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Mar 7, 2013 09:37 PM

New Yorker headed to Foggy Bottom

Looking for recommendations on the moderate-to-inexpensive side for good eats in the area or a distance students might travel. Need one non-Italian place with options for Catholics observing Lent. Happy hours always encouraged as well as brunch places near St. Mark's, though I always have standing reservations at Acadiana when I'm in town for brunch.

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  1. Is there another St. Mark's besides the Episcopal Church on the Hill?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Jay F

      Sorry, I meant St. Matthew's Cathedral.

      1. re: JungMann

        Oh, good. That opens up a whole lot more options. Does "options for Catholics observing Lent" mean anything more stringent than no meat on Friday?

        1. re: Jay F

          No meat on Friday. Personally I am a fan of fish fries, but I don't think my companion is not so adventurous a diner as to travel NE for whiting. Coming from NYC I'd also prefer to avoid Italian since spaghetti dinner tends to be a popular Friday option there.

          1. re: JungMann

            Now that there's a Whole Foods at 22nd and I Streets, I would recommend their hot food and salad bars.

            Founding Farmers is good, but not necessarily cheap.

            I agree that District Commons would be good, too, esp. if you can eat after 10 pm. See their family meal.

            I'm sorry you don't like Italian, as two of my recommendations were pizza places (of course, it's a gamble recommending pizza to a New Yorker). The names are Luigi's (don't eat the real food--just the pizza) and Pizza Paradiso (Dupont Circle 22 & P NW).


            1. re: Jay F

              I didn't see a family meal, but the menu at District Commons is exactly the kind of restaurant I love. Thanks.

              If I'm forced to do pizza, I'll bring up your recommendations. We are Chicagoans and New Yorkers so they better be good!

              1. re: JungMann

                If you scroll down a little in the box on the left in the home page, you'll read: "Every night at 10 pm we ring the Dinner Bell for that evening's Family Meal - each night a different offering. Fried Chicken, Meatloaf - even Pupusas - all for $12 per person."

                Also, a friend recommends Circle Bistro, which has a happy hour. I've not been there.

                1. re: JungMann

                  You wont be amused by Luigi's. At Paradiso, get the Atomica, which is spicy, otherwise the pizza lacks flavor.

      2. You should check there menu to make sure there are Lent-appropriate options but near Foggy Bottom there are a couple of good restaurants you might enjoy including Ris and District Commons. Both also have very good brunch menus.

        1. If you like cajun/creole, Bayou is on the edge of Foggy Bottom/Georgetown. Nice chill neighborhood vibe, good strong cocktails, decent happy hour specials, and they use Leidenheimer bread for their poboys.

          1. Kaz Sushi Bistro is close and has a new happy hour, I haven't been yet, but would like to try it out. Firefly isn't too far and is normally very good.

            1. Where did you end up going, JM? Any good eats?

              7 Replies
              1. re: ChristinaMason

                We could not get reservations at any of the places I wanted to visit, which was especially disappointing after walking from the Mall to Kafe Leopold in the hopes of at least being able to sit a spell with a cup of coffee (no dice!). I did at least get my first taste of DC Brau, so there's one mission accomplished!

                We ended up visiting the following:
                Pesce - a serviceable seafood restaurant in Dupont. Prices were fair for the quality of the food, but though the menu was executed perfectly, it was too predictable. Not the type of place I'd write home about.
                Cafe Berlin - my companion wanted to visit Biergarten Haus, but opted for a closer spot instead. This, however, is no Biergarten. The pink dining room and 3-item beer list made clear this was going to be more of a continental spot and the appropriately polite service eased us into a quieter night than expected. Our starter of Flammkuchen was tasty, though the crust was too thick. The sausage platter was fine, though, much like the beer list, limited. Technically there was nothing wrong with the default brat and weisswurst, though some options would be nice. Dessert was a surprise hit. I really enjoyed my poppyseed cake and my companion his walnut pie.
                Commissary - we settled for this Logan Circle brunch spot after failing to get seats at any of the other restaurants on our list. Service was upbeat and friendly, basil bloody marys were nicely balanced (though the regular bloody marys tended towards blandness) and the options were varied enough that everyone found something they wanted. I'd say this is a solid neighborhood option for better than average fare at budget prices.

                Bayou, District Commons and Founding Farmers are on the list for my next visit which will definitely be planned further in advance.

                1. re: JungMann

                  < Commissary ... this Logan Circle brunch spot ... is a solid neighborhood option for better than average fare at budget prices. >

                  If you had any idea what a miracle it is that there are restaurants with food you want to eat AT ALL in Logan Circle...

                  1. re: JungMann

                    Ugh, you did pretty badly. You will not do better with Founding Farmers.

                    Without reservations, you can always hit Locolat in Adams Morgan for savory Belgian waffles - the escargot over pesto waffles or beef stew over garlic waffles, as well as crab waffles, grilled asparagus, or chicken and mushrooms are all excellent. A small menu of other items as well. Some otherwise difficult-to-find Belgian ales too, rotating list.

                    1. re: Steve

                      The folks I was visiting really prioritize convenience so I couldn't be too picky. Any comment on District Commons?

                      1. re: JungMann

                        I like District Commons, but I don't think I'd go out of my way for it if it weren't between my office & the Metro. Service has always been great and the only miss we've had on the food menu is the veggie potpie-just meh. But overall, it's solid.

                        1. re: JungMann

                          I live around the block from District Commons. I've never had a bad experience there, and like VaPaula said, it's reliably good but not particularly "wowing," if you know what I mean. I definitely prefer it to Founding Farmers. The service and food are much more consistant at District Commons. I will never understand the hype surrounding FF.

                          1. re: thelittlemiller

                            If you're into brunch or cocktails, Founding Farmers is fine, but everything else I've tried on the menu has been neither underwhelming or overwhelming. About the best I could say is that I was whelmed.