Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Sep 26, 2010 02:59 PM

All this FEAR is making me HUNGRY!

Hello friends. How are you doing? Good? That's good. *hugs*

As I've never been to D.C., I've always wanted to visit, take a lot of pictures, and eat a lot of food. Que Colbert's "March to Keep Fear Alive", and I finally have the perfect reason to visit, Friday Oct 29th through Monday Nov 1st.

Now, I'll be meeting a few Internet Friends that weekend, specifcally Saturday the 30th for the festivities, and I'd like your dining advice. Been asking around, and have been getting very conflicting advice.

"NEVER eat in D.C., always drive to Arlington." one person remarked. "Stay out of Eastern and South Eastern D.C." another explained, "It looks like someone bombed it." And, even a third mentioned "Everything is stupidly expensive, you'd be better off just eating at chain places."

This has the poor North Dakota boy a bit nervous. So, in keeping with our Chowhound guidelines, what would all of you suggest I eat to prove all of them wrong?

1. I love Seafood, and, being from ND, our seafood is limited to Walleye if we want fresh.

2. Nothing too crazy, maybe around 50 bucks at the most? Not including drinks.

3. Any place kinda classy I should visit? I fancy myself a fancy lad, and my friends...less so. So, any nicer place to enjoy cocktails after a long day of walking?

4. My hotel is a block from the Library of Congress, which is, about a block from the Capitol Building. Any nice place within walking distance of the Mall?

Thank you all for your time, and I hope I don't get arrested in D.C.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. wow, you must be talking to Glenn Beck. every neighborhood is someone's home - to call it "bombed out" is somewhat insulting.

    Regardless, near where you are is Bistro Bis (french influenced) in the Hotel George, which would be good for dinner. You are also near Art and Soul - southern food.

    Bistro Bis
    15 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

    Art and Soul
    415 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001

    1. Hey Aramek!

      You are going to love the food here. There are lots of great places within all price points.

      No offense but the people who told you:

      "NEVER eat in D.C., always drive to Arlington." one person remarked. "Stay out of Eastern and South Eastern D.C." another explained, "It looks like someone bombed it." And, even a third mentioned "Everything is stupidly expensive, you'd be better off just eating at chain places."

      are being ridiculous...

      Without a doubt you need to get some seafood. I'm originally from the midwest and the seafood here is absolutely amazing. I think a must while you are here would be to try the crab cakes. Lots of places have great ones do you could just do a search here or are yelp and find many restaurant choices.

      You are staying in a great area for food! I used to live on the Hill and you have tons of choices there.

      If you have time make sure to visit Eastern Market which is just blocks away. There you can have breakfast or lunch and pick up some snacks. Actually in the main building they have a counter where they serve a great crab cake sandwich. They also have amazing blueberry pancakes. If you head the opposite direction on 8th street you'll see a little restaurant of fun places to try.

      I'm a huge fan of Cava which is Greek. I think it's very good. There is also a fun place called Ted's Bulletin, think pricey dinner. Belga Cafe is also on that street which might be on the higher end of your range but is great for brunch. If you would like more suggestions for that area just let me know but again you can do a little research online and find most of the places in that area.

      As far as classy I'll leave that to the other folks. I don't really think you'll get fancy in this area for $50 but I could be wrong.

      We also have a lot of great ethnic places so if there is something that you have a hankering for, that you don't have in ND you might just find it here.

      Also, I would bet that some of the DC food trucks will be in the mall area during the rallies. They are super yummy!

      Have a fantastic time. You are going to love it!!

      Ted's Bulletin
      505 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

      3 Replies
      1. re: DC Girl

        It depends on how fancy you want to get and if you order much wine. For fancy, I would go for Brasserie Beck or Central. For seafood, I understand that Kinkead's is wonderful. Eastern Market for lunch is wonderful. For fancy but not too fancy, try either Oyamel (fancy Mexican) or Jaleo (Spanish Tapas). They are not far off the Mall. I understand that the Demo will be near the Washington Monument, so you looking at a walk North towards Downtown.

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

        Kinkead's Restaurant
        2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006-1812

        1. re: ChewFun

          I'd personally send the OP to Cafe Atlantico over Kinkead's for fancy seafood. Kinkead's has really fallen off in quality the last few times I've been there.

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

          Kinkead's Restaurant
          2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006-1812

        2. re: DC Girl

          I'd heard of that Eastern Market, so, I am really looking forward to all the fresh crab I can gluttonize. Walking is going to happen, but, I'll be hopping on the metro too.

          I skipped the rental car, because, well, I imagine parking is a bit of a pain. But, I'm really, really looking forward to this trip.

        3. The problem you're going to run into is that all of the nice places within walking distance of the Mall will probably be swamped with everyone else who is staying in hotels a block from the Mall, too; I'd suggest catching the Metro elsewhere for the eating. (Try the U St area for Ethiopian, for example.) If you do want to stay close to the mall, though, there are a couple of restaurants at the Smithsonian that are actually pretty good (Mitsitam and the Natl Gallery of Art Garden Cafe), and a number of other relatively close options; you can find them by searching for "Penn Quarter", "Capitol Hill", "Eastern Market", and/or "DC Mall".

