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Two days in Washington for July 4th

As others have stated, stay away from the Mall. The best place to watch the fireworks is from a roofdeck. Usually, DC residents make sure to have at least one friend with a roofdeck or a high-rise with southern windows.

Without access to a roof deck, your best option is Meridian Hill Park. The view there is good and while it's crowded, you can usually still see. Other less crowded options are bars and restaurants with roof decks uptown (U street has a few). The view isn't as good but at least there's food and alcohol, which the folks in the Mall/Fourth of July temporary police state can't have. (I once made the mistake of going for a 6am run on the Mall on the Fourth of July, and was chased down by four police officers and escorted away.)

So do your Mall sightseeing another day, and spend the fourth itself exploring uptown DC. Georgetown is a pleasant place to walk around, as is Capitol Hill. Some of my favorite museums are not part of the Smithsonian - The Hillwood, The Philips Museum. The zoo is great - and free! There's great food in many neighborhoods (not Italian, however) - so much it's hard to give advice without knowing what might interest you.

Have a great trip!

DC Weekend - looking for Lebanese & other ethnic; also solid Gourmand option

Mama Ayesha's is charming, but I do think the food is better at Lebanese Taverna around the corner. I have a Syrian colleague and that's the place he always wants to eat when visiting DC, which is another recommendation in it's favor.

Eater article on more affordable alternatives to DCs hottest restaurants

Don't have the cash flow right now to try any of the cool new restaurants you read about? Or simply can't get into any of them on a busy night? Here are a few recommendations for inexpensive, accessible alternatives to five of the hottest new places in town. 1) Little Serow/Thai X-ing: If you're hoping to grab a coveted seat at Little Serow on a Friday or Saturday you might want to..

Link to full article:

Easy, cheap eats in DC - do they even exist?

I have to say that I'm always defending NYC against the charge that it's an insanely expensive place to live (life in DC for many people can be even more expensive, because there are fewer subsidized city programs) but 'lots of cheap ethnic eats'? It's a big town, so I'm sure they exist, but if you dropped my blindfolded into Portland, OR or NYC, I know which one I'm going to find good cheap eats the fastest (and it's not NYC). That's just my experience, but I was pretty broke when I lived there, so I learned to cook.

Indian/Ethiopian/other near Dupont Circle

Not ethnic, but if I were traveling with kids I know I'd go to the Dupont Circle Pizza Paradiso, and also BGR.

oyster happy hour

Tacklebox has an oyster happy hour. There's a location in Gtown, which is about as close to NoVA as you can get and still be in the District.

Help Please! Visiting from Toronto

IMHO, you'll find better Asian food in Toronto, as a rule, than here in DC.

You may want to consider cuisines from the south (Brazilian, Peruvian, even Mexican) if you want to go ethnic. If you don't eat pork I don't recommend Spanish (Jaleo, Estudio, etc). There's so much pork in Spanish cuisine I'm not sure you couldn't guarantee it snuck into the dish even if it wasn't in the description. Ditto BBQ and southern cuisine.

That leaves...lots of places. Palena, Central, DC Coast, Equinox, Rasika, Cashions Eat Place, all on the high end. Hank's Oyster Bar, Johnny's Half Shell: southern seafood, a bit more reasonably priced.

Brunch: I love the brunch at Tabbard Inn. Must have reservations, however.

Washington DC, Romantic Dinner for under 100!?! Please Help!

+ Bistro D'Oc. This place doesn't get enough love, IMHO. There's isn't enough quirk in this town for my taste, and these guys are all that Elyssa says.

Casual Dinner near the Holocaust Museum or Metro Center

Bwaahaa - that always happens to me there too. Matchbox must be the 'first worst date capital' of DC. There's nothing worse than being seated so close to a terrible date - it's like the scene of a bad accident, you can't look away.

Washington DC, Romantic Dinner for under 100!?! Please Help!

I like Cashions Eat Place for special occasions. You can do it for $100 as long as you're splitting the app and desert, and by beer you mean 1 beer.

Cashions Eat Place
1819 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009

Casual Dinner near the Holocaust Museum or Metro Center

Keep in mind how close Gallery Place (9th-7th and G) and Metro Center (11th-13th and G) are. Honestly I think the walk to Metro Center from the Holocaust museum is probably much farther than the walk from MC to GP.

Casual Dinner near the Holocaust Museum or Metro Center

I used to work there, and sadly, almost nothing falls within your parameters.
As your students are local, you might want to ask them for some ideas.

Casual Dinner near the Holocaust Museum or Metro Center

Another suggestion to head to Gallery Place, which has many more options for you. One idea is Matchbox, which has very good pizza and burgers (it's not quiet, however) but it's popular, so I would make sure you have a reservation for a party that size.

Ella's Wood Fired Pizza is also nearby. I've never been, but it is supposed to be decent.

I would even suggest you just grab two cabs and head to Dupont Circle [1] Pizza Paradiso in Dupont doesn't take reservations but is big enough to find a spot for you. There's also BGR The Burger Joint which is both cheap and good. Zorbas nearby is also a good choice, as would be Raku (an Asian diner). Downtown just doesn't have enough of a resident population to support much of what you're looking for - it's a lot of cheap lunch places and expense account restaurants.

[1] You can also metro, but I've witnessed so many stressed out chaperones on the metro trying to not lose anyone it always makes me feel sorry for them - and you'll be traveling at rush hour, which DCers are most likely to be rude to large groups of tourists blocking the escalators and metro platforms. Please forgive us. I've missed more trains than I can count due to school groups blocking the platform at Gallery Place and it's enough to temp even a mild mannered person like me to be rude.

713 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Zorba's Cafe
1612 20th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Raku-An Asian Diner
1900 Q St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Pizza Paradiso
2003 P St NW, Washington, DC 20036

BGR The Burger Joint
1514 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

What is your single worst meal ever in the DC/Baltimore area?

PS Something like this did happen to me when I was traveling in Portugal, by the way. I ordered some grilled whole fish that were so small I spent an hour trying to remove the skin and fish from the bone. Although what I did get off the fish was delicious, I left the restaurant hungry and my waiter was very unhappy with me, for reasons my Portuguese was too inadequate to understand fully.

When I told this story to a friend from Portugal, she said, "You are supposed to eat the fish bones and all". "Really? You can eat fish bones?" I mean, my vet won't even let me serve fish bones to my dog. So while the staff was watching me trying to remove meat from the knuckle-sized bones of my curry, I kept wondering, "Maybe I'm supposed to eat the goat bones." Since that's all there was on my plate, it was hard not to wonder.

What is your single worst meal ever in the DC/Baltimore area?

Bwaaah! You know, the only reason I didn't just send it back to the kitchen was I'd never had Nepalese food before, so I kept thinking, "what if this is actually what they eat?" The dish is one of three on the "Chef Recommends" very short Nepalese section of the menu. If that's the best Nepalese cuisine has to offer, I'm going to use your trick if I ever travel there, and pretend to be vegetarian.

What is your single worst meal ever in the DC/Baltimore area?

Ugh. I never had one for this list until tonight. I finally decided to check out Himalayan Heritage in Adams Morgan as I live nearby. I cook pretty good Indian food myself, so it's not usually what I frequent when going out.

I ordered the Nepali Goat Curry. It should have been called, "Pile of Goat Bones and Gristle Curry". I managed to pry three bites of actual meat off two cups of 'curry'. In an attempt to try anything on my plate that might be edible my fourth bite was a mouth full of gristle so vile, I almost threw up. The rice wasn't bad, so I poured some of the curry sauce (1/2 goat fat, 1/2 spice) on it and ate that. I should have just eaten the white rice plain and left - that was so greasy my stomach still hurts.

All for $17.95 with tax. This is one of the area's Cheap Eats! I walked up the road and got a $4 felafel sandwich that was 100xs better than what I just had.

Himalayan Heritage
2305 18th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20009

Best places to take NYC visitors in DC

I like these thoughts too - thanks!

MetroRail-Friendly Ethnic Eats in the DC 'Burbs

Awesome! Thanks!
I've never even been to Wheaton, and I would have assumed if I'd gotten off the train there, I'd find only a giant Metro garage and a life-shortening six-lane super highway with no sidewalks. Will definitely make my next food excursion there first!

Need a few more DC recommendations

+4 for Bens.

Looking for more interesting grocery stores

I'll be interested to see if any really great meat/fish counters in DC show up, because I've noticed a dearth of these as well, particularly a great meat market.

In terms of interesting stores, there are some really neat Asian and Turkish groceries in the outer boroughs, and some smaller Ethiopian markets in Adams Morgan.

oh, no- the parents are meeting!

Not close, but Tabbard Inn has some smaller rooms upstairs that you could ask if you could reserve for dinner. I've requested them for brunch before when having a group of similar size.

I don't know if they allow groups as large as 10, but I did a wedding dinner for 8 at Cashions that was lovely. Great warm ambiance and you can hear yourself think. I like the service there too, but I'm a regular.

MetroRail-Friendly Ethnic Eats in the DC 'Burbs

I'm always hearing here how great ethnic eats are in the outer boroughs. But I live in Adams Morgan and don't have a car. I searched some older threads but there don't appear to address the question of accessibility for those traveling via rail.

What's worth a long trip on the Red/Green/Orange/Blue/Yellow Line and I can walk to it from the metro stop?

Sweet/Flavored Hard Cider?

+1 Crispin

Best places to take NYC visitors in DC

I do take a lot of people to Lebanese Taverna. It's right near the metro, easy to meet at, never difficult to get a reservation and the food is very good.

I have not tried Ripple, or even heard of it. I confess the only food I've eaten in Cleveland Park is Palena (yum) and Indique (less yum). Unless the countless slices of pizza from Vace while I stand in line for Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings movies counts.....;)

Great South American or Mexican in downtown DC?

Oooh...thanks for this - I've walked by it a thousand times and keep thinking I should check it out. Good to know.

Easy, cheap eats in DC - do they even exist?

If I had to speculate, I think the relative paucity of mid-range/cheap eating is both a supply and demand problem.

Supply: most of the DC community, even the immigrant community, isn't indigenous to the area - much of the labor supply in the area has been brought here by high wage, high education jobs. So we don't have the typical labor supply of cities associated with lots of mid-range independent restaurants. DC proper also by all appearances is a hard place to start a restaurant - rents are high, regulations are byzantine even by northeastern urban standards. Not promising for start-up independent restaurants.

Demand: I would not be surprised if DC had the highest expense account/citizen dining ratio in the country. We're also one of the highest wage areas of the country. The first aspect alone might account for the ratio of high end eating to mid-range and cheap. But it's hard to not notice that the DC restaurant scene began to improve substantially when people began moving back into the city again about 10 year ago. You may complain about the number of mid-range options here, but it's still much better than it was 15 years ago. If younger (poorer) people continue to move into town instead of the outer boroughs it could be that it improves even more over the next 10 years.

Need a few more DC recommendations

Embrace your inner tourist and go to Bens! Sitting at the lunch counter at Bens and ordering myself a half-smoke with everything and a soda is one of my treats to myself when I've had a terrible day. It's one of the few places around here that feels indigenous, and where you can get a real feel for DCs idea of itself. I prefer to go by myself, watch the action behind the counter and get lost in my own thoughts.

Need a few more DC recommendations

If Americana is your theme you may want to add Old Ebbott Grill back. I actually love this place; it always feels very old downtown DC and I've never had a bad meal here. The real appeal is the oysters, but it's also one of my favorite burgers in town.

I hear fabulous things about Pearl Dive and mean to check it out soon, but every person I've talked to who has been there starts their review, "well, we had to wait an hour for a table..." You've been warned.

Great South American or Mexican in downtown DC?

With regards to good Mexican food, three restaurants in DC routinely come up: Oyamel, Casa Oaxaca, and El Centro DF. I actually haven't tried the first two, but I have enjoyed El Centro DF, which is cheaper than the other two as well. Just avoid it when it's crowded as I understand the service is still getting its act together (I've only been when it's practically empty).

Great South American or Mexican in downtown DC?

I'm a fan of the "Grill from Ipanema" in Adams Morgan. It may not be the best Brazilian food you'll have anywhere, but it is quite good - and especially worth a stop if you live somewhere where it's hard to find southern cuisines. In particular I highly recommend the seafood paella and the chiaparinhas.