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Looking for a Dinner Recomendation for Saturday Night with Two Caveats

Hi! Despite living in Northern VA, my company has put me up in a hotel for the week for a conference I'm working in DC. My boyfriend, best friend and her boyfriend are coming to meet me for dinner on Saturday night. Our original plan was Ohs and Aahs, but when I found out its best suited for carry out and that even dining in your food is served to you in a styrofoam container, I am re-thinking. I don't want any of us to be uncomfortable and with not having ever been there, these facts are leaving me unsure.

Here are my two caveats: I work long hours and we won't be able to have dinner until 8 so I'd like somewhere with reservations, or somewhere that's sure not to have much of a wait at that time, and secondly, I'd like somewhere semi-affordable. Affordable to me is being able to get a decent size entree that comes with a side for $25 or less. I was thinking Hanks Oyster Bar or Circa since both are close by in Dupont, but neither take reservations so I'm not sure.

Any suggestions? My hotel is connected to Firefly but their menu didn't really interest me too much. Also, Rasika would be a great option but I had dinner there tonight. :)

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  1. you're right, Firefly is not terribly exciting, but it's always been well prepared. what Hank's will do is, if you call maybe a half-hour ahead and it's not out the door, put you on the waiting list.

    5 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      Ehhh yeah, I'm still thinking of Firefly. It's so close by! The small plates interest me more than the entrees, though, so i'd be tempted to order a few of those and go over budget. That's why I'm iffy at this point. Did I mention I'm dating a cheap skate? Lol! Wrong forum for that problem. And no he didn't give me a budget and never would, but I try to be mindful of what I know he's comfortable with. :)

      1. re: SaraAshley

        gotta remember Firefly is a hotel restaurant, a bit of this and a bit of that. not going to win points for daring.

        1. re: hill food

          I'm okay with it not being daring, shit I'm even considering Old Ebbit Grill at this point to show you how much I don't care about daring, it's just that none of the entrees offered really appeal to me.

          1. re: SaraAshley

            Oh, god, that's where my late MIL went about 60 or more years ago. Yikes. Just how non-adventurous ARE these friends?

            1. re: c oliver

              yet - Ebbitt is reliable and good deals on oysters...

              looking for a fun room or menu? then it's the wrong place. I have to say it's more a place I'd want to take my mom than some 20-something friends.

              I gotta hit Pig or Mourayo one of these days.

    2. How about Sophie's for Cuban? Lovely, homey spot, very affordable and tasty.
      Or DGS, for upscale deli food? Nice atmosphere, some good reviews lately.

      1 Reply
      1. What kind of foods do you like? Do you visit DC regularly? Any faves? The sky's the limit here.

        3 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          Despite living so close by, I don't actually venture into DC that often. Usually only for work. I was here the last time in September for a week.

          I like almost any type of food, but I think for this group, I'd like to not have anything too ethnic or exotic. Probably not any small plate or tapas places either. I feel like they really tend to jack the bill.

          1. re: SaraAshley

            Well, I guess Rasika wouldn't work for them anyway. How about Michel Richard's Central. The "faux gras" is so great.


            1. re: c oliver

              I actually went to Central with 2 of them last time I was in DC, so I don't think that's going to work either. Thanks for the suggestion, though!

        2. How about Ethiopic?

          Or The Pig, where you can get the "big pig" to share.

          3 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              The Pig looks like it night work. I'm assuming Ethiopic is an Ethopian restaurant? I'll have to look at the menu. It might be too ethnic for this crowd.

              1. re: SaraAshley

                Arguably one of the best Ethiopian places in DC:


                There's always Five Guys.

            2. Consider District Commons.


              This is my second time in a week suggesting it on this board not because I'm such a huge fan but because I or family members have been there a few times, it's always at least pretty good and sometimes very good, and it's nice without being super expensive. Plus it's near where you are. I've enjoyed the roasted duck, the mussels with lemoncello, and the flatbread with sausage was tasty, but suggest avoiding the brick pressed chicken.

              1. Rasika is wonderful (I have been known to eat there 2 days in a row....). But if you are looking for other ideas in and around Dupont you might want to try Urbana, Mourayo, Rice or Le Diplomat. All take reservations (if you can get them), with food in your general price range for entrees. Nice, delicious, comfortable.

                If you want something a little more low-key you might like Sakana for sushi or Zorba's for Greek. They don't take reservations and Zorba's is counter service but it's not as small or as casual as Oohs and Aahs.

                1. You'll really enjoy Bar Pilar, or Etto, both on 14th Street. Convivial, and with really good food. Neither takes reservations, but neither should quite as crowded as some of the other 14th Street haunts.

                  Or if your friends like seafood, go to Seki.

                  1. So update! I tried to book a reservation at the Old Ebbit Grill but they didn't have availability through Open Table. I then called my hotel conceirege to see if they could book it and they called me back and said they couldn't because apparently the place is closing early that night for a private party. Wahh!

                    Anyways, I ended up taking Keith's advice here and booking a table at District Commons. Dinner is tomorrow night and I'm looking forward to it. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: SaraAshley

                      Please post a report, I'd love to know how it went.

                      1. re: KeithW

                        Hi Keith! I would have to say that the overall experience was just okay. All the food I had was good, not great, and service sucked. We had the pretzel bread and the pig board to start out with, I had the scallops, my boyfriend had the crab cakes with a side of scallop potatoes, and we split an extra side of macaroni and cheese. We had the funnel cake for dessert and I also tried some of my friend's meatloaf. The biscuits that come with the pig board were very good, as well as the macaroni and cheese and funnel cake. But it's a funnel cake, not exactly a culinary accomplishment.

                        My friend let our server know when we were first seated that this was our first time dining there. She told us that she was going to bring us out some pretzel bread since it was our first time. We ended up getting charged for it. It's only $2.00 and I had planned on ordering it anyways, but really, I don't feel good about being charged any amount for anything that I don't order and am given the impression that it will be complimentary. Other than that, we hardly saw her. We had to flag down the manager that was on the floor to meet a lot of our requests, and he didn't seem too concerned with the fact that our server wasn't around to meet them.

                        I still appreciate your recommendation. Not everything is always great and maybe we were just there on an off night. Had service been better, I think I would've enjoyed the experience a lot more, despite the food not being anything spectacular.

                        1. re: SaraAshley

                          Sorry to hear that you didn't have a great experience there. I haven't had bad service there so I'm surprised, but I'll keep that in mind when recommending it to others. Getting charged for the pretzel bread would have certainly bothered me as well on principle. And an absentee server is a pain.

                      2. re: SaraAshley

                        Get the Boston Creme Pie for dessert...it's delicious!