Fun, upscale family dining in DC
I'll be in DC with the family in late Oct. Two adults and 2 girls, 6 and 9. Good eaters and great in restaurants. We're staying in the Georgetown area (I went to college there), and are looking for restaurant recs for our time in DC. We know we want to go to Jaleo one night, but need ideas for the other nights. What is fun in the G'town area? Is Cafe Milano OK for kids on the earlier side? Neyla? Clyde's? Also would love recs for some great ethnic food either in Adams Morgan or Alexandria/Arlington. Specifically love Arabic and Moroccan - if there's a belly dancer even better. Also love Greek food, Latin American, Thai/Chinese etc. We're really looking for atmosphere as well as good food, and open to all price ranges.
Thanks for your recs!
I wouldn't go to Cafe Milano anytime with anyone. It's a see-and-be-seen place and the only fun you would have is hoping to see someone famous, if that is what you consider fun. And overpriced. If you want Italian in Georgetown, try Filomena. Authentic, great food, good value.
Clyde's is not upscale.
Never been to Neyla.
I'd get in a cab and go to Rasika West.
I like the curries at Mai Thai and it's appropriate for kids. Rasika West End is the easily the best Indian I've ever had (the palak chaat is a must) but it's a bit more on the upscale side. I wouldn't say not to take your kids but it's something to keep in mind.
in the West End/K Street (you remember that it's a nice walk), Greek would include Kellari, super fresh fish. Latin American - there's Peruvian at el Chalan, a simple looking and often overlooked place.
in A-M there's a little falafel joint whose name I ALWAYS forget.
sorry G-town just isn't very interesting these days. although Leopold's Kafe und Konditorei might be up your alley if you find yourself down theirs (sorry - couldn't resist)
and even though you didn't mention Indian food I third the Rasika recommendation but without the concern "is it kid friendly?" esp if as you say, yours are no strangers to new surroundings/foods.
once again I'll trot out the idea of Ethiopian but not Zed's (are they even still open?) nor Meskerem. others will chime in with their favorite places, most up near U and 14th.
when were you last in DC? as things have changed. a lot.
re: hill food
Note: I wouldn't call most of these places upscale but they're good!
The falafel place Hillfood described is Amsterdam Falafelshop. I would do Masala Art in Tenleytown over Rasika with kids. That's probably the most upscale place I have in this whole post. Well, that and Zaytinya (I prefer it to Jaleo!). For Greek, I like Zorba's cafe in Dupont. Fancier (and I haven't been there) would be Mourayo, which gets good reviews.
In Georgetown, kids would probably like dolcezza (fancy gelato). I think Baked & Wired has better cupcakes than Georgetown Cupcake. Dean & Deluca would be an easy if pricey place to pick up snacks or a meal in Georgetown (the circulator bus also runs up Wisconsin if you want to go to Safeway or Whole Foods).
Ethiopian-wise, my preference is Dukem near U St. for sit-down (they frequently have music and dancing), Zenebech Injera near Shaw for takeout, and Sidamo on H St. NE for their coffee ceremony. Not far from Dukem is a place called U & Pizza where you can create your own pizza that's run through a conveyor-belt oven (there's another one on H st. NE). I think most kids would like that.
In Arlington, I would suggest El Pollo Rico near Ballston for Peruvian chicken; there is also a place called Taste of Tunisia and a Russian/Uzbek place called Rus-Uz. I can't vouch for either of the latter two but they are cuisines you won't find most other places.
In Alexandria, Dairy Godmother in Del Ray is really fun. If you want to make your kids have some real food before frozen custard, Cheesetique is delicious. This is definitely not a plan for the lactose intolerant though.