As a D.C. resident and frequent restaurant patron, this one’s right in my wheelhouse. I’ll try to knock it out of the park without taking too many swings. I can’t help you much with breakfast, since I usually eat that at home. However, I can recommend the weekend brunch at Melrose at the Park Hyatt Hotel at 24th and M streets N.W. It’s expensive but the quality of the food is very good and the selection outstanding. Also, I don’t know if you’re familiar with "dim sum," aka the Chinese "tea lunch," but it is served in a number of Chinese restaurants, usually from 10 a.m or 11 until about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and it can be delicious. What it is is a usually large number of Chinese dishes served in appetizer-sized portions which can be ordered either off of a number of rolling carts (my favorite, since you can see what you’re ordering before you order it) or from a menu. It’s a good way to sample a number of delicious dishes without spending a great deal of money. The best dim sum that I have had in this area is at Fortune, which is located in Falls Church, Virginia near the intersection of U.S. Rt. 50 and State Rt. 7. Also very good are Lei Garden and Tony Cheng’s Seafood restaurant in DC on H street, N.W. between 6th and 7th. Lei Garden and Fortune use the carts every day, and, the last time I checked, Tony Cheng’s used them only on weekends. I highly recommend this if you like Chinese food, and it’s a very good introduction if you’re not that familiar with it.
I could go on for a long time about my favorite restaurants for lunch and dinner in this area, so I guess the best way to do this is to give you my favorites in each of several categories. At the high end price-wise, two of my favorites are Kinkead’s at 20th and Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. and The Prime Rib. Everything that I’ve had at these two establishments has been first rate, but Kinkead’s specializes in seafood and the Prime Rib in, surprise, surprise, prime rib and ribeye steaks. A word of warning – the Prime Rib requires men to wear a coat and tie, and will provide you with these items if you are not wearing them. A more economical alternative for great seafood is Cameron’s Seafood Market, which has five or six locations in DC’s suburbs. As the name implies, you can either buy fresh, raw seafood and prepare it at home, or they will cook it for you. Their "ultimate seafood platter," which includes a fish fillet, a crab cake, scallops and steamed and fried shrimp is first rate in quality, a challenge to eat at one sitting, and a bargain at 12 or 13 dollars. They also have good and reasonably priced steamed hard shell Maryland Blue Crabs, which is probably about as close to a local delicacy as there is. I also love the inexpensive "meal in a bowl" soups at Full Kee (Chinese) on H street NW between 5th and 6th and Pho 75 (Vietnamese) on University Blvd. in Langley Park, Md. The seafood dumpling soup (either with or without the noodles) is outstanding at Full Kee. Two very good and inexpensive Mexican establishments are Mixtec, near the intersection of 18th street and Columbia Rd. in the Adams-Morgan section of DC and the Rio Grande Cafe, which has four locations in the DC suburbs. Try the "Tortas," or Mexican-style hoagies, at Mixtec. Finally, for excellent barbeque, I go to Capital Q, which is near the intersection of 7th and H streets in downtown DC. They have the best beef brisket that I’ve had anywhere, and their pork ribs and sausage are excellent as well.
Whew! I’ve made myself hungry just writing this. I think I’ll go eat lunch. Bon Appetit!