This is like the opposite of most DC dining questions.
November 5, 2013 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Best DC-area restaurants that require a car to get to?

My boyfriend and I get a car about once a month and go out of the city for dinner. We've gone though some really good ones (Hunter's Head, Volt, Mokomandy, Patowmack Farm, and Woodberry Kitchen are our favorites). We'd like to get a good list going so we have lots of options in the coming months.

Cost: we'd prefer them to not be over $100 for dinner/drinks for two, though exceptions are made for special occasions.
Distance: not more than two hours from Petworth
Food types: Any cuisine's fine. We don't eat a lot of fish (but he loves the hamburgers at seafood places).
Also: we like to stop at a Wegmans on the way home for groceries, so bonus points if we don't have to go wildly out of our way to make that happen
posted by troika to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Are you familiar with 2941? It's actually in the ground floor of the General Dynamics office building (!!) near where Rt. 50 crosses the Beltway. But despite the (very) odd location, it's really good. And a surprisingly attractive physical setting under the circumstances.
posted by Naberius at 10:27 AM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Maybe the Maryland Inn in Annapolis? There's a Wegman's in PG County (Lanham), so that might not be too much of a detour.
posted by jgirl at 10:34 AM on November 5, 2013

Amazing Korean BBQ, and just the whole experience is worth it, and its super, super cheap. Just remember not to go too crazy on the Soju or you will be spending the night in Annadale.
posted by zara at 10:35 AM on November 5, 2013 [5 favorites]

La Caraquena, in the office of a seedy motel in Falls Church, is fantastic Venezuelan food. 2941, yes, and I prefer Yechon to Honey Pig, but Korean BBQ is a good suggestion. 4 Sisters in Merrifield. Pho 75/DC Sandwich is a great combo that won't come close to $100. All these will get you in the direction of the Fairfax Wegman's.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:58 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

L’Auberge Chez François suits your driving and Wegman's proximity requests, but it's very spendy. And VERY French. GW parkway and the backroads make for a nicer drive than the beltway, I think.
posted by juliplease at 11:05 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Vin 909 in Annapolis is fabulous, and there's a Wegmans in Crofton just a few miles off Route 50.
posted by justonegirl at 11:36 AM on November 5, 2013

So it doesn't sound like you're too adventurous cuisine-wise but if you like Korean then the best, most authentic Korean restaurant I've ever been to is To Sok Jip in Annandale. You won't find any BBQ here but you will find amazing doengjang jjigae, melt-in-your-mouth bossam, godeungeo gui, and other classic homestyle dishes.
posted by rq at 11:53 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Chez Francois is the first thing I thought of. It totally won't meet the $100 limit, but put it on your list. You also need to make reservations a few months in advance. Seriously one of my top 5 meals ever was had there.

Blue Ridge Crab Shack in Gainsville. It's near a wegmans too.

BonChon in Fairfax is fried chicken that is worth the special trip.

Dan's Noodle House in Rockville, likewise. It gets you close to a trader joes, which is not the same as a wegmans, but is still someplace I schlep to the suburbs to shop at.
posted by fontophilic at 12:13 PM on November 5, 2013

Iron Bridge Wine Co and Columbia, MD, Wegmans.
posted by rabidsegue at 12:41 PM on November 5, 2013

I will third L’Auberge Chez François and everything juliplease and fontophilic said about it. Pricey, very special occasion (it is NOT a casual place), but very, very good (at least when I was there).

More reasonable, but still pricey, and also someplace you should go to at least once is Peking Gourment Inn - if you go order the Peking Duck. Also, this place will be busy and a bit labyrinthine, and the wait can be a bit on the long side for the food. On the plus side their wall full of signed photographs is a veritable whos-who of DC if you're into that at all. Personally, I'm not, but we still make the 1 hour long trip there every couple of months for the duck.

Honey Pig is a good choice if you like a club-ish (party) atmosphere and like Korean food.

I've heard good things about 2941, but when we went we were kinda disappointed to be honest. The food and service was good, but didn't really excel for us.

Also, although I totally recommend Spa World as a several hour get-away from it all, a few issues prevent me from seconding it as an option. First their food isn't all that great (in my opinion), second most of the best parts of the spa are in the sex segregated areas (though there are good areas in the co-ed section), and third, it's in your driving range, but it's a bit on the far side. Having said that, it's right next door to a large Asian (mostly Korean, but has all varieties) market, and if you do go there, ditch the Wegmans, and pick up authentic asian food instead.
posted by forforf at 1:11 PM on November 5, 2013

I ate at Kojiya in Annandale somewhat recently and loved it. I think it might be newish. There is also pretty good Korean BBQ at Shin Chon in Ellicott City and the aforementioned Columbia Wegmans is on your way back via 29S.

There is probably train+bus access to the Eden Center, but I view it as a driving-oriented location. Many many Vietnamese restaurants, bakeries, and stores packed into one strip mall complex to explore. Rice Paper is very popular and very good (the only other place I've been to there has a seafood focus)

Also have heard great things about La Caraquena mentioned above.
posted by NikitaNikita at 2:28 PM on November 5, 2013

Also, I know Del Ray is technically metro accessible, but when I lived in Adams Morgan it was always just so much easier and quicker to drive there.
Cheesetique (my husband still dreams of the