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Suggestions for intl' restaurants for long weekend in DC proper

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hoolese Feb 2, 2011 07:35 AM

We will be staying around embassy row, without car. We would like to explore some of the unique ethnic restaurants in DC, or just ones that DC does well. I have heard great things about the Thai and Ethiopian, and hoping to find a great burmese. Open to other stuff too, just not too fancy and ideally on the metro/walking distance from embassy row.
thanks

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    Elyssa RE: hoolese Feb 2, 2011 08:15 AM

    I've only been to 1 Burmese restaurant in DC and it was very mediocre in my option (Burma Cafe or something along those lines).

    But we do Ethiopian very well! My personal favorite spot is Etete around U Street. You can take the metro there and then walk a block or 2. It's a very cool neighborhood. There is even a food tour group that does tours of "Little Ethiopia"...that might be fun. http://www.zerve.com/dcfoodtours/ethi....

    Another option might be Vietnamese food. I haven't been yet but the new BaBay in Eastern Market is suppose to be great. I was with 2 friends this weekend that were raving about their meal there last week.

    And not exactly ethnic cuisine, but DC also has some good Southern-influenced restaurants if that interests you.

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    Etete
    1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: Elyssa
      h
      hoolese RE: Elyssa Feb 2, 2011 08:31 AM

      Thanks, Etete sounds great. And yes, southern is definitely interesting to us, 2 in our group are originally from Alabama. Any suggestions for southern?

      1. re: hoolese
        woodleyparkhound RE: hoolese Feb 2, 2011 08:40 AM

        For southern: Oohs and Aahs -- very close to the 10th St. exit of the U St. metro.

        I second Etete for Ethiopian.

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        Etete
        1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

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      hamster RE: hoolese Feb 2, 2011 09:11 AM

      I also love Etete, as well as Oohs and Aahs.

      Check out Vietnamese at Pho 14 or Pho Viet in Columbia Heights. That is a strong cuisine here, and you probably won't have time to invest in heading out to the suburbs where it's even stronger.

      Try Salvadoran at El Rinconcito or El Rinconcito II. Columbia Heights and Mt. Vernon Square. The Salvadoran community here is the second-largest in the country.

      There's a Burmese place in Silver Spring (red line metro, though just a little outside the city). I have heard rave reviews. It's called Mandalay.

      I would not eat Thai in the city if you're looking for anything particularly good. You have to take the metro to Wheaton for Nava Thai or Ruan Thai. That is a longer trip and walk, but doable.

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      Etete
      1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

      Ruan Thai Restaurant
      11407 Amherst Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

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

      Rinconcito Cafe
      1129 11th St NW Ste Lowr, Washington, DC 20001

      6 Replies
      1. re: hamster
        k
        katecm RE: hamster Feb 2, 2011 09:22 AM

        Not true - Thai X-ing on Florida is excellent, and definitely worth checking out.

        1. re: katecm
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          hamster RE: katecm Feb 2, 2011 02:17 PM

          Yeah, I'm open to that opinion. I had one good experience there and one bad, and haven't been back in a couple years now. It's just such a hassle, I haven't invested in getting back there. Maybe I should.

          1. re: hamster
            woodleyparkhound RE: hamster Feb 2, 2011 02:56 PM

            I had one good experience there, but as hamster said, "It's just such a hassle, I haven't invested in getting back there." I think the food at Ruan Thai is better and it's way less hassle. It's a longer Metro ride to get to Wheaton, but it's only about 5 mins. walk from the station.

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            Ruan Thai Restaurant
            11407 Amherst Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

            1. re: woodleyparkhound
              k
              katecm RE: woodleyparkhound Feb 3, 2011 07:11 AM

              Well, I do live three blocks away, so less hassle. But if you take the U Street Metro's 10th Street exit, it's still only about four blocks east.

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

              1. re: katecm
                woodleyparkhound RE: katecm Feb 3, 2011 07:34 AM

                Yes, but getting there is only part of the hassle.

                1. re: woodleyparkhound
                  h
                  hamster RE: woodleyparkhound Feb 3, 2011 07:59 AM

                  Exactly. I also live next to the U Street metro, but the hassle is more about the ordering food two hours in advance and not knowing when it will be ready, the minimal seating, etc. It's not about the walk there.

      2. hill food RE: hoolese Feb 3, 2011 01:44 AM

        I've always liked Malaysia Kopitiam, on M st. near 18 NW, looks like a dump. and it's been a while since I've been.

        as for Thai, Regent Thai is pretty good. but doesn't get the marks Thai X-ing does.

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        Malaysia Kopitiam
        1827 M St NW, Washington, DC 20036

        1. kukubura RE: hoolese Feb 3, 2011 03:50 AM

          Sumah's for Sierra Leone / West African. It's a tiny little place with lovingly prepared, fire-hot food. Get the pepper soup (it's BYOB so bring some beers) and a couple of stews with fufu.

          1727 7th St NW

          8 Replies
          1. re: kukubura
            k
            katecm RE: kukubura Feb 3, 2011 07:11 AM

            Are you serious? I'm not far from it, but have never even heard of it. I'll definitely check it out!

            1. re: katecm
              kukubura RE: katecm Feb 3, 2011 11:12 AM

              No, I was joking. ;)

              Yeah, the place is great. Total hole-in-the-wall, not fast by any measure (I think he was pounding out the fufu by hand before we were served, but food that will warm your soul. Can't wait to go back. The stews we had were both fish stews. One was in a tomato sauce and the other was in a peanut butter sauce. Damn, they were sooooo good!

              1. re: kukubura
                hill food RE: kukubura Feb 3, 2011 01:14 PM

                I think I heard about it once, but DC has needed a good West African place ever since, dang what was the name? it was across from Lauriol Plaza where Straits of Malaysia was and later came back from the dead (no dis on Straits, just...)

                1. re: hill food
                  s
                  sweth RE: hill food Feb 3, 2011 06:20 PM

                  ? This area has lots of West African places. In DC proper, Sumah's, Bukom, Ghana Cafe, & Akosombo come to mind, and there are more in the burbs as well.

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                  Bukom Cafe
                  2442 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                  Akosombo Restaurant
                  613 K St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                  1. re: sweth
                    hill food RE: sweth Feb 3, 2011 06:29 PM

                    well they sure as heck don't get the word out, sheesh. I trust your words sweth, but somebody needs to do some PR for these entrepreneurs...

                    1. re: hill food
                      s
                      sweth RE: hill food Feb 3, 2011 07:13 PM

                      They definitely don't do any PR; Akosombo, for one, doesn't even have any signage and looks like an abandoned building until you notice all of the cabbies going in. I think they're all very much still in the "our authentic food will scare the gringos" phase, and are relying mostly on word of mouth in the W. African community.

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                      Akosombo Restaurant
                      613 K St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                      1. re: sweth
                        hill food RE: sweth Feb 4, 2011 12:45 AM

                        Wazuri! That was the place I remembered and now that I think about it, you (or somebody) DID mention Akosombo once a year or two ago.

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                        Akosombo Restaurant
                        613 K St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                        1. re: sweth
                          kukubura RE: sweth Feb 4, 2011 02:14 AM

                          That was definitely the case when we were at Sumah's. The other customers were West African expats and we had a very funny who's-on-first conversation with the owner about the different kinds of fufu because we were too stupid to get what he was saying. But it all worked out.

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