Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Feb 9, 2014 04:20 PM

Need recommendations for restaurants in DC, please

We're taking our sons (ages 7 & 10) to DC next weekend. Looking for restaurant recommendations as we don't know the area. Nothing too fancy, but not junk either. We generally prefer taverns with good food, or italian/american menus. $100 for a decent dinner kind of place. No chains please. We're staying at Kimpton-Palomar on 21st & P St. NW. But we'll have a car, so we can travel if its worth it. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Pizza Paradiso is close to the Palomar, and of course you have Urbana inside the hotel which offers pretty decent grub.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      There are better pizza on DC....I never been to Menomale but some dude who posts on Chowhound a lot loves it.

      I would suggest Hill Country BBQ unless you're from Texas.

      1. re: Worldwide Diner

        Menomale is not exactly convenient to/from the Palomar.

        I was trying to limit it to places in/around the OP's hotel.

        I, too, would prefer M over PP but when traveling, esp. with younger children, sometimes compromises have to be made.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          DGS deli is good and nearby, unless you're from NYC.

        2. re: Worldwide Diner

          The Atomica at PP is a great pizza.

        3. re: ipsedixit

          Does Pizza Paradiso still have lines that stretch down the sidewalk? It may be too cold to wait outside and who wants to wait in line after a long day of sight-seeing?

        4. DC doesn't do casual Italian well. you'll notice La Tomate on Conn. and while it looks pleasant (and it is a nice space), I can't recommend it.

          immediately around there I'd sooner go Asian (Raku, Regent Thai, Sakana) or French (Bistro du Coin) or Greek (the very casual Zorba's, the more upscale Mouraya) or seafood (Hank's) there's a good ice cream counter on Conn above the circle and below street level between 'Q' and 'R' I think.

          and if it's all going down the toilet and you're desperate there's a branch of Johnny Rocket's.

          11 Replies
          1. re: hill food

            Speaking of ice cream, Dolcezza Gelato (good coffee, pastries, and hot chocolate, too) is wonderful and convenient to that hotel.

            1. re: hill food

              I don't regard Bistro de Coin as kid-friendly.

              1. re: Just Visiting

                Why do you say that?

                Bistro du Coin has a big menu with some real bargains in a casual, somewhat boisterous setting. I always enjoyed taking my kids there.

                1. re: Steve

                  To me, it is a big, crowded noisy bar. Not "somewhat" boisterous. VERY boisterous. If kids are adventurous eaters, maybe. To be honest, I'm not thrilled about it for adults, either. I just don't find the atmosphere to be conducive to a meal. Chacun a son gout...n'est pas? I guess the best thing to do with these out-of-towner questions is to give a full description of the place so they know if it would be something suitable. Like a good restaurant review - just saying "I love it" or "it sucks" doesn't tell you much. It could suck for reasons that are entirely personal and you could be the odd-man-out who dislikes a place that everyone else loves (like Firefly).

                  1. re: Just Visiting

                    My only experience at Bistrot du Coin was that it is extremely loud and crowded, plus the food and service was pretty meh. For a place that bills itself as a Belgian bistro, this was a tremendous let down (I lived in Belgium, so can make direct comparisons). I find Bistro D'Oc a much better and pleasant experience.

                    1. re: dpan

                      Bistrot du Coin is French, not Belgian. Not exactly what the OP is looking for, but it is inexpensive, good for kids, fairly near the hotel, and gets the feel right of a typical French bistro. It is not so loud and crowded when the OP is likely to eat with the family.

                      Go for the tartiflette. It is a very good order.


                      1. re: dpan

                        Agreed, I was not impressed with the food or the prices. I try to avoid going there. Last time I went for lunch I had a salade nicoise and it was a total rip-off. I have much preferred Bistro la Bonne for a similar genre, though have not been there recently.

                        1. re: hamster

                          I went to Bistro du Coin for the first time a few weeks ago. Very much enjoyed my goat cheese salad and an order of mussels. I loved the atmosphere (although perhaps too busy to enjoy with kids) and the meal. And while it was not cheap, it was not that price-y by DC standards

                          1. re: Teddybear

                            No, it's not particularly pricey for DC, but it's an example of typically high prices, with mediocre food quality. IMHO.

                            1. re: hamster

                              Not high prices. The crozets section of the menu is about $10, and it's plenty of food. Same thing for the tar tines and the raviolis. Hardly anywhere else in DC you can eat for that. It fits in very well with family dining, and the food is typical quality for a French bistro.

                    2. re: Steve

                      I don't have particular feelings about Bistrot du Coin one way or the other, but I do think I've always seen kids there the few times I've been. If it's helpful to OP, last time, maybe a month or so ago, we were seated right away, probably before six, but shortly after a line started to form that I think might have included people with reservations.

                2. You say no chains but I want to recommend one anyway - Nando's. It is a South African chain and they serve peri-peri chicken. This is grilled with a hot sauce but you can order it at different strengths. It is quite tasty. There is also an alternative (lemon-garlic) if you don't like hot. The decor is quite nice - no too are alike so it doesn't look like a chain. Food is really good and unless you happen to live someplace where there is a Nando's, odds are you've never had this kind of food. I also make this recommendation because tourists tend to underestimate how exhausted they are going to be after running around the Mall and the museums all day. So it is nice to have an option for something that is quick but also good. It is at 18th and Jefferson, just off Connecticut Ave.

                  Generally, Dupont Circle has tons of restaurants but not too many suitable for kids. I personally don't care for Firefly (all three of us had lousy meals and it is super-noisy even after the renovation, IMHO) but it is kid-friendly. There's a place called Rosemary's Thyme Bistro that ticks all your boxes but I've never seen a single good report on it. Sette Osteria is probably a good choice for you.

                  I know you said have car, will travel but honestly - after a long day running around, dealing with our traffic and seriously confusing road system...if you are not familiar with it, trust me - even a GPS isn't fool proof. We have reversible lanes, reversible roads, roads that are one-way in one direction that then turn into one-way the other way, we have a wagon-wheel super-imposed on a grid, really lousy signage...unless you've lived here and know the roads, getting into a car at dinner time is probably not a great idea.

                  However, you can get to a lot of good places on the metro's Red Line. For instance, in Cleveland Park (about three stops north of Dupont Circle) there are probably 20 or more restaurants. I would definitely recommend Ardeo (not super kid-friendly, but definitely OK), Dino (probably ideal for you though budget-buster if you order wine). Remember - holiday weekend. Reservations are going to be needed, especially on the 14th.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Just Visiting

                    Never been to the Rosemary's Thyme in DC, but have been going to the one in Clifton occasionally for the past 20 years. Generally pretty solid.

                    1. re: Bob W

                      I thought Rosemary's Thyme in DC was just fine. I only went once, last year sometime, didn't run home to write it up on Chowhound (obviously!) nor have I run back, but there was nothing wrong with it. I had a perfectly respectable dish, salmon I believe. That's not a ringing endorsement, I know, but for the convenience factor (and family-friendly menu, fairly reasonable), could work for the OP. We had a large group, 15-20, and the service was excellent.

                      We had a nice dinner at Pesce last spring with friends who are regulars. I only remember my appetizer because it was shad roe and it was gooood.

                      1. re: VaPaula

                        went to Rosemary's DC once. didn't hate it. haven't said a word since. nothing to hate, nothing to love. (granted it was a work lunch a few years ago)

                        back to the OP - Adams Morgan is a short-ish walk (can we bottle the energy 7-10 YO's have? please?) and has TONS of places around 18th and Columbia Road. yeah it can be sort of a bar scene depending on time of day but if you're following the kids around 7PM and not closing time, it's all very cool

                        1. re: hill food

                          I think walking up to (or taking the 42 bus up to) and then walking along 18th St and then back over to Dupont the other way -- weather permitting -- is a good idea -- but definitely on the early side if it's a weekend. Not kid friendly later at night. Sounds like this family might like Mintwood Place.

                    2. re: Just Visiting

                      Dino Cleveland Park Closes February 23

                      to keep up with our move to
                      1914 9th Street in Shaw& special offers

                      1. re: mscoffee1

                        Right but OP is coming in this weekend (maybe....). Which is before Dino closes.

                    3. Boqueria. Spanish tapas, Walkable from your hotel. Something for everybody.


                      Reserve now. If next weekend means Valentines Day.

                      1. The 2 Amy's......beyond the national cathedral is a great place for kids, especialy on weekends........and they also have, besides pizza, a wonderful appetizer/small plate selection

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                          The 2 Amy's......beyond the national cathedral is a great place for kids, especialy on weekends.......

                          .... because of the donuts, which are good for adults, too.

                            1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                              Their burnt pizza soup, while not inauthentic, definitely didn't "knock my socks off" or "punch me in the junk." It did however "steal my wallet" and "leave me for dead."