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Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner recs near Washington Mall, Dupont Circle, tourist areas

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We will be in Washington next week and will be spending 2 days visiting the Smithsonian Musuems and art galleries. Will be based near Dupont Circle off Connecticut Ave). Don't have plans yet for 3rd day, but probably in same general vicinity or National Zoo. Looking for hearty breakfast recs, quick (but good) lunch recs near the Mall, and dinner options near Dupont Circle or elsewhere. We won't have access to car, but public transit is supposed to be good. Have been recommended Old Ebbitt Grill near White House for seafood happy hour (?), Tabard Inn for jazz brunch, Paul's on Pennsylvania Ave. for breakfast. Are these any good? Any other suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. Search this board for "Dupont Circle" and you'll find a slew of information. There's been at least a half-dozen active threads over the last few weeks for chowhound tourists with your same parameters (Dupont Circle, no car but willing to Metro), and I'm sure you'll find some worthwhile information there. Best of luck to you!

    1. We have done some research and are planning to visit Paul Bakery & Cafe in Penn Center to begin the Smithsonian museums with a good breakfast. We are planning to visit Bistro La Bonne and Bistro d'Oc for a couple of dinners. We love French food and that is something we don't have in our Midwest city. Perry's drag queen brunch (no joke!) in Adams Morgan was recommended to us for Sunday. Perhaps a lunch at Hank's Oyster Bar, as seafood is also something we like and can't much fresh near us. Couldn't get into Tabard Inn (darn) and heard Old Ebbitt Grill has really gone downhill.

      Critique of our choices? Any other must-do's? Thanks!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Diane in Bexley

        I don't think Hank's does lunch - at least they didn't a few months ago. Also, realize that the mall is huge and requires a lot of walking. It's good to try to plan specific treks, such as pop out at Smithsonian's stop in the morning and head toward the Capitol, hitting things along the way. Up on the hill there are a few good choices depending on what you're up for. Then you can either take Capitol South or Eastern Market metro stops somewhere else. Another route is in reverse, and another would tie in Union Station or Federal Triangle to the North of the Mall.

        Two places that only do weekday lunches are Breadline (search this board for "Steve" recommendations, or CF Folks, just South of DuPont (mainly order from the daily specials and sit at the counter if you can).

        1. re: Dennis S

          Thanks Dennis for the suggestions. DD and I have both been to DC 5-6 times and have seen a lot of the museums. This trip we want to focus on some we really like. One day we plan to take Metro to Penn Quarter, breakfast at Paul and do National Gallery of Art and then the National Air & Space musuem with Metro back to DuPont Circle. Where should we plan lunch? IIRC the National Gallery has a cafe where you can sit outside if its nice? Other suggestions?

          The next day we plan to take the Metro to the Newseum - suggestions for breafast near there? I am told that could be a 4 hour visit, so we will probably have either a big breakfast or lunch. Then on to International Spy Musuem and dinner at Bistro d'Oc which is near there.

          Thanks!

      2. For great seafood, esp. oysters, and good cocktails, check out Pearl Dive on 14th St. - no reservations, so try getting there early if you don't want to wait an hour, esp. on weekends.

        Black Salt, which you would need to taxi to, is also excellent for seafood.

        The drag queen brunch is a hoot!