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Help with DC food itinerary

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I'll be in DC (Penn Quarter) with my husband next month, and my parents will be visiting for 3 nights (they're staying downtown). During my parents' visit, we want to hit up one nice/historic restaurant for my history buff father, a power suit steak place, and something more exotic, but I need help with the choices. I'm open to more suggestions. This is what I've narrowed it down to based on other threads:

Historic/traditional: 1789, Monocle, Old Ebbitt Grill
Politico steak house: Charlie Palmer, J&G, Capital Grill, Prime Rib, BLT steak
Non-American cuisine: Rasika, Ethiopic, Etete, Zaytinya

Others that we may try to squeeze in: Central, Marcel's, Corduroy, CityZen, Plume

Lunch ideas: 2Amys, Good Stuff Eatery

For reference, we're from New Orleans and Napa. We love fine dining, but I'm not looking for anything too fussy while my parents are there (i.e. deconstructed white wine). Thanks in advance!

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  1. I love eating oysters and crab cakes and most anything else at Old Ebbitt Grill, love the atmosphere, the drinks, the wood. I miss that restaurant most since leaving for Austin, Texas eight years ago.

    1. Drop Charlie Palmer from that list; it doesn't stand up at all. If you want walnut and brass in your steakhouse, go to Capital Grill or Prime Rib. If you want sleek and new with more options than just steak, go to J&G or BLT.

      I would do 1789 from your historic list. I think Corduroy is a must-eat and if you're in the area, I recently really enjoyed Cashion's Eat Place in Adam's Morgan.

      1. not a bad list, and good advice. I'd go so far as to edit out a few more on the steakhouse list (CG and PR) Monocle has never appealed, but I have no real comment. OEG gets dings, but it is a great room (and oysters).

        do the squeeze-ins on your list! swap the 'musts' into lunches and hit the others and "non-American" ones for dinners. they're a lot more interesting (I know, you have to pick something the folks will like) 701? RIS? inside at Zaytinya is a bit noisy if hearing is an issue, but the terrace is nice.

        1. Don't go to Capital Grille. It is all atmosphere (of the over-done type). The food is lousy.

          Also in your "which one doesn't belong in this category" list is Zaytinya. I like it fine but it doesn't begin to compare to Rasika.

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          1. re: Just Visiting

            For your non American cuisine I'd go Ethiopian since D.C. has some great options. I would also like recommend Jaleo, Boqueria or Estadio for tapas.

            BLT and Bourbon offers you better apps and sides but Capital Grille's Porcini Rubbed Delmonico is an amazing steak.

          2. Charlie Palmer has great food, and has no corkage fee which reduces the cost substantially. There are no leaves on the trees so the view of the capitol is beautiful. IT is true that if what you want to is the chance to sit next to famous politicians The Palm or Capital Grille are better places.