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Cheap places near National Harbor

My husband and I will be traveling from Louisiana to the Gaylord National Harbor in two weeks for a conference. We are trying to stick to a budget and I would really appreciate any tips/locations for some inexpensive places to eat in that area. I've been lurking on this site most of the morning and I see the general consensus is to go into Old Town Alexandria and I've been researching places there. Could anyone offer any other suggestions in the D.C. area? We are going to get a Metro pass (we won't have our car). I appreciate any advice ya'll are willing to share.
SuzzyQ

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  1. It would help to know how much you are willing to spend. "Inexpensive" means different things to different people. I assume you want to go places you can get to by Metro. What kind of food do you like/dislike?

    1 Reply
    1. re: woodleyparkhound

      We aren't too picky, willing to try new stuff in new places. I'm hoping to keep it under $20 a person, even lower would be better.

    2. Will you have access to a shuttle that can take you to Old Town and Metro stops?

      1. Ethiopian food is something DC does well and isn't found in many other places. My favorite place for this is Etete, which is very near the U St. Metro station on the green/yellow line. You can easily stay within budget there.

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        Etete
        1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

        2 Replies
        1. re: woodleyparkhound

          Ethiopian is something we have never tried, I will put that on our list of possibilities. We will have access to shuttles/Metro, etc. I decided I didn't want to attempt driving in D.C. since I'm from a small town in south Louisiana!! Driving in New Orleans is about adventrous as I can handle =)

          1. re: SuzzyQ32

            You are very wise not to drive here. I find it very difficult; drivers here are really aggressive. You will be much happier relying on Metro!

            You also might try Salvadorean food. DC has a very large Salvadorean population. I like El Rinconcito -- or, for Salvadorean in a better neighborhood, check out Tortilla Cafe, near the Eastern Market Metro on Capitol Hill.

        2. If you want a reasonably nice dinner near the National Harbor, try Birches. It's at the upper end of "inexpensive" but very good.

          In old town Alexandria, I enjoy La Tasca (there's also one in DC, I believe) -- it's tapas style, so you can control your meal cost pretty easily. 2 Amy's in DC is also very good and inexpensive. You could probably get in and out of the Palena Cafe in DC for ~$20/person.

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          Palena
          3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

          La Tasca
          Alexandria, VA, Alexandria, VA

          1. Please know that there is no metro at or near National Harbor. You have to get a water taxi or shuttle to someplace else (Old Town Alexandria) and then walk to a metro to get into DC. While this is feasible, it is time-consuming and tedious. If you don't have a whole day free, I would suggest staying in Old Town for meals. If you search on this board for "Old Town Alexandria" you should find lots of choices. By the time you figure in taxi fees, etc. you may find that getting out of National Harbor is expensive, regardless of the meal price.

            2 Replies
            1. re: dcandohio

              Very true. The water taxi into Alexandria is $16 per person round trip from Nat'l Harbor. That definitely will put a dent in the meal budget.

              1. re: AStern

                A regular taxi ride from National Harbor to Old Town would be about the same amount of time/money. That's just the price of being in such an isolated location with little mass transit options.