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Coming From Chicago

Hello Everyone!

I'm coming to D.C. for 4 days in a couple of weeks and would love recommendations for a wide array of places. I'll be staying in Dupont Circle and consider myself a public transit pro.

My standards for dining are vast. Anything from adventurous to high quality/top chef to trendy to chain to hole in the wall. No matter the place, I'm looking for some of the most outstanding eats in D.C. I've looked at Eater's 38 Essential list but can't make any final decisions. I know a José Andrés restaurant is on my list but which one? I'll be visiting the Shake Shack almost solely for their Key Lime Concrete. After that, I'm up for anything. I'm trying to fit in the best of the best in my few short days there. I hope to ingest and enjoy a little of everything and walk away from D.C. fully satiated.

I have a couple of major limitations: I don't drink (so no need to consider a place in which its wine or cocktail program is superior to the food) and I most likely will not be making reservations at any Prix Fixe restaurants.

Thank you in advance! I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys can throw my way!

-C-

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  1. I have never seen a truly bad recommendation on this board. of Andres' places, I like Zaytinya or the original (Penn Quarter) Jaleo.

    and BTW your limitations are NOT major.

    1. Oohs and Aahs for Coast Carolina Soul Food: Grilled shrimp with vegetables over grits, broiled crabcake, lemon pepper wings. A tiny kitchen with four stools or you can take your food upstairs. Broiled (not fried!) crabcake takes at least 30 minutes but worth the wait.

      Nha Trang, Eden Center, Falls Church, VA Eden Center is a Vietnamese shopping center with over 23 restaurants and other shops. Get the Bun Suong (listed under noodles) this is a soup with shrimp paste extruded in the shape of 'worms.' Also nem nuong cuong (I am not sure how this is listed on the menu: these are garden rolls with pork and crispy cookie inside).

      Rockville, MD: Sichuan Pavillion. Pork with fried bread or chicken yat cai. Or if you are solo, then the small plates at Joe's Noodle House: wontons in red hot sauce, homemade bacon and leeks. They have a seasonal special now posted by the register of white bamboo (it isn't really bamboo, a misnomer).

      Jaleo is one of my favorites. Salad with beets and citrus, baby wrinkled potatoes, cucumber stuffed with tomato and cheese, spinach with raisins. Seafood will not be the equal of Madrid, but A+ for creativity on the vegetables.

      Also consider one of Michel Richard's places: The Lounge at Citronelle or Central. The Lounge is a very special experience since you can have some of the same food as the formal dining room, but it is informal, no reservations necessary. Go for the soup, oyster shooters, mushroom cigars, tuna napoleon.

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

      Citronelle
      3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

      Nha Trang
      6757 Wilson Blvd Ste 7, Falls Church, VA 22044

      Joe's Noodle House
      1488 Rockville Pike Ste C, Rockville, MD 20852

      1. Perhaps some Vietnamese at Minh's, Nam Viet or the modernized version at Ba Bay? I would also recommend Rasika for high end modern Indian. Palena either the cafe or back room is great for just classic modern cuisine done really well.

        Maybe some ethiopian at Ethiopic?

        -----
        Palena
        3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

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

        Minh's
        2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

        Nam Viet Restaurant
        3419 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., washington, dc, DC 20008

        2 Replies
        1. re: ktmoomau

          Definitely Rasika, and I was going to recommend Ethiopian food, too, though I prefer Etete.

          Also, I'd consider making reservations at Thai X-ing, for phenomenal Thai in an awesome experience.

          And there are few restaurants I enjoy as much as Central.

          -----
          Etete
          1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

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

          1. re: katecm

            Central is still probably my favorite restaurant in DC, although I really need to get to Eola.

        2. You've gotten great recs so far. Zaytinia, Jaeo (downtown), Oohs and Aahs (this place defines "hole in the wall"), Joe's Noodle House, Rasika, Central and Etete are all favorites of mine.

          I adore Ren's Ramen in Wheaton (I've got it on the brain now that the weather has turned chilly). It's about a 20 min. Metro ride and a two block walk. Very doable if you have a jones for ramen, if not, it might be a bit of a trek. My favorite Thai place, Ruan Thai, is next door to Ren's in Wheaton.

          I love Shake Shack - good call!

          -----
          Etete
          1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

          Ruan Thai Restaurant
          11407 Amherst Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

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

          Joe's Noodle House
          1488 Rockville Pike Ste C, Rockville, MD 20852

          1. ok here it is:
            1. Rays Hellsburger: iconic burger place in arlington just over the bridge from georgetown. last time i had the steakburger au poivre with melted brie and a slice of faux gras. fantastic
            2. Etete: Ethiopian.. DC is known for ethiopian
            3. Jaleo: Tapas, Jose Andres restaurant
            4. Zataynia: Meeze Jose Andres restaurant
            5. Central: Michelle Richard restaurant
            6. Ceiba: latin fusion. love the ceviche sampler appetizer
            7. 2-Amys: great grown up wood burning stove thin crust pizza

            -----
            Etete
            1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

            2 Replies
            1. re: dining with doc

              Question about Jaleo/Zataynia. While I'm sure Jaleo is no doubt amazing, I'm wondering if I should give Estadio a go for Spanish tapas and then Zataynia for mezze? Or would I regret missing out on Chef Andres' native cuisine stylings?