          For cocktails, the best places will again probably be Metro-accesible rather than walkable. Check out Gibson and Passenger. (If you want wine rather than cocktails, there are other good options, too.)

          Re: getting arrested, yes the cops here are sometimes jackbooted thugs, but if they do falsely arrest you, you can apparently make $20k off of it:

          1 Reply
          1. re: sweth

            If I get arrested, it'll be for drunk in public. I'll try to plan my food/drink adventures out ahead of time.

          2. You and your 'friends' need to have your minds expanded (blown up?).

            To do that I suggest Ethiopian food at Queen Makeda - get an array of vegetables and lentils and the tibs wat.

            I also recommend the quarter dark chicken spicy at Nando's Peri Peri which is very casual, order at the counter place.

            Then Spanish tapas at Jaleo, particularly the spinach with raisins, baby wrinkled potatoes, and grilled asparagus. This is great for a group of friends to share. Focus on the vegetables which are fantastic and keep the prices lower.

            Then go for Hong Kong-style food at Full Kee for oyster and ginger casserole, shrimp dumpling soup, duck stuffed with shrimp paste, sft shell crabs, and clams in black bean sauce. This is your best affordable choice for seafood in DC.

            If you want something fancy, take the Metro into Arlington, Virginia (Clarendon stop) to Lyon Hall for Alsatian food. Nothing over $20 per person!

            With so many folks coming into town, better to reserve at Jaleo or Lyon Hall.

            Full Kee Restaurant
            509 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001

            Queen Makeda
            Washington DC, Washington, DC

            1 Reply
            1. re: Steve

              Aww, don't blow up my mind. I'm really looking forward to seeing and eating everything.

            2. I'm going to the rally too; I consider myself very lucky that going won't involve a plane ticket for me. You will have a blast in DC keeping fear alive! I agree with a lot of what has been written so far. Certainly the advice you've been given about eating in this area is beyond ridiculous. Never ask those people for restaurant advice again! :-) And remember, the Metro is your friend!

              If you like mussels and frites you must check out Brasserie Beck. A huge portion of fantastic mussels, great frites with dipping sauces and lots of good bread to sop up the juices costs about $20. They have a great Belgian beer list -- but it's expensive. The cheapest one is $9. It's a few blocks from Metro Center.

              One classy place with good cocktails is PS7. Someone mentioned the Gibson and the Passenger. Both are on my "to do" list. Cocktails in a nice place typically cost about $12 each so you can run up a bill pretty quickly.

              Ethiopian is a great idea I think, as it's really fun to eat communally with friends and it's not something you can get in many other cities in the US -- and it's reasonably priced. Etete is my favorite; I also like Dukem. I haven't been to Queen Makeda yet, but I want to go. 9th and U (U St. Metro on the Green Line) is ground zero for Ethiopian. (The Green Line was the one Beck told people to stay away from -- that's reason enough to make a point of taking it!)

              Hank's Oyster Bar (Dupont Circle, Red Line) is said to be good for seafood - that's another place I want to try!

              I would urge you to consider Central Michel Richard for your nice seafood meal. It isn't a seafood restaurant per se, but they have lots of seafood on the menu. The "faux gras" there blew my mind completely. I think this place is reasonably priced for the quality.

              DC Gir's recs for 8th St. SE and Eastern Market are good ones. The counter at Eastern Market (Market Lunch) would be a great place for breakfast pre-rally IF you can get there early - say 8:30. The line gets huge later in the morning. They do crab cakes and blueberry pancakes true, but my favorite is the brick (bacon egg and cheese sandwich). You could pick up some great food to take to the mall with you at Eastern Market if you were so inclined. Near the Capitol South Metro at 3rd and Penn SE are Spike Mendolsson's two places: Good Stuff Eatery (best shakes in town and good burgers) and We The Pizza, where I ate "with" Michelle and Sasha a few weeks back. Both are likely to be mobbed though.

              I agree with Sweth's first sentence about places near the mall being super crowded with those busy keeping fear alive. U St. would get you way off that beaten path. U St. is a very happening night life part of town that has really come up in the past 10 years or so. I like it because it's very mixed in terms of age, race, sexual orientation, etc. Other places I like on U (although these don't fit what you said you were looking for) are DC Noodles, Oohs and Aahs (soul food / southern cooking) and Marvin, which has a great bar with a deck upstairs for when the weather is nice. The Gibson is next door to Marvin. This is at the corner of 14th and U. If you continue south on 14th St from there, you encounter lots of other good restaurants - Cork Wine Bar, Masa 14, Estadio come to mind. Also on U you'll find the infamous Ben's Chili Bowl, where Obama and Bill Cosby have eaten. The food there isn't great, but God bless 'em it's cheap.

              That's what comes to me now. In any case, welcome to our city - and upon your return to ND, please enjoy telling those people how full of crap they were!

              1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

              Ben's Chili Bowl
              1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

              Queen Makeda
              1917 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

              PS7 Restaurant
              777 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

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

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

              Cork Wine Bar
              1720 14th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20009

              Good Stuff Eatery
              303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

              Masa 14
              1825 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009

              1 Reply
              1. re: woodleyparkhound

                Aramek, wph's mention of Hank's got auto-referenced as the Alexandria location in the sidebar, it is good, but look up the DC locale for easy access.