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Mar 18, 2011 10:24 AM

Alone in downtown DC: On a budget and with geographic requirements.

I'll be going to DC for work purposes and staying downtown (specifically the Capital Hilton, 16th and K). I am looking for chow guidance in the general vicinity. I am on a the government meal per diem so nothing expensive...I am given $18 for lunch and $38 for dinner, including tax, drink, etc., so that must be kept in mind. If a restaurant will knock my socks off, I am willing to pay beyond $40 and take money out of my own pocket.

I want to be armed with a list of good options so I don't get stuck eating hotel food since I am there for a few days. I am an adventurous eater (try anything once type person) and can appreciate most foods, from the most obscure ethnic cuisine to the simple burger. I do have a weakness for Greek and Middle Eastern cuisines but I am open to anything.

Lunch requirements: MUST be close to the hotel (within 10 minute-ish walking distance). Take-out or eat-in meals are both OK.

Dinner: It's not a requirement, but I prefer to have a couple dinner places in mind that have a take-out option available in case I get slammed with work and am stuck in my hotel room. Again I am open to anything but would like to keep it under $40. I will be flying solo, so anywhere where it might be odd to dine alone will not be a good fit.

Any ideas?

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  1. Sichuan Pavillion is a good option for lunch - I had a great ma po tofu noodle soup there a couple of weeks ago. I also like Loeb's deli and Juice Joint for lunch sandwiches. Potenza - both the restaurant and the bakery - are good options for you too - plenty of people eat lunch at the bar, and the bakery does sandwiches - you can call in orders ahead of time. Another really great option right in your budget is the P.J. Clarke's that just opened up.

    As far as Greek, Kellari Taverna is right over there, but really you should take one night to come over to Penn Quarter and eat at Zaytinya. Again, it's easy to eat at the bar there solo. Equinox is by your hotel, has been getting a lot of buzz lately, and would be a good pick for dinner.

    And everywhere in DC has always been happy to put together a take out order for me. Sichuan Pavillion delivers.

    1. The Greek Deli on 19th between L and M would probably be just about a 10 minute walk. If you like Greek food it's probably worth a visit. Maoz is a felafel place on M also about a 10 minute walk (it's usually too crowded for me to wait around-- take that for what it's worth). Neither has a lot of seating.

      You might also keep an eye out for food trucks (like El Floridano)-- especially on Fridays they like to congregate nearby at Farragut Sq. Park.(or you can find them at sites like foodtruckfiesta.com).

      Greek Deli
      1120 19th St NW Frnt 1, Washington, DC 20036

      1. Across the street from Equinox (locally sourced, American) is Bombay Club (great but the sister restaurant, Rasika, in Penn Q is better) and Teaism (great quick lunch spot) is down the block.

        I've heard good reviews of BLT Steak.

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

        800 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006

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

        Blt Steak
        1625 I St NW Frnt 2, Washington, DC 20006

        Equinox - DC
        818 Connecticut Ave, Washington, DC 20006

        1. Milaysia Kopitiam would fit the bill for dinner. I like their Singapore noodles. You can easily have dinner there for under $40.


          1. Some great suggestions above.

            I would add that Brasserie Beck is at 11th and K, some of the plates and beers are a little more pricey, but very generous portions. If you want a cheap, quick dinner Zorba's in Dupont also has Greek food. I am not a huge fan of Siroc, but other people really like it. I haven't been to P.J. Clarke's but I imagine they would do take out.

            Equinox is a little pricey, I dunno if it would fit the budget. But it is very good.

            For lunch you are also not too far from Breadline for sandwiches. Not the absolute best dinner, but not too bad, but McCormick and Schmidt is right there and would do take out I am sure. Mio has a more fancy Price fix lunch that is $20, and $35 dinner, they also have Puerto Rican weekends if you are here for the weekend, and happy hour.

            Brasserie Beck
            1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

            4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

            Zorba's Cafe
            1612 20th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

            1 Reply
            1. re: ktmoomau

              How did I forget Brasserie Beck? Love the place - great moules and frites - easily done for under $40, unless you are a big beer drinker. (Belgian beers are excellent there, but pricey).

              The automatic link to Zorba's in ktmoommau's post above is incorrect. As noted, it's near Dupont Circle, not Baltimore.

              I was going to suggest Breadline; I think it's the best lunch place downtown. I especially love the pulled pork on ciabatta special (Fri. only). However, I'd say you would have to be a fast walker to make it in 10 minutes. It's at 18th and Penn.

              Brasserie Beck
              1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

              4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224