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Mar 5, 2014 07:26 PM

Good restaurants in DC

My boyfriend and I are going to DC for the day and night for a little trip for our anniversary. We want a nice place to eat for dinner but every restaurant I look at looks way too fancy. I want a nice restaurant with simple food that I've actually heard of. Suggestions?

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  1. Simple food and food that you've "actually heard of" are not synonymous. For example, food from Spain can be very simple and phenomenally delicious, but if you are ignorant of the cuisine you will not have heard of it before.

    The next question is: are you narrow-minded? Not sure if I can help someone like that. But if you are not so uptight, then I can make a recommendation for great deliciousness.

    Jaleo for Spanish tapas is a good place to start. Spinach with raisins, tortilla espanol, patatas bravas, garlic mushrooms are very simple foods. They even have grilled bread with crushed tomato, can't get more simple than that. But very delicious.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      I live in a very small town and am not familiar with a lot of the ingredients on the menus I looked at. Does not mean I am narrow minded: just unfamiliar.

      1. re: kkatellyn

        Be more specific with what you're seeking. Give us price range and examples of dishes that you appreciate or things you want to try.

        Btw, food you've heard of implies narrow-mindedness. I like to try food that I've never heard of. So wording your request properly would go a long way to getting the answer you seek.

        1. re: kkatellyn

          Good, that's why I asked. People on Chowhound have a lot of knowledge, so if you want to know what anything is, just ask. Going to "The Big City" is a perfect opportunity to explore things you are not familiar with. I think that's why most people travel in the first place, right?

          You didn't mention price. Restaurant prices, no matter how simple the food, can be shocking in DC. If you are looking for simple and inexpensive, your options start to dwindle.

          Personally, I prefer very simple, inexpensive foods at informal places. But you may have other ideas for your anniversary.

          1. re: kkatellyn

            Why not take this opportunity to become familiar with some of these foods you've never heard of? Just because you're not familiar with them doesn't mean you won't like them.

            1. re: kkatellyn

              Just looking at Steve's post about Jaleo -- spinach, raisins, potatoes, garlic, mushrooms, bread, tomatoes, tortillas. Nothing you haven't seen before, even in the smallest of towns. I think you'd have a great time seeing these ingredients turned into such delicious and unusual dishes. And if you don't like a dish, you're out just a few bucks.

              Plus, sangria!

          2. kk - your question is sort of vague, we can't know what sounds familiar. we really want to help, we do.

            start with details like a price range p/p, a neighborhood, is spicy OK? are you looking for something considered yet not over-considered, but a step up?

            you're not going to find a more centrally located, or for DC (a qualified term), median priced place than:

            a shared app, 2 dinners, (and a shared side if you want more veggies) would come out to less than $60-70 for both or so but that's before wine, dessert, tax and tip. yet not too bad for DC.

            however, there are alternatives. with more info we can provide more suggestions.

            it's very romantic, and if you're not adventurous, the menu is translated. the hanger steak and roast chicken are great if you want to stay simple. but BE BOLD! this is your chance to blow out of the norm!

            1. If you are looking for something reasonably priced and not exotic or "foodie" Clydes may fit the bill:

              If you like oysters, the happy hour at Clydes or Old Ebbitt
              Grill is quite enjoyable:

              1. If you are visiting DC you should understand that this is one of the best places in the country for ethnic foods. I know this is not "something I've actually heard of" but it does offer an opportunity to have something that you just cannot get where you live.

                That said, as others have asked, what price range are you talking about, and what types of food do you enjoy. Do you like spicy food? Do you crave seafood? Do you want to stick to red sauce Italian?

                As others have noted, Jaleo is a great choice to try some different things that you should enjoy a lot. Bistro D'Oc is a great little French bistro.

                As others have noted, DC (or for that matter any city) prices might be a shock. Eating cheap means less than $25 a person.

                Other places you might try, with the price factor in mind are:

                Baby Wale for interesting "American" food

                Boqueria for tapas if you don't try Jaleo

                Ethiopic for Ethiopian food (if you like spicy and want a little adventure) DC is the best place in the country for Ethiopian food.

                Pearl Dive Oyster Palace for oysters and seafood

                1. I don't think there's anything on the menus at The Prime Rib, Carmine's, Joe's Seafood, or Occidental Grill that you've never heard of.