BOY were you right. We ate a late lunch / early "first supper" (we have a nearly-14-year-old; he eats one meal a day: From the time he gets up until he goes to bed) there after our tour of the Capitol. WOWSERS. I had baked oysters with celery root, "salad of the three sisters" (squash, beans, and corn — which I’ve been able to reproduce), and fry bread (for which they sell an excellent mix in the gift shop). My wife had a mango pepper salad and my son had a "bison burger". I’m only sorry the one station was closed with the seabass ceviche! Top quality food, well prepared; we could have gotten a beer or wine if we’d wanted too.
I’ve filed all the other suggestions for other trips. We intend to keep going back to DC and do a few things at a time for the next few years.
I’m glad Au Pied du Cochan closed. It turned very bad. Roach infested, bad food, and dirty. Which was too bad for such a landmark.
There are some great places to eat on Barrack’s Row (8th St. SE). Take metro to Eastern Market. Come up the escalator and walk straight and you’ll hit 8th Street. Take right onto street.
Here are some of my favs:
Ugly Mugg (pub -great mini-burgers)
Banana Cafe (cuban and puerto rican)
Old Siam (Thai)
Tapatinis (tappas and martinis)
Levi’s Port Cafe (soul/BBQ)
Belga Cafe (Begian)
there’s more places on the street, but these are the one’s I haunt.
Au Pied is long gone. It’s now a Five Guys. Can you believe that? One of the few places where you could go and have a beer next to people from all walks of life. My father lived here in DC in the mid 1960’s and a couple of the bartenders were from his hometown in West Virginia.
Billy Martin’s Tavern is great for bar food and it’s also okay for brunch. They have a hot brown which was good but far too rich for me. I opt for the Welsh Rarebit in the winter.
I was there last summer and the crab cakes and burgers were very good. I sat at the booth where JKF purposed to Jackie. Apparently a lot of politicos ate there.
Paul E. Smith
If you’d like to visit an honest-to-goodness Cold War landmark, visit Au Pied de Cochin (sp?–my french is terrible–"Foot of the Pig"). This is where a Soviet double-agent, who had convinced his CIA handlers that he was on our side, slipped out of a small bathroom window out onto Wisconsin Ave, and then sprinted up the street to the then-Soviet embassy. There is a small plaque on the wall, but only a real local can give you all the details. Not terrible food either, if you’re hungry at 3am. Wisconsin and Prospect Streets in Georgetown.
You are staying in a weird part of town in terms of eateries. SW shuts down at night because it’s pretty much all govt offices and sightseeing locations. But the metro system is easy, and you’re not far from Capitol Hill.
Others may rag on this place, but a great breakfast dive and great deal is at Pete’s on 2nd St SE. Right by the Bank of America, near the corner of Independence and 2nd. If you’re doing morning sightseeing on the Hill, it’s a great location, excellent service, pretty much cheap as dirt, and good eggs/scrapple/decent grits. At lunchtime you’ll probably run into a lot of Hill staffers, who, while obnoxious, can make for decent sightseeing in their own right.
Matchbox is definitely a good bet. A lot of chains in the downtown area. You’re not too far from Naan and Beyond, which serves Indian sandwiches on naan. And, of course, if you really need a good burger fix, there’s always Five Guys.
Agallagher is right in that there are not a lot of full service restaurants of note in your immediate vicinity. However, there are several pretty good and interesting lunch places in the Mall area, and a number of very good restaurants within a five-ten minute subway ride.
Of all of the eateries that I have tried at the museums along the Mall, the most interesting is the Mitsitam Cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian at 4th and Independence Avenue SW. There are five food stations there, each with a different menu of dishes from a different region of the Americas focusing on indigenous Native American ingredients.
A very different, and more traditional food court is the one found on the lower level of the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. You can get everything from Chinese food to ribs, seafood and sandwiches and sweets here, and some of the vendors will give you free samples.
Another very good lunch place that is within walking distance of the Mall is 3rd and Eats, a sandwich place at 500 C St., NW. It’s a small, non-profit restaurant run in partnership with Community Family Life Services for the poor and homeless, and it not only competes with the big boys, it thrives by serving abundant portions of meats for made-to-order sandwiches.
For lunch or dinner, the afore-mentioned Johnny’s Half Shell is great. It’s about a 5-10 minute walk from the Capital building, or a 20 minute walk from your hotel. Their fried oyster po’ boy is excellent, as is their key lime pie. http://www.washingtonian.com/restaurantreviews/1009.html
If you’re willing to ride a couple of stops on the subway, there are, as agallagher suggests, a number of good places to eat near the Gallery Place-Chinatown-Verizon Center stop. The previously mentioned Full Kee is in this area (delicious meal-in-a-bowl soups), as are Matchbox (great mini-burgers and pizzas) http://www.matchboxdc.com , and Jaleo http://www.jaleo.com .
If in G’town, I always suggest Billy Martin’s … sit at the bar and get good conversation and valid food too.
If you want to be touristy, ask them where JFK was sitting when he proposed to Jacki.
If you’re into Chinese, Full Kee has had good reviews. It’s near the area where you’ll be staying. Reportedly, most of the customers are Chinese. I wish I could remember the source, but I read that Full Kee is where other chefs go to eat. I can’t say I’ve eaten there because it was never time to eat when we were in that area and our hotel was in Arlington, VA. But here’s a link:
That’s kind of a funny part of DC… not a lot of restaurants of note south of the mall except a couple near the DC Waterfront.
Your best bet will be to hop on the metro. Two good areas to look for restaurants are Penns Quarter (near the Navy Memorial stop) and Dupont Circle.
In Dupont Circle, you can’t walk more than 3 store fronts without walking past a food or drink establishment of some type and if you fire a cannon in this area you are most likely to hit a Starbucks. Really good restaurants of all kinds: for seafood try Pesce on P St west of the Circle, for beers try the Brickskellar, there are several good Italian places. For some of the best sushi in town, walk a couple blocks east of the circle to Sushi Taro on 17th St. Also walkable from the Dupont Circle stop (north exit) is Adams Morgan. Kind of a hip-happening part of town if you’re into that. Plus several good Ethiopian restaurants, if you’re an adventuresome eater – they are worth the trip. My favorite dish is the spicy red lentils.
Penns Quarter also has a mix of restaurants and is near the Verizon center so there are several sports bar type places, but the mid to upper end of the scale in this area can be quite good, plus the upper end of Penns Quarter is the DC Chinatown. Recommend: for a very nice meal with live jazz piano background and a great bar for what in DC is a very reasonable price try 701 (at 701 Pennsylvania Ave. – right next to the Navy Memorial Metro stop), for pizza try Matchbox (my favorite pizza in DC), for really goood tapas and a fun atmosphere try Jaleo.
When you’re over near the White House – go to the street on the east side of the Treasury building and look for the Old Ebbitt Grill. This place has a true DC politico atmosphere. They also have a decent Sunday brunch, a great bar and if you’re into it usually a very good selection of oysters.
There are a ton of other good restaurants in town. too many to put in one message, but that ought to get you started. The restaurants at the Smithsonian are okay and better than they used to be, but nothing to write home about. Also, you will have to go through security as you go into each museum, depending on how busy they are this can take a bit of time. You might want to plan to go to one museum for the morning, then out for lunch and to another museum in the afternoon. I used to be able to give a running tour of portions of about 5 museums in one day, but sad to say that era is over.
Hope that helps… there’s a lot of good eating in DC, enjoy!
As previously toutedhere — and recently relocated from Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle area to now be directly behind the very hotel you’re staying at — you’d do well to dine at what Frommer’s hails as the District’s "hometown restaurant."
Last time I was at Johnny’s Half Shell (400 N. Capitol St. NW, Washington, DC 20001, 202 / 737-0400) — a place which is co-owned by the great folks at the equally delicious Cashon’s Eat Place on Columbia Road in the Adams Morgan section of the nation’s capital — I enjoyed the restaurant’s famed grilled lobster. As best as I can tell, they split it down the middle, baste it with delicious flavored butter, etc. then when done, they serve you one half of the crustaceon on your plate meanwhile, with the other half, they scoop out the lobster meat and fold in butter, capers, herbs and some other sort of delicious pixie dust put it back in the shell and lay it on the plate right next to the other grilled counterpart and, Voila!, you have a scrumptious grilled lobster dinner.
Enjoy Washington, D.C. and thank you, in advance, for your spent tourist dollars.
Not sure where to eat, but there has got to be a TON of pork in that area! [:D]
We’re staying in Washington at the Holiday Inn Capitol (not the Holiday Inn Capitol Hill) in mid-June. It’s on C Street SW.
I’m looking for recommendations on where to eat in the vicinity between breathless sight-seeing.
Washington, DC: Smithsonian / Capitol area
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