Friday, September 13, 2013

DC Recommendations: Restaurants and Attractions

I will never see everything I want to see in DC, especially not on a 4-day vacation, but researching our quick trip put a lot of cool stuff on my radar for the next few times I'm in town. Here are some must-sees and lesser-known spots that are on my to-do list, thanks to recommendations from a bunch of trusted friends.


Founding Farmers offers farm-to-table eats, and has a damn catchy name.
  • Lincoln: This restaurant opened to fanfare this year when everyone got a look at its floor tiled with real pennies. Known for seasonal small plates; Obama and Colin Powell have stopped in.
  • Pearl Dive: An oyster palace with a touch of Southern hospitality, recommended by our friend Jeff.
  • Art & Soul: Helmed by a James Beard-winning chef, another spot for Southern flair.
  • Jaleo: Somewhat legendary spot for Spanish tapas. Has been recommended by everyone!
  • Tony Cheng's: Our friend Liz, a DC native, says this is the spot for dim sum.
  • Belga Cafe: Authentic Belgian food...I'm dying to go try their french fries.
  • Meskerem: An Ethiopian restaurant hailed as the "best ethnic restaurant in DC."
  • Tea at the Willard: I didn't know, but Liz tells me afternoon tea is a big thing in DC. I want to go be fancy and do it up one day!
  • Restaurant Nora: Not cheap, but Nora's is the first certified organic restaurant in the country. 
  • Matchbox: This Chinatown pizza place gets high marks from our friend Andi.
  • Graffiato: One of several DC restaurants headed by a Top Chef contestant, Graffiato has been hyped by several of my friends for its inspired take on Jersey Italian...with seriously great prices to match!
  • Ted's Bulletin: My friend Paige says this is a great breakfast spot near the Capitol, with homemade Pop-Tarts on the menu!
  • Vinoteca: Mindi, who takes wine seriously, says this is a great wine bar.
  • Kangaroo Boxing Club: Good food, good drinks, broad menu choices and decent prices. What's not to like?
  • Meridian Pint: Great bar for craft brews, but the menu is adventurous, too.
  • Rasika: Modern Indian cuisine, recommended in all caps by Holly.
  • Le Diplomate: Classic French bistro, with cozy red banquettes.
  • Amsterdam Falafelshop: Comes on high recommendation from Samieh, who says their falafel tastes like her mom's.
  • Tabard Inn brunch: My friend Becky says this meal is nothing short of life-changing and a must-do. Needless to say, this is top priority for the next weekend I'm in the area!
  • Old Europe: A classic spot, open since 1948 and serving up authentic German food.
  • Zatinya: Innovative Turkish and Greek cuisine that Lindsey called the best spontaneous food decision she's made.
  • Teaism: Great tea-and-sandwich spot with four locations.
  • Clyde's: Legendary spot, now a chain all over the DC area. Was the first to serve brunch in Georgetown, which is pretty landmark.
  • Old Ebbitt Grill: A legendary oyster bar and political watering hole across from the White House.
  • The Source: Wolfgang Puck has gotten high marks for the Asian fusion spot located at the Newseum.
  • Good Stuff Eatery: Everyone loves these burgers, fries and shakes, now with several locations.
  • Founding Farmers: Farm-to-table American classics, with a menu sure to please everybody.
  • DC Empanadas: Of all DC's food trucks, this is the one I most want to try. Because empanadas are my jam.


 An installation at Dumbarton Oaks

Most of us have been to the Smithsonian museums, White House, Capitol and monuments. Here's a list of other stuff still on my wish list.
  • National Archives: Where you can see the real deal Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution.
  • Library of Congress: There are some amazing things in the library's collection, which is often organized into exhibitions. Plus, who doesn't love a grand and amazing library?!
  • Botanic Garden: Houses a collection of both rare plant species and natives to the U.S. My grandparents checked it out and really enjoyed it!
  • Arboretum w/Old Capitol columns: Tucked in the National Arboretum are the columns for the original Capitol.
  • Phillips Collection: I've been, but I'd love to go back. Beautiful, impressive art collection in a gorgeous house.
  • Newseum: A museum on the news, featuring thought-provoking exhibits and the largest chunk of the Berlin Wall outside Germany.
  • National Museum of Women in the Arts: It is sinful how many major art museums have very few works by women. I'd like to check this place out to see what I've been missing.
  • Corcoran Museum: Another impressive art collection I haven't seen yet!
  • Lincoln's Summer Home: Lincoln kept a retreat for himself in Northwest DC. My mother-in-law gave it two thumbs up!
  • Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center: Many people aren't aware the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage program presents a free performance every day at 6 p.m. Amazing way to check out music, dance, one-act plays and more.
  • Old Post Office Pavilion: Supposedly the top of this building offers one of the best views of DC.
  • Octagon: Supposedly the most haunted house in DC, the Octagon served as a temporary home for President and Dolley Madison following the burning of the White House in 1812.
  • Hillwood: A fabulous estate once owned by the Post Cereals heiress and packed with her collection of Tsarist tiaras, high fashion and antiques. Also known for its immaculate gardens.
  • Dumbarton Oaks: Also known for its beautiful gardens, Dumbarton Oaks is a Harvard institution dedicated to Byzantine, pre-Columbian and garden studies.

No comments: