Where to feed a pregnant lady in D.C.?
My husband and I are planning a long weekend getaway to the D.C. area for a much needed (and I hate the phrase, but...) babymoon the first weekend of April 2014. We haven't chosen where to stay yet, but we've visited before and happily get around via the D.C. Metro. We'd also consider lodging based on good food locations. Besides visiting some museums, my goal is to eat very well and I'm excited about cuisines we don't have much of in New Haven like soul food, Ethiopian, French, and Mediterranean. Brunch is also important. Correction, all food is important.
We'd prefer casual eateries, but would like a fine dining experience too.
Oohhs and Aahhs is my favorite meal in the area. They make Coastal Carolina soul food. It is a true hole-in-the-wall with some seating upstairs. I go for the shrimp and grits (ask for the grilled vegetables), the broiled crab cake - this takes a long time but is worth it, and the lemon pepper wings. Short ribs are also very good. Collard greens are a must. Despite appearances, not cheap. Located right across from the U St/Cardozo Metro stop.
You can take care of both brunch and French if you go to Mintwood Place and order the bacon and onion flammekeuche, which is one of the best things you can put in your mouth. outrageously good.
Or go to Mintwood Place for dinner and save brunch for Eatonville, named after Zora Neale Hurston's hometown. The Eatonviolle Hash and Eggs are great and don't miss the lavender lemonade.
Etete for Ethiopian. Go for the vegetarian platter and add the fish for about $2. Also the derek tibs are terrific. About a block away from Oohhs and Aahhs, so it's close to the metro.
Consider Mintwood Place your fine dining, though it is very casual inside, the food is first rate.
If Spanish tapas can satisfy your Mediterranean itch, then go to Jaleo for the mini-hamburguesas made from iberico ham, the quail in rosemary sauce, the patatas braves and the spinach with raisins. Near the National Archives Metro.
For French bistro fare, I highly recommend Le Diplomate which is hands down the best bistro in DC. The crowd is young and hip, with great translation of bistro cuisine. This is a casual place, but one can make it as formal as one wishes without feeling out of place. Advance reservation is a must.
(For comparison if you are familiar, it competes very well and exceeds with best of NYC's bistro Balthazar at close to 30% less)
For Ethiopian check out either Etete or Ethiopic (which has a slightly nicer environment but the food at both are delicious).
For soul food you can go low end at Ooohs and Aahhs or higher end at Vidalia. It you want an amazing brunch with TONS of southern food check out the brunch at Georgia Browns. It's so much delicious food at a buffet and THEN they give you an entree (we always take ours home). My only issue with the place is the last time I went there it was very loud. It tends to be a loud restaurant anyway when it's full but then they added in a jazz quartet.
For Mediterranean you should try to the delicious small plates restaurant Kapnos. Another lovely restaurant with Greek/med fare is Mourayo (especially for the seafood).
For french you have to go to Le Diplomate. In fact if I was pregnant I would want all my meals at Le Diplomate. They also have a nice brunch, but I would go for dinner instead!
I have not been impressed by the food at Le Diplomate though I do enjoy the ambiance, and would strongly suggest Montmartre instead. If you're headed to Eastern Market or the Capitol, it's in that neighborhood. I was extremely wowed by my experience there.
I like a lot of Steve's rec's above, and would add Room 11 for brunch and Shawafel for (very casual) Lebanese. I've also enjoyed Agora, Zaytinya, and Kapnos for Mediterranean. Agora has an endless brunch thing that could be a good idea for you.
I had a great Cajun brunch at Acadiana recently, very nice complete with live jazz trio. It's a 3 course prix fixe that was fairly reasonbly priced and plenty of food for you and baby. Similarly, we often frequent the "Brunch Table" (lesser places call it a buffet) at Liberty Tavern near the Clarendon metro stop. Open by 9 am on Sat and Sun, in case you're up and out early.
Also, I would start booking hotel and restaurants ASAP because I believe you'll be here during "cherry blossom season," which draws a whole lot of visitors to town.
There are several discussions on brunch in DC in the DC-Baltimore board--too many to provide links for. Just go to the board and search on brunch.