              1. re: cayfitz

                Sorry I didn't reply earlier and I have seen the other responses. Although both Jaleo and Zaytaynia are both Andres restaurants, they are very different in food type and atmosphere. If you want tapas go to Jaleo, meeze go to Zaytayna and if you want both, go to both! And I agree that Rasika is an exceptional restaurant.
                Was in Chicago last summer with 4 CIA grads. Xoco, purple pig, saloon steak house, portillas, gene and gorgetti, citie, David burke steakhouse. Great food town

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

            2. As much as I think that the restaurants in Chicago (overall) are superior to DC's, there are definitely some standouts here that you won't really find in Chicago.

              1. I definitely agree that you should dine at Rasika- you won't find its equal on Devon Ave or at any of the mediocre, high-end Indian restaurants downtown.
              2. Vietnamese food in the Eden's Center area (you will want to drive). Better and more varied than what you would find on Argyle. I really enjoyed the banh (rice cake) dishes at Saigon Cafe.
              3. Ethiopian food-way better than anything that you'll find in Chicago (which is understandable since DC has a very large Ethiopian population). My current favorite is Ethiopic on H st. in DC. I think that the best thing on their menu is the vegetarian platter (the caramelized carrots are fabulous), and this is coming form a meat eater.
              4. I will agree with everyone who suggested Jaleo (DC location only). It's been a number of years since I've had tapas in Chicago (and nothing particularly memorable) but Jaleo is truly wonderful-my favorite is the fried, bacon wrapped dates (like meat candy).

              In my opinion, the Chinese and Korean restaurants are better in Chicago. And don't get me started on the lack of good bakeries in DC (and its environs)-I end up having wait until I get to Chicago to get my coffee cake fix.

              Enjoy your visit-fall is the most beautiful time around here and actually lasts more than a week (as it's apt to do in Chicago).

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

              6 Replies
              1. re: Jule

                Thanks Jule! Love hearing your familiarity with the Chicago scene. We just landed Magnolia Bakery and as annoying as the hype is, that place is beyond words delicious. I think Chicago (if not only for it's Mexican Panaderia's) has such an amazing offering of baked goods. I'll have to find other ways to satisfy my sweet tooth in D.C.

                Also, I asked the question above but I feel like going to Jaleo and Zataynia (although different) would be too much Chef Andres....so I was thinking about Estadio as a sub for Jaleo. Bad mistake? Also, next time you're in Chicago...go to Avec and try their bacon wrapped dates. All due respect to Jaleo's interpretation, but behind the deep dish and hot-dog, I don't think there is a more coveted dish in Chicago among the food scene.

                1. re: cayfitz

                  With all due respect to everyone, while I like Jaleo, I do find it a little more hit and miss than Zaytinya, in terms of dishes. But they do have some very good things, if you go search on here for the dishes to order, I think there is a thread on that. You have to understand his philosophy of letting quality simple ingredients shine. So it might not have the wow factor you would expect unless you understand how absolutely nuts he is about fresh, ripe ingredients and keeping it relatively simple, but with complex techniques.

                  -----
                  Zaytinya
                  701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    I love Jaleo, but Zaytinya has a cooler room and a more casual atmosphere that lends to a steady 'graze through the menu' approach especially if you're sitting in the bar and the place isn't too jammed (late afternoon especially on a Saturday or Sunday are ideal)

                    1. re: hill food

                      Agreed. I prefer Zaytinya, as well. There are so many tapas places, but there isn't much mezze done this well, in this beautiful of a setting, with excellent drinks. The cauliflower dish at Zaytinya is a must, and this lamb-hater swears by the pita stuffed with lamb. I've also never had a shrimp there that was less than stellar.

                      -----
                      Zaytinya
                      701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                    2. re: ktmoomau

                      I agree with ktmoomau Jaleo has been hit or miss over the past few years

                    3. re: cayfitz

                      You're right that Jaleo is his home turf, so to speak. My favorite part of the menu is his Verduras, which is double the selection form Estadio. Baby wrinkled potatoes, spinach, cauliflower, peppers and eggplant, mushrooms, beet and citrus salad, patatas bravas, asparagus, nobody puts the attention to detail in creating dishes like those. His olive mix is terrific.

                  2. Most of the time I'd just be eating breakfast in the hotel, and if you are staying at the Tabard Inn, eat there.
                    but if you do venture out early, there's
                    Teism and
                    Kramerbooks & afterwords
                    Luna Grill