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In DC for 5 days/nights, must try places?

Hi Everyone,

I saw a similar post about what places to try for someone who moved to DC, but wanted to see if the opinion varied a bit for places someone traveling must try!

Me and my cousin are doing a trip to DC in about a week (first time over to the eastcoast) and staying for 5 days/nights, we are looking for a variety of food from cheap lunch spots to a fancy dinner so please suggest away. We are also looking for possible interesting bars/nightlife places to check out a well.

Some of the places we already plan/may on checking out:
2 Amys
Columbia Room
Fast Gourmet
Eastern Market (is there a particular day we should aim for?)
Hank's Oyster Bar
Amsterdam Falafel Shop
Busboys and Poets (?)

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

Amsterdam Falafelshop
2425 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

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  1. Jaleo for Tapas
    Zaytayna for meeze
    Komi for dinner one night for multiple course small plates
    Rays hellsburger (Arlington)
    Etete for ethiopian
    2 Amy's for bistro,pizza
    Ben's Chili bowls: iconic half smoke dogs
    Centrale: Michele Richard bistro
    Michele Richard Citronelle French expensive
    Wolfgang puck, the source
    Jose andres, Minibar: doubt you get in the toughest reservation in town. 20 course mini plate gasropub-chemicalp experiment

    1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

    3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

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

    1. PS7s for great drinks!

      PS7 Restaurant
      777 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

      1. Some good picks. Eastern Market you should aim for Sunday, when there's also a flea market, arts market, and produce market.
        Busboys does not have particularly good food, but the atmosphere for a drink or coffee (at the 14th Street location) is worth a trip.
        Amsterdam Felafel Shop is not that special. I would recommend Taylor Gourmet instead, or Breadline/G Street Foods if it's a weekday lunch.
        At Fast Gourmet, definitely order the Cuban sandwich. I was not as impressed with the chivito.

        Definitely have Ethiopian: Madjet or Etete; and the nightlife in that area (U Street metro) is great. Tons of bars and music spots.
        Along those lines, consider Granville Moore's on H Street for moules frites, and then go to a bar in the neighborhood. Lots of options. Depends what scene you're into.

        1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

        Taylor Gourmet
        1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

        1. No to the food at Busboys and Poets.

          Amsterdam Fleelafel not worth a special trip, but Fast Gourmet is. Corn empanadas and the chivito are my favorites, and the cubano is very good as well.

          My top five accessible places/dishes are:

          2 Amys
          Oohs and Aahs for the grilled shrimp and vegetables over grits. Also the collard greens.
          Lounge at Citronelle, expensive but informal and no reservations necessary.
          Vidalia, for upscale Southern

          And if you like pretzels and homemade mustard, go to Lyon Hall for Alsatian-inspired food. Right near the Clarendon Metro Stop in Arlington.

          1. Thanks everyone for the feedback so far. Is extremely helpful! Hope to hear from more people.

            The tip on Pretzel sounds awesome.

            Looks like we will definitely be adding an ethiopian food stop as well as Breadline or Taylor Gourmet.

            1. Eastern Market - if you're a local looking to cook at home and just wants to scurry in and out weekdays are the best, but as a visitor you'd probably enjoy the 'street fair' atmosphere including snack stands on Sunday but the outside vendors start shutting down around 4 or 5 PM (esp. at this time of year)

              the Penn Quarter is doing the Holiday Market again this year right? don't see freshly roasted chestnuts too often.

              2 Replies
              1. re: hill food

                Thanks for the tip, Since we are going to be there for so long we do plan on cooking one of the nights. We may end up making more than one trip out to Eastern Market.

                Any updates/links for the Penn Quarter Holiday Market?

                1. re: PretzelGuy

                  in that case Thursday and Friday at the EM are the best and freshest choices (but no outside vendors except for the 24-7 xmas tree stand, I love that - it's 3 AM and ya got a hankering for a tree?).

                  Penn holiday market

              2. You might want to do the Obama tour, restaurants where the President ate, either with Michelle or with other people. A brief list includes The Source, Equinox, and The Majestic at the higher end of cost and Ray's Hell Burger and Ben's Chili Bowl on the lower part of the cost spectrum.

                Ben's Chili Bowl
                1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                Ray's Hell Burger
                1713 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

                1 Reply
                1. re: BookGuy

                  We were just in DC for a week to eat and see the sites. Our best meal was at Oyamel. Small plates inventively done and great service. Jaleo was a letdown. Sushi Taro's happy hour was amazing.

                2. To add to your list because really you will probably end up somewhere close to where you are during the day/night, my apologies if these were mentioned upthread: Fiola, Palena Cafe, Dino, BGR Joint, Central, Rasika.

                  You can also go to Eastern Market on Saturday. Saturday and Sunday are the big busy days with lots of vendors outside flea markets, arts markets, etc. But you can only get breakfast at Market Lunch on Saturday.