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reasonably priced restaurants in DC

Two med school students will be in DC for a conference and need to know of any good, but reasonably priced restaurants in DC or happy hours with good prices on food. A place that has music or other entertainment in the evening would be a bonus. Thanks

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  1. Can you give us some hints? What part of DC? Are you willing to take Metro? Will you have a car? What kind of food do you prefer? Hate?

    Most importantly - how do you define reasonable? How much per person, including tax/tip? Would that be with or without booze?

    8 Replies
    1. re: Just Visiting

      We have two days on our own, so intend to do the monuments, etc., want to see the White House, maybe the Spy Museum, so downtown and nearby there would be best. No car.

      Any kind of food. $20 with tip for lunch (each), 30-35 each for dinner. Thanks

      1. re: luci2123

        i was disappointed in the spy museum
        it was decent, but it was pretty basic and dumbed down
        not "kiddy", but definitely not what i was expecting

        there may be better choices if you are going to be there only 2 days
        the air and space museum annex near dulles (pretty far trek from DC) was one of the coolest places i've ever been in my life

        1. re: macsak

          There are lots of wonderful FREE museums. The Spy Museum is interesting---but you have to pay to get in FYI.

          1. re: Elyssa

            yeah, i think that was one of the problems for me
            the fact you had to pay
            that sets the expectations higher

          2. re: macsak

            The Spy Museum is a dumbed down commerical establishment catering to tourists. For a free 'spy' museum, the National Cryptologic Museum outside NSA's main gate is very interesting. But they have strange hours, so check ahead.

            1. re: dpan

              mahalo for that tip
              i'll check it out next visit

              1. re: macsak

                and if you can figure out a friend or neighbor who works at CIA - the historian there has put together a collection displayed in and around the cafeteria that I hear blows Spy out of the water (an old job used to do contract office re-fit there, but without formal 'clearance' of any level I was never able to wrangle an invite)

              2. re: dpan

                That is definitely not a place to be poking around. Just sayin'...

        2. It would be helpful to have a little more info----what area of town will you be in? Are you willing to travel? Any favorite types of food? Also---what are you considering reasonable (trust me---people have different interpretations of that word on these boards).

          1. In/around downtown DC (e.g. Capitol, museums and monument area), I would suggest these places, which you can get to either by foot, or a short Metro ride.

            - Ethiopic or Etete or (what else?) Ethiopian

            - Pizza Paradiso or 2Amy's for pizza, and Menomale if you're willing to travel a bit to Brookland (about 3-4 miles NW of the Capitol area); it's worth the trek as it's probably the best pizza in DC currently.

            - Toki for ramen

            - Nando for Peruvian chicken

            - Best spots for Happy Hour in Dupont Circle is either Urbana or Firefly.

            You could also hit up places like Good Stuff Eatery or Shake Shack I suppose, but they wouldn't top my lists for affordable interesting eats in/around downtown DC.

            Hope that helps.

            11 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              I agree....definitely try Ethiopian while you are here. It is affordable, delicious and fun. I would recommend both Etete and Ethiopic. Etete is more metro accessible though and slightly more affordable (although neither should blow your budget). I like to order veggie platter and then add in a meat or fish dish.

              Around Gallery Place/Chinatown you should check out Daikaya. I haven't tried their ramen but hear good things. But upstairs is their Izakaya and I had a great, really affordable meal there with a friend a few months ago. Fun environment and tasty Japanese cuisine.

              Up on the Hill a few good places for lunch are Le Bon Cafe for sandwiches and salads or Good Stuff Eatery for burgers and fries.

              Depending on what you order you might be able to get away with $35/person at some of the small plates restaurants like Jaleo, Estadio or Cork. Ris and Proof also have great lunch specials at their bars that you should check out.

              Finally if you are willing to dine on off hours you can take advantage of the pre-theater menus many higher restaurants have like 701, Central, Tosca and Cedar.

              My favorite happy hour deal in town is at Osteria Elisir....and no one seems to know about it yet. Great food, generous portions, good prices!

              1. re: Elyssa

                Have you eaten at Osteria Elisir at non-HH times?

                I'm curious how their regular menu shakes out, esp. their TMs.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I ate there when it was the old Elisir....more higher end menu. I haven't been back during non-Happy Hour. But the happy hour food we got is also on the regular menu. There is some bolognase pasta that is served in a Chinese take out container that is so so good.

                  I would certainly go back for a regular meal though since I really enjoyed the happy hour.

              2. re: ipsedixit

                Not fair. You took my answer. I would enthusiastically second Ethiopic and it is relatively metro-accessible in that it is not a long walk from Union Station. Just be sure you get steered to H St. That area is confusing. Closed on Monday. Haven't been to Etete in a long time. I also really like Ghana Cafe but warning great food and otherwise kind of strange. But in super-hip Logan Circle area.

                Love Nando's. Love, love, love Nando's. If you don't like spicy, cross it off your list.

                I wouldn't bother with Pizza Paradiso or Two Amy's just because of the lines.

                For lunch, try the Mitsitam cafeteria at the National Museum of the American Indian (great museum). The food is good and while expensive for cafeteria food, it is still a good value. Go early - it gets crowded in a hurry and there isn't a ton of seating

                1. re: Just Visiting

                  :-)

                  (Hey and I hope you know I was kidding over on that other thread).

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      That's why the one-word answers! I thought your reply was hilarious and had to give you the satisfaction of recognizing what you were doing.

                    2. re: Just Visiting

                      At Nandos you can get non-spicy sauce so still keep it on the list.

                    3. re: ipsedixit

                      When did Nando start serving Peruvian?

                      1. re: repete

                        repete - I'd bet ipse meant Peri-Peri (African/Portugese) and had a keyboard hiccup.

                        1. re: hill food

                          Yeah, sorry about repete. iPhone autocorrect strikes again.

                    4. A few places near the WH that you might find interesting are Siroc (Italian), Mio (Peruvian/Latin American), and DGS (modern Jewish deli). DGS is supposed to have a good happy hour, too.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Bob W

                        Thanks to all who responded. They are off to DC today and sure to enjoy some of your recommendations.