Ethopian would be too exotic. Ideas?

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  1. Thre's always one of the pizzerias - Paradiso in Georgetown or DuPont, 2Amys, or the new We the Pizza. I like El Rinconcito for El Salvadoran, but that might be *too* casual. How about Ray's the Steaks? Or Jaleo? Word is that it's the first major tapas restaurant in the country, so that's pretty unique to DC.

    Is there any particular neighborhood you're trying to stay in? And I assume you've taken them to Ben's? Note that you can do Ben's Next Door now and have actual table service and good beer.

    1. Ray's the Steaks is where we take out of town guests most often for casual. Also think about the cafe at Palena.

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      Palena
      3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

      1. I just posted on this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/728384

        But - start at Eden Center getting some bahn mi and THEN walking around. Then scoot over to Hong Kong Palace.

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        Hong Kong Palace
        6387 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22044

        Eden Center
        Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

        1. The front Cafe of Palena is a good idea. Central could also work, as well as Jaleo (I have found that out of town guests loooove Jaleo).

          Another option would be Rasika, if they eat Indian food.

          Since they live in CA they might not be able to get good Southern-style cuisine so how about Creme?

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          Palena
          3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: Elyssa

            Great stuff at Palena's Cafe, Jaleo, Central and Rasika; I second those.

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            Palena
            3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

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

          2. While I don't love Jaleo, it is a great idea. Cafe at Palena is another great pick. Just outside the "tourist zone". Thanks for the suggestions.

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            Palena
            3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

            1. I used to take them to one of the Brazilian churrascaria places - Malibu Grill if money is tight, Texas de Brazil if they're buying.

              Maybe that's why I don't have many out of town guests any more.

              1. I think Present Vietnamese is great. Especially for people who haven't had or only had Viet food a little. It is a lot more accessible at Present compared to the Eden Center for noobs. Present is a very nice restaurant (a fountain inside) very clean, excellent service with waiters that generally gauge their customers tastes and will sway them from a dish that could be too strong or spicy. I took my parents and they still talk about it.

                5 Replies
                1. re: sekelmaan

                  I second that for Present. I've taken several people here and they have uniformly loved it. Get reservations though. It's almost always packed.

                  My only objection to Present is how determinedly the waiters try to steer you away from stuff they think isn't suited to the American palate. You practically have to argue with them to get anything offbeat.

                  1. re: Mississippi Snopes

                    My objection is that everyone is steering someone with a guest from Cali to Asian food.

                    We have great Asian food in the DC area.

                    They have better.

                    1. re: DanielK

                      If the out-of-town guests find Ethiopian too exotic, then I'm guessing they're not LA foodies who are intimately familiar with the various wonderful Asian restaurants in that area. California's a big state.

                      For what it's worth, a friend of mine moved here from LA about three years ago and finds the ethnic food here BETTER than LA. Not in raw numbers of great restaurants, of course, but in their accessibility. LA unquestionably has more great Asian restaurants than DC, but you have to drive for hours to get to them.

                      1. re: Mississippi Snopes

                        I'd be surprised to find an X for which the sentence "LA unquestionably has X but you have to drive for hours to get to them" isn't true...

                      2. re: DanielK

                        If all Asian food was the same it would be good argument but the Vietnamese and Korean food in the NoVa area is far more diverse and easily accessible than any of the same in all of California or plain old LA, a not very interesting food town to boot.

                  2. We take out of town guests to Central, Blacksalt or Liberty Tavern normally.

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                    The Liberty Tavern
                    3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                    1. How about Cafe du Parc? It's right by the White House and Treasury. Can't get more DC than Pennsylvania Avenue.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: DCDeb

                        We walked by Cafe du Parc a few weekends ago on my quest to visit the W as a wedding spot. Didn't pick the W, but Cafe du Parc was lovely - it was shockingly calm and relaxing given the location. We did not eat there, but the location was fantastic and the vibe really did seem like it was in the middle of Paris.

                        1. re: Jeserf

                          I really like Cafe du Parc. I had a great meal there about a year ago (right after seeing Julie and Julia and craving French food). The roast chicken is delicious and the outdoor dining makes you feel like you are in a Paris cafe.