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Jan 20, 2012 03:11 PM

Best places to take NYC visitors in DC

I'm often entertaining visitors from New York City, which is fairly challenging when choosing restaurants. You want something they may not be able to get easy in the city, not too expensive, and doesn't compare badly to similar options in NYC. My typical fall-back is Ethiopian (usually Etete) but I'd like to broaden that range to include places that serve good mid-Atlantic cuisine. My first thought is Hanks Oyster Bar, but there must be other places I'm not thinking of or haven't discovered yet. Other thoughts?

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  1. Here are a couple of reports written by a NYC hound I have a lot of respect for ... and she loves Rasika as much as I do!

    You might also consider Pearl Dive - great seafood, especially oysters. And then there is Oohs and Aahs - very good soul food in a dive atmosphere.

    1 Reply
    1. re: woodleyparkhound

      Thanks for these links - very useful. Clearly I need to add The Passenger/Columbia Room to my list of places to check out. I do often take out of town guests to The Gibson, which I also like.

    2. I feel your pain - I'm a former New Yorker (not that we ever really lose the New York-ness ;-)) and feel challenged when friends come to visit. You probably know to stay away from Italian.

      I like your Hank's idea a lot. While oyster happy hours exist in NYC, they are not as rampant as in D.C., so that would be my choice (assuming the visitor likes oysters, of course) - easy on the wallet, too. We just went to Senart's for the first time and liked it - we just had raw ones at the bar (oysters and clams), but I liked the space and the bartenders and the neighborhood, of course.

      I'll keep thinking...

      1 Reply
      1. re: VaPaula

        I definitely know to stay away from Italian. I don't take anyone in DC out for Italian, much less NYers. ;) (I'm from NY myself and that's all I want to eat when I go home.)

        I've never even heard of Senarts, so thanks for mentioning it. If you have other ideas, let me know...sounds like you are in my same shoes. It's not that there aren't good places to eat here, it's just that ideally you'd like to find something that's good enough to be in NYC, but is different enough that it feels like an adventure.

      2. Etete is always a good idea and I also like the idea of Rasika.

        For higher end I would take them to the Source or Equinox.

        They might also like some of the restaurants on 14th Street: Cork, Masa 14 (especially for brunch), Estadio. I also hear great things about Birch and Barley and Pearl Dive Bar but haven't been to either.

        I really like Hank's but places like that exist in NYC.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Elyssa

          Hmm... I'm from the city myself and I don't think of oysters as a NYC thing - the mid-atlantic/southern bend to the food isn't something I've encountered a lot in the city. But that could be a neighborhood thing - my family's mostly lived in the Upper West Side and Brooklyn - it's a big town and I do tend to go to the same favorites over and over again (as I do in DC also).

          I love both the Source and Equinox but I typically avoid high-end with friends. I know what it's like to have agreed to an evening I can't actually afford, and spending the whole night stressing out about how I will pay the rent after the tab has been split. My preference is something mid-range but good, where hopefully I'll be able to pick up the tab without too much struggle from my guests.

          1. re: emcentar

            It doesn't compare with the old Fulton Street Fish Market in Manhattan but if they are doing touristy things shouldn't they stop by the Wharf at Maine Ave for lunch?

            1. re: emcentar

              You guys could mosy up to cleveland park - have some wine at Ripple and contemplate the cornucopia of restaurant choices that await you right in that area. If you wanted to go down one metro stop, bet they'd like Lebanese Taverna...not mid atlantic food but really good middle eastern with surprisingly good libations to boot...

              1. re: DCDOLL

                I do take a lot of people to Lebanese Taverna. It's right near the metro, easy to meet at, never difficult to get a reservation and the food is very good.

                I have not tried Ripple, or even heard of it. I confess the only food I've eaten in Cleveland Park is Palena (yum) and Indique (less yum). Unless the countless slices of pizza from Vace while I stand in line for Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings movies counts.....;)

                1. re: DCDOLL

                  I've seen Ripple come up in a few places, and I've been thinking about trying it. I don't want to thread hijack, but if you could expand on your recommendation and give some details about the food there I'd appreciate it!

                  1. re: hppyheather

                    Ripple is a casual, comfortable farm-to-table restaurant in Cleveland Park, a nice neighborhood in Northwest DC. They feature an interesting selection of cheeses and house-made charcuterie (plus some local specials); a selection of appetizers, smaller plates, and larger plates focusing on local and seasonal ingredients. One feature that we particularly appreciate is the "Six-for-$6" wine list, with six wines priced at $6 per glass -- in our experience these have been nice wines, worth drinking!

            2. I would second Pearl Dive and Rasika. I think Hank's is a good choice, as well. Palena Cafe is hard for anyone to hate.

              1. I agree with many of the other posts -- Rasika is always a hit. A neighborhood place to try is Cashion's Eat Place. I know folks said to stay away from Italian but Graffiato is a energetic and great , if you can get a table. Creme or Pearl Dive are good for brunch and bar pilar is a great place for drinks but food is actually quite good as well.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cafe6105

                  I like these thoughts too - thanks!