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Do you create unique foods?

"great food at lunch prices"

soccermom13 Jan 15, 2011 05:01 AM

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

  1. Dennis S Jan 15, 2011 05:41 AM

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

    1. d
      dcandohio Jan 15, 2011 05:46 AM

      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. d
        dining with doc Jan 15, 2011 09:49 AM

        pizza at pizza paradiso or 2 Amys

        1. k
          KeithW Jan 15, 2011 12:11 PM

          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
            soccermom13 Jan 16, 2011 07:01 AM

            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
              Dennis S Jan 16, 2011 10:49 AM

              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
                KeithW Jan 16, 2011 11:21 AM

                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
                  soccermom13 Jan 16, 2011 12:41 PM

                  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
                    KeithW Jan 16, 2011 01:01 PM

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

                    1. re: soccermom13
                      marcj Jan 16, 2011 07:39 PM

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

                      1. re: soccermom13
                        woodleyparkhound Jan 16, 2011 08:47 PM

                        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
                          kallisti Jan 19, 2011 02:56 PM

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

                          1. re: kallisti
                            marcj Jan 19, 2011 04:40 PM

                            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. j
                    Jeserf Jan 16, 2011 01:29 PM

                    zola wine and kitchen
                    sandwiches from cowgirl creamery

                    1. m
                      Michael Landrum Jan 17, 2011 12:03 AM

                      I think most of the responses to your query missed your point, which I understand to mean "Where can I get a luxurious, indulgent, first-class dining experience--the type typically associated with dinner at a premiere restaurant, which I currently can not afford, or choose not to--but without sacrificing quality, style or service, and enjoy it during the day at (their significantly lower) lunch prices?"

                      My first answer would be Adour.

                      My second answer would be to choose the most luxurious restaurant at which you have aspired to dine, provided they serve lunch, and book a table for one o'clock (at one o'clock, you have avoided the crushing rush, but are still in the thick of things, for what it;s worth)--hotel restaurants are better since their service typically does not begin to lag at that time, at which time you will have the restaurant practically to yourself, save a few truly important deal-makers, and a most gracious and generous staff in attendance.

                      In this way, you will have a dining experience and the most carefully and scrupiously of prepared dishes, equal to or more likely superior to, what you would experience at dinner for 30-50% less than at dinner.

                      Even better, you can retire from your sumptuous feast to the lounge and enjoy your own private calm from center stage as the increasing hurry-scurry of "Important DC" hustles to establish itself around you.

                      Again, Adour would be my first choice for the sheer old world elegance (it is the Astors' place after all, at least originally), followed by J&G Steakhouse, for the Central Park South-like experience after the meal of enjoying a post-prandial while overlooking from above the pulsing heart of history as it is made.

                      J&G Steakhouse
                      515 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Michael Landrum
                        majmaj4 Jan 17, 2011 01:06 PM

                        Adour does not have a lunch menu posted on their web site. Do you know prices and what sort of options they have?

                      2. m
                        Michael Landrum Jan 17, 2011 12:32 AM

                        I should add, that being an incipient (and delayed neophyte) near-obsessive of 149's, Montegarappas and Watermens, that Plume would certainly serve your purpose beautifully.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Michael Landrum
                          beanodc Jan 17, 2011 11:19 AM

                          I know this is off the point - but when is Rays: The Catch opening?

                          1. re: Michael Landrum
                            soccermom13 Jan 18, 2011 02:22 AM

                            Thanks for these suggestions. All are now on my list of possibilities. Planning a trip is a significant part of the fun!

                            1. re: soccermom13
                              ktmoomau Jan 18, 2011 10:46 AM

                              701 was having a really good lunch special, I don't know how long it continues, but it definitely was fine dining with a price within your range.

                              Too bad Blacksalt is so darn far from any metro...

                              You might check to see if Vidalia is having any lunch specials for your Southern fine dining fix, maybe you could make it for RW? Some places are extending RW too. You might keep an eye on Metrocurean.com in the Deals section of DC Dining.

                              1990 M Street, Washington, DC 20036

                          2. j
                            justaddwater Jan 18, 2011 01:04 PM

                            Oya has a M-F lunch prix fixe for $19 and Zaytinya has one for $21.

                            701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: justaddwater
                              soccermom13 Jan 19, 2011 03:43 AM

                              More great ideas---YOU GUYS RULE! Thank you.

                              p.s. Is DC Dining part of a weekly news paper, such as City Pages or other weekly?

                              1. re: soccermom13
                                ktmoomau Jan 19, 2011 11:36 AM

                                Washingtonian.com is a good source, so it the Washingtonpost.com, but the deals are normally on Washingtonian or Metrocurean.

                                Also have you signed up for LivingSocial.com or Groupon.com? Sometimes they have some pretty nice restaurants.

                                1. re: ktmoomau
                                  dining with doc Jan 19, 2011 01:59 PM

                                  washingtonian Jan issue is the top 100 restaurants in DC area

                            2. j
                              jenniferpdc Jan 21, 2011 08:29 AM

                              Charlie Palmer has a great prix fixe lunch. Probably about a 10 minute walk from Union Station.

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