Ben’s Chili Bowl at 1213 U St NW.
For a true Washingtonian experience, you should go to lunch at Old Ebbots Grill on 15th St NW. Great burgers, and the place will be filled with big-wigs at lunch time. Although, I never recognize any of ’em. Dinner can be $$, but the food is very good.
At night, on Friday’s, they have the Jazz Cafe at the Smithsonian (dinner and drinks. There’s a cover, but no minimum, so you can go and just listen to the music if you don’t want to eat there) at the museum of natural history.
Take the family to the Old Post Office (Pennsylvania and 12th. NW) There’s a food court downstairs. You don’t need to eat there, but be sure to take the free bell tower tour. It’s one of the best views of the city, and you don’t need to wait in line for tickets like you do for the Wash. Monument or go all the way out to the NAtional Cathedral.
Next to Union Station, at the Post Office Museum is Captiol City Brewing : 2 Mass Ave NE. It’s family friendly, but they also make good micro-brews for us big kids. They tend to run on the hoppy side, but I like ’em. The food is good there too.
Capitol Hill staffers go to Tortilla Coast (tex-mex) 400 First St SE, for lunch and happy hour. It’s a 1/2 block from the Capitol South Metro.
The Union Station side of Cap Hill includes some nice restaurants including Cafe Berlin 322 Mass Ave NE (German), White Tiger 301 Mass Ave NE (Indian) and the Station Grill 50 Mass Ave NE (inside Union Station).
Cafe Mozart & German Deli; 1331 H St NW (go to the back for the restaurant)located on H Street near the intersection of NY Ave. They typically have live chamber music for the late evening diners. ($$)
The Market Inn ; 200 E St. SW (closest metro: Federal Center SW) Family owned fine dinning. Lobsters, Steak, etc. ($$).
Eastern Market Lunch. 7th Street and North Carolina Ave. SE (2 blocks north of Eastern MArket Metro Stop) the Market Lunch is a popular local lunch counter that has been around for a long long time. When I go with my wife, we share the crab platter, since it comes with two large crab cakes, two sides and a roll. But, there’s plenty of other stuff to order.
Harry’s Saloon. 436 11th Street NW. Cheap eats in downtown. During the day, it grabs tourists, families and local workers alike. At happy hour, it’s almost all local workers, and locals at night. The tourists tend to gravitate to the ESPN Zone and Hard Rock Cafe, which are across the street. But Harry’s keeps it down to earth with its low prices and friendly atmostphere.