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Value dining in Dupont Circle/Union Station/Embassy area

Looking for good value dining in the above areas. As we're tourists, new to DC we're looking for great food @ a decent price. Breakfast/lunch & dinner!

We both really enjoy Italian, French & Spanish food but we're open for anything except Indian. While ambiance is a plus, the food is what really matters. We're on our own dime, so cost is a factor but not the top variable. Is Jose Andres as good as the press says he is?

I'm in the wine business so that's important for dinner.

Thanks so very much for your help fellow 'hounders, we really appreciate it.

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  1. Proof, although in Penn Quarter, is one of my favorite places for good wine. Veritas Wine Bar in Dupont is great too.

    1. The short answer is that all of the Jose Andres restaurants are well worth your attention. They have become pricey, and a declining 'value', but the food is almost always excellent.

      Some of my favorite dishes:

      Oyamel (Mexican): Seasonally, right now, chile en nogado (dinner menu only) and albondigas. Both truly excellent. The ceviche with passionfruit is first rate.

      Jaleo: (Spanish) patatas bravas, Beet salad with citrus, spinach with raisins and apples, white bean salad, lamb with rosemary sauce, grilled asparagus with romesco, baby wrinkled potatoes, roasted eggplant and peppers.

      Zaytinya: (Pan-Helennic) Bantijan bil laban, kibbeh, skuna bay salmon.

      I don't know where you are from, so eating downtown can mean considerable sticker shock, especially where a wine list is concerned.

      My favorite 'value' meal is a tiny, super casual Belgian spot, Locolat, for savory waffles. My favorite is the pesto waffles topped with escargot, but also the carbonnade topping is exceptional. Of course they have wine, though as you might imagine they feature beer.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        Thanks hounders. Steve, we'll be using the Metro if that makes any difference. Are you familiar with Dino, Lavandou or Taberna del Alabadero?

        Thanks much.

        1. re: WineCounselor

          Dino is lovely and worth a trip. Lavandou is not worth taking a meal away from a better restaurant. Taberna is nice, but I prefer Estadio, on 14th Street.

          1. re: WineCounselor

            If Taberna still has happy hour, it os a good way to experience the food without the full cost of a meal there. I've done HH a few times and alwqys enjoyed it.

            1. re: WineCounselor

              Lavandou was very good under the original owner. As soon as it changed hands it went way downhill. I have no recent experience there.

              Taberna del Alabardero is overpriced. Happy hour tapas at half price is the exact right price, so then it is worth it.

              1. re: Steve

                Thanks! Just found out we're staying at Mariott Metro Center hotel. Any recs for breakfast?

                I thought Taberna was a bit pricey..... You're spot on-when a place changes hands it can go either way up/down.

                Any other tapas spots or casual French reasonably close to the hotel?

                1. re: WineCounselor

                  I just tried Boqueria last week and found the servings surprisingly large for DC. Solid quality as well. This is near Dupont though.
                  For breakfast in Metro Center, check out District Taco, Pain Quotidien, or Paul (actually Archives).
                  Consider a quick taxi to Granville Moore's - Belgian and delightfully cozy.

                  1. re: hamster

                    Thanks hamster. any suggestions for Italian for dinner? How's Dino's?

                    1. re: WineCounselor

                      I did not have a good experience at Dino's but many swear by it. I absolutely adored Bibiana, so that's a good recommendation on that other thread. There's been buzz about Fiola in that neighborhood, never been myself. I would *not* do Grafiatto, I have a review up on another thread.