Restaurant recommendations near Dupont Circle (Washington DC)?
March 22, 2013 7:25 AM   Subscribe

I moved to DC recently-ish, but haven't explored the restaurant scene very well. Now I have a friend coming to town next week, staying right near the Dupont Circle Metro station, and I could use some recommendations for places to eat. Can any locals help me out?

We're both omnivores, and while I'd prefer economical options, I don't think we're averse to considering something pricier if it comes highly recommended.

There was a previous question about Dupont Circle-area eats from 2011, but since the top contender in those answers has apparently closed by now, I'd love to get some more recent input. Please help me be a good host!
posted by theatro to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I like Hank's Oyster Bar, but I don't actually get over to that part of town very often. Have you checked out the DC/Baltimore Chowhound board?
posted by JoanArkham at 7:31 AM on March 22, 2013

Pizzeria Paradiso on P street is a great meal, and they have a fabulous beer selection. It's not cheap, but not pricey either. (Obelisk is one of the best restaurants in the City, and it's also on P, but it's quite pricey.)

Birch and Barley on 14th is one of my favorites. It's expensive, but quite good.
posted by OmieWise at 7:34 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Bistrot du Coin is a lot of fun.

Delicious French food, fun atmosphere, and, truthfully, a good value for the quality of the food.
posted by fredericsunday at 7:41 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you want pub grub, The Front Page's loaded tater tots are awesome.
posted by Neekee at 7:56 AM on March 22, 2013

St. Arnold's. Mussels and tasty Belgian fare. Good brunch there, too!
posted by theraflu at 8:02 AM on March 22, 2013

Now I have a friend coming to town next week, staying right near the Dupont Circle Metro station, and I could use some recommendations for places to eat.

There is no reason to limit yourself to the immediate vicinity of Dupont Circle, particularly since so many other options, outlined in previous AskMes, are available within a 1 mile radius, or at most a metro ride away.

But Ping Pong Dim Sum at the corner of 20th and New Hampshire Ave, just south of the circle, is definitely worth visiting.
posted by deanc at 8:07 AM on March 22, 2013

It's not a long walk to Science Club - assuming this is post-Monday-next-week and the cruddy cold rain we're likely to get - and I'd rather than their veggie burger than anything else within a one mile radius. And I say that as a dedicated carnivore.

If you want cheaper and don't mind the bus/metro I still love Amsterdam Falafel. Enough that I'll even go into Adams Morgan for it.
posted by phearlez at 8:43 AM on March 22, 2013

Seconding Hank's Oyster bar; it's great (and has excellent drinks). Estadio in Logan Circle is also really good, and not too terribly far away.
posted by asterix at 10:42 AM on March 22, 2013

Kramerbooks has a cafe that is pretty good.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 11:54 AM on March 22, 2013

i love love love love the salty oat cookies at teaism. if you guys are talkers, head up there, get a pot of warm, delicious tea and a couple of salty oat cookies and talk away.

alternatively, stop by dolcezza and eat some black sesame gelato if they've got it. delicious.

when i have out-of-town guests, i almost always go to pizzeria paradiso with them, which i believe was mentioned upthread. it's relatively inexpensive (a pizza and a good beer will be less than $25 apiece usually), usually pretty good, and pizza is generally a safe choice. the genovese is my favorite.
posted by kerning at 12:27 PM on March 22, 2013

For quick service and relatively cheap Mexican, Lauriol Plaza is very popular. In the summer you can sit outside, which is nice. I always found Kramerbooks too cramped. L'Enfant is small but I've had good experiences, good atmosphere.

I highly recommend checking out Amsterdam Falafel. It's small and cramped but pretty legendary (at least to me.) It's a fast food falafel-and-fries-only place with a toppings bar. I think a lot of people go there after they've been out drinking, haha. It's in Adams Morgan area, near Dupont, but not right near the metro.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:32 PM on March 22, 2013

Call a cab, and get a ride over to Boundary Road. I've been twice, and both meals were among the best I've ever eaten in DC. Prices are higher than what I'm used to (~$24/entree), but not at all unreasonable considering the quality of the food. Currently my favorite restaurant in DC by a good margin. (It's also walkable from the Union Station Metro if you can navigate your way out of the station's parking garage)

Down the road, H&Pizza is an interesting new concept for a pizza restaurant, and dirt cheap considering the quality. Amazingly, DC's finally built up a good selection of decent pizza options. Across the street is the aptly-named Dangerously Delicious Pies, where you can grab a great meal or dessert for super-cheap -- their SMOG (Steak, Mushroom, Onion, Guyere) pie is unreal.

