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Jun 22, 2012 10:45 AM

Restaurants Near AFI Cinema

Hi Everyone,

I'm heading to the SilverDocs festival tonight. I have about an hour and half between films to go grab dinner. I'm going to try to get a bar seat at Rays the Classics (I'll be by myself). But in case that is too crowded, what are some other dining options within a short walk to the theater where I can get something good to eat?

I'm not too picky about cuisine. Not looking for anything that will take a super long time or that is expensive.

Every time I've eaten in that area it's been at Rays the Classics. I think I once got something to eat at a Noodles and Co (oh the shame!). Would like a better option than Noodles and Co though.


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  1. Elyssa, you shouldn't have a problem getting a seat at the bar (or in the lounge area) at RTC tonight.

    But in case you do, assuming you really don't want to walk more than a block or so, Abol (Ethiopian) and Da Marco (Italian) on that block are both good. I didn't think the Thai place on that same strip was all that great, but it wasn't bad, just better choices a couple miles up the road in Wheaton.

    In the mall complex, there's a Lebanese Taverna, which is certainly the only thing worth eating in the plaza.

    A block or so away there's Cubanos, and adjacent to the Metro is 8407, which has excellent service, snacks, and drinks in the lounge.

    4 Replies
    1. re: DanielK

      Thank you DanielK for these suggestions! I've walked past Abol before but didn't know much about it. Glad to hear it's good.

      1. re: DanielK

        In addition to Lebanese Taverna, I'd argue that Nando's is also worth eating in the plaza.

        1. re: Guy Incognito

          Oh good to know a Nando's is there. I have one near me in Dupont (and really like their chicken pita). I would totally eat there in a pinch.

          1. re: Guy Incognito

            Ah, yes, didn't know they'd added a Nando's to the plaza. Certainly a worthwhile place for a quick bite.

        2. 2nd 8407. Also jackie's sidebar is a less expensive version of jackie's with great bar snacks and cocktails. Also, I've eaten at the upstairs bar at 8407 by myself. Totally great

          11 Replies
          1. re: cambridgeMike

            I looked those up and they seemed like a bit of a far walk (like more than 10 minutes) from the cinema. Is this not true?

            1. re: Elyssa

              Maybe a little more than 10 minutes but if you have the time to spare it is worth it.

              1. re: Elyssa

                Jackies is a bit of a stroll, especially in this heat, but 8407 is .2 miles and a very easy walk from AFI.

                That's a great option.

                Disagree about the ease of getting a Friday night table at a RTC bar during Silverdocs ... can be hit or miss on busy show nights.

                On the quick food front, Nandos and the Lebanese Taverna are both better options than Noodles, although I sometimes will grab a bite there for the discounted Majestic tickets.. Moby Dick's has never been my kabob choice, but some folks like them. Ghar-E-Kabab isn't a bad option either.

                1. re: Elyssa

                  For future reference, I am walking to and from the Metro daily for events at Silverdocs, and it's a 10-minute walk. Very easy.

                  1. re: escargot3

                    Just about right across the street from the AFI is a quite good small Thai restaurant. It's called Kao Thai.

                      1. re: rcooperman

                        That's the one I was referring to. I thought it was just ok. Not nearly as good as Nava and Ruan, a couple of miles further north in Wheaton.

                        1. re: DanielK

                          The question was "Restaurant near AFI?" and Kao Thai is across the street and thus hard by the AFI. It has decent Thai food, and yes, Ruan Thai in Wheaton is indeed better. FWIW after my fairly recently having two disappointing meals in a row at Nava Thai I have written them off.

                          1. re: rcooperman

                            I agree, actually - I said something like this in another thread. I think neither Nava nor Ruan is putting out great food these days - but still better than Kao.

                            1. re: DanielK

                              Yes, both indeed Nava Thai and Ruan Thai have gone off stride of late. Ruan Thai is still OK, but Nava Thai has fallen well below the acceptable line. What is your current Thai recommendation??

                              1. re: rcooperman

                                Sabai Sabai in Germantown is very very good right now.

                                I will caveat that on days when their main chef is not in, they can be inconsistent, but when they are on, they're the best around IMO.

                2. I was able to get the last single chair at the bar last night at Rays. I had an excellent meal....I did the $22 appetizer and entree special---such a great deal! I started with the Ceasar which was perfectly garlicky. For a main dish I had the simply grilled salmon. It was cooked to perfection, served with a few grilled onions and slices of garlic and of course their wonderful creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. I washed it all down with a glass of Zinfandel.

                  The food was very good. On the other hand I was kind of peeved when I took out my Kindle and the bartender informed me that Kindles were not allowed at the bar. It didn't have a backlight, it wasn't making any sound. Once again this seems like one of Michael Landrum's silly rules that are just used for a power play. It's not like no reading was allowed---there was a guy at the end of the bar reading a newspaper. Just no electronic devices. This especially doesn't make sense since the bar has a tv. I could understand it if they were trying to nurture an environment where you chat with your neighbor or bartender but the only person interested in talking to me was the super annoying guy next to me that wanted to discuss how the circumference of the world was first measured by the ancient Greeks (seriously---I wanted to shoot myself!).

                  I work a full time job and go to school part time. This was one of my few nights out all month and really all I wanted to do was sit at a restaurant, order a nice meal and read my book. I dine alone a lot. Sometimes I'm in the mood to chat with the bartender. But oftentimes I just want to read my book and be left alone. Especially as a woman dining alone, sometimes sitting at a bar without a book, magazine etc opens you up to men coming over and chatting you up---so not what I was doing there.

                  While the food was very tasty, I was pretty turned off by the no Kindle rule. In the future I will bring a magazine.....or in all honesty perhaps go check out the Ethiopian restaurant if I'm in a reading mood.

                  7 Replies
                    1. re: Jeserf

                      For what it's worth, the bartender claimed it was was on the menu. I just took his word for it (I know Landrum is known for some odd rules in his restaurants). Just checked right now, what the menu actually says is "Please no computers"....I think a Kindle is pretty different than a computer. A computer I can understand (it takes up space on the bar, makes it hard to turn over the table, can produce noise etc), but a Kindle!

                      1. re: Elyssa

                        Seems like there are restaurant rules and bar rules - a bar, you would THINK someone lingering over literature would be wanted (stay longer, order another drink).

                        I'd never go to a steak restaurant (ya know), but I'm filing this under annoying restaurant schtick

                        1. re: Jeserf

                          I honestly was in and out of there in under 30/40 minutes. I was starving, so I ate faster than I usually would. But if I was allowed to stay and linger I would have ordered a second glass of wine or a cup of coffee. Instead I just finished up and went across the street to the movie theater, got a latte there and sat and read. There loss for sure!

                      2. re: Jeserf

                        It's ridiculous and weird. Such a bizarre rule just to be bizarre? I don't own a Kindle, but I think I'll buy one and use it at the bar just to piss them off.

                        1. re: Steve

                          Will take my tablet next time ... and if they hassle me, it's the last time. GMAFB.

                          1. re: repete

                            The bartender even said to me "Oh that one doesn't light up but we still don't allow it."

                            Either he has no idea about modern technology (aka thought my Kindle was an iPad...or a computer for that matter) or it's just a dumb ass rule.

                            If you go and bring a tablet, let me know what happens.