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Weekend in DC-help me choose

In the process of planning a last minute mother-daughter trip down to DC next weekend. Staying in the Dupont Circle area and likely hitting the typical tourist spots like the museums and monuments. No car so we'll be using the Metro. We're from NYC and like seafood, Italian, tapas and Mediterranean food (and wine). Some places that hit me while searching this board and other sites:

Blue Duck Tavern and Firefly (for brunch)
Little Serow and Thai Xing
Bibiana, Potenza
Rasika
Birch and Barley
Zaytinya, Agora, Estadio (my favorites of the bunch)
Bistrot du Coin

Any musts or avoids? Our budget is not in the Komi or Fiola range and while my mom is quite hip I think we want to avoid anything too, too trendy. For one of our dinners (Friday night) we're looking for a good seafood/vegetarian option. Any tips for cheap, quick lunches while hitting the tourists spots would be welcome. Also my mom has a sweet tooth so fabulous dessert recs (eat in or take-out) would be great. In general though we are pretty open to any types of cuisine. Thanks!

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    1. re: ipsedixit

      Would love to but as I mentioned unfortunately out of our budget. Looking to keep it around or under $50 each for food at dinner.

    2. Pearl Dive is great for seafood - esp. oysters. Black Salt is also excellent for seafood, but it requires a cab ride as it's in an inconvenient neighborhood. I haven't been to Hank's, but it gets a lot of positive comments on the board.

      Paul is on my list of places I want to check out for take-away desserts. Haven't been yet but can't wait! Birch and Barley also has excellent desserts.

      Teaism is good for lunch. There is one near Dupont Circle that has a really charming upstairs space that I love taking a tea break in. There is another location near the Archives Metro - just north of the National Gallery.

      Rasika has wonderful vegetarian choices, as does Jaleo.

      1 Reply
      1. re: woodleyparkhound

        Hank's is good, very simple, not a lot on the menu so you get a good feeling what is there that day is going to be good and freshy-fresh.

      2. I would definitely check out Rasika. There is a new one in the West End....not far from where you will be staying in Dupont.

        For Italian Bibiana is an excellent choice---much better and more refined than Potenza. Both Blue Duck Tavern and Firefly for brunch is good. I also like Tabard Inn and Darlington House for brunch as well.

        Out of the 3 small plates restaurants you have on your list I would go to Estadio. It's excellent! A fun atmosphere and really good food.

        Good seafood can be found at Hank's Oyster Bar in Dupont Circle. It's a New England fish restaurant, really good. Make sure to check out the daily specials. I also love Blacksalt but it's a bit of a pain to get to (have to take a taxi or a car).

        4 Replies
        1. re: Elyssa

          Add Dino for Italian and drop Potenza. Local ingredients. Simple food. Great wine. Crazy noisy and tight seating. Lots of seafood & Vegetarian Choices.

          Palena Cafe in same neighborhood but not as much fun and wine/cocktails just OK. Vegetairian choices in Cafe can be sparse. Great food and desserts.

          Have heard mixed about District Kitchen in Woodley Park, which is close but haven't been.

          If you like Gin, New heights is AMAZING. Good food too!

          1. re: wineo1957

            Rasika and Zaytinya might be booked for dinner since its the height of tourist season. Little Serow doesn't accept reservations so if you don't mind an early dinner and waiting around a bit then it's worth a try. Same thing goes for Estadio.

            1. re: shake N baik

              We're pretty flexible with our dinner time so Saturday we may just go early to one of the places that doesn't take reservations like Estadio or Hank's. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!

              1. re: ukitali

                if Hank's is on your agenda, call maybe 20 minutes ahead and they'll sort of hold a table. (yeah I know not a real reservation and not very reassuring, yet...) the staff is pretty cool, once I was in a party of three and a (much) later group of four was seated before us and w/o comment from us mgmt had them get up and wait their turn. another time with a kid-laden friend we were seated immediately on arrival, though granted at opening time.

        2. Birch and Barley is very good. They have an all day brunch with some savory items on Sundays and their fried chicken with waffles is out of this world. The flatbreads are also good.

          If your mom has a sweet tooth try Pitango gelato or one of DC's umpteenth frozen yourgurt/cupcake joints. Also Spike's good stuff eatery for toasted marshmallow milkshake.

          1. Dolcezza gelato is absolutely amazing, and there's a location just north of Dupont Circle. Definitely check it out.

            1. Got back yesterday from DC and had a thoroughly enjoyable trip. Highlights were Il Canale, Baked and Wired, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Blue Duck Tavern, Dupont Circle Farmers Market, Estadio and Leopold's Kafe. We were able to walk almost everywhere and therefore felt a little less guilty eating such rich dinners. Thanks for all the suggestions.