HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
What's your latest food project? Share your adventure

Ethnic Food Tour

hopeinmee Dec 12, 2010 08:57 AM

My friend and I are starting an ethnic food tour through DC. We are planning on going to off the beaten path restaurants to try as close to authentic ethnic foods in DC. Right now we are still in the research stages. If there are any good ones in Baltimore, we would be willing to go there for a couple restaurants.

Do you have any recommendations for the following types of ethnic restaurants?
West African
Korean BBQ

Any other types of cuisines we should try? Thank you!!

  1. bboyneko Dec 17, 2010 01:13 PM

    For Greek, besides Mourayo (more seafood based, fancy) also consider Zorbas in Dupont circle. It is more Greek street vendor food, but it is very very good and has authentic cheap greek white wine.

    For Peruvian try El Chalan. Really good and cool interior.

    Unfortunately DC kind of sucks for Indian. Yes I know we have Rasika but that is trendy modern indian inspired food, not really authentic. Best Indian ive had in the DC/MD/VA region is House of India in Columbia MD. However in DC proper Indique is very good.

    Cuban try Cuba de Ayer in burtonsville MD. Amazing food.

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

    El Chalan Restaurant
    1924 I St NW, Washington, DC 20006

    1732 Connecticut Ave NW Ste 100, Washington, DC 20009

    3512 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008

    House of India
    9350 Snowden River Pkwy Ste F2, Columbia, MD 21045

    1 Reply
    1. re: bboyneko
      MoCoMe Dec 21, 2010 03:45 AM

      Awesome idea. Let me know when we're going! :-0

    2. kukubura Dec 13, 2010 01:38 PM

      Consider Sumah's. It's a completely unassuming little joint featuring West African cooking by a chef from Sierra Leone. The Pepper Soup is no joke and the various stews are out of this world. We had a couple of fish stews (in a peanut sauce and in a tomato sauce) with a couple of kinds of fufu and the meal was amazing. The space is nothing - total hole in the wall, but the food is the real thing.

      6 Replies
      1. re: kukubura
        hamster Dec 13, 2010 01:43 PM

        Thanks for the rec. I have been wondering about that place ever since my trip to Akosombo in the fall.
        Sumah's serves at dinner time, right?

        Akosombo Restaurant
        613 K St NW, Washington, DC 20001

        1. re: hamster
          kukubura Dec 13, 2010 01:52 PM

          I think so but it wouldn't be a bad idea to check. We were there for an early dinner on our way to a show.

          1. re: hamster
            Steve Dec 13, 2010 04:05 PM

            He's a very nice guy, and if you show some inquisitiveness, he will give you samples. He usually has four or five different kids of greens of varying bitterness.

            1. re: Steve
              hamster Dec 13, 2010 05:55 PM

              Awesome. Can't wait to try it.

              1. re: hamster
                Steve Dec 13, 2010 08:11 PM

                Chez Aunty Libe is even better, especially the manioc, , yassa, maffe, and the whole fish. If you call at least a day in advance, she can make thiackry, a dessert of fromage blanc, orange blossom water, vanilla sugar, and milllet that tastes like liquid cheesecake.

                Chez Aunty Libe
                6115 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20011

                1. re: Steve
                  kukubura Dec 14, 2010 02:07 PM

                  We're gonna go there during our days off this holiday season. Can't wait!

        2. s
          Steve Dec 13, 2010 07:38 AM

          Chez Aunty Libe up on Georgia Avenue for Senegalese. I am sure Libe (short for Liberté) would be happy to work with you to devise tastings and an explanation for your group. Also up Georgia Avenue is Rita's for Trini food. Her polori (chickpea flour fritters) with pickled tamarind sauce are fantastic. She also makes great sorrel to drink as well as good peanut milk - kind of like a milk shake.

          Overall, I recommend not to forget about beverages. Some of the best Chow you can offer people include Chicha Morada (a Peruvian purple corn drink), Ensalada (Salvadoran fruit salad drink), and Mocochincho (Bolivian spiced peach drink)

          Chez Aunty Libe
          6115 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20011

          1. thew Dec 13, 2010 07:32 AM

            you left out new american, southern BBQ, french, spanish, and loads of other ethnic/cultural cuisines

            1. ktmoomau Dec 13, 2010 07:22 AM

              Hey Hey,

              I don't know any Korean BBQ int he district, so you will have to hop to Annandale. I like Han Gang best for food, but Honey Pig is more fun and hip in atmosphere. If you want some company when you go let me know!

              For Greek I think Mourayo in Dupont is probably the most authentic. Although Cava, Zaytinya and Zorba's are options too.

              For Vietnamese, if you can drive- Eden Center. If not take metro over to Rosslyn and go to Minh's or go to Nam Viet in Cleaveland Park.

              For Indian Masala Art, Indique, Bombay Club, Rasika, Heritage India.

              Ethiopian- Ethiopic.

              Lebanese- my favorite is the Lebanese Butcher in Falls Church, but Mama Asheya's in the district gets good word of mouth. There is also Me Janna in Courthouse which gets good reviews, but I haven't been. Personally I like Lebanese Taverna too.

              What about the Lao menu at Bangkok golden?

              Or Pakistani at Ravi Kabob.

              Lebanese Butcher & Restaurant
              109 E Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22046

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

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

              Bombay Club
              815 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006

              2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

              4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

              1732 Connecticut Ave NW Ste 100, Washington, DC 20009

              Nam Viet Restaurant
              3419 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., washington, dc, DC 20008

              701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

              Heritage India
              2400 Wisconsin Ave NW Ste A, Washington, DC 20007

              3512 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008

              Masala Art
              4441 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, MD 20016

              2 Replies
              1. re: ktmoomau
                Gonzocook Dec 14, 2010 03:20 AM

                Minh's would be closer to either the Clarendon or Courthouse Metro stops. Also at Clarendon is another Nam Viet.

                2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                1. re: Gonzocook
                  Dennis S Dec 14, 2010 04:36 AM

                  And I think the Nam Viet in Clarendon is better.

                  Surprised of no mention of either Joe's Noodle House (metro accessible in nice weather) or Hong Kong Palace - both very good Sichuan fare, though HKP now has the Hot Pot outpost in Uncle Liu's that is a nice treat.

                  If you think you're manly men, then take a swing (sometime when you have the car) to Victor's Grill in Falls Church. There's one in a strip mall - that's not the one to go to. You want the small white stand alone building on 29 South of 7.

                  I am no expert on Ukrainian or Georgian, but to toss it out there, there's a Russian place in old town Herndon that's supposed to be very good, and then there is a Russian Gourmet store with two locations - one in Herndon and the other in Rockville. They have good sausages among other items.

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

                  Nam Viet Restaurant
                  3419 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., washington, dc, DC 20008

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

                  Victor's Grill
                  436 S Washington St, Falls Church, VA 22046

              2. h
                hamster Dec 12, 2010 04:18 PM

                A couple questions for clarification:
                Do you want District only? Because there are definitely near-District spots that you might want to consider.
                Relatedly, will you have a car or will you be walking or taking metro/bus? How many of these are you doing at one go?
                Is this something just for fun, or are you trying to set up food tours to charge customers for?

                7 Replies
                1. re: hamster
                  reiflame Dec 13, 2010 07:25 AM

                  I'd also add Salvadoran and Peruvian to that list. We have large populations of both.

                  1. re: reiflame
                    hopeinmee Dec 13, 2010 04:18 PM

                    We have done Salvadoran and Peruvian in the past, though if you have a good restaurant recommendation we are definitely up to trying it. This is mostly an adventure for trying places and cuisines we don't typically think of off the top of heads.

                  2. re: hamster
                    hopeinmee Dec 13, 2010 04:17 PM

                    Our preference is for DC or Maryland. Ideally, we would prefer the places to be metro/bus accessible since only one of us has a car and doesn't always have access to it.

                    This started out as a conversation between friends out to dinner and grew to making a list of types of foods and places to go after getting bored with some of the same type of restaurants. Ideally, we wanted to explore new places and try new types of foods. Also, we love to travel and thought this would be an interesting adventure with a rush similar to traveling. It is totally for fun between friends. There are no plans to plan tours for anyone or charge people.

                    We will probably go to one place at a time with the tour spreading out over several meals.

                    1. re: hopeinmee
                      hamster Dec 13, 2010 05:53 PM

                      I totally support those feelings! Some recommendations:
                      Try Polish at Domku (Petworth). Recent review:

                      Try West African at Akosomo (Mt. Vernon Square). Lunch time only.

                      Try Woodlands or Udupi Palace (Langley Park, University Blvd) or Sping Xing (Rockville Town Square) for Indian.

                      Definitely go to Eden Center for Vietnamese (Falls Church, VA). Saigon Cafe is my favorite, which is actually across Wilson Blvd from the actual mall complex.

                      Get pho at Pho 75 on University Blvd (Langley Park) or a banh mi across the street at Ba Le.

                      Try Chez Manelle for Tunisian (Courthouse metro).

                      Try Souk for Moroccan (H Street NE).

                      I prefer Etete for Ethiopian (near U Street metro).

                      Go to Muncheez in Georgetown for the Nana's Original - flat bread with labne, zaatar, olives, and veggies. Yummy reminder of my travels in Paris. I believe it's a Lebanese dish, possibly Druze.

                      There are many recommendations for Korean barbeque in Annandale, VA. Check the board for specific recs. It's also fun to get a bing soo, a shaved ice Korean dessert, at one of the cafes: Shilla Bakery (which also has a Rockville location) is a good place for that.

                      Get Chinese dumplings at China Bistro, aka Mama's Dumplings (Rockville).

                      Get Israeli felafel or schawarma at Max's (Wheaton, MD).

                      Get Burmese at Burma Road or Mandalay. Burma Road is in Gaithersburg, MD.

                      1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                      Shilla Bakery
                      7039 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003

                      Eden Center
                      6763 Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

                      China Bistro
                      755 Hungerford Dr, Rockville, MD

                      Domku Bar & Cafe
                      821 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011

                      Burma Road
                      617 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

                      U Street Cafe
                      1301 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                      1. re: hamster
                        reiflame Dec 14, 2010 03:34 AM

                        Udupi Palace closed a few months ago. They merged with Tiffin, their sister restaurant. I have not been to Tiffin but hear it's not as good and the prices are higher.

                        1. re: reiflame
                          hamster Dec 14, 2010 05:19 AM

                          Oh yeah, I remember hearing that.

                          Note, I meant "Spice X-ing" above. Sorry about that.

                        2. re: hamster
                          odkaty Dec 14, 2010 08:28 AM

                          Woodlands buffet is fabulous. I think they run it all week long.

                    Show Hidden Posts