Back in Dupont, The Tabbard Inn's restaurant is unexpectedly great, especially for brunch. You'll need reservations. Order the donuts.

Little Serow has been called one of the best Thai restaurants in the country -- no reservations, be prepared to wait. (Thai X-ing is a short cab ride away, and is a completely unsuspecting hole in the wall that also has amazing super-authentic Thai food.)

Mandu has good Korean food. I've only been to the K St location, but I can't imagine that it's much different. Their dolsot bimbimbap is great. (Similarly, I've been to the Chinatown Ping Pong Dim Sum; it's great, but a bit too pricey for me to consider going often)

If you're a beer snob, walk over to Churchkey. You won't be disappointed. Their food is pretty decent. The restaurant downstairs (Birch & Barley) is also supposedly quite good, but considerably more expensive.

Bistrot du Coin (mentioned upthread) is also fun and worth a visit. Good casual French food. Actually reminiscent of eating at a restaurant in France (which is a hilariously rare accomplishment for a French restaurant to achieve).

I'd give Kramerbooks a pass. It's OK for dessert, but the meals have never wowed me.

Lauriol Plaza has good mexican food, huge drunken crowds, and aggressively bad service. YMMV.
posted by schmod at 1:04 PM on March 22, 2013

Some of the recommendations above are probably too expensive. Here are a bunch of places in/around dupont that I consider fairly affordable. Nando's Peri Peri, which I LOVE, or Pizzeria Paradiso, which someone else recommended. There's also some good Thai restaurants around there - Thai Tanic is in Dupont (cheesy name!!). Further up 18th street are Regent Thai (which a friend of mine from out of town always wants to go to when she's back in town) and Mandu (for delicious Korean food).

Side note, please don't go to Lauriol Plaza, it's not worth the wait and as schmod mentioned, the service is awful. Its sister restaurant, Cactus Cantina, is a cab ride away, and much better.
posted by echo0720 at 5:21 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding La Tomate (see link above to previous question). Good Italian food!
posted by thesnowyslaps at 5:22 PM on March 22, 2013

Oh, oh, and someone recommended Teaism for the salty oat cookies and tea, and those cookies are totally my favorites!! But they also have good entrees - their bento boxes are all delicious and really affordable. I'd go there for dinner, too!
posted by echo0720 at 5:27 PM on March 22, 2013

Our vote is for Little Serow. If you don't mind waiting for about 45 minutes, you will have a most memorable meal; a real conversation piece. Take a picture of the totally non-descript outside (no sign, no street number, nothing) but a wonderful Thai eating experience. Not "normal" Thai noodles. Fixed price, multi-course treat.

On another vein, about a 15 minute walk from Dupont Circle is Founding Farmers. You will need a reservation. Modern, bustling good eats.

posted by mbarryf at 6:47 AM on March 23, 2013

Came to say Founding Fathers if you're aiming for a cloth napkin meal or Afterwords at Kramers if you're thinking paper.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 7:00 AM on March 23, 2013

@Heart_on_Sleeve Founding Farmers is one of my husband's favorite restaurants. Great drink menu, great everything menu. I always want dessert but never have room (and I always have room). Pizzeria Paradiso is another one of his favorites. Go on a week night because it gets super crowded.

Brunch at Tabard Inn is MAH FAVRIT. Donuts. The end. I called my father after we had brunch there once in the courtyard on a gorgeous day and I was nearly in tears because it was so good. He didn't understand. Sigh.

Thai X-ing is really good and it's different but you need reservations. A relative of the person who started Thai X-ing opened Beau Thai which is also very good.

Shake Shack has great burgers. It's a chain but so what. Nando's Peri Peri and Vapiano are also chains but I like them.

Want to hear a secret? There's a Burmese restaurant creatively named Burma in Chinatown, right on the red line a few stops away from Dupont. Get the ginger salad.
posted by kat518 at 8:55 AM on March 23, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you, everybody! I look forward to trying your suggestions, both during and after my friend's visit.
posted by theatro at 7:13 AM on March 24, 2013

I forgot about Mandu, but I've eaten at the 18th st location, and it's great and inexpensive.
posted by OmieWise at 6:21 PM on March 24, 2013

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