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Ideas for Georgetown and Adams Morgan, ethnic preferably

NY Foodies heading to DC for a trip to visit colleges. Though I went to school in DC years ago, I fear I've not kept up with the food scene, except wishing Jose Andres would open a spot in NYC.

Anyway, do you have a recommendation for someplace with good food in either location? Most any kind will do, even American "local." We just want someplace hopping, more or less and may give us some feel for the local food scene. The two neighborhoods mentioned are so that we could walk around before or after diner. Dupont Circle too would be fine.

Although not in either neighborhood Is Jalo one such option? Is there an equivalent to the Old Ebbitt Grill in Georgetown, but with good food?
Thanks.

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Old Ebbitt Grill
675 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

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  1. It's hard to do better than Jaleo, so here is my cheat sheet:

    cucumber stuffed with tomato and cheese
    baby wrinkled potatoes
    spinach with raisins and apples
    beet salad with citrus
    garlic mushrooms
    roasted red peppers and eggplant
    bacon and date fritters
    grilled asparagus

    1. Thank you. Jaleo is a given then. Frankly, good Spanish food in NYC is very hard to find.

      Is there a good informal french spot in Adams Morgan, I remember there used to be a few many years ago. A good Italian spot with simple but good pastas?

      3 Replies
      1. re: comiendosiempre

        There are still numerous French places on M Street. La Madelein is very simple and a la carte. Good Crepes.

        1. re: comiendosiempre

          Bistro La Bonne isn't far from AdMo, and is quite tasty and inexpensive. I also second Etete in the U St. Area.

          In Georgetown, I love Neyla (Lebanese). Pretty decor and awesome and authentic food.

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          Etete
          1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

          1. re: comiendosiempre

            It's not in one of your target neighborhoods, but Acqua al II is a great place for simple pastas. The pasta sampler is excellent. I usually get the pasta sampler as kind of a starter and then either the blueberry or balsamic filet. This neighborhood is actually a cute neighborhood to walk around in, too. There are quite a few newish interesting restaurants a few blocks away, on Barracks Row.

          2. I like Oyamel better than Jaleo - I go about every 6 months and it just seems sort of blah to me. The dishes aren't that exciting and half the items seem to be served at the wrong temperature.

            Also, in terms of walking around, I would nix Adams Morgan and do Chinatown/Penn Quarter, which is where Jaleo and Oyamel are. The Portrait Gallery is open late and there are a lot of other restaurants in the area you could peak in to.

            1. Well there is the Tombs, owned by the same people who own Old Ebbitt and if you are visiting Georgetown it is the Georgetown hangout. For a bit more upscale 1789 is nice and historic if that was what you were looking for. I guess Daily Grill is also similar, it's a chain.

              In Georgetown I would also recommend Hook for seafood.

              Adams Morgan is a tough one, there are a ton of bars, but the food isn't really the reason to visit that section of town. A bit up the street is Cashion's which is very good. Bourbon is ok for bar-ish food.

              Nowadays Chinatown/ Penn Quarter is where a lot of the food scene in DC is focused and 14th and U area...

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              Daily Grill
              2001 International Dr, Mc Lean, VA 22102

              2 Replies
              1. re: ktmoomau

                You could try Bodega in G-Town for tapas

                3116 M St NW Washington, DC 20007, USA

                Adams Morgan area is more of a bar scene especially on weekends

                1. re: ktmoomau

                  I agree, Adams Morgan is definitely not a go-to place anymore. You should either go to Penn Quarter or U Street instead, I absolutely agree.
                  On U Street for French, consider Bistro la Bonne; or even better, take advantage of the amazing Ethiopian food here and go to Etete on 9th St. Instead of Jaleo, you could also consider Estadio on 14th St. for superior tapas (though maybe more expensive) - very popular spot so it's hard to get a table.

                  Georgetown is also not a great food scene either. The Tombs is mediocre bar food, not recommended except for beer and to appreciate the Georgetown undergraduate scene. If you're in Georgetown, I would go to Leopold's, Pizzeria Paradiso,or Pain Quotidien, all on M Street.

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                  Etete
                  1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                2. Il Canale in Georgetown for pizza, calamari and antipasti.

                  I second Bodega - a nice big pitcher of their cava sangria on the back porch is fabulous on a hot day.

                  Clydes in Georgetown is basically the same thing as Old Ebbitt Grill - owned by the same conglomerate group.

                  Leopold's Cafe in Cady's alley for Austrian food. They also have a lovely little patio for these lovely spring evenings we've been having.

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                  Old Ebbitt Grill
                  675 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Flaxen_Vixen

                    FYI

                    I would call ahead any restaurant close to the water in Georgetown may still be closed due water damage from rain last weekend

                    1. re: agarnett100

                      Leopold's terrace was perfectly fine on Tuesday afternoon this week! Great place.

                      1. re: agarnett100

                        None of the restaurants I mentioned are anywhere near the water. All are at least 500 feet above sea level. Il Canale is near the canal in Georgetown but not flooded. Leopolds is also near-ish the canal, but again, 500 feet above sea level.

                    2. You might check out the other g-town/ dupont thread that is extremely recent, it is for a family, but there are some good recs there.

                      1. For a bit more variation, my favorite in Georgetown (which mostly suffers from lack of good food) is Neyla, which is also gorgeous. Quite good mezze.

                        In Adams Morgan, you asked about a small French place. Perhaps you're thinking of Little Fountain Cafe? It's still there. To me, a solid bet in Adams Morgan is Cashion's Eat Place, which has always been quite good but, to me, has really had a resurgence of late.

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                        Cashion's Eat Place
                        1819 Columbia Road NW, Washington, DC 20009

                        Little Fountain Cafe
                        2339 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                        1. Adams Morgan has excellent restaurants from which to choose: All good; All ethnic;
                          Casa Oaxaca 2106 18th St Nw, family owned and highly rated;
                          Himalyan Heritage, (Nepal and Indian) www.himalayanheritagedc.com Dramatic murals and hostess in a sari;
                          Las Canteras (Peruvian) www.lascanterasdc.com
                          Grill from Ipanema is family-owned Brazillian -- on Columbia Rd www.thegrillfromipanema.com
                          There's always Meskerem (Ethiopian) or La Fourchette and others. All are within an easy, "hopping" walk of 3 blocks!!

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                          The Grill from Ipanema
                          1858 Columbia Rd., NW, Washington, DC 20009

                          La Fourchette
                          2429 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                          Casa Oaxaca
                          2106 18th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: HermitageView

                            This is my take on Himalayan Heritage after a Chowhound group lunch:

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6547...

                            I can vouch for the Mole Negro at Casa Oaxaca, but Meskerem can't touch some of the better Ethiopian in the area. Time has passed it by.

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                            Himalayan Heritage
                            2305 18th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20009

                            Casa Oaxaca
                            2106 18th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009

                          2. Outstanding. Sheesh, the board here is more active than Manhattan or the Outer Boroughs.

                            Thank you. We are now staying another day and will embark on a walking and eating tour. The Ethiopian option sounds great and the French in Adams Morgan too.

                            Regarding the Penn Quarter, is that by the Old Post Office? Thanks.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: comiendosiempre

                              Penn Quarter is a metro stop; Rasika is a must do whenever I have visitors.

                              http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/met...

                              1. re: MoCoMe

                                And that metro stop is Gallery Place on the Red, Yellow, or Green Line

                            2. A brief update on our dining selections:

                              We went to Il Canale in Georgetown one evening. It was good, not great. Frankly, I had thought it would be better. A pizza that we shared to start was Ok. Good toppings (eggplant, prosciutto) but it just wasn't that special. Ditto an eggplant parmesan starter, served luke warm. It looked as if it would be excellent but it had little zing. A couple of orders of linguini vongole also were good, but that's about it. The linguini was nicely al dente, the clams sweet. It was good. Yet, as I had read somewhere else, we thought the serving size was atrocious. We are not gargantuan eaters, and dislike huge plates of food. Yet, this bowl of pasta, a main dish not split, was served in a relatively small bowl, and half filled at that. There simply was not much there. And it was $20. For this styloe of restaurant that is unacceptable. Another plate of rigatoni with a meat sauce was fine, nothing more.

                              The wine selection is relatively small, and again on the dear side. A quartino of montepulciano was poured into one glass and filled the glass about three quarters of the way. A couple of those, and the food, for three, and the check was over $120, without tip. We won't be returning.

                              In contrast, we had a very good meal at Jaleo. I had not realized it was so informal. But the food was good, some of the dishes excellent. Indeed the ensalada russa, with tuna, was outstanding. The calamari were excelelnt and the croquetas also were good, if a bit rich. The wine list has many options but, again, the mark up was very high on many of the selections. That entire area was hopping.

                              We also ventured up to Adams Morgan and had a quick taco at a small place called Mixtec. It was terrific. There is also a tiny Chilean empanada place right there, on 18th street, and the empanada was not bad at all. Apparently, they do a huge business late at night we were told.

                              As for that French restaurant we had remembered from so long ago on 18th street, the huge wall painting is still there but the restaurant seems long gone. The painting is of a man in a black coat with a large hat, maybe a red scarf. On the east side of 18th street. It used to house a very busy and good simple french spot that we remembered well.
                              Thanks for your help.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: comiendosiempre

                                Thanks for the report back and the rec for the ensalada russa at Jaleo. In all my visits, I have yet to try it!

                                The departed French place was Cafe Lautrec, right next to La Fourchette. I think it is now The Malt Shop which is the bar of The Dancing Cab in the Tenleytown neighborhood.

                                The empanada place was probably Julia's Empanadas.

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                                La Fourchette
                                2429 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                1. re: comiendosiempre

                                  Yes, Julia's Empanadas is basically "fast food" but of exceptionally high quality. Cafe Riche & Cafe L'Autrec (the mural outside) fell to a falling out between partners. However, La Fourchette is there -- with gorgeous murals inside, family owned - operated and just up the street. Las Canteras would have been an excellent choice -- also good is a new place Savour Restaurant. El Tamarindo is family-owned Salvadoran as is Mixtec (Mexican) also family owned and operated. But for qaulity it is hard to beat Perry's and Cashion's all within a block or two of where you were in Adams Morgan.

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                                  La Fourchette
                                  2429 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                  El Tamarindo
                                  1785 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                  1. re: HermitageView

                                    Do you know anything about Cafe Riche? What about that eccentric guy in the coonskin cap? First time I went, no menu, he just told us about the couscous and charged us a very low price. It was fantastic. The next time it was menus and astronomical prices. The dining room was deserted both times.

                                2. Yes, it was Julia's. The empanadas were really not bad. And they had been under a heat lamp for a bit. Maybe they could be a bit spicier, a bit juicier, a bit more egg and such but, for empanadas in this country they were good.

                                  Yes, that also was the French restaurant I meant. Years ago it used to be packed all the time.

                                  Also, we tried the sangria at Jaleo. We asked for a small cup just to taste first. As others have noted, it was Ok, a bit weak, but not great. We opted for a Rose, about $30 or so and it was very good and went well with the tapas.

                                  Now we will need to find a dim sum spot....