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Family in DC

lentnej Jan 29, 2013 05:11 PM

My wife and I are taking our boys, 10 and 16 to DC for a week in March. We're staying at the Grand Hyatt in Penn Quarter and doing touristy things. What are the best places with decent adult food that welcome kids? Can anyone suggest a special occasion place for my wife and I if we want one dinner ourselves? Places close to the Grand Hyatt would be preferred but we'll be roaming the city. Thanks in advance.

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  1. ipsedixit RE: lentnej Jan 29, 2013 07:46 PM

    Can anyone suggest a special occasion place for my wife and I if we want one dinner ourselves?

    Would help to know your food preferences and price range.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit
      lentnej RE: ipsedixit Jan 30, 2013 04:07 PM

      We like American contemporary food as well as most European cuisines. We both love wine. I'd hope to spend no more than $250 on the night out (wine and tip incl.)

      1. re: lentnej
        ipsedixit RE: lentnej Jan 30, 2013 06:59 PM

        Try Obelisk.

    2. e
      Elyssa RE: lentnej Jan 30, 2013 07:38 AM

      Not knowing your price range for various meals here are my suggestions:

      Special occassion restaurant--The Source, Proof, and Corduroy (near hotel). Mintwood Place, Palena, or Equinox (not walking distance to hotel but accesible through metro or cab).

      Restaurants for the whole family--Busboys and Poets, Jaleo, Matchbox, Central, Hill Country BBQ, and Acadiana are all near the hotel and would be welcoming to your family.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Elyssa
        dining with doc RE: Elyssa Jan 30, 2013 01:37 PM

        add Zaytynia, Graffiato and Carmines to your family list

        1. re: dining with doc
          Elyssa RE: dining with doc Jan 31, 2013 05:50 AM

          Graffiato is a good choice as well. Not a fan personally of Zaytinya but everyone else seems to adore it for some reason. I would rather go to Jaleo personally.

          1. re: dining with doc
            lentnej RE: dining with doc Feb 3, 2013 07:00 AM

            Thanks everyone. Since we'll be buying 11-12 meals out, what about diner or burger joint options?

            1. re: lentnej
              hill food RE: lentnej Feb 4, 2013 10:54 PM

              diner/burger type place? screw Hard Rock - Ollie's Trolley!

              although I prefer the bacon cheeseburger over the signature burger.

              and as long as I'm being pedestrian, the food court next to the National Press Club http://www.downtowndc.org/go/eat-nati..., and the one under Union Station have a decent variety of choices in that fast-food genre (ok, better than typical anyway).

              the old Post Office is a great setting, but its food court choices are sort of grim. But and this is a big and swaggering but, there's a killer view from the tower and it's FREE and usually NO LINE - almost as good as the Washington Monument. sort-of makes up for the meh food downstairs.

              1. re: hill food
                monkeyrotica RE: hill food Feb 5, 2013 05:05 AM

                Have you been to Ollie's recently? I was there a few months ago and the Ollieburger was just bad. It was basically a McDouble with NO Olliesauce on it. And while the place has always been a bit seedy, it's now fairly filthy. I know the ownership has flipped several times over the years, but I can't recommend Ollies anymore.

                1. re: monkeyrotica
                  hill food RE: monkeyrotica Feb 5, 2013 02:00 PM

                  pity. nothing good ever lasts in this stinkin' world...

                2. re: hill food
                  lentnej RE: hill food Feb 5, 2013 08:35 AM

                  Wow, great tip hill food! My son wants to visit the Washington Monument which is closed and I didn't know about this second highest tower. Thanks so much!

                  1. re: lentnej
                    mselectra RE: lentnej Feb 5, 2013 11:10 AM

                    Yes, the Old Post Office tower is fantastic. Only thing to say about the food court there, though, is it's pretty cheap (and cheap DC souvenirs) and it's convenient to some tourist stuff you might want to do like Fords Theater and NMNH. March is tourist season and it can be a long line (of 8th grade school trips) to get in because of security, so you might try off hours. I think for a food court that National Place, which hillfood mentioned, is probably the best one.

                    But this made me think of the cafeteria at the Labor Dept, which has a terrace with a great view, really great. I haven't been in years, though, so you should double check my recommendation. Not instead of the tower though, you've got to do that.

                    I'm bummed about Ollie's. I used to go there pretty regularly (usually before movie at E St) and appreciated having something like that around -- and I'm sure after it had already started going downhill according to those with with the longer memories like monkeyrotica.... I do seem to remember thinking that the last time it wasn't quite the same, and the guy (white guy ponytail) who was always there wasn't there, hmm.

          2. s
            Steve RE: lentnej Feb 3, 2013 01:05 PM

            Top choices for Chow-worthy low cost eating include:

            Nando's peri-peri: This is a small chain of places in the mid-atlantic originating in South Africa which features peri-peri chicken from Mozambique. Order it spicy with sides of mushy peas and fries with perinnaise sauce.

            Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill: Burgers, fries, and shakes. Get the sunnyside burger and the toasted marshmallow milkshake. Milky way milkshake is also very good or maybe the flavor of the month. Village fries are very good.

            In Chinatown, Go to Full Kee for the duck stuffed with shrimp paste, oyster and ginger casserole, and the soup with shrimp dumplings.

            El Rinconcito at 11th and M for carne deshilada, tamales, papusas. I wouldn't go much past that on the menu, but those are reliably good.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Steve
              dining with doc RE: Steve Feb 3, 2013 02:30 PM

              2nd Nandos Peri Peri and Good Stuff
              I like Eat First for chinese in chinatown
              other cheap options are Five Guys for burgers and both Pizza Paradiso and 2 Amys for pizza
              also might want to consider pho for an inexpensive one dish vietnamese noodle soup meal just not sure which pho places are good in DC. tons in NOVA and MD.

              1. re: Steve
                ipsedixit RE: Steve Feb 3, 2013 06:44 PM

                Full Kee might have some of the worst cooking in Chinatown. They can't even get steamed white rice right.

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  hill food RE: ipsedixit Feb 4, 2013 11:25 PM

                  oh there's worse than Full Kee... trust me.

                  please ipse, consider the relative context: IIRC you spend some of your time in the LA area where it's somewhat easy to find great specific regional Chinese.

                  ehh, but that said, I think I would stay with the dumpling soup at FK.

                2. re: Steve
                  Elyssa RE: Steve Feb 3, 2013 07:57 PM

                  These are all great choices. I would add to the list Roti (various locations), BGR (Dupont Circle), and California Tortilla (Penn Quarter and Cleveland Park).

                3. monkeyrotica RE: lentnej Feb 4, 2013 05:51 AM

                  For special occasions in the neighborhood, I recommend Cedar around the corner. I also like Bistro d'Oc across from Ford's Theater and Acadiana.

                  Carmine's for family style Italian. Graffiato is good, but I've found the place really loud, just like Zatinya.

                  If you're in the mood for a burger, skip Five Guys and Good Stuff. Go to Shake Shack.

                  1. n
                    ninabasu RE: lentnej Feb 4, 2013 10:25 AM

                    I would strongly suggest Jaleo with your boys. It's fun, great food, and if they are anything like typical boys they will love the new decor. And a zillion ways to eat pork.

                    A cheap option for dinner is Medium Rare in Cleveland Park, right on the Metro station (red line). This is my son's favorite restaurant in DC, and it's really cheap, very child friendly. You make one choice - the temperature of your steak. I don't particularly love it, but it's great with kids, $19.50 a person, and my son thinks its the greatest treat on earth.

                    Along with that, it's a chain and I don't particularly care for it, but with boys that age, if you don't have one in your hometown, you might try Fogo de Chao.

                    I think Shake Shack in DC is overrated, so I would skip if you have been in NYC, if not, it's an okay burger / dog.

                    Not a fan of Carmine's, personally. I don't think DC does family Italian terribly well, and the portions there are crazy.

                    Ethiopian is a must try in DC. Ethiopic and Dukem are good. Very, very kid friendly.

                    CityZen might be slightly out of your price range, but I think its one of the best grown up dinners in DC. I would at least consider it.

                    * Also not sure how much of a concern "child friendly" is at 10 and 16, assuming they behave. Are there specific things they like or dislike? There are a lot of restaurants in DC, so if they have a specific desire / aversion that would be a good thing to know to steer you to places they may like. I wouldn't take my kids to CityZen, but in any of Jose Andres's restaurants you will find a ton of kids, even though they are restaurants frequented on date nights as well.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ninabasu
                      lentnej RE: ninabasu Feb 4, 2013 03:09 PM

                      Wow, thanks for the knowledge. As far as child friendly goes, my boys won't sit pleasantly for over 90 minutes. My older son likes experimenting but he can't do spicey hot. My younger son just doesn't like herbs but he will eat fish, chicken and all kinds of meat- as long as it's close to unadorned.

                    2. tcamp RE: lentnej Feb 5, 2013 11:25 AM

                      In the cheap eats lunch department, another food court option that is close to museums is the one in the Reagan building (http://www.itcdc.com). You need to go through security for that one too but if you are at American History or Natural History around lunch, it is an option.

                      For a cheap dinner, take the metro into Arlington and walk down the hill from Courthouse to Pho 75. My kids can slurp noodles all day long. Continue walking downhill afterwards, visit Iwo Jima and metro back via Rosslyn station.

                      If you run out of things to do in DC, visit Alexandria. Walk down to the waterfront, rent bikes and ride along the Potomac.

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