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Tips for eating in Bethesda?

m
MCFAC Aug 22, 2010 08:57 AM

Hi, we're staying at Wisc. and Elm, near the Barnes and Noble and shops. Looking to avoid chains, however, we're open to all kinds of ethnic food. Will be here for a little while, so looking for some cheap eats too. Lookng first for places within a fifteen minute walk, can also get in the car for something not to be missed. Suggestions?

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  1. s
    Steve RE: MCFAC Aug 22, 2010 10:12 AM

    My favorites Bethesda eats are Faryab for Afghan - you should go for the bulanee appetizer - and Passage to India. Do not miss the pickles and spices on the last page!

    If you are interested in Sichuan, then SIchuan Pavillion and Joe's Noodle House in Rockville offer great food that perhaps you can't get at home. Many recs on the is board, so do a search.

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    Passage to India
    4931 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

    Faryab
    4917 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

    Joe's Noodle House
    1488 Rockville Pike Ste C, Rockville, MD 20852

    6 Replies
    1. re: Steve
      Pool Boy RE: Steve Aug 23, 2010 06:03 AM

      Passage to India has some really amazing Indian food, so I'll second the rec. Joe's is great, too, but you need to hop in the car for that.

      Some other thoughts would be - Tia Queta's rooftop dining (decent non-chain mexican), Burger Joint for a good burger and shake, Assaggi (Italian restaurant with a focus on mozzarella), Lebanese Taverna (a micro chain), the Mussel Bar (it's good, but overpriced for what you get), Bistro Provence (I am told it is very good, have not yet been), Vace (a deli/pizza joint for carry-out only, but it is good), Bacchus (mediterranean tastiness).... So many places, to try. Try Georgetown Cupcake if you like, but be prepared for lines. The 'cake' part of the cupcake is average to a bit above average, but the icing/frosting is what you get these things for. It's a $2.75 shot of pure sugar-butter deliciousness.

      I would avoid Jaleo, even though I know others would recommend it. It's fallen a couple of notches of late, so it is really not recommended.

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      Georgetown Cupcake
      1209 Potomac St NW, Washington, DC

      Passage to India
      4931 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

      Tia Queta Restaurant
      4839 Del Ray Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

      The Burger Joint
      106 N Washington St, Alexandria, VA 22314

      Vace
      3315 Connecticut Avenue NW, DC 20008

      1. re: Pool Boy
        Dennis S RE: Pool Boy Aug 23, 2010 06:08 AM

        Just want to jump in that Joe's isn't that far of a walk from the Twinbrook station. Maybe half a mile tops. Not a pretty walk, but to get some Joe's, I'd do it in a heartbeat. And - the OP suggests they have use of a car, though I'd probably opt to metro and walk than to deal with Rockville Pike in a car.

        1. re: Pool Boy
          j
          Jadxia RE: Pool Boy Sep 28, 2010 12:23 PM

          You are so right about Jaleo. I used to love the place, but both service and quality of food have slid way down. This is especially true of the one in Bethesda.

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          Jaleo
          7271 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814

        2. re: Steve
          m
          MCFAC RE: Steve Aug 24, 2010 05:50 PM

          We tried Passage to India tonight, loved the food and the ambience. We went for the chef's sampler, enjoyed everything, except for the lentil dish, which was just ok in comparison to everything else. I'll be going back for more of the chicken tikka that was part of my app . The presentation was so nice I had to take a photo. Loved exploring this neighborhood as well. Looking forward to trying out more of the recommendations in the thread!

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          Passage to India
          4931 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

           
          1. re: MCFAC
            Chocolatechipkt RE: MCFAC Sep 11, 2010 08:56 PM

            Based on these recommendations we went to Passage to India tonight and loved it. We started with three apps (for four people) -- samosas (one big one served on the best chickpeas, and I don't usually like chickpeas), apple/yam salad (good but very spicy), and the fritter platter (I didn't try, but the rest loved). For my entree, I had the chicken with spicy cilantro sauce, which was delicious and spicy, but not too much. I can't remember what all everyone else had, but they were very very happy, and full, as well left. Thanks everyone!

