Dinner recs, lunch recs, beer recs and market recs, 4-days, Advice please!
Hi DC chowhounds! I'm coming from Boston for a 4-day visit with my husband next week. It's a mini-vacation for me while he will be working.
We'll be grabbing late dinners and I've made reservations at Zaytina, Table, Birch and Barley, and Fiola. The only one I'm not too sure of is Fiola, any thoughts? Any suggestions to consider instead of these? I'm big on locally sourced foodstuff but not too keen on the meat side of things and the husband appreciates pretty much anything beef or pork (especially the belly).
I'm also looking for places that serve cask conditioned beer and a good selection of craft beers to check out after dinner. RFD and Meridian Pint are on our list, any others we should consider?
Since I'll be on my own during the days it'll be lunch for one. I'm considering Daikaya, Bibiana, Cava Mezze and Union Market, thoughts? Would love to hear suggestions for places walking distance from the mall, but I don't mind taking the metro if there are any not to be missed lunch spots.
And, I love to visit any sort of food market, so as mentioned above, Union Market is on the list. Do I need to be nervous about going there on my own? Yelpers posted that it's a sketchy part of town, and they also indicated it's uber trendy and targeted towards hipsters. If the scariest thing is that I might run into some skinny-pant wearing hipsters, I think I can handle it.
Are there any cool/interesting specialty food stores or other markets worth visiting? Would greatly appreciate any suggestions for places that have locally made items (like cheese, ice cream or chocolate).
A lot of requests, I know, but I'm looking forward your responses! Thanks!!
If you go to Fiola, order risotto. If there are two on the menu, get both.
Order simple at Birch and Barley. Think bar/comfort food.
Cava has expanded way beyond their means. It is now a fairly big chain with some mediocre food, like a poor man's Zaytinya.
For ice cream I love Dolcezza, there are a few locations so you're bound to be near one on your trip. They have seasonal flavours (at the moment clementine, champagne mango, blood orange etc) which change every week.
I felt perfectly safe at Union Market (I'd been a bit freaked by the warnings too) I wouldn't want to be walking around the nearby warehouses late at night but in the daytime it was absolutely fine.
Eastern Market is worth thinking about too, the building is beautiful and it's near a nice strip of restaurants and cafes.
Don't miss the Eastern Market. You can also take the Water Taxi from Georgetown to Old Town Alexandria. Virtue Feed & Grain is right by the marina.
Thanks for the feedback! Will add Eastern Market as a place to check out. And will def find some dolcezza.
For beer skip RFD as its basically a sports bar. Meridian Pint and Church Key are the two best beer bars in DC.
Unless you're concerned about the price, I can't even guess why you have any hesitation about Fiola. Great food and outstanding cocktails/wine list. (Try the Orange Negroni)
Ditto to the caution against Cava. For example, their taramaslata is a product for people who don't like taramasalata. There is so little caviar in the recipe that the result is a generic dip.
For locally-made cheese head straight to Cowgirl Creamery on F Street in Penn Quarter (where so many of your restaurants are located). This store originated in SF but the principals are locals from DC so their only non-SF area (stretched to include Pt. Reyes) is here.
I'm a great fan of Jaleo (tapas) and Oyamel (Mexican small plates), two places in the Jose Andres empire. I was never a fan of the TV persona of Mike Isabella on or since Top Chef but I tried Graffiato and the food won me over. (Italian small plates. The stellar Brussels sprouts aren't on the menu now, but the famous chicken thighs with pepproni sauce is.)