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Mar 14, 2013 05:47 PM

Dismal eating options around the Mall?

Been to DC a handful of times, last time we were lucky enough to find Mitsitam which was delicious but over priced & crowded.
We will be spending the day at the Mall primarily going to the Art museum and then the Tidal basin (not sure what order yet) and then maybe the Capital. Are there any reasonably priced good restaurants that may have popped up since our last visits? do not really want cafeteria or fast food which seems to be the only option....
Thanks :-)

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  1. The National Gallery of Art has some relatively good food options. For example, they currently have a buffet menu created by Cathal Armstrong (of Restaurant Eve).

    If you are by the Tidal Basin you might be able to get to Mandarin Oriental, which has City Zen and Sou'wester (the distance isn't far, but it may not be pedestrian-friendly).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Doh

      Thanks for the quick reply. These seem pricey!!! we were hoping for something good, not so upscale.

    2. You could try the Garden Cafe in the West Building of the National Gallery of Art - they rotate the food across different local chefs and apparently now it's Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve fame:

      Nearby, next to the Archive metro stop, is Paul for deliciously simple French baguette sandwiches and pastries.

      1. Up 7th street from NGA:

        Hill Country BBQ - go only for the moist brisket, exceptional. Side dishes are good.

        Jaleo for Spanish tapas - for good value, focus on the verduras - grilled asparagus, spinach with raisins, beet salad with citrus, patatas bravas, baby wrinkled potatoes, roasted red pepper and eggplant, garlic mushrooms.

        Cap Hill:
        Honestly for the best stuff don't avoid fast food. Good Stuff Eatery has an exceptional toasted marshmallow milkshake, the sunny side burger, and village fries (to be shared). Sonoma is a good alternative for light Italian fare.

        1. For breakfast on Capitol Hill, I like Pete's Diner. It's on 2nd Street, SE about 3 blocks from the Capitol. Very decent breakfast and cheap, which makes Pete's a rarity and an anachronism in today's DC. If you go early between 6-7 a.m., you might spot some of the heavy hitters from both parties (breakfast is the only thing they seem to agree on) mixed in with us regular working folks. It's cash only.

          7 Replies
          1. re: flavrmeistr

            Second Pete's Diner.

            When I head to the Tidal Basin, I like to make a detour to Maine Avenue Fish Market. For al fresco dining, you can't beat a big plate of fried fish or a nice slice of pie. When I feel like oysters, I usually get a dozen on the half shell from Jessie Taylor. Shucked right in front of you and you can't beat the price.


            1. re: monkeyrotica

              I'd go to the Fish Market too. It is not far from the Tidal basin and you can get there on foot although there will be lots of crazy traffic so be careful.

              1. re: tcamp

                When I drive to the Tidal Basin, I'll often park near the fish market and walk to the basin from there.

                1. re: monkeyrotica

                  Thanks for the awesome suggestion! did not even know about the fish market!!!

                  2 more questions if i may ---

                  Can we park at the fish market, eat and then leave the car there and walk to the Tidal Basin?

                  What is the best place for Fish and Chips there? Also i saw a delicious pic of mac n cheese! where do i get that?

                  1. re: penny07

                    The parking at Maine Avenue fish market is limited, but there are 2-hour parking meters along Maine Avenue as well as a paid lot in front of Phillips Restaurant. Sunday parking is free. There's a covered area overlooking the river in front of Jessie Taylor seafood. No seating, just standing room only, but there's a bar where you can stand and eat your food and get out of the sun/drizzle.

                    The Mac and cheese is from Jimmy's Grill. There's no Irish pub style fish and chips; locals go for the fried whiting or croaker and a side of frenchfries. Skip the tartar sauce, go for the hot sauce.

                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                      I see the lot next to Phillips on street view!
                      Is that exclusively for the restaurant? Is it a large lot? Do you happen to know the cost?

                      1. re: penny07

                        Pretty sure there's a metered section and one reserved for Philips customers. No idea what the cost is. Its usually something like $10 an hour. Also lots of meters running along Maine towards the Waterfront Metro stop.

          2. Up near the Capitol you might like Le Bon Cafe or Good Stuff Eatery (both on the House side of the Capitol). You can also head over to Eastern Market and check out the market itself (affordable sandwiches, half smokes, crab cakes etc) or some of the restaurants in the area including Matchbox and Zest.

            Another option (closer to the White House) is The Hamilton.

            If you are along the Mall, there are a lot of tasty options near Gallery Place/Chinatown (not far off of the Mall). You can try Jaleo, Teaism, Matchbox (again), and Hill Country BBQ.