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Would love some recommendations for downtown/Penn Quarter

My husband and I (mid 30's) are heading to DC next weekend and staying at the Willard. We head to DC a couple times a year and typically stay near the zoo or near Dupont Circle. We decided to try a new area since we got a great rate on a pricy hotel and would love some recommendations for the area. We've gotten some great advice on here before (Cashion's was awesome!). Looking for a quick breakfast place (coffee/pastry) and a few places for dinner. We are not looking for Minibar but love ethnic food, bistro, contemporary American and someplace that does a good craft cocktail. Any good happy hours (food and beverage) in the area? As always any advice is appreciated!

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  1. We had Thanksgiving dinner at 701 Restaurant at Penn Quarter. If their regular menu is as great as this, you'd love it. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/750865

    Also Rasika which gets lots of love here. You can find many comments about it on CH.

    Great nabe.

    1. Not sure if this would appeal or not, but The Columbia Room (reservations required), located in the area you want, serves amazing cocktails - and one light bite between cocktails. I would highly recommend it for pre-or post-dinner. Truly, I think it is one of the most special experiences available in DC. It's in a "secret" location, behind an unmarked door in the back of The Passenger, a much more casual, fun bar with great bar food. http://passengerdc.com/columbia/index...

      Central is fantastic for a French look at classic American cooking.
      http://www.centralmichelrichard.com/?...

      I second Rasika. http://www.rasikarestaurant.com/

      1. Restaurants in DC I have been to and would recommend:
        Rasika West End (or “the original” Rasika, but I haven’t been there recently)
        The Source: very good, maybe a bit pricey
        Blue Duck Tavern
        Zaytinya
        Oyamel
        Art and Soul

        Restaurant I haven’t been to but would love to go to:
        Little Serow

        Art and Soul doesn't get mentioned much on this board for some reason, but I like it. All the others I think are often recommended. If you are interested in the differences between Rasika and Rasika West End maybe someone else can give you guidance, Rasika West End is mentioned more often recently.

        Edit: Note that several of the above are outside of Penn Quarter; Rasika,The Source, Zatinya,& Oyamel are in Penn Quarter or close to it.

        1. Jaleo for tapas -- fun place with really good food.

          I would certainly second Rasika and Zaytinya too. Oyamel is good but maybe not quite as good as those three.

          The Source is really good, but it is indeed pricy.