Kid-friendly but not cheesy in DC/Crystal City area
Boston CHs coming to the area tomorrow with two 9-year-olds. We're staying at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City. I don't know the area at all, and while we're planning on the zoo and museums, we'd like our dining experiences to be less touristy. One of the kids is adventurous, the other isn't, so we'll need to avoid deep ethnic, but any suggestions about fun places with good grub would be wildly appreciated!
If you are going to the zoo, Firefly or Dino are great kid's places. Forefly lets kids make their own cookies and serves them for dessert. Dino has everything from pasta with butter & all natural hot dog to wild boar pasta for kids. And they pay their age.
- Athena Pallas for good Greek. White tablecloth place: http://www.athenapallas.com/
- Kabob Palace - there are two. One is sit down. I've only been to the other one next to 7-11 with the yellow awning (years ago the lore was that the sit-down wasn't as good).
- With a kid in tow do NOT go to CC Restaurant - it's a strip restaurant.
- The Thai place on Crystal drive is decent but not great (Neramitra).
- You could try Good Stuff Eatery for burgers and shakes. The guy was on the Food Channel with some show a while back. You can search for shake recommendations from "Steve" on this board.
Most tourists run themselves ragged and end up too tired to do much more than drag themselves to the hotel restaurant or order room service, much less get back on metro. I see them on the metro at the end of the day, looking like they are ready to fall off their feet. So for dinner, fast is better, because then you can get back to your room and collapse that much sooner.
I don't know what "not adventurous kid" means these days, when they are exposed to so many cuisines. In my day, it meant "kid eats nothing but hot dogs, hamburgers, spaghetti and meatballs, and mac-and-cheese." If your kids are like the kids I know, they can probably deal with basic Mediterranean so you might want to consider Black Lime Cafe. They can choose their own toppings. There is also a Nando's (spicy chicken but there are non-spicy options).
Whatever you do, avoid Cafe Italia. It is beyond awful.
Since you're from Boston, you probably have no interest in Legal Seafoods, but there's one in Crystal City, the service is competent, the food is fresh, and they have a kids menu.
Good Stuff Eatery- burgers are good and fast.
Kabob Palace if you want something ethnic - the chicken kabobs are pretty safe too.
Many thanks to all of you for your responses — we had an amazing time and took many of your suggestions. I am now totally in love with the shakes at Good Stuff Eatery! What a wonderful, friendly city you all live in. Thank you again!!