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            Passage to India
            4931 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

          2. re: Steve
            WellDined RE: Steve Apr 7, 2014 02:33 PM

            I second Faryab - so good!

          3. c
            comestibles RE: MCFAC Aug 22, 2010 03:42 PM

            If you like Sapporo-style ramen, head down to Ren's Ramen before they close on Sept 2 [to reopen at a later undetermined date and location]. Many reviews on this board. It's a bit hard to find as the small shop is not visible from the street, but it is behind the CVS on Arl. Blvd. They are closed on Mondays.

            6931 Arlington Rd
            Bethesda, MD 20814
            (301) 693-0806

            Tue-Fri 11:30 am - 9 pm
            Sat 11:30 am - 8 pm
            Sun 11:30 am - 7 pm

            4 Replies
            1. re: comestibles
              s
              Steve RE: comestibles Aug 22, 2010 05:47 PM

              Yes, get there quickly. The stock for the miso ramen is very, very good.

              1. re: Steve
                woodleyparkhound RE: Steve Aug 22, 2010 08:23 PM

                I third Ren's Ramen - I'm very distressed about the closing. Go with the miso. The unfortunately named "fatty pork" for an extra $2 ( I think) is an excellent addition. "Tender, juicy, flavorful pork" I think would be a more accurate description.

                1. re: woodleyparkhound
                  Pool Boy RE: woodleyparkhound Aug 23, 2010 05:57 AM

                  I completely agree about Ren's. Go there. You will not be sorry.

                  1. re: woodleyparkhound
                    woodleyparkhound RE: woodleyparkhound Aug 25, 2010 06:07 AM

                    Ren's is open through Sept. 3 (though they will close early on the 3rd). Oh.... and the "fatty pork" costs an extra $3.50, not $2.00 as I posted before. I was there last night - it is as good as ever!

              2. 1
                12F37B RE: MCFAC Aug 22, 2010 04:12 PM

                you should check out Penang for great Malaysian food. it is on bethesda ave -- a couple blocks from the barnes and noble.

                much better than the DC one.

                1 Reply
                1. re: 12F37B
                  m
                  MCFAC RE: 12F37B Aug 29, 2010 02:11 PM

                  Penang was great, and even the two 3 year olds in the group loved the food. App #1, pancake with chicken curry, DD licked the bowl! Had burgers at the burger joint today for lunch, everyone loved them. So many great restos here, we're just finding it tricky to figure out which of the italian/ethnic places where children are most comfortable/welcome. Any kid friendly suggestions?

                2. b
                  babkanosher RE: MCFAC Aug 22, 2010 04:58 PM

                  We love Shanghai Village on Bethesda Ave (next door to Penang). Rice Paddies Grill, also on Bethesda Ave (but on the other end, close to Wisconsin Ave) also has a decent Pho and is very reasonable. Don't forget to try BGR or Fresh Grill for good burgers!

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                  Shanghai Village
                  4929 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

                  1. r
                    rarotonga RE: MCFAC Aug 22, 2010 06:36 PM

                    For Indian, a good bet for cheap eats is Shangri-La, which (if you're staying where I think you're staying) is just two doors up from your hotel on Wisconsin Ave. I think it's a notch above the standard north Indian place, and it also has some Nepali dishes. I had an interesting citrusy Nepali take on black-eyed peas there this past Wednesday, in fact.

                    If you're there during the day and want a cheap lunch, there's a falafel truck outside the Farm Women's Market about two blocks south of there. (The market's open Weds, Fri, and Sat - unfortunately the Turkish stand is gone, or I'd have told you to go there. There is a lovely cheese stand, though.)

