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What are your Top 3 monthly "go to" places in the D.C. Metro area?

O.K., so you're a foodie, and your friends are foodies. It's Thursday night and you decide that you and Carol want to go out for a good dinner and a nice bottle of wine. So you call up your friends, Ted and Alice and say, "Hey, we're going to _______ for dinner tonight, wanna join us? What is _______?

In other words, I am looking for a list of your Top 3 "go to" places -- the places you go at least once a month and possibly even once a week. The places where you are friends with the kitchen, the service staff, and the management. Not a foo-foo 12-course d├ęgustation, or a place that requires you to bust open your piggy bank. Just good food, good wine -- no brainer.

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  1. dino. always love it. reasonably priced. good food and good wine.

    also, a table at the bar at rays the classics. amazing deal there and super friendly staff.

    1. In central MoCo, my regular 3 are:
      1. Ray's the Classics
      2. Spice Xing
      3. A&J

      Ray's the Classics
      8606 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910

      Spice Xing
      100-B Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD 20850

      1. Fresh Grill, Nava Thai, Mandalay.

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

        1. I'm pretty casual when I am not at "foo-foo" places.

          1. New Kam Fong
          2. 2 Amys
          3. Urban BBQ

          You are also very likely to find me and BF at a cooking class at CulinAerie.

          Urban BBQ
          10163 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20903

          1131 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

          New Kam Fong
          2400 University Blvd W, Wheaton, MD 20902

          1. There are not many places that I go on a weekly basis. But the Top 3 places I tend to dine at a lot are:

            1. Sichuan Pavillion (the 18th and K Street location)
            2. PS7 (almost always at the bar)
            3. Central (also usually at the bar)

            Also since I live in Dupont Circle and dine a lot on my own, I tend to eat at Kramerbooks and Afterwards a lot. It's a good place to get a decent meal and a beer anytime of day, and they don't mind if you sit there for awhile with your book.

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

            1. The Lounge at Eventide- Steve the Bar Manager is a really great bartender mixologist, and I love the soft pretzels, bison sliders, locavore salad and so many other things.

              Liberty Tavern- Nice selection of specials and seasonal ingredients at good prices. Nice thoughtful wine list. This is one of my all time favorites and I am so glad they are close.

              Lebanese Taverna- something different, nice service.

              Although my list has changed dramatically the past couple months after finding a gluten sensitivity, and we haven't been out as much this summer because we have been away so much this summer, we have only been home about 1-1 1/2 weekends per month. Plus a lot of places we frequent are more casual with no liquor license: Lebanese Taverna Market, Italian Store, etc.

              If I lived a little closer the bar at Trummer's on Main would definitely be on this list.

              Italian Store
              3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

              Lebanese Taverna Market
              4400 Old Dominion Dr, Arlington, VA 22207

              The Liberty Tavern
              3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

              1. Kushi
                Central (bar)
                Liberty Tavern

                The Liberty Tavern
                3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                1. A&J -- where they give us grief if we show up without the kid!
                  Honey Pig
                  Thai by Thai

                  1. In NoVa now, so my 3 go-tos are:
                    Natta Thai
                    Dogfish Head
                    Sweet Ginger

                    If I still lived in MD, they would be Urban BBQ/Urban Burger; Nava Thai, and Dogfish Head. And Ray's the Classics at the bar, when the preschooler is not with me.

                    Ray's the Classics
                    8606 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910

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

                    Sweet Ginger
                    120 Branch Rd SE, Vienna, VA 22180

                    Natta Thai Restaurant
                    153 Glyndon St SE, Vienna, VA 22180

                    1. Radius Pizza (which deserves more attention around here)
                      The cafe at Palena

                      3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

                      1. Great thread! We're going to be in DC in about a month and this is coming with us.

                        ETA: Just noticed that there's no map on the right side showing any of these places. Is that typical of DC?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: c oliver

                          Usually it shows up. Not sure why not this thread.

                          1. re: Dennis S

                            Hey, this map etc. is there. Yay.

                        2. I don't go out a lot, but when I do, here's where I go for no-brainer cheap eats:

                          1.) Etete
                          2.) Pollo Sabroso
                          3.) Kramerbooks & Afterwords

                          1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                          Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe
                          1517 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

                          3 Replies
                            1. re: Elyssa

                              Pollo Sabroso is a Peruvian chicken place (much like Crisp N Juicy and all those). There are a couple in the Mount Pleasant area of DC (near the National Zoo). The chicken is awesome and so inexpensive. A lot of people complain about the tiny side salad they give you (it's not good), but uh... not really sure why they're wasting valuable stomach real estate when they could be shoving more chicken in their bodies.

                              Mount Pleasant Cafe
                              6001 Hillen Rd, Baltimore, MD 21239

                              1. re: SandyCat

                                Is it anything like El Pollo Ricco (aka crack chicken)?

                          1. Nowadays I am most likely to be 'recognized' at Pupatella and Taqueria El Charrito Caminante (both in Arlington) and Queen Makeda in DC.

                            El Charrito Caminante
                            2710 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                            Queen Makeda
                            Washington DC, Washington, DC

                            5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

                            1. 1. Hanks
                              2. Taj of India (Georgetown)
                              3. Cava Meze

                              1. Cava (Capitol Hill)
                                Ray's Hell Burger (Arlington)
                                El Charrito Caminante (Arlington)

                                El Charrito Caminante
                                2710 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                Ray's Hell Burger
                                1713 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

                                1. bar pilar
                                  red rocks