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Please help me plan a few meals out in DC

We live about an hour and a half outside of DC and since we’ve moved here we’ve taken a bunch of day trips into the city. Sure we like to spend some time at a museum or hang out on the mall but mostly we come in for the food. Not sure how much longer we’ll be living here but I anticipate getting into the city at least a handful of times and I’d like input on where else we should be sure to eat. We’ll be bringing our toddler with us so that limits us a bit but we are into all types of cuisine: American, French, seafood, sushi, Thai, Indian, Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Ethiopian, you name it we will eat it! So far we’ve eaten at the following restaurants:
Darlington House (for brunch)
Jaleo (Bethesda location)
Cafe Atlantico (I’m a bit of a Jose Andres groupie, although I was pretty disappointed by Cafe Atlantico the one time we went there. It was just a few days before it closed so maybe everything was just a little off)
We’ve been to some other places too but they weren’t particularly chow-worthy.

We definitely plan to hit Good Eats, Art and Soul & Etete but other than that, I’d love some guidance. What are the not to be missed places we could get away with bringing our toddler? I’m wondering if it is truly worth it to go to some of the standard “kid friendly” recommendations such as Two Amy’s and Matchbox.

Last question, it seems that the general consensus is that it’s not worth eating in Georgetown because there are better eats to be had but I love that area so I’m wondering if we are going to spend a day there, what would be our best bet for lunch?

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

1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Two Amys
3715 Macomb St NW, Washington, DC 20016

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

Darlington House
Washington, DC, Washington, DC

701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Art and Soul
415 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001

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  1. I wouldn't make a special trip for Matchbox. The only true Chowhound delight there are the mini-burgers. If you can live without those, then the place is nothing special.

    2 Amys in total is an excellent place to eat. Pizzas and small plates are sky-high in quality.

    My top choices in DC aside form the Jose Andres places (Cafe Atlantico was always the disappointing one, so your experience had little to do with the timing) are Oohhs and Aahhs for Coastal Carolina soul food and Locolat for Belgian waffles. If you have a car, get to Pimento Grill across the Anacostia River for carefully prepared Jamaican food including oxtail brown stew and goat curry and homemade juices like carrot/lime. Both this and Oohhs and Aahhs are tiny carry-outs with some seating, but worth the trip.

    Oohhs and Ahhs: broiled crabcake (you have to wait 30 minutes for this, but it's worth it), grilled shrimp with cheese grits, and lemon pepper wings. Greens on the side.

    Locolat: Garlic waffles with asparagus, herb and pesto waffles with escargot, Queens Delight (chicken and mushrooms in a cream sauce) and flammande. Super casual hangout. Excellent chocolates for dessert.

    Locolat Cafe
    1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

    Pimento Grill Restaurant
    4405 Bowen Rd SE, Washington, DC 20019

    1. I think Citronelle and Komi are can't misses. And Tosca is way underrated in terms of fine Italian dining.

      3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

      1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

      1 Reply
      1. re: ipsedixit

        hope it's one darn good kid for C, K or T.

      2. Thanks Stave for your helpful comments and the rec for the Jamaican food. I grew up eating (homemade) Jamaican cooking and will have to check out Pimento Grill. Carry out places are perfect for us, as long as we can find a park or somewhere else suitable to sit and eat.

        I see 2 Amy's doesn't take reservations... What time would we have to get there on a weekend for lunch or dinner to avoid a long wait?

        So... I'm hesistant about the other recommendations for Citronelle, Komi, and Tosca... Would they work with a kid or no? I would say our toddler is pretty average when it comes to dining behavior but I am more sensitive than a lot of people to making sure he doesn't disrupt other diners.

        Thanks again!

        3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

        1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

        Pimento Grill Restaurant
        4405 Bowen Rd SE, Washington, DC 20019

        3 Replies
        1. re: movesalot

          w/o getting into a 'kid in restaurant' debate, sounds like you've won half the challenge just by being aware of the situation.

          1. re: movesalot

            Pimento Grill (closed Sundays) is right across from Fort Dupont Park, which is enormous, though there are a couple of tables right inside the restaurant. The jerk chicken is not smoked, so don't expect anything special, but the other dishes are excellent. The cabbage and rice with peas are great as sides.


            The other recs by Ipsedixit were not taking into account your toddler. Not everyone reads the fine print.

            Pimento Grill Restaurant
            4405 Bowen Rd SE, Washington, DC 20019

            1. re: movesalot

              I would plan on getting to 2 Amys right when they open on the weekends. After that, it's really hard to say how crowded it may be -- even normal dead times, like 3-5 p.m., can get packed on Saturdays.

            2. For a good, low cost lunch in Georgetown, I love the unfortunately-named Muncheez Mania. The silly name is completely at odds with the kind of place it is. I wrote my comments about it here:


              I think it would be very kid-friendly.

              1. I like Dino for Italian, and it's reasonably kid friendly.

                1. Regarding Georgetown, Bodega had a nice lunch deal last time I was looking for a place to eat in Georgetown, and I actually like Tackle Box as well, which is exceedingly toddler-friendly.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: agarnett100

                      Ack! I had forgotten they were neighbors.

                  1. I would think brunch at Blacksalt would be doable with a kid it is less formal than dinner, and great seafood. Surfside in Glover Park is very kid friendly, get the fish tacos!

                    Dino is a great choice for a kid, if you can get in early perhaps Palena, I see kids there, but depends on the kid really. And I don't think they have kids seats fyi.

                    Ba Bay might be doable at lunch with a kid. I think a lot of places are more flexible and casual around lunch time.

                    Matuba and Raku might be sushi possibilities in Bethesda.

                    For thai Regent might be a good choice, or Rice, in the city.

                    For Mexican there is a great little cafe at the Eastern Market called Tortilla Cafe, there is also Taqueria Nacionale.

                    3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008