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fun DC restaurant for English guests

I am an American living in London. In midJuly, I will travel to DC with a number of English co-workers for a meeting. I need to plan a fun night out (nice restaurant and drinks) for a small group (8-10). Any recommendations for something American - in all the best ways :)

Thank you!

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  1. How about some place with Southern cuisine like Acadiana or Art and Soul?

    1 Reply
    1. Another option is to find good Tex-Mex. Tex Mex is rarely well done outside the US and our overseas friends love them.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Roland Parker

        Where's good Tex-Mex in DC? I didn't think there are any. There's better Texas BBQ than Tex Mex in DC IMO. In fact, I would recommend Hill Country BBQ. Also, maybe Pearl Dive for seafood. Lastly, you can try to book Rose's Luxury's rooftop. It's unique and not cheap.

        1. re: Roland Parker

          The Mexican in London is terrible so I need a texmex fix while I am there. Thanks!

          1. re: sfotsfr

            For Mexican you can try Oyamel or Rosa Mexicano. None are particularly outstanding. Richard Sandoval has a bunch of latin American restaurants in DC but I don't think any of them is particularly good. So pick your own poison.
            http://www.richardsandoval.com/index.php

            1. re: sfotsfr

              If it's actual Mexican food you are looking for then go to Casa Oaxaca. It's probably the best you are going to get in the city----the mole is really good.

            2. re: Roland Parker

              Unfortunately Tex-Mex is also rarely done well in DC.

            3. What about Jaleo? Definitely a fun vibe and lots to share but not American food.

              2 Replies
                1. re: Hobbert

                  The poster and his UK colleagues are from London; there are several tapas places that equal -- and may even exceed -- Jaleo.

                  Opera Tavern in the West End theater district serves outstanding tapas that rival anything we ate in Barcelona. It certainly beats the suburban outposts of Jaleo, although the food in the Penn Quarter branch remains superb and can compete successfully with Opera Tavern.

                2. Founding Farmers came to mind as a fun place to get a mix of American foods in a good way.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: cresyd

                    Thanks! I loved Founding Farmers - that was the first place I thought of - but haven't been in a few years and the most recent reviews are dreadful. Have you been recently?

                    1. re: sfotsfr

                      I've been recently - it definitely suffers from continuing to be super popular, so even with a reservation you typically have to wait a bit before being seated. I feel that the food/drinks continue to be good - but the service can sometimes be weaker.

                      1. re: sfotsfr

                        FF has never been worth mentioning on Chowhound. If you liked it before, you will probably like it again.

                    2. 1789 is currently running a 3 course dinner for $45 from Sunday to Friday. I was just there a couple of weeks ago. They can do a table for 8-10. Great service and food. Another option for a large party is Blue Duck Tavern. I also like Casa Luca and Mio.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: souvac

                        1789 has several rooms, each with a different décor. I don't think the most formal room with the fireplace has the fun vibe the OP is looking for. However, the Manassas room with its wood paneling and old photographs has a more casual vibe. If you're considering this restaurant, make your reservation by phone and chat with the person about the room that would work best for your group. The food is excellent. It isn't especially innovative, but the execution is always spot on. Your meal will taste delicious and service will be professional and attentive.

                        Blue Duck Tavern serves outstanding American food. (Their apple pie is a must-order end to any meal. Plan on ordering one pie for two or three persons.) The décor is modern minimal. Fun isn't the word I associate with Blue Duck, but "fun" isn't a word I associate with too many DC restaurants that would have a reliable level of food and service appropriate for a work-related dinner.

                        London is filled with outstanding Italian restaurants. As much as I love Casa Luca, it doesn't offer anything these visitors can't get at home.