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Advice for places to eat around Cleveland Park area of DC?

We will be in the Cleveland Park area of DC during Labor day with my 3-year old son and 70+ year mother. I recall the area from 10-years ago as having desultary food choices. Does anyone have any recommendations of places that are quiet, child-friendly (he's extremely good at restaurants) and NON-CHAIN? Thanks in advance!

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  1. There are three places there that I love. Dino for Italian (and the best wine list in town), Indique for very good Indian food and Palena Cafe for -- among other things -- an excellent burger (many think it's the best in the city) with a unbelievably good "fry plate" that includes these amazing fried lemons -- they also do an excellent roast chicken. All three places are very near the CP Metro entrance.

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    Palena
    3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

    Indique
    3512 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008

    7 Replies
    1. re: woodleyparkhound

      Thanks for these fantastic -- and wonderfully varied-- suggestions!

      1. re: food diva

        Re: Palena... the Cafe, which is more casual and has lower-priced items on the menu, is in the front of the restaurant. The more formal restaurant is in back.

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        Palena
        3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

        1. re: woodleyparkhound

          Oh yes...more I forgot to say... for one of the best pizzas in the city (sold by the slice and whole pie - take-out only), check out Vace.

          New places I've read good things about but haven't had a chance to try yet are Cacao (desserts - I've been to the Bethesda store; it's excellent) and Ripple, a new wine bar.

          1. re: woodleyparkhound

            Agree with Palena, Indique and Dino. I'd also throw out Spices, which I think has some pretty decent sushi and a good mix of Asian food. It's not remarkable, but it's solid and it will be very, very kid-friendly.

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            Palena
            3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

            Indique
            3512 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008

          2. re: woodleyparkhound

            The cafe doesn't take reservations FYI.

        2. re: woodleyparkhound

          I heartily recommend Palena, too. But if you have a 3-year old, really the front Cafe is the best/only option. And still I am not sure I'd suggest it even then. Dino is great, too, and more casual still. I am not so enamored of Indique, I think it's pretty overrated, average at best based on my own personal experiences, but your mileage may vary.

          Lavandou and Ardeo are both decent, but nothing spectacular.

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          Palena
          3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

          Indique
          3512 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008

          Lavandou Restaurant
          3321 Connecticut Ave, nw, Washington, DC 20008

          1. re: Pool Boy

            I'm glad I found another person that doesn't love Indique. I've tried it 2 or 3 times over the years and found it to be over priced and pretty mediocre. But everyone I know loves it.

            For Indian I prefer Heritage in Dupont Circle much more.

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            Indique
            3512 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008

        3. There are a couple of choices in that area but I think your best bet will be Dino, which is very family friendly and has great rustic Italian cuisine.

          The front cafe at Palena is probably one of the best restaurants in DC but I'm not sure if it's appropriate for a 3 year-old, nor to I really consider it quiet. The back more formal dining room is much more quiet, but I wouldn't bring a 3 year-old there...no matter how well behaved the child is).

          Spices is a good Asian restaurant in the area. You might also have some success at Ardeo. They have a wonderful roof top deck which might be better with a child.

          For a much more casual meal there is also California Tortilla which is a local burrito/taco chain. I personally love it!

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          Palena
          3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

          2 Replies
          1. re: Elyssa

            there is a new place in cleveland park. it is called Ripple. i know nothing about it, however. just a thought if you want to do some research. maybe someone else on this board knows if it is what you are looking for (?)

            1. re: chicken kabob

              From what I understand it's a wine and small plates bar. Not sure if that's really appropriate for a small child. But I've never been.