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Lunch near Renaissance Downtown

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I'm coming into DC for a very quick trip, and will need to get one lunch on my own near the Renaissance Downtown. I've been to Teaism before, but other than that I'm open to suggestions. No strict price range, but I am just looking for a standard lunch - nothing super fancy.

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  1. Zaytinya. Make sure you try the crispy eggplant (bantijan bil laban).

    11 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      +1 for Zaytinya.

      For something a bit more casual, District of Pi or Daikaya are good options.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Daikaya would be my recommendation. Graffiato also has a good lunch deal at their bar: 3 courses for $20. http://graffiatodc.com/menus/20-lunch... I highly recommend the pepperoni sauce being once of your courses.

        1. re: Elyssa

          Hey Elyssa!

          Had a really good lunch with my brother Orson W. at Graffiato yesterday. We each got the express lunch, then ordered a third one in honor of our other brother Lurker W. So nine plates in all, for $30 each. Among the best were the grilled octopus (really outstanding), the hand-cut spaghetti, and the broccolini. We did like the pepperoni sauce with puffy flatbread. The panna cotta was quite good too. These plates are most definitely big enough to share, and I don't mean each person gets a morsel of food, either.

          1. re: Bob W

            It's an excellent deal. I've done it before. I love that broccolini as well!

            Graffiato is good for a variety of tastes---I've taken people who keep kosher, my pork loving father, vegetarians, and non-adventurous eaters. And then of course me, who will try pretty much anything Mike Isabella puts in front of me!

            1. re: Elyssa

              Also, for people who really are in a hurry, the food comes flying out of the kitchen!

              I have to expound on the grilled octopus a bit. It's one long tentacle, charred like a really good hot dog gets on the grill (so the outer charred skin can be peeled off, you know what I mean). It was accompanied by a tomato mostarda that really packed a punch. That reminded me of some of the relishes we used to get from an old-time candymaker in East Bridgewater, Mass named Leslie Skinner (the store is still there, Skinner's Sugar House, but I don't think they sell the relishes any more). Just a fabulous dish.

        2. re: ipsedixit

          Thank you - Daikaya seems a bit more my speed. I've just spent the past 5 years in the Middle East, and so I'm not quite as excited about seeking out Turkish/Middle Eastern food in general.

          1. re: cresyd

            Also if you spent the past 5 years in the Middle East you will be very disappointed with Zaytinya (personally it's not my favorite but everyone else seems to love it).

            1. re: Elyssa

              To be fair, that indictment could be levied at many ethnic restaurants.

              "I was disappointed with [insert ethnic restaurant] after having spent several years in [insert corresponding ethnic region]."

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I agree. But personally I think Zaytinya is a disappointment whether or not you've spent any time in the Middle East. It's not bad but it's certainly not nearly as exciting as everyone seems to think it is.

                1. re: Elyssa

                  Understood. I sort of feel that way about Daikaya.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  I would never expect to find a similar quality - but I also think that "nostalgia eating" will often make up for a lack of quality/authenticity/etc. While in the Middle East - the Mexican options did not really exist. However, every now and then having something "Mexican like" (either homemade or restaurant) was amazingly satisfying. Right now - I am in no need of finding (or making) stuffed grape leaves. But, in 6 months or so, I could see having a nostalgia craving for mezze.

        3. Bibiana lunch at the bar and get the Cavatelli Grano Arso. Loved it, great value.

          http://www.bibianadc.com/dinner-menu/...