                    Another really cheap lunch is to go down Wisconsin and turn right just before the Exxon across from the garish fur store and get pizza by the slice, an Italian sub, or empanadas at Vace's Deli.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: rarotonga
                      a
                      averagetim RE: rarotonga Aug 22, 2010 06:55 PM

                      Moby Dick on Wisconsin at Leland for Kabobs, Chicken place on Wisconsin in the same block orange awning for great south american chicken and sides, for gourmet, Persimmon on that corner can't be beat. Also in the same block Stromboli for an outrageous Miss Piggy not for the faint of heart. New openings, Georgetown Cupcake, Michel Weidermeiers Mussel place opening to rave reviews and Taylor Gourmet on the corner of Woodmont and Elm, one block from the B & Noble. There is no shortage in Bethesda, heading up to Woodmont Triangle, great Pizzas, Pastas and Salads at LaTomate

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                      Georgetown Cupcake
                      1209 Potomac St NW, Washington, DC

                      Taylor Gourmet
                      1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

                      Moby Dick's
                      721 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231

                    2. woodleyparkhound RE: MCFAC Aug 22, 2010 08:24 PM

                      Some of the best pizza in the area can be found close by at Mia's on Cordell Ave.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: woodleyparkhound
                        m
                        MCFAC RE: woodleyparkhound Aug 23, 2010 04:32 AM

                        Thanks everyone, for posting!

                        1. re: MCFAC
                          c
                          chicken kabob RE: MCFAC Aug 23, 2010 05:56 PM

                          Also, Raku (asian fusion) and Rice Paddies Grill (vietnamese.) Prefer the new Fresh Grill for burgers.

                          1. re: chicken kabob
                            c
                            comestibles RE: chicken kabob Aug 23, 2010 06:33 PM

                            I second Fresh Grill. They make a great burger!

                            1. re: comestibles
                              woodleyparkhound RE: comestibles Aug 23, 2010 07:08 PM

                              I third the burger at Fresh Grill -- just had it tonight for dinner and loved it. Better than the nearby BGR in my view.

                              1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                b
                                bigplate RE: woodleyparkhound Aug 23, 2010 08:05 PM

                                To my mind, Raku is the most consistently good restaurant, at a fair price, in Bethesda. Whether you go for sushi or the higher-end dishes, rarely will you find a misstep.

                      2. r
                        repete RE: MCFAC Aug 25, 2010 05:58 AM

                        Hop in the car and drive to Wheaton for Ruan or Nava Thai. Or the Pervuian chicken or pupusa places. Nothing similar in Bethesda, but great, reasonable ethnic food.

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                        Nava Thai Restaurant
                        11315 Fern St, Silver Spring, MD 20902

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: repete
                          m
                          MDBBQFiend RE: repete Aug 25, 2010 10:29 AM

                          Please don't forget that there's "Don Pollo" for Peruvian style pollo ala brasa in Bethesda. It's right on Wisconsin Avenue not too far from Moby Dick House of Kabobs.

                          Good chicken and nice sides at a very reasonable price.

                          1. re: MDBBQFiend
                            Pool Boy RE: MDBBQFiend Aug 26, 2010 06:32 AM

                            I think Chicken on the Run in Bethesda offers up better Polla a la brasa. Just my two cents.

                            1. re: Pool Boy
                              d
                              Doh RE: Pool Boy Aug 30, 2010 05:37 PM

                              I think they are owned by the same people.

                            2. re: MDBBQFiend
                              m
                              MCFAC RE: MDBBQFiend Sep 19, 2010 07:42 AM

                              Stopped there the other day. I was so hungry I ate half my chicken before trying the sauces, which was a mistake. Everything was very tasty, great for casual lunch.

                          2. m
                            MCFAC RE: MCFAC Sep 1, 2010 04:17 PM

                            Tried American Tap Room, they have some kinks to work out. They sent my steak out overdone and potatoes cold. When I asked them to fix it, they got the steak right, potatoes were no better. If they get it right, it's basically upscale comfort food. Went with a business group, I wouldn't go back.

                            Will go back to BGR, that was great. Also came across the Red Tomato Cafe, and really loved it! Service has been attentive and accomodating everywhere we've been. Thanks for all the tips, we're going to be here another 3 weeks, so looking forward to trying more places.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: MCFAC
                              c
                              chicken kabob RE: MCFAC Sep 1, 2010 04:44 PM

                              try Fresh Grill for burgers for a taste-test comparison, and let us know which you like better! it is practically across the street from BGR.

                              1. re: chicken kabob
                                j
                                jaydreb RE: chicken kabob Sep 15, 2010 07:06 AM

                                I tried Fresh Grill last week and although it was good, I prefer BGR.

