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recommendations for a family staying near the Smithsonian

While I'm not a local, the best option I've found for my kids right ON the Mall is the Mitsitam Cafeteria in the Museum of the American Indian.

Sep 09, 2010
short_eliz in Washington DC & Baltimore

Help! Need something chow-worthy in DC...with restrictions.

Everyone - thanks so much for your thoughtful replies! I truly appreciate it.

After some quick research, I'm leaning towards Eatonville (Hubby is a sucker for sweet tea, and I love U Street in general) and Dino (its been on my "to-do" list the past few trips but haven't been yet - not sure why I didn't think of it!). But I will definitely look deeper into everything you all have suggested.

Thanks again!

Sep 09, 2010
short_eliz in Washington DC & Baltimore

Help! Need something chow-worthy in DC...with restrictions.

I have challenge for the DC Chowhounds! Hope you all can assist.

I'm treating my husband, kids and in-laws to a trip to DC to commemmorate my husband's service in the Army. I need to plan one more dinner for the group, which is more complicated than it seems. Here are the details:

- Our group has 8 people in total and the dinner will be on a Saturday night, so I really need a place that takes reservations.

- Due to budgetary restrictions, we also need something on the inexpensive side - entrees in the high teens or low 20s.

- Since we'll have young kids and my late-70s in-laws, we need something very close to a metro. Like a 5/10-ish minute walk? (We're staying near Union Station, which I know doesn't offer a lot of options)

- The kids are 2, 6, 15 and 18. They're all well-behaved and adventurous eaters. But I'd like a place where the mere sight of children won't anger the other patrons. ;)

- We've taken the older kids to DC a few times, and have been to Etete (our favorite), Oyamel, Pizzeria Paradiso, Zaytinya, the dim sum brunch at Cafe Atlantico and Matchbox.

- My in-laws are the opposite of adventurous eaters. So that eliminates a lot of options - Asian, Indian, Ethiopian, etc - that we'd normally consider.

- We already have reservations at Firefly for another evening. We're considering Toscana Cafe, but I've read that it's small and I'm not sure if they take reservations. I thought about Art and Soul and Johnny's Half Shell due to location but they're a bit out of our price range.

So, now that I've made it impossible....any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

Sep 08, 2010
short_eliz in Washington DC & Baltimore

DC Food Itinerary - What am I missing?

Hi everyone -

Just wanted to take a few moments and report back now that my family has returned from our DC vacation.

Thank you again for all of the thoughtful recommendations. We had the best of both worlds - spent lots of time at the tourist sites and didn't have to settle for McD's, thanks to you all!

For lunch, we stopped at Pizzeria Paradiso which my husband loved. He spent several years living in Italy and is in constant search for wood fired pizza that transports him back - and Paradiso certainly did. He ate an entire 8 in and half of the kids 12 inch. We also did the Mitsitam Cafe, which I really enjoyed. Although, I didn't catch the kids before they purchased chicken strips and fries. I fail to understand why so many places lower themselves to the most common denominator by providing this type of "cop out" meal....but I loved my tamale and jicama salad so I decided not to complain. Matchbox, as you all mentioned, was perfect for us! Familiar food but still very tasty. Definitely worth the walk and the visit. We ended up stuck in Union Station on a really rainy day and decided to stop at B Smiths. (I had nixed the kids Pizzeria Uno suggestion, so that was the compromise) It was only after we were seated that we noticed everyone else coming in was in a suit....and while we were all presentable, we definitely stood out. Oh well...live and learn, I guess! My mac and cheese was yummy. Not the best I've ever had, but very good indeed. And my stepson ordered the ribs, which were huge and very tasty.

We had dinner at Etete, which was a family favorite. My husband and I have been before and loved it just as much the second time. This was the first time we tried the derek tibs (thanks Steve for the rec!) and we ate every single last bite. They were fabulous. We also ate at Oyamel, which I felt was solid but not spectacular. My biggest issue was that 7 of our dishes came out at the same time. That made us feel very rushed. Our server had assured us that we could order everything at once and items would arrive when they were ready, otherwise, we would only have ordered a few items at a time. Last but not least we ate at Mourayo, at the request of my husband, who loves Greek food. While the sailor uniform-clad wait staff was a bit much, we all had an excellent meal. I think the kids were pleasantly surprised that they liked the food as much as they did.

For dessert one night we visited Kramerbooks/Afterwords which was the perfect match for our sweet tooth. Also, my husband and I had a great visit to the Brickskellar. And although I had warned him that many Hounds have mentioned the bar is often "out" of its many beers, every IPA he chose was available. And the prices were phenomenal.

And one last thing...I did get to try a Ben's half-smoke, although it was at National's Park. Next time I'll be sure to try an "official" version from U St.

So thanks again for all of your assitance. Looking forward to another visit to DC, hopefully soon!

Apr 29, 2008
short_eliz in Washington DC & Baltimore

Hank's Oyster Bar Menu Question

Hi everyone -

My family is considering a visit to Hank's. We took a look at their menu and were intrigued by the "Meat Plus Two" option. But we wondered....is there only one meat option per day? Is the rest of the menu just seafood, or are there other non-seafood options? We have one family member that only eats seafood reluctantly, so this may not be the place for us.

Thanks for the help!

Apr 12, 2008
short_eliz in Washington DC & Baltimore

DC Food Itinerary - What am I missing?

Wow! I can't thank you all enough for your thoughtful replies. There's so much to consider. I really appreciate your recommendations, and I'll be sure to repost after our vacation!

Feb 15, 2008
short_eliz in Washington DC & Baltimore

Pittsburgh Eats 2008

I'd like to second another poster here and recommend Girasole. Although small, it is quite charming and consistently busy throughout the day. From their Winter menu, I love the whole wheat papardelle with tomatoes, criminis and mascarpone.

Feb 13, 2008
short_eliz in Pennsylvania

DC Food Itinerary - What am I missing?

We'll be there for about a week, so we'll probabaly be doing brunch at least once. But for the most part, we'll be looking for something quick.

Feb 13, 2008
short_eliz in Washington DC & Baltimore

DC Food Itinerary - What am I missing?

Reposting since my original message "disappeared"...

I'm planning our family vacation and would appreciate your advice on our food itinerary. This will be my stepchildren's first visit to DC (they're ages 13 and 17), and they are excited to try some new cuisine. My husband and I are thrilled about this...we've been trying to coax them out of their "picky eater" habits for years now.

After a thorough reading of this board, I've come up with the following options for lunch and dinner:

Lunch (predictably near the tourist sites): Jaleo, Teasim, Old Ebbitt Grill, Chinatown Express, Mitsitam Cafe
Dinner: Etete, Oyamel

I'd love more recs for dinner. We're staying at the Palomar, but we don't need to eat near Dupont Circle as long as the restaurant is Metro accessible. I'd love something that has entrees in the $18-$22 range (or less)....if there is such a thing. So far, many of the restaurants I've checked (Vidalia, Tabard Inn, Brasserie Beck, Cafe Atlantico, etc) seem to be more of the $25+ range. Maybe I'm just searching for something that doesn't exist?

Also - I would truly appreciate some recs for breakfast either near Dupont Circle or near the Mall, which is where we'll be starting most of our days.

And of course, opinions on what we've already "chosen" are welcome.

One last thing - Zaytinya is out of consideration. We've been before and will *not* go back. And Indian is also out. Despite my best efforts, its just not something the rest of the family enjoys. Yet.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Feb 13, 2008
short_eliz in Washington DC & Baltimore

One more DC rec for tourist?

Hi everyone -

A while back, you were all so gracious to help me figure out my food itinterary for an upcoming DC trip. (Just a few days away!) So far, we'll be going to Dino, Zaytinya, and Etete for dinner; Teaism, Latino Dim Sum at Cafe Atlantico, The Dubliner and one TBD location for lunch.

Originally, I was looking for relatively cheap eats. But my husband and I have decided to have one semi-splurge meal. I say semi because at our price range, it would definitely not be a "splurge" by DC standards!

We'd like to spend approx $60 or so per person, before tax and tip. That would include one drink each, entrees and maybe a dessert to share. I'll try anything, although my husband won't do sushi or french bistro fare. And he'd like somewhere that offers a steak - although it doesn't need to be a steakhouse. I think I'd prefer if it wasn't. We'll go anywhere that's Metro accessible.

Any thoughts?

Apr 21, 2007
short_eliz in Washington DC & Baltimore

Help with DC tourist food itinerary

You guys are fabulous. Thanks so much for the thoughtful recommendations.

I don't think I'll be able to talk hubby out of Capitol City for beer...but I will put my foot down when it comes to the food. We'll find something else in the general area, for sure! At least I can comfort myself in knowing we won't have to go to ESPN Zone, which was his first choice.

Again...many, many thanks for the recommendations.

Jan 23, 2007
short_eliz in Washington DC & Baltimore

Help with DC tourist food itinerary

I've been using these boards to cobble together my food itinerary for an upcoming trip to DC. So far, I know we'll be hitting Teaism and Capitol City Brewery for lunch (can you guess which one is hubby's request?) and Jaleo and Etete for dinner.

However, I'm having trouble filling in the spots for the day we arrive. We're staying at the Sheraton Four Points Downtown and will be visiting the Holocaust Museum in the afternoon. So a lunch rec that is accessible by metro somewhere close and/or along the way would be great. We're also stumped on where to go for dinner. Again, would need to be accessible by Metro.

Our particulars: Unfortunately, we're on a budget. I'm drooling over Citronelle and CityZen, but they're not in the cards this year. We're hoping to spend $30 for lunch and about $75 for dinner. (And dinner would have to include one beer!) Hubby won't do french bistro fare or sushi. I'd love a romantic place for dinner, preferably with a limited amount of kids since we'll be leaving ours at home. :) But that may be too much to ask...

Oh, and any comments about the restaurants we've already "picked" are welcome!

Jan 22, 2007
short_eliz in Washington DC & Baltimore