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Mar 22, 2011 08:12 AM

D.C. for 2 days...

I'm going to be in DC for 2 days to watch my sister run in a 10 mile race during the Cherry Blossom festival. Everyone in the group loves great dietary restrictions, and love pretty much everything. I need some recommendations for the following:

1--Lunch on Saturday. Assuming the weather is nice, we'll be walking around and doing the touristy thing. Would love a great place to get lunch.

2--Dinner on Saturday night. My sister is requesting Italian so that she can get her carbs in before the race. Any great Italian suggestions?

3--Brunch on Sunday before we leave. We are major brunch-lovers, so looking for something great!!

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  1. Honestly? Wherever you can still get a reservation. In an ideal world, you'd go to Jaleo on Saturday for lunch, Bibiana for Italian on Saturday night, and Birch and Barley or Againn for brunch on Sunday.

    Jaleo is located really close to Pennsylvania avenue - it's a really easy walk from the Smithsonian. If you're down by the tidal basin or something, you're going to have to walk that far anyway unless you want to wait 2 hours to eat at Old Ebbit. J&G Steakhouse is right by OId Ebbit - that would be a better pick, but it'll be pricey. A great view can be had at the lounge at the W, also, called POV and they serve (overpriced) food also.

    Potenza is a possible back-up location for Italian. Most of the Italian places in DC are fine dining and not really a place to engage in good old fashioned carb loading. Potenza would be a major exception. Or Carmine's, for that matter.

    Now hurry up and make your reservations pronto!

    1. If you are doing museums on Saturday, the best options are probably the garden cafe in the West Wing of the National Gallery (except it's doing an Italian menu right now, so you might not want that) or the restaurant in the American Indian Museum. If you are willing to go a few blocks off the mall, there are a lot of option depending on what sort of food/price point you are interested in.

      For Italian I would head to Dino's (steps from the metro in Cleveland Park).

      For brunch, you might consider the Latin Dim Sum at Cafe Atlantico, or a more traditional brunch at Tabard Inn or maybe Birch and Barley or Blue Duck Tavern. If you want a big buffet brunch, some of the hotels, such as the Fairmont, do a decent (but not cheap) version.

      Cafe Atlantico
      405 8th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

      Tabard Inn
      1739 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036

      Blue Duck Tavern
      1201 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

      Birch and Barley
      1337 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

      1. You can call around, but it's probably going to border on too late for good Italian that weekend. 10,000 people run that race and are all carb-loading. So you may want to consider another type of food that is carby but will allow you to actually get a table. Chinese maybe? Fried rice is a good start.

        1. Penn Quarter has a lot of places that would be good for lunch. In addition to the aforementioned Jaleo, there's also Rasika (Indian), Zaytinya (Greek) and Oyamel (Mexican). Of these three, Rasika is the most popular, so it might be difficult to get a reservation there. If you're looking to do something a little more casual, but still unique, I second the recommendation for the cafe in the American Indian museum. If you find yourself on the Hill when you're ready for lunch, there's a great Ethiopian option (Ethiopic) not far from Union Station. And, depending on whether healthy eating is important to you (I can't seem to eat greasy foods before races, but I have friends who can), Spike Mendelssohn's spots (Good Stuff for burgers and We the Pizza), both on Pennsylvania Ave. could work.

          For dinner on Saturday, my favorite Italian is Acqua al 2. They have a pasta sampler, but in general, the portions and food are more gourmet rather than made for carb loading. Carmine's might be your best bet if you guys really want to load up on carbs.

          I think Birch and Barley and Tabard Inn are great brunch suggestions, but I'm going to throw one more in the ring. Masa 14 does a really interesting all-you-can-eat tapas style brunch.

          Good luck in the race and enjoy D.C.!

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

          Tabard Inn
          1739 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036

          701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

          Birch and Barley
          1337 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

          Masa 14
          1825 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009