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Aug 26, 2014 06:10 AM

What types of restaurants does DC need now?

In your opinion, what is the DC restaurant scene missing? I'm hoping some restaurateurs will see this and take up our suggestions.

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  1. Uighur Chinese and/or Xinjiang (Muslim) Chinese.

    Breton galettes.


    5 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      I have read that there are more Uighurs in the DC area than anywhere else in the USA (we've had some in our ESL program in Falls Church). Too bad they're not gastronomically inclined.

      Can't help with Breton galettes (don't even know what that is), but I think we do sort of have some Israeli food (which is very similar to Jordanian/Egyptian food in many respects).

      Max's Kosher Deli in Wheaton and at Nats' Park has very respectable Israeli-style shawarma and falafel sandwiches and Water Park Cafe, a take-out stand in Crystal City has excellent foul medames, which, though Egyptian, is indistinguishable from the foul we had in Amman and Jerusalem. The owner also gave us a bite of Egyptian koshary, which was superb.

      So, I concede there's not exactly an Israeli restaurant here, but both Max's and Water Park Cafe are well worth knowing about for Israeli-ish food.

      1. re: Mississippi Snopes

        In terms of the piecemeal creation of an Israeli meal - the The Kafta Mania truck (I believe to be of Lebanese extraction) has very high quality babaganoush and also has a haloumi sandwich very similar to the style sold in Israel.

        Also in terms of 'food found in Israel' DC does have Ethiopian and Russian/FSU restaurants that have many dishes prevalent in Israel. I don't know of a place in DC that has shakshuka, burekas, or Jewish Yemini food, but other than that - most Israeli food cravings I can think of can basically be met by most DC restaurants.

        1. re: cresyd

          Yeah, you can sample some Israeli things here that are piecemeal. In Miami there is a place called Etzel Izik, where they start everyone off with a myriad of appetizers like different marinated vegetables and slaws. They also make an iced lemonade/mint drink that I hear in Tel Aviv is standard, but here in the States is a revelation.

          1. re: Steve

            Very true - getting the mix of Eastern Europe and Middle Eastern food in one place helps under the Israeli umbrella. And you are very correct abut lemonade with mint being a standard Israeli beverage - however served as a frozen beverage is less common. I prefer the drink when it just has basically a whole stalk of mint in the glass verses the mint cut up very finely.

            Wanting Israeli food though is a bit like saying "I want an American restaurant" - there are definitely some melting pot combos (carp caviar salad on top of labne....oh memories.....), but most of the food has origins within other more readily available cuisines. Regarding starting the meals with different appetizers - look for Middle Eastern/Turkish restaurants that have diverse mezzes appetizer places. Lots of places in the US will just do the standard babaganoush, hummus, and fried items - but it is more traditional to also have pickled/marinated veggies, slaws, and salads as well.

            Zaytinya actually is pretty close in options to what I'd consider to be an Israeli umbrella (minus some Ashkenazi food and plus some more Greek options). May not be the cheapest way to get that experience - but their Bamya (okra) is really spot on what I'd expect to get in Israel (if not better). Not to mention it is a place where you can get caviar salad and labne in the same place....

        2. re: Mississippi Snopes

          Galettes are buckwheat crepes from Brittany, with savory fillings. Hefty, but also buttery and lacey. It's why I hate places that use the same crepe better for both sweet and savory. Just doesn't work out so well.

      2. I want a real vegetarian restaurant. I love Souen in NYC—wish they'd open an outpost here.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mbabyok

          There was one here--Vegetate. We went there frequently when it was open. My husband isn't vegetarian and he loved it. Interesting food (not things like stir fried vegetables over brown rice), really good cocktails, and the space was interesting (an old row house converted into a restaurant.) We were really sad when it closed. I think upscale vegetarian/vegan fare is just too much of a niche market for this area. It's a shame.

          Oh, and if you haven't tried Elizabeth's Gone Raw (, you should. It's the DC equivalent to Pure Food and Wine in NYC, but it's only open one day a week. I had one of the best meals of my life there, for my birthday this year.

          1. re: eam531

            I was actually hoping for moderately-priced vegetarian. When I lived in NYC I would go to Souen's or Angelica's Kitchen for vegetarian food after yoga. Both weren't that expensive, healthy, and better than what I could prepare at home.

            That said, I will definitely try Elizabeth's!

            1. re: mbabyok

              Don't know anything about it beyond the website, but one of these is coming in at Navy Memorial. Been watching them build it out for a month or so.


            1. re: braver

              Seriously! I was just in Toronto and had great Indochinese. I want Chili Garlic Noodles in DC!!!! A major void on the DC food scene.

              1. re: piafoodie

                Not completely lacking.

                Super Bowl - Chinese restaurant in Rockville - has a good version of chili chicken.

                Several restaurants - in the suburbs - have a few Indian Chinese dishes.I think there is an old thread or two on them. Maybe a new one is in order.

                1. re: Lori D

                  Here are links to two places with chilli garlic noodles on the menu (haven't been so don't know how good they are):


                2. re: piafoodie

                  My brother is in Vancouver, and when there we've done tours of some great Indonesian restaurants. That would be great to have here.

                  1. re: lapopessa

                    yeah in the category of Malay/Indonesian, Kopitiam was 'hit or miss' (but when it hit... watch out) and that other place, Penang? just never did it for me.

                    if someone can be convince to open an Indonesian (ok Indonesian/Dutch colonial period) joint, I bet the DC crowd would love a good Rijstaffel

                3. re: braver

                  There is a halal Chinese place in Springfield which is Pakistani Style Chinese. It is called Mandarin. They have mango lassis. If you order well, you can do well here and it's a good places for sauces and spicy food. Avoid Egg Foo Yung. I order off menu a lot and adjust their sauces (extra garlic, extra spicy, etc.)


                4. lunchy-brunchy? get some good cheap dim sum back within the District borders. why is BBQ such a problem? why is it so hard to find a good Banh Mi or a Cubano or a Muffaletta w/o a food truck nearby? any of these should be a no-brainer.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: hill food

                    BBQ - DCity Smokehouse
                    Cubano - Mi Cuba

                    1. re: DanielK

                      DanielK, thank you for recommending Mi Cuba -- I see they have tostones so i WILL be making a trip there this weekend, Lord willing. And i see they have empanadas de guayaba y queso. Beautiful. Can't wait. (Superb that they do breakfast, too).

                      PS, were you on the east coast in Florida? I'm from Fort Myers.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        Sophie's is also a good Cuban spot, between Dupont and Farragut.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          alkapal - I lived outside of Fort Lauderdale in the 80s. Mi Cuba compares to the better Cuban places I ate down there.

                        2. re: DanielK

                          but there ought to be more than one or 2 completely across town from the customer and/or each other and/or requiring a car or extensive Metro transfers.

                        3. re: hill food

                          Lunchy brunchy or even good low-key breakfast places.