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Lunch near spy museum?

Hi all -

Any recommendations for lunch this Friday near the spy museum (9th St NW and F St NW)? Not particular re: price point, just something delicious (could be fancier sit down or whole in the wall take out). Only things we don't want are Indian (doing Rasika that night) or Ethiopian.


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

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  1. There are lots of options in that area. I would go to Poste for New American cuisine, Jaleo for Spanish tapas, Acadiana for creole food or California Tortilla for cheap burritos and tacos.

    901 New York Ave NW Ste 200A, Washington, DC 20001

    3 Replies
    1. re: Elyssa

      I have found that Cal Tort to be going down the hill in the past year. So sad because I used to really like it.

      1. re: spinachandchocolate

        Really? Just the Gallery Place location? I think it continues to be consistently good. I love that place!

        1. re: Elyssa

          They are franchises, and yes, this one has gone downhill. The other ones are still pretty good. What other locations do you go to to make this judgment?

    2. If you want to go somewhere *really* convenient, or you're just as freezing as I am, try Zola next door. Plus, it's a 1,000 point opentable reservation. Last time I ate there was before they changed the menu (and chef?), so I'm not certain how it is now, but the buzz seems good. Before the switch, I had a fish entree that was kind of...meh. So maybe avoid any white, flaky fish options. Everyone else's entrees were great.

      1. Proof, Jaleo or Zaytinya. Zola and Poste aren't as good as these.

        701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

        2 Replies
        1. re: Marty L.

          Hmmm...I'd say Proof is better than Jaleo and Zaytinya, then Poste, then Zola. But it's close in the middle. You could probably take any two random dishes from Zola and Proof, and the one from Proof will be better, but I had the capretto at Poste and it was as good as if not better than anything I've had at Jaleo. However, I do go to Jaleo more often and generally like it better there, and Zola would still be a solid pick.

          1. re: Raids

            Certainly better then Zaytinya...but I'm personally not a Zaytinya fan.

            701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

        2. Chop House. A plus to the great food is the home brew micro beer. I love the old style bar and good groups of local office staff that are dropping in after a 9-5.

          1. I usually recommend Matchbox, but I recently had pretty lousy service there. Still good for pizza, burgers and drinks, and worth checking out. Maybe I was just there on a bad night.

            1. If you want something delicious, go to Cowgirl Creamery. Good sandwiches!

              You are close to teaism, as well. Other 'fancier' places nearby include PS7's lounge (good lunch menu) and Zaytina. I think 701 is open for lunch, too (right?)

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

              1. How about Cafe Atlantico?

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

                1. Nando's Peri Peri serves Mozambiquan peri peri chicken. Get the quarter dark very hot, it's not really THAT spicy. Counter service, but not a hole-in-the-wall at all.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Steve

                    This place is crap. I lived in both London and South Africa where there are Nando's and oit is 50X better than this one. If anything I would send the OP to a Peruvian chicken joint in the suburbs or in AdMo.

                    1. re: spinachandchocolate

                      I must disagree. It's certainly not "crap." This is actually my go-to place when I want something reliable and cheap in Chinatown. Very pleasant atmosphere where you can hang out if you want to, low prices, and perfectly good chicken. Peruvian chicken might be better, but that doesn't mean that Nando's is not a good choice for a Chinatown lunch, which is what the OP asked for.

                      For the OP, I would also recommend - it's about a 10 minute walk, but worth it - Taylor Gourmet for very high quality Philly-style Italian sandwiches. Try the roast pork with broccoli rabe. Awesome.

                      1. re: hamster

                        I've only been to the Nando's on Connecticut Avenue, but I very much disliked it. Part of the problem could be that I despise spicy food, and had to get the least spicy version...which had no taste. I think Nando's is one of those places that's all about spiciness, and if you take that away they really don't have a foundation to stand on.

                        1. re: Garlic Guy

                          Apparently Nando's are all very individually operated and there may be big differences form one to another. There is no corporate mandate demanding that they all be alike.

                          The quarter dark chicken is well grilled in Chinatown, and the sauce is very delicious. Of course, if you don't like spicy food that is a serious limitation.

                          1. re: Garlic Guy

                            I like spicy, and didn't find too much taste in Nando's spiciest chicken (at the Gallery Place location), either. The sauces are good and I like the huge selection, but you're not exactly tasting the chicken with the sauces.

                            I think it's different strokes for different folks. I wouldn't mind going there if someone else wanted to go there too, but it's definitely not somewhere I would choose to go out of the blue. It was okay, but I found the chicken to be lacking...meat. It's basically a standard chain with food that's not horrendous, but not gourmet. The chicken's good, but not much above a rotisserie chicken from Costco or anything you roast yourself at home.

                            Plus, I hate the ordering process. They really need to figure that out better.

                            Love the bathroom, though. Mainly for the Dyson blade. :o)

                    2. I love that area, LOTS of good options.

                      For some amazing home-made noodles / dumplings you must try Chinatown Express. it is a true hole in the wall, odd smells when you walk in, ducks hanging by hooks. But they make their pasta fresh and dumplings, and wow are they good. Its super super cheap too. I usually get vegetable dumplings and then one order of fried rice with chicken. That is enough for two people usually. The fried rice is amazing as well.

                      For good pizza, try Ellas. They have great Sangria also.

                      *edit* (chowhound keeps linking china town express to some restaurant in Baltimore..FAIL!)

                      If you want something more expensive, try Poste. They have AMAZING truffle frites, good beers and wine and good hamburgers. The bar menu is totally different than the regular menu so be warned.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: bboyneko

                        There are no 'amazing' homemade noodles in the DC area. Since the OP is from Manhattan, I am loath to send them to Chinatown Express, which is D grade compared to what the OP can regularly get at home.

                          1. re: Steve

                            So true -- just had amazing hand-pulled chinese noodles at the new Hung Ry on Bond Street. I'm not aware of anything in the DC are that comes even close to Momofuku, Hung Ry, Ippudo, etc.

                        1. I second Jaleo and Chinatown Express if you're looking for fresh noodles...

                          Not a fan of Chophouse however, stopped going there years ago after too many average meals. Has it improved?

                          Chinatown Express
                          126 Carroll Island Rd, Baltimore, MD 21220

                          1. Matchbox, Vapiano's, Cowgirl Creamery, Proof or one of the many food trucks around there.

                            1800 M St NW, Washington, DC

                            1. Gordon Biersch or Ella's.

                              Ella's Wood-Fired Pizza
                              901 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004

                              Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant - DC
                              900 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

                              1. Looks like it's too late for your Friday outing, but for others looking I would enthusiastically recommend Zola Wine and Kitchen. Great food, very casual but nice atmosphere if you like open kitchen, some shared tables (we had our own table but others are shared). You order at a counter and then the food is brought out to you. I highly recommend.

                                1. since you're going to Rasika later just get a fast nibble of anything anywhere and otherwise fast until then.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: hill food

                                    I highly recommend not to go to Rasika famished. While delicious, EVERYTHING is a la carte there so things can easily add up, bread and sides included.

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