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Aug 4, 2011 01:23 PM

Casual Restaurant with Teen/Tween

We'll be meeting friends from CA for dinner Saturday night, and we need to identify a good place for our meal The family will be spending the day in the museums on the Mall so they'll be casually dressed. Also, as the title states, the family includes a teen (14) and a tween (11). I thought of Dino's for dinner but I've got to believe that I'll be able to find a restuarant closer to Penn Quarter or in NVA.

I don't know too much about the sophistication of the kids, but the parents enjoy good food.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Locolat for savory Belgian waffles with toppings like flammande, grilled vegetables, chicken and mushrooms in a cream sauce.

    Bistro du Coin for smoked mackerel salad and tartiflette.

    Both VERY casual. Shorts are perfect for Locolat.

    The Passenger for cool yet ultra-casual urban vibe with well-thought out bar food like muffalettas and half-smokes with chili.

    Me Jana or Chez Manelle in Arlington for refined Lebanese or Tunisian. Or sit outside at Lyon Hall for very nice Alsatian food. The shortrib frankfurter is excellent. Great homemade mustards and choucroute.

    Locolat Cafe
    1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

    8 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      Locolat has a lot of appeal, especially because of the wide variety of toppings, but I'm getting a specific request from our visitors to stay in NVA. They want to come back to their Crystal City hotel after their touring and rest a bit. The trip back into DC isn't appealing. So, this request is a renewed request but with a narrower geographic focus.

      My husband and I will have to give Locolat a try.

      What about one of Cathal Armstrong's restaurants? Eamonn or The Majestic?

      1. re: Indy 67

        Eamonn is very casual and could work for you. The Majestic might be a touch stuffy for kids at that age. How about Columbia Firehouse? In PQ, they might enjoy the energy at Hill Country BBQ.

        728 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

        1. re: Indy 67

          I just read that they didn't want to return to DC. Hill Country could still be done on the way out. Other than that, I think that the Thai places on 23rd street in CC are very passable.

          1. re: daves_32

            Are you talking about the restaurants on 23rd Street on the West side of Rte 1? Any reason to choose one or another? I know there's a Thai restaurant in CC proper on Crystal Drive, but I don't think that's the one you're describing.

            And once I'm talking about the restaurants across Rte 1, does the well-regarded casual Greek restaurant -- the one that's set back from 23rd Street in the parking lot -- still exist?

          2. re: Indy 67

            Eamonn's is fun for that age but the seating is limited. Have you thought of Virtue Feed and Grain, Cathal's newest venture? I don't know if you can get reservations at this point. Since you were looking at Dino's, I like Landini Brothers in Old Town for Italian, thanks to JoeH's recommendation. It's not shorts casual, but if they're going back to their hotel, that might not be a problem. Finally, if my nephews/nieces were visiting from Ca and looking for a place in NoVa, I'd probably bring them to one of the Ray's, either Hellburger 1 or 2 or the Steak.

            Also in Arlington, with a very limited menu but good food is Bayou Bakery. Their Saturday night special is shrimp and andouille jambalaya. The portions aren't large, though, almost like having tapas. Sandwiches are only available before 3:00. The gazpacho and gumbo are both very good and they have the best pickled jalapeno I've ever had. Desserts are also good. Great selection of beer.

            728 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

            1. re: chowser

              In Crystal City, Cucina Vivace & Cafe Pizzaiolo, both on 23rd, are casual, pleasant and in close proximity to the CC hotels. As I recall, one might have a wood oven for pizzas which might appease the teens.

              Would you consider Jaleo or Legal Seafood in CC?

              Cafe Pizzaiolo
              507 23rd St S, Arlington, VA 22202

              Cucina Vivace
              509 23rd St S, Arlington, VA 22202

              1. re: wristband

                Like Jaleo a lot. I'll have to run that possibility by my friends. Don't like the CC branch of Legal at all. I can't imagine what regional manager allows the CC branch to lurch along all these years with such quality control issues.

                I've had uneven meals at Vivace but I've never tried Pizzaiolo. From what I've heard, that's a good recommendation. Thanks.

            2. re: Indy 67

              I think the Majestic would be perfect. I don't think it is stuffy at all---updated, more "gourmet" American classics. Seems like the perfect spot for a family.

              Another option might be Hank's Oyster Bar for New England-style seafood---something they might not get that often in CA.

              Hank's Oyster Bar
              1026 King St Ste 1, Alexandria, VA 22314

          3. Lots of options in the Penn Quarter area. You can go to Central...lots to choose from and the kids can get delicious burgers or fried chicken if that's more their speed. Jaleo might also be a fun option. I think this is always a good place for out of there is a little something for everyone.

            Finally Hill County BBQ might be fun.

            I would try to make a reservation at these places though. It is a Friday night after all and you will have a larger sized party.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Elyssa

              all good suggestions as always from Elyssa. I personally would question Central for kids because since it is trendy, the crowd might not always be receptive to big groups/families. If there is no space, just pull up to the bar and eat with Elyssa.

              1. re: daves_32

                I see kids at Central all the time and it's never been a problem (they have also been well-behaved children :) ).

            2. Jaleo got the vote, and generally, the evening was a success.

              With six diners and three to four choices per person, we had a dizzying array of dishes. We only ordered multiple orders of the Iberico ham and the lamb chops. Even when all of us only had a small forkful of a dish, we managed happily. More often, not everyone wanted each dish. Of course, since we also ordered chicken and mushroom paella, my tapas analysis is probably irrelevent.

              If you're ordering for quantity, the following dishes worked the best:
              Green bean salad with grapes
              Potatoes bravas
              Mushroom omlette
              Dates wrapped in bacon
              Bacala fritters

              Lamb chops
              Dates wrapped in Bacon

              Delicious but very, very salty:
              Potatoes Bravas

              The teen has learned to cook in scouting and was very seriously analyzing each dish's contrasting flavors. The tween adores ham. He loved the Iberico until we ordered him an additional portion all for himself and he overdosed in its saltiness.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Indy 67

                Thanks for circling back, Indy. I like when that happens.

                1. re: GraydonCarter

                  Glad to know all of you had a nice time and the tweens found the experience of interest.