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Jul 25, 2011 09:53 AM

Birthday dinner for tourists

Hi there. My boyfriend and I are visiting Washington next week, coming from Toronto, as part of my birthday celebrations. Fun!

I'd really love some local recommendations on where we can go for a nice birthday dinner.

Here are my criteria:

- We'll be staying on Embassy Row, but both of us love exploring via transit, so a short metro ride or walk somewhere is more than OK
- Looking at Italian, contemporary European/French
- He loves pasta, I love poultry (I once had quail, foie, and pate all in one meal)
- Budget: $100-150 tops (we usually have one alcoholic drink each)
- Relatively low-key (though I know dress codes tend to relax in hot summers) ... he'll be wearing sneaks

- Good service, attention to details ... I find in the past both attributes have really made a meal for us

Thank you in advance!

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  1. Hop on the Red Line two stops north to Cleveland Park and enjoy Dino. I think it completely fits the bill! And honestly, if it's not a terribly hot night, the walk down Connecticut Ave back to where you're staying is really pretty.

    2 Replies
    1. re: katecm

      Central by Michelle Richard: french bistro from world renown chef. wimsical but less expensive than his Citronelle. Not sure you can do Citronelle for $150
      Bistro Du Coin: french bistro, reasonably priced, Dupont Circle
      Restaurant Tosca: italian
      Carmines: NYC restaurant known for large courses family style Italian
      Filomena: makes homemade pasta, georgetown
      Cafe Milano: more expensive Georgetown Italian, common to see famous people eating there

      3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

      Cafe Milano
      3251 Prospect St NW, Washington, DC 20007

      1. re: dining with doc

        Central is also another excellent recommendation if you are looking for french. Their roast chicken is excellent if you want poultry and don't miss the faux gras and duck rillettes appetizer.

    2. I would look at Fiola, Bibiana and Dino for Italian.

      For contemporary French perhaps Bistro Bis, although it might not be as casual as you want.

      Bistro Bis
      15 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

      1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

      2 Replies
      1. re: ktmoomau

        you can't do Bibiana in sneakers, I don't think. I mean you can, but it's a "nice" restaurant. I'd do what KateCM says - Cleveland Park. Dino, the Cafe at Palena, and the newly redone Ardeo are all good choices (I just wrote a review of Dino a couple days ago on here)

        in Dupont, Urbana is excellent and I think would be a good birthday spot, too.

        3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

        1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

        1. re: Jeserf

          I think you can do Bibiana in sneakers as long is they are not ratty. It really depends on what the rest of your outfit looks like. My boyfriend has gone there in nice jeans and a button down shirt and been fine. (He didn't wear sneakers but he doesn't often wear sneakers). I think as long as you look pulled together you'll be ok. They most certainly will not turn you away.

          Bistro Bis would be pushing it on the casual attire though.

          Bistro Bis
          15 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

          1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

      2. I'm a big promoter of Eola -- which is what I would call new American/California cuisine. It is a pre-fixe menu though that changes often. Wanted to warn you in case you look at the menu now, because it may change by the time you go.

        Not only is the food fantastic, but the service is impeccable.

        Bibiana is also a good choice, and I think you can go in sneakers -- so long as you won't be self conscious about it :)

        1. I personally would go to Bibiana. It is one of my favorite restaurants in DC right now and they really do Italian (with style and taste) well. The service is excellent, the atmosphere is chic (without being stuffy or over the top). And it's walking distance to the metro.

          A couple of standouts: Arancini, the meatball with polenta, the pasta w/ crab and the rabbit. Also don't miss the fried Nutella!!!

          Happy Birthday!

          1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

          1 Reply
          1. re: Elyssa

            Thank you, Elyssa! And thank you for the elaborating on the other recommendations as well.

            Fried Nutella is definitely top-notch intel.

            And thank you, all! Still welcoming suggestions, but the ones so far look really promising. I appreciate all the insider observations that are hard to look up. Thanks :)