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If you were a foodie and could live anywhere in/near DC - where would it be?

Hello All,

My partner and I are relocating to DC later in the year from overseas and we're trying to get a feel for the 'vibe' of various neighborhoods.

In a dream world, I would love to live somewhere with a good selection of local cafes, a great local baker/ butcher and maybe a farmers market not too far away (I did say dream!).

We both enjoy a drink but we're not rampaging party animals so bars are okay but not vital. We are more likely to spend time in sunny brunch cafes than in formal fine dining establishments. Also, we have a toddler but he won't be school aged while we are there so we don't have school zoning issues etc.

So far we are considering the Clarendon/Courthouse areas of Arlington, Capitol Hill and Columbia Heights.

What do you all think? Are these the right places to be looking? And which of them would you choose if you were looking for somewhere with atmosphere?

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  1. This is not a fair fight, much better eating to be done in Clarendon then Capitol Hill or Columbia Heights. Courthouse has its own farmers market. Much better access to food shopping, especially if you can get to large Latino and Asian markets not right in the neighborhood, but not all that far either. Friends we have on Capitoll Hiil and Adams Morgan are constantly making trips out to Arlington for the shopping, playgrounds, park activities, and library programs, but perhaps your toddler doesn't like playgrounds.....

    3 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      Alexandria is also nice, especially Del Ray.

      1. re: ChewFun

        I would pick Del Ray, too, and think it's overlooked, which is another reason to live there. Can't beat Cheesetique, Dairy Godmother, and all the other little shops there and there is a farmers market. And, it's easy to get from there to other good food locations if you have a car.

        1. re: chowser

          I used to live in Rosemont, just to the south of Del Ray and my neighbors used to look down their patrician noses at Del Ray. The best food in Del Ray was Al's Steaks and that was about it other than Dos Amigos. Amazing how 25 years have changed things.
          Del Ray is very cool, but I would still give the edge to Courthouse/Clarendon.
          I don't know DC now well enough to comment on it, left my Capital Hill apartment behind in 1993 but it seems to have gotten a lot better in some ways since then.

    2. Well, a lot of young families live in Capitol Hill. There are quite a few cafes (Peregrine and the new Pound Coffee come to mind), an exploding number of restaurants and bars of various stripes (on Barracks Row, on H Street NE, and my favorites We the Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery on Pennsylvania), and of course Eastern Market, which is a lovely historic market open every day with vendors selling meat, cheese, etc and once a week there is also a farmers market there with fresh produce. Eastern Market is pretty awesome.

      There is more cheap ethnic food in the suburbs, as well as wine shops, cheese boutiques, and the like, I believe. Clarendon has a much less urban feel than Capitol Hill, so it depends what you're comfortable with.

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      Good Stuff Eatery
      303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

      Pound Coffee
      200 Florida Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

      1 Reply
      1. re: hamster

        I'm with you. Clarendon and the rest of the suburbs have a lot, but not more than the city. I usually cross city lines once every four months or so, when suburban friends talk me into it. Otherwise, I'm good. I think Capital Hill is just right, especially near Eastern Market. There's SO much growth there. Clarendon has gems here and there, but is just a bit too pristine for my tastes. So, as you said, it depends on how urban one wants to be.

        I'd caution against Columbia Heights. Not many restaurants to write home about, and despite the commercial growth there, I don't feel that its residential growth has kept pace (when I was looking to buy two years ago, the areas I was looking at were Columbia Heights and Shaw. I chose Shaw and am glad I did - much safer and tons of families).

      2. Personally I would live in the Dupont Circle/Logan Circle area. There are a large variety of restaurants in this area. You are walking distance to a lot of coffeeshops, wine stores, froyo places, farmers markets and about 3 different grocery stores (depending on where you are located). I have some friends that live closer to Logan Circle with a toddler and they love it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Elyssa

          i second dupont circle which is also on the metro red line and thus a short metro ride also from penns qtr-chinatown area and its bursting at the seams restauraunt scene

          1. re: Elyssa

            I'm biased (because I live there now), but having lived in VA and worked in a few different places in DC, I'd say 14th Street, if children related matters are totally not an issue (otherwise this suggestion is N/A). First: transportation to any suburban location on average is far easier from the center of DC than any particular suburb. So if you have a car (or even if you don't) getting to Eden Center for Vietnamese, Annandale for Korean, visits to Annapolis or Bethesda are simply easier and shorter (non rush hour). Second, from 14th you are walking distance to DuPont, 14th Street/Logan, Penn Quarter, U Street and what is becoming a hot area, 9th/7th Street. You are a ten minute cab/car drive from Atlas/H St, West End, Georgetown, Woodley Park. Unlike the suburbs you can actually get a cab! So if schools and crime are not issues and you can afford it (you certainly do get a lot more space for your money in the burbs), I'd be on or near 14th St South of U or therabouts. Oh and as for farmers markets- walk to the grandaddy of them all, DuPont, ride to the biggest market (though not really all that nice per se at the Wholesale Market at New York and Florida) and you are within a mile or two of a farmers market nearly every day of the week.

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

          2. I would live within walking distance of Eden Center.

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

            1. I live in Arlington in Ballston so I am totally biased, but I wouldn't live anywhere else in the DC area other than Arlington. (I used to live on Capitol Hill) It is so close to anything in DC, you can quickly get to places in Virginia too, so I think it is easy to get both in and out of the city and still be in the middle of things. You end up driving to a lot of things, but nothing is all that far and there are multiple farmer's markets. There are several butchers nearby.

              There is good ethnic and regular food and more and more places are coming daily.

              That being said of your list Capitol Hill would be my second choice, and I don't have kids, but it is probably more kid friendly actually than Clarendon.