                              2. re: MCFAC
                                r
                                rarotonga RE: MCFAC Sep 2, 2010 04:45 PM

                                I haven't been to American Tap Room but I heard from some coworkers that their beer selection is meh? Which is bizarre from a place called "American Tap Room." Is this true?

                                1. re: rarotonga
                                  m
                                  MCFAC RE: rarotonga Sep 4, 2010 02:54 PM

                                  Here's a link to the menu http://www.americantaproom.com/assets...
                                  they have 15 on tap, more bottles, nothing too surprising.

                                  1. re: MCFAC
                                    r
                                    rarotonga RE: MCFAC Sep 4, 2010 04:17 PM

                                    Hmph... well, it looks like they'll have a draft special, at least. But the prices for food look pretty high - might's well just go to Mussel Bar next door and get something really unusual to drink if you're going to be spending $15 on a sandwich anyway.

                                  2. re: rarotonga
                                    DanielK RE: rarotonga Sep 4, 2010 08:39 PM

                                    It's a chain restaurant, owned by the people that bought up Austin Grill and drove it into the ground years back. They just decided to switch the location from AG to ATR.

                                    Go to Taylor Gourmet across the street instead!

                                    -----
                                    Taylor Gourmet
                                    1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

                                    1. re: DanielK
                                      c
                                      chicken kabob RE: DanielK Sep 12, 2010 09:56 AM

                                      I love Taylor Gourmet! I have tried 3 things so far- it was all great; 1)Turkey sandwich w/ red peppers & provolone, 2)arugula salad w/ cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, pesto and 3)roast pork sandwich w/ roasted red peppers, mozzarella. I like their brand of chips and the vibe of the place, too.

                                      -----
                                      Taylor Gourmet
                                      1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

                                2. d
                                  dining with doc RE: MCFAC Sep 1, 2010 04:50 PM

                                  cant believe no one rec'd Jaleo for tapas, Rio Grande Cafe for tex mex, Tako Grill for sushi and japanese, pines of rome for old school italian, assaggi mozzarella bar for new school bistro italian, Green Papaya for vietnamese, Cournacopia for lunch for authentic small italian gourmet grocery with great sandwiches
                                  other places I agree with are Raku, Penang, BGR, Fresh Grill, Mia's Pizza, South Street Steaks,
                                  Although I agree that there are great restaurants in Wheaton and Rockville, you have tremendous variety of great places within walking distance of where you are!

                                  -----
                                  South Street Steaks
                                  7313 Baltimore Ave Ste B, College Park, MD 20740

                                  Rio Grande Cafe
                                  231 Rio Blvd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

                                  Tako Grill
                                  7756 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

                                  Green Papaya
                                  4922 Elm St, Bethesda, MD 20814

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: dining with doc
                                    Mister Big RE: dining with doc Sep 5, 2010 05:23 AM

                                    I still think Philadelphia Mike's is better than South Street Steaks.

                                    1. re: Mister Big
                                      DanielK RE: Mister Big Sep 7, 2010 11:57 AM

                                      Everyone can have their own opinion, of course, but as an ex-Philly guy, there's nothing "Philadelphia" about Philly Mike's. You can dislike SSS, but IMHO, it's pretty close to what I grew up eating.

                                  2. d
                                    Doh RE: MCFAC Sep 2, 2010 11:20 AM

                                    Prince of Petworth reports that Taylor Gourmet is open in Bethesda as of today.

                                    -----
                                    Taylor Gourmet
                                    1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Doh
                                      c
                                      chicken kabob RE: Doh Sep 2, 2010 05:06 PM

                                      good to know- thanks!

                                    2. s
                                      SimonF RE: MCFAC Sep 7, 2010 11:39 AM

                                      You are right by Dolcezza, which I think has the best gelato for under $6 anywhere.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: SimonF
                                        d
                                        Doh RE: SimonF Sep 7, 2010 12:56 PM

                                        Leaving aside airfare to Rome (and my personal preference for Pitango), are there are a lot of places that charge more than $6 for a single gelato?

                                      2. m
                                        MCFAC RE: MCFAC Sep 14, 2010 08:12 PM

                                        Since I last updated, tried Mia's for pizza, had a special fig and prosciutto pie, drizzled with a reduced balsamic. Loved the pizza crust, perfect crunchy-chewiness. Faryab was also really good for a special dinner out for grownups. Thanks for the recommendations!

                                        Also, when we went to the national zoo, we ventured out for lunch and found Spices Asian. They have an eggplant dish with the most amazing texture, everything we ordered was also very enjoyable.
                                        Back in Bethesda, went to Angeeti for Indian lunch buffet, they were very accommodating of my little one, and the food was great. Le Pain Quotidien, the chain from Belgium that's nothing like most chains, is our favorite breakfast spot. You could sit for hours eating bread and jams. Also tried Bacchus of Lebanon, each dish had a strong flavor profile, for example the feta salad was seasoned with tarragon. Tried Red Tomato for pizza, also very good. Also really like Zen Tara Tea, not really a resto, but definitely a flavor experience.

                                        I’ve really fallen in love with this area. We’re here for a few more weeks, so open to more recommendations! Any breakfast spots that serve real maple syrup with their dishes? Any spots with really great food for a business group?

                                        -----
                                        Spices Asian Restaurant
                                        3333 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

                                        Faryab
                                        4917 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: MCFAC
                                          d
                                          dining with doc RE: MCFAC Sep 15, 2010 10:07 AM

                                          must hit Cornucopia for lunch- great italian upscale deli/grocery store. try the special sandwiches. Black's bar and Kitchen is excellent also. Raku is interesting pan asian with good sushi. Tako Grill has excellent sushi and Japanese. I love Rio Grande Cafe for tex mex and order the shrimp brochettes and ribs. Also, Penang, a malaysian restaurant is very good.

                                          -----
                                          Rio Grande Cafe
                                          231 Rio Blvd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

                                          Tako Grill
                                          7756 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

                                          1. re: MCFAC
                                            h
                                            hibye RE: MCFAC Sep 28, 2010 07:12 PM

                                            The Original Pancake House has a wide variety of excellent pancakes and you can get real maple syrup for an additional charge. It is super child friendly. Super crowded on weekends but fairly empty on weekdays. It is hidden in an office complex at Old Georgetown Rd. and Woodmont.

                                            1. re: hibye
                                              c
                                              chicken kabob RE: hibye Sep 28, 2010 08:11 PM

                                              For pancakes, another good option is the Tasty Diner- especially their chocolate chip.

                                              Vapiano's- I loved my pizza there- I had the bruchetta one- I was less enthralled with the pasta, but it was ok.

                                              Moby Dick is my favorite for chicken kebobs, pita/rice- and hummus- gyros are good, too.

                                              Rita's Crepes Stand (across from Barnes & Noble) is fun & delicious street-food. I love the nutella and cinn & sugar.

                                              If you like coffee- Quartermaine is terrific.

                                              I really want to try Cornucopia!

                                              I stand by my other previous suggestions, Raku (Asian fusion- delicious Chilean seabass and shrimp & chicken dumplings.) Rice Paddies Grill- (I always get their pork noodle bowl and summer rolls.) Taylor Gourmet for Italian sandwiches, Fresh Grill for burgers. These are all in Bethesda (walking distance) and fast/casual (order at the counter.) Raku is more upscale than the the others I mentioned, but still relatively casual.

                                              1. re: chicken kabob
                                                r
                                                rarotonga RE: chicken kabob Sep 30, 2010 03:09 PM

                                                The nutella crepe I had at Rita's crepes stand was good, but I find the menu for the savory ones bizarre and off-putting (tuna? falafel?). Have you eaten one yet? I do wish she'd just do something simple like apples and gruyere or tomato-basil-mozzarella.

                                                1. re: rarotonga
                                                  c
                                                  chicken kabob RE: rarotonga Sep 30, 2010 05:06 PM

                                                  I have only had the sweet ones. My thoughts exactly about the savory ones. Even if they did have tempting savory ones, I know I would always stick to the sweet.

                                          2. m
                                            MCFAC RE: MCFAC Oct 15, 2010 09:49 AM

                                            Just want to thank everyone for posting! Bethesda is an great place for food lovers, I'm sure one of the best in the US, and I can't wait to visit again.

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