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Jan 15, 2011 05:01 AM

"great food at lunch prices"

I saw this phrase in a post by Keith E (thanks, Keith) and realized that I'd love your suggestions for terrific food in the DC area that is available at lunch prices for a Friday or Sat. lunch. I am still paying for kids' college tuition hence the need for frugality . So what will I pay for a terrific lunch? Probably $30. or so (30 without wine or other alcohol).

Some criteria:
**No sushi or Ethiopian (I get lots of great Ethiopian at home)--virtually anything else is fine
**Must be accessible via the Metro/walking (I have no car)
**Not in the 'burbs (just takes too long to get there via Metro)

Some places I already plan to eat at:
Rasika, one place with good Southern food (not sure yet which one), and ???


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

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  1. For the Friday lunch, CF Folks. Order from the specials menu and sit at the counter if you can.

    1. Three mezze at Zaytinya.
      Several small plates at Oyamel.
      Same for Jaleo
      A lovely pizza at Pizza Paradiso with a craft beer (Dupont or Georgetown)
      Chicken plus sides at Nando's
      Menu del serra at Dino (I think it's under $30, but you can certainly eat well at Dino for under $30).
      Roast chicken at Palena (Cleveland Park)
      Burger at Ray's (while it is not in DC proper the metro ride/walk is really easy).
      Steak frites at Bistrot du Coin or Bistro Cacao
      Ba Bay near Eastern Market.
      Red Rocks Pizza in Columbus Heights.
      Bar Pilar (when it's not super crowded)
      Ghana Cafe in Logan Circle.

      Have fun.

      3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

      701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

      Bar Pilar
      1833 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

      Red Rock Cafe
      385 Muddy Branch Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

      Bistro Cacao
      320 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002

      1. pizza at pizza paradiso or 2 Amys

        1. Great lists so far. I would add Zola Wine and Kitchen, which no one other than me seems to mention but it's great and inexpensive but NOT OPEN SATURDAYS.

          Zola Wine and Kitchen
          505 9th St NW, Washington D.C., DC 20004

          9 Replies
          1. re: KeithW

            Thanks, everyone. I've added all of these to my "possibles" list.

            Would you have additional suggestions for restaurants where I can get more "dinner-like" menu choices (eg more elegant than sandwiches and pizza) at lunch time for lunch prices?

            1. re: soccermom13

              Most CF Folks specials are more than sandwiches. Currently it's not overly inspiring, but they usually step it up:


              Manyh of dcandohio's recs are above sandwich grade. Probably add Hank's Oyster Bar to the list.

              Hank's Oyster Bar
              1026 King St Ste 1, Alexandria, VA 22314

              1. re: soccermom13

                Are you willing to pay $30 per person (exluding alcohol)? If so, there is probably a long list of places -- I guess when I originally replied I didn't realize that your spending limit was that high. If that is the case, I would suggest any of the Passion Food restaurants, especially Ten Penh and Ceiba (since I have been to both of of those). (I have also been to DC Coast but I prefer the others.)

                You could also get a good lunch at Central Michel Richard for less than $30.

                701 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

                Ten Penh
                1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

                1. re: KeithW

                  Yes, I'm willing to pay $30 for lunch (I'll be solo) excluding alcohol. I am trying to do the "eat dinner at lunchtime" thing to be frugal.

                  Dennis and Keith---thanks for the additional tips.

                  Keith---What would you order at Central Michel Richard?

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

                  1. re: soccermom13

                    I can't recommend anything specific at Central, sorry, I was only there once a couple of years ago.

                    1. re: soccermom13

                      Standouts at Central: fried chicken, burger, steak tartare, faux gras. There are probably others, but these really stick in my mind.

                      1. re: soccermom13

                        I loved the corned beef sandwich, faux gras and burger at Central. I have heard raves about the lobster burger as well, but haven't tried it yet.

                        1. re: soccermom13

                          I third the burger. Beef, is the one I got.

                          1. re: kallisti

                            Yeah, I should have clarified (I forgot that there are multiple burgers there)--the beef burger is fantastic. I haven't had the chicken or lobster burgers, and I was underwhelmed by the tuna burger.

                  2. zola wine and kitchen
                    sandwiches from cowgirl creamery