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Mar 21, 2011 05:00 AM

2 nights in DC area----seeking recommendation for local, delicious and relaxed meal

I will be staying at the Sheraton in Arlington for 2 nights at the end of the month. I will not have a car. I am interested in any recommendations/directions to enjoy some good local places with good food. Ethnic/BBQ/Southern-----I enjoy it all.

I guess the only caveat is that I can access them by subway as that is my only means of transport.

I appreciate your reco's

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  1. which sheraton? if it is "sheraton national," you can take the bus west on columbia pike to just east of glebe rd. just before glebe (on the north side -- the "right side") is a very good thai place, "thai square." i like their seafood salad, som tam, pad kee mao, crispy fish, fried squid....

    good bbq? good luck!

    the greek place near crystal city is pretty good, too. athena pallas.
    their appetizer plate ("mediterranean spreads) is huge, and their seafood is fresh. if they have the shrimp, feta, ouzo with tomato & fettuccine special, try it. it is delicious. i see lots of people getting the "greek combination" sampler. again, it is a lot of food. don't over-order.

    their greek "horiatiki" salad is also very fresh -- and huge. next time, i want to try their grilled octopus.

    1. I guess it depends on which hotel, one is very close to the metro, the one in Crystal City, the other isn't very close to the metro, but their are some good places with a very quick cab ride. Please let us know which one it is.

      1. Thanks for the replies. It is the Sheraton National hotel. I am open to a local cab ride for good eats around the hotel area, or if there is a metro ride for adventurous eats. Thanks

        5 Replies
        1. re: tracer

          i'd look at prior posts for old town alexandria, too. you can get the metro ("duke street on the orange line") and the free shuttle bus. there is a southern place that ktmoomau told me about (but i haven't been yet), "southside 815."

          for fine dining, THE spot is "restaurant eve," where there is a more casual side and a more "tasting course" side which is described as more "feminine." i take that to mean "fussier" food.

          for a real irish pub, there is murphy's in old town. we went last week before st. paddy's day, mr. alka had an irish beer, and i an irish hard cider on tap. yum. we watched some good looking dinner plates go by (we'd already eaten at eammon's dublin chipper -- which i do not recommend). and what looked really good was their roast beef and potatoes (though i don't see it on the online menu). mr. alka loved the real fireplace upstairs and down. they have tvs to watch sports, too.

          we strolled by "the majestic" which gets consistently good reviews around here.

          just remember, too, that crystal city is only one stop away from your pentagon city metro stop.

          1. re: alkapal

            That's King St on the Blue/Yellow line for Old Town.

            1. re: eguder

              oooh, sorry. yes, orange line comes out west....
              thanks for correcting that eguder!

              sorry, tracer! but i'm sure that you have your metro map. (i just went to our dentist on duke street, then we went to old town. i've got duke street on the brain!).

            2. re: alkapal

              Southside 815 is not worth mentioning on Chowhound. It is Southern-influenced bar food with the emphasis on bar.

              Your hotel is a very short cab ride away to some terrific eating. No metro near the hotel.

              Thai Square:
              lacy catfish appetizer (yum pla dook foo) and the tilefish appetizer (yum pla krob). A riot of textures. Go for the pig knuckle stew (a misnomer, it's just a pork stew). Homey and satisfying.
              They also have a duck noodle soup (a whole meal) that is great, but it's not on the regular menu. It's on the Thai language menu, but just ask for it.

              Another option for you will be Pike Pizza, which is NOT a pizza place. They serve Bolivian food. The top thing to get is a saltena, which you should certainly try if you've never had one. In case you don't know, a saltena is like an empanada, but it is filled with soup, so you have to be careful eating it. Also good are the humintas (cheese filled corn cakes) and the sopa de mani (peanut soup).

              In another direction is the Bombay Curry Company. Their tandoori wings are a MUST ORDER. All of their chaat is quite good, including bhel puri and onion bhaji. Focus in on the chaat and you can't go wrong.

              And if you are willing to go a tiny bit further, but not much further at all, then Eyo is one of the best Ethiopian places around. Go for the veggie platter, and if you are feeling flush, then add the deerk tibs. It will be a lot of food, but still quite reasonably priced. This is a very nice place, a bit swank even, catering to the Ethiopian community.

              Thai Square
              3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

              Pike Pizza
              4111 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

              Bombay Curry Company
              3102 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22305

            3. re: tracer

              Thanks for the reply back. For something local and casual I highly recommend Liberty Tavern. It is American cuisine, they make their own breads, sausages, and other meats. Make a reservation as it can get packed. It is my local spot...

              I second Thai Square.

              We don't have great BBQ- although Restaurant 3 near Liberty Tavern has a great pulled duck sandwich/ pulled duck lettuce wraps that hit my bbq spot. They also have a lot of Southern inspired dishes. Another of my regular places.

              Hill Country just opened in Penn Quarter if you are downtown that might be worth checking out, I haven't been yet. There is also Rocklands which is ok, but I find their BBQ wanting, although some of their sides are very good.

              For Lebanese you are near Me Janna and Lebanese Taverna. I like both, Lebanese Taverna is a local chain, but I think they have kept good quality.

              Also Minh's and Nam Viet in Clarendon offer good Vietnamese food.

              In the city there is less casual dining, especially on weekends. But if you are going to any specific places let us know. I like Clarendon to walk around and peruse so if you want that one evening, but don't want to stray too far.

              Alexandria is another good place to peruse. I love Eve, but I tend to go for the weekday lunch special as it is pricey. Hank's Oyster Bar on King Street is good. The Majestic and Vermillion.

              I haven't been to Southside for a while, but always liked their biscuits and other Southern food. It isn't fancy Southern, but sometimes that is what I like. There is also Red Rocks Pizza, which I love, in Alexandria. And Eammons for fish and chips.

              But if you are coming from the city to a spot you could metro to many of the places I listed then cab to your hotel.

              You might check out Tallula and Eat Bar too for another casual spot nearby.

              2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

              Thai Square
              3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

              Nam Viet Restaurant
              3419 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., washington, dc, DC 20008

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

              Restaurant 3
              2950 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

              The Liberty Tavern
              3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

              King Street Cafe
              1018 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

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

            4. unless you're hankering for thai (and you can hop up to thai square), then i agree with kt, and you should just grab a quick taxi to clarendon (just over on washington blvd, which runs right there behind your hotel) wander around and see what you like. menus are posted by doors, and there are a lot of good places in a small area. good range of prices and types of cuisine. plus, there are some nice shops.

              if you want a good steak, one metro stop from clarendon is courthouse, where "ray's the steaks." is nice. there's a movie theatre just across the street, too -- in the courthouse plaza ("amc").

              6 Replies
              1. re: alkapal

                Thanks all, I am taking all of this in for next week. I appreciate the info

                1. re: tracer

                  Just be careful there are some definite misses in Clarendon too... Most places are pretty decent, but some are more of a gem than others.

                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    kt, tell him the "misses" in your book. i'm curious, too.

                    ps, tracer, i don't recall if this has been mentioned (even by me, heh heh), but in clarendon (but not right on the beaten track) is "nam viet" -- a very long-established and well-regarded vietnamese place. whatever you get, don't miss the vietnamese coffee. i have that for dessert.

                    arlington county was one of tthe prime re-location spots for vietnamese refugees after the war.

                    i see in the restaurant listing on the right it shows nam viet up in connecticut avenue in d.c. -- and that';s NOT the one i'm recommending. this one is in clarendon area, in arlington.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      Ok so Clarendon misses IMHO (I don't mean to start a war here, just my opinion):

                      Mexicali Blues- overpriced, underwhelming not Mexican/ Not Tex-Mex and not as good as Chipotle. They made great pupusas once for one of the street festivals, but I have never been able to get the same greatness from anything I have ordered there, although for some reason I have gone back several times thinking maybe it was just a bad order, so far I haven't found anything worthwhile.

                      Whitlow's on Wilson- mediocre.

                      Tandoori Nights- too rich, quality has gone down, just not my favorite Indian in the area.

                      Facca Luna- There is better pizza at Fireworks or Pete's or even Liberty Tavern.

                      Boulevard Woodgrill is ok, but I don't consider it anywhere as good as Liberty, Lyon Hall, Tallula, Eat Bar, etc.

                      Avoid all Irish places unless you just want to drink or really want normal Irish pub food.

                      La Tasca- mediocre, not very quality ingredients, if you really want Spanish Tapas cab or metro to Crystal City. to Jaleo.

                      Hunan Number One

                      Clarendon Grill

                      Hard Times is good if you want Chili, or bar food, but don't expect more than that.

                      Silver Diner is mediocre.

                      Eventide used to have great food, but I haven't been back to eat since they got a new chef in the past couple weeks.

                      I haven't been back to Spider Kelly's since they expanded, they used to have good food, but now it is more like a Dave and Busters in atmosphere so I haven't been.

                      Northside Social is good for coffee and baked goods, I wasn't crazy about their sandwiches. Overpriced and just not very balanced in flavor. Their chicken salad is ok though.

                      Rien Thai and Taste of Morrocco- avoid.

                      La Tasca
                      722 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

                      Tandoori Nights Restaurant
                      2800 Clarendon Blvd, R 900, Arlington, VA 22201

                      The Liberty Tavern
                      3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                      Hunan Number One
                      3033 Wilson Blvd Ste E, Arlington, VA 22201

                      Clarendon Grill
                      1101 N Highland St, Arlington, VA 22201

                      Mexicali Blues
                      2933 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                      14925 Shady Grove Rd Unit L, Rockville, MD 20850

                      1. re: ktmoomau

                        I just got dragged out to Clarendon for dinner this weekend. I've hardly ever been. The hostess chose Harry's Tap Room and I was actually quite surprised. Very reasonable wine list, the bread was lovely, the menu is very local, with many items identified down to the specific farm. Harry's mussels, a traditional garlicky presentation, were wonderful. We mostly did mussels or burgers, so I can't speak to many of the entrees, but the side of rutabega/sweet potato gratin was absolutely incredible. I'd love another right now.

                        1. re: katecm

                          Yeah Harry's is pretty good it's not on my list above :) We really like their brunch too, and the downstairs lounge bar area has a nice happy hour. They also have a gluten free menu and are pretty nice about that kind of thing.

                          Not my top choice when I can go anywhere, but not a bad choice. Oh and their bartenders are really nice, when I have sat at the bar they have let me try a couple different wines before I decide on one to make sure I like it.

              2. I'm bumping this old thread, because I'm in the same boat. Staying at the Arlington (Crystal City) Sheraton (which I think is NOT the one this OP stayed at, right?). Will be with coworkers who probably aren't up for traveling much, so I'll need to chose among the best of very local options.

                Alternately, I'd love to make the case to cab out to somewhere worth traveling for. Can Ray's steak accommodate a large-ish group (6-8 folks)? Will an Eden Center recommendation be appropriate for a group that includes some less than adventurous types? Other must travel to suggestions? (lavish praise that i can use to help bolster my case welcome)

                And where can I get decent non-Starbucks, non-hotel coffee in walking distance?


                Eden Center
                Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

                4 Replies
                1. re: rose water

                  Well, finally figured out I should be searching Chowhound for Crystal City. It seems the local options are Jaleo, Kabob Palace, Cafe Pizzaiolo (good pizza, etc.) or a Greek place? Of these, Jaleo appeals most, but I'd love others' input.

                  Cafe Pizzaiolo
                  507 23rd St S, Arlington, VA 22202

                  Kabob Palace
                  2333 S Eads St, Arlington, VA 22202

                  1. re: rose water

                    Not the same hotel.

                    Hard to do better than Jaleo, no matter where you are staying. I love almost all the verduras.

                    Eden Center is not only for the adventurous. It attracts a lot of people from DC. My favorite place easily visible on the main parking plaza is Huong Viet, but it's cash only.

                    Eden Center
                    Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

                    Huong Viet Restaurant
                    6785 Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

                    1. re: rose water

                      Ray's isn't a far cab and can accommodate a group, but it helps to make a reservation.

                      Most places in the Eden Center can be a bit intimidating, if you are set on Vietnamese, perhaps suggest Minh's in Rosslyn instead.

                      No idea on the coffee.

                      Liberty Tavern isn't far and is good, but has very safe options.

                      Eden Center
                      Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

                      2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                      The Liberty Tavern
                      3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                      1. re: rose water

                        Kabob Palace is really great food (a total dive location) -- and would be good for both adventurous (trotter curry) and non-adventurous eaters (boneless chicken kababs). Everything is delicious and it is open 24 hours.

                        And I think you'll have to look hard to find coffee where you are -- I think Caribou Coffee (a non-starbucks, but still chain coffee shop) is probably the only other choice in the area.

                        Kabob Palace
                        2333 S Eads St, Arlington, VA 22202