N VA/DC/etc Restaurant Suggestions

My parents are coming out to visit me in a couple of weeks, and although I know of a few places I wanted to take them (triggercut’s place being one of them) I wanted to solicit suggestions from the people who have lived in this area longer than I have. I am particularly interested in a really good seafood place, and anything you would consider really unique to this part of the country (they, and I are from the San Francisco Area.)

We also get to have breakfast with a Senator, which is kinda cool, although I suspect it will probably be one of those “and a whole other lot of people,” although we got invited because my mom used to work for this Senator back when she was still the Mayor of SF.

I’ll ask my wife for her opinions, but I would personally advise not going to the bathroom at the same time as the Senator. Or, if you simply can’t wait, make sure your feet don’t touch.

I am pretty sure she sits down to pee. :P

Actually, I know this, as I worked for my mom’s company (housecleaning) and she had a very nice and feminine bathroom. :P

Check out Tom Sietsema’s Dining Guide at the Washington Post website for some ideas.

Feinstein, heh? She voted against confirming my boss. Heh.

If you’re looking for local seafood, try some place with good she-crab soup or lump crab cakes.

Names, give me names of places. :P (please!)

I’ve had good she crab soup at Phillips Seafood, actually, though people will poo poo that because it’s big and has chains. It’s right on the waterfront in SW DC.

Just the other night I had some great lump crab cake at a place called Charter House right on the water in Old Town.

For real though, the most fun thing to do if you all like seafood is to have a seafood bake. Go down to the waterfront marina/market, get some crabs, fresh shrimp, mussels, etc. and also some red potatoes, parsley, and butter . . plus lots of Old Bay. The experience of shopping down there is half the fun. I’d park along that rod and walk, traffic/parking right by the place is hectic. Steam it all up in a big pot and pour it over a table covered in several layers of newspaper. Makes cleaning super easy. I do this almost every time friends/family come out to visit and it’s always a hit, especially if you can eat outside on a deck or something.

In addition, the market down by the river is where the opening gunfire of Hannibal took place, so you can tell them that. To get there just Google Map either Phillips or I think maybe H20 the club is down there too. It’s off Maine Ave.

I can second Charter House as being a pretty good experience.

The crab bake idea is an excellent one. Cantler’s in Annapolis is a life-changing experience.

Dino’s, located at the Cleveland Park metro stop. The food is a unique take on Italian (it’s part traditional and part…original? How’s that for a description…) and I especially recommend it if you like cheeses and wines. For an entree, I’d recommend any of seafood or the lasagna (I had the lamb pasta when I was there last; this was also excellent. All of their pastas are homemade) Definately try their homemade gelato. Oh! The prosciutto is also tasty (it’s well aged and it melts in your mouth.) It’s probably my most frequented restaurant in the DC area.

(So, it’s a unique restaurant, but it might not be a unique DC taste. The Seafood is great though!)

edit: you could also head out to Bethesda and pick a restaurant at random. That city is thick with good (and expensive) food.

Remembered another! The Iron Gate Restaurant (it’s in NW) might be considered a DC-ish experience. It used to be a stable, the lighting is poor and the steak is tender.

I haven’t been there in a few years, but when I’m in DC, I like to hit King Street Blues, Generous George’s, Maggie’s Pizza (on Wisconsin near American U), Cactus Cantina (further up Wisconsin).

I can’t guarantee any are still open.

I lived in Alexandria… jesus, eight years ago now, and I loved the charter house. Particularly the captain’s platter. Misha’s coffee house is fantastic too, right outside of old town. They roast their own beans.

Also, consider finding a good ethiopian restaurant. There aren’t many of them around outside of DC.

That’s about when I lived there. 2000 to 2002. I miss the food.

There’s interesting stuff in Adams Morgan. I wonder if the Salvadoran restautrant Mixtec is still there.

How fancy do you want to get? The best pure seafood restaurant I’ve eaten at in DC is Oceanaire - but it’s overpriced. Really, really good fish if you want to spend an arm and a leg.


Mixtec is still alive and doing well – ate there a few weeks ago.

The Iron Gate was a great suggestion. Across the street from the Iron Gate is the Tabard Inn, which is also really good. Also, no visit to DC (if you’re a fan of Clinton) is complete without a visit to Georgia Brown’s (esp. if you’re visiting from Northern California).

As a rule, Athryn, avoid anything claiming to be mexican in the DC area – it’s a sad, sad imitation (Mixtec being one of the few exceptions to this rule!)

I live in NYC now, so I don’t really miss the food. It took me almost a year to find decent pizza in the area, and then I immediately moved.

Actually, I totally disagree about mexican-- check out El Puerto in alexandria. I ate many plates of chiles rellenos there. Good cheap mexican food, much better than I can find in manhattan. Mexican food is supposed to be cheap.

And I really liked that coffeehouse. They had a huge scarred wooden table that I sat at every sunday morning, drinking espresso, smoking like a tire fire, and reading the entire NYT cover to cover. I still miss that place these days, staring at yet another identical starbucks or cosi with burnt sour coffee and no soul. Forget bars, I bond with coffeehouses.

Coming from SF I doubt they want DC’s take on NW food. They can just drive to Alice Waters’ restaurant for that. If you have the time for a reservation, try to get into Citronelle. It’s a world-class restaurant, probably the only one in DC.

Edit: I forgot about José Andrés, he’s a world-class DC chef too. More intellectual food than Michel Richard, though.

This is mostly true, but I did find a really good place in Reston, the name completely escapes me, but it actually has great Baja California style Mexican food, and some yummy margaritas.

Aha, I found it, it’s called the Rio Grande Cafe, and they bill themselves as Tex Mex, which is pretty accurate.

There’s a Rio Grande in Bethesda, as well. And it is also very good. (I’m from Texas!) I don’t patronize any upscale places, my favorites tend to be stuff like Moby Dick’s House of Kabob (there’s one in Georgetown, Bethesda, McLean) and Red Rock something something in downtown Silver Spring.

People keep talking about Generous George’s in Alexandria. While the atmosphere is really fun and the prices are relatively cheap, in my opinion it has some of the worst food I’ve ever had. I’ll do pizza and beer there and that’s about it. The portions are generous, though.

Tabard Inn isn’t so great for food, IMHO, but it’s a fantastic place for a drink. If you’re in Dupont there is a French restaurant on Connecticut, west side northbound after the circle, whose name escapes me right now. I’ve only had great food there.

Also, I’ve got a agree there are some fantastic Mexican/Salvadorean places in northern Virginia in the latino areas. Plus, you might see some MS-13 action!

In Seven Corners, near the Home Depot, there are some very good, authentic Vietnamese restaurants, all in one place, if you like Vietnamese.