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Feb 11, 2012 09:27 AM

DC & Chevy Chase recs for Feb visit with teens?

Have used CH many times as a reference, but never posted til now, so bear with me! My husband and I are heading to DC next weekend for 4 days with three teens- boy 13, and twin 15 yr old girls. Kids' first time visit and my first in decades. Looking for interesting places near the major sites for lunch & dinner; also dinner spots near our hotel in Chevy Chase (Embassy Suites). Would like a list with some variety- i.e. "quintessential DC" spots, awesome "hole in the walls", yummy pizza/burger etc, Asian, modern Italian/Mediterranean, anything amazing that isn't stuffy.....can't wait to see the posts!!! Thanks so much. p.s. just say no to chicken fingers!!!!

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  1. I'd recommend Mei Wah for Chinese (I used to live around the corner and love it - I miss that about my old 'hood!). Lia's for both burgers and pizza - sit at the bar area - it's delicious and reasonable. They also have a dining room that's a bit more Italian with regard to offerings. There's also Indique Heights, which is very good Indian food. That's basically across the street from the hotel on top of the metro (it's odd to find so ask the hotel). If you hop on the metro and go a couple of stops to Cleveland Park, there's lots there - Dino for great Italian food, Spices for (in my opinion) great pan-asian, and a couple other spots.

    1. You don't say what exactly constitutes 'near your hotel': do you mean walking distance, a metro ride, or do you have a car?

      In Bethesda, Passage to India is sensational. I recently had a dish with baby gourds and also their spinach with buttermilk, and what a fantastic meal that was.

      Chevy Chase is not an area with holes-in-the-wall, and not much like that near the major tourist spots either.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Steve

        We will not have a car, but our hotel conveniently has a red line metro stop in the lower level. We plan to travel by metro most of the time. That being said we will probably be walking in the area right around the hotel for some evening meals. Lunches will be downtown while we are sightseeing, as well as 1 or 2 evening meals, depending on how well the kids are hanging in there.
        thanks so much for everyone's help!! Great ideas! Can't wait to get there.

      2. There aren't a lot of restaurants near the major tourist sites. Most of the MAll is separated from restaurants by a phalanx of fedrela buildings. For quintessential DC you should hit one of the steakhouses near the Capitol -- Capitol Grille or Charlie Palmer's. And the Old Ebbitt Grill near the White House is a big DC spot (make a reservation). Great pizza at Pizza Paradiso near DuPont Circle - even better is 2 Amy's, a short cab ride from your hotel and just a couple of blocks from the National Cathedral. If it's full, try Cactus Cantina or Cafe Deluxe on the same block. As to hioles in the wall, they are usually off the beaten path and it would help to knwo what part of the country you're from and the tolerance level of your kids. If you are from the South, note - there is no good barbecue in DC. None. It is literally illegal here.

        Arucula is a very good restaurant about 5 blocks form you on Connecticut Ave. Lia's is good - the bar area is more casual.

        2 Replies
        1. re: dcbbq

          note - tehre is a Capitol Grille right by the hotel, but the one you would want would be near the Capitol. I go there rarely, but every time I do I see at least one national figure

          1. re: dcbbq

            The Capitol Grill is fun on weeknight when Congress is in session because if affords the chance to see "Congress Goin Wild" type behavior. Last time I stopped in on a weekend it was pretty dull. If the OP comes in with teens . . . . it may not be the kind of thing that impressionable youths should see going on.

        2. Right by your hotel there's not a lot other than chains like Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano's and PF Chang's.

          Two exceptions: there's a wonderful upscale Indian restaurant called Indique Heights, and a very good sushi place called SushiKo.

          As Jeserf says, a couple of metro stops away is Cleveland Park - Dino, Spices, Ripple, Ardeo/Bardeo, Medium Rare, Palena, Indique among others.

          4 Replies
          1. re: DanielK

            agree it would be helpful to know if you have a car, and where you are from, so not to suggest places that may be better in your area.
            but some suggestions are the MITSITAM CAFE at the museum of the American Indian and also Teaism near the Archives Metro, perhaps DC Coast for fish. I tend to think seafood (crabcakes, oysters) more than steak for a 'dc meal'
            There are some good places in Chinatown, which isn't far from the monuments- Matchbox pizza, for one.
            if you can drive into the burbs for dinner, you'll have so many more choices.
            Right by your hotel is a brand new whole foods, across the street from Lia's, that in a pinch, has a decent food bar, and free wifi :-) There's also a new Rosa Mexicano, that has a good happy hour with 1/2 off the plates, in the bar. Not sure if the kids would be allowed in there.
            Nearby is also Pete's pizza, new haven style.

            edit: wanted to add to the cleveland park list: tacklebox, and nam viet. cleveland park has a lot of choices, but I think parking there is difficult

            1. re: MoCoMe

              Seafood will not be local this time of year. DC is great - really great-- for crabs and crabcakes in season, but they could be from anywhere this time of year. And if you are from anywhere near the Gulf, you are likely to be disappointed in DC seafood - other than sushi at Sushiko.
              The kids will be allowed in the bar at Rosa Mexicano and all other restaurant bars in DC. I'm not sure that the Chevy Chase one i sopened. There's one a couple of blocks north of the Mall/Archives, but to get there you would have to pass Oyamel, which is much more interesting, and Austin Grill - basic Tex Mex and much cheaper.
              A very good sandwich place near the White House is Breadline - and it kinda qualifies as a hole in the wall.
              In Chinatown, Full Kee qualifies as a hole in the wall. No credit cards, no liquor. Their Hong Kong style noodle soup is the best soup in DC. It's on the eastern end of Chinatown - the part that hasn't been taken over by chains

              1. re: MoCoMe

                Not sure if you automatically receive my reply if it's to another poster, but no we won't have a car. Also, we are from Dayton Ohio. With a few notable exceptions (Anne Kearney has moved back here from New Orleans if anyone's familiar with her former restaurant Peristyle) I don't think we need to be too worried that there may be better places here! : )

                1. re: carbonaraqueen

                  So that's what happened to Anne! You're lucky!

                  I had family visiting a few months ago (including 3 teen-aged nephews) and we had dinner at Carmine's. Convenient to the touristy stuff, not bad food, and the boys loved it (it was better than I thought it would be, actually - not that I'll be running back sans teen-agers, though). Family-style Italian.

            2. I would hit China Town and do Top Chef contestant Mike Isabella’s Graffiato (New Jersey Italian American - sort of) or maybe Zatinya (Mediterranean small plates) to try out the restaurant where he worked when he did his first run on TC and is owned by one of DC's Celeb Chef in Residence - Jose Andres.

              If you are going to be around the Capitol I would stroll Pennsylvania Avenue SE between 2nd and 4th St. Another Top Chef alum, Spike Mendleson, has two places next door to each other: Good Stuff Eatery, a burger and shake place; and We the Pizza. Frankly, both places are passable and very popular, but I would skip them and go to the end of the two blocks to the Tune Inn for a greasy burger and several generations of DC "charm."

              Also if the weather is nice and you are on the "Hill" during the afternoon a stroll around Eastern Market, it runs along 7th St. SE between C St and Independence Avenue (and is service by a Metro stop bearing the same name), is a worthy excursion.

              On Saturdays and Sundays the Market is a mash up of food stalls inside the historic market building with a hodge-podge of farmers’ stands, artists stalls, crafts peddlers, and flee market. You can graze on items from the vendors, or sit down in one of the restaurants in the immediate vicinity or ask somebody to point you toward the 8th and I Marine Barracks, and check out the myriad food options along Barracks Row.