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May 28, 2013 09:33 AM

First Trip to DC

Hi All,

This is our first trip to DC and wanted to know what are the must try restaurants in DC. We have no restrictions on type of food or locations, just wanted to know what the overall best places are. Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Either you are missing a "no" in your first sentence, or you enjoy playing 20 Questions.

    My top five are in my profile. Search this board for specific recs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve

      Thanks for catching that. I updated my post.

    2. It depends on a lot of things. How much can you spend, how long are you here, what kind of food do you like, where are you staying and how far are you willing to travel, etc...

      Here is a link to the Washingtonian Magazine list of top 100 DC restaurants:

      1. The link to the Washingtonian Magazine list of top restaurants is excellent. While scrolling through I noted that 2 Amy's is near National Cathedral (2 blocks away) and has great pizzas. Up near the Capitol is Hank's Oyster Bar. I love their fried oyster po'boys. Unless you know your way around the 'burbs you probably ought to stick with restaurants inside the District. The list doesn't include Bistro du Coin which is in the Dupont Circle area but it's one of my favorites for good old French bistro food (mussels, frites, etc). Not far from the Dupont Metro station.

        7 Replies
        1. re: anova

          The strength of the DC dining scene is in its high end restaurants and ethnic restaurants. One thing about this town, whatever type of food you are looking for, you can find it. If you are adventurous, make sure to try Ethiopian food. My current favorite is Ethiopic, but there are several very good ones, just look on the boards here for them.

          2 Amy's is good, but it is pizza, so take it for what it is. Hanks has good oysters, but so do a lot of places in this country. It depends on where you live as to what I'd suggest. Look for something you can't find at home if you can.

          Other recommends depend on your price range, what kinds of foods you love/hate, and how long you will be here.

          1. re: dinwiddie

            Thanks! I live in Dallas and frequent NOLA often, so get plenty of oysters. I def want to check out an Ethiopian place as we don't have any good ones in town.

            1. re: divspatel

              Hi divspatel -- since you live in Dallas, you'll understand how a city can be spread out. It might help if you add some information. Where are you staying and how far are you willing to travel, what types of foods you like or would like to try, what your price ranges are.

              I know there are lots of DC chowhounds that will give you lots of suggestions, but your very general question is asked so very often, you might want to search and read the other threads and use it to narrow down your choices to get more helpful answers.

          2. re: anova

            See, I'm thinking just the opposite. I would stay out of DC altogether and concentrate on the suburbs--Seven Corners, Falls Church, Rockville, Annandale, upper Georgia Avenue. That's where the "must try" restaurants are located. Bring along Mr. Garmin and you'll do just fine.

            1. re: flavrmeistr

              Oh, I don't know. Again, if I had the money and was visiting, I can think of many places I would go in DC before hitting the suburbs, and I don't mean that as a knock against the suburbs. I spent nearly a decade in Silver Spring and despite living in Logan Circle, I sorely miss the easy access to the great cheap ethnic options in Wheaton and Rockville.

              1. re: The Big Crunch

                That's what I'm talking about. It's mostly out in the 'burbs.

            2. re: anova

              "Unless you know your way around the 'burbs you probably ought to stick with restaurants inside the District."

              This is no-nothing advice. Even if you are at Metro Center, it would be just as easy to go to Clarendon as many parts of DC. Georgetown, H St, NE, Chevy Chase Circle, Columbia Heights? All harder to get to. Seriously, Just hop on the metro.

              Arlington is the Left Bank of DC. That's like saying you shouldn't cross the Seine in Paris. Apparently nobody should visit the Iwo Jima (Marine Corps Memorial), Arlington Cemetery, The Pentagon, or the Air Force Memorial either.

            3. There are lots of great restaurants in the District and that Washingtonian list has a ton of great options. Like everyone else has said, it depends what you're looking for. For ethnic food or unique-to-D.C. eats you may have to venture of the beaten path, but it's worth it if that's what you're looking for. I love Pho 75 in Arlington. Wander around the Mt. Pleasant area near Columbia Heights for Latin American. There's great options for Ethopian, as well, as mentioned.

              I usually take friends visiting DC on a mini food tour that includes Ben's Chili Bowl on U street, Baked and Wired in Georgetown, and Eastern Market. Ben's a really cool landmark plus I think they probably the serve up the most "local" food -- the halfsmoke with chili is great. Baked and Wired is a fun take on the cupcake craze that's swept through D.C. and has more interesting (and tastier) desserts than Georgetown Cupcake IMO (plus shorter lines) and really good coffee. Eastern Market is a great place to wander around on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Checkout the outdoor market vendors and in the back there are usually food trucks/vendors serving lunch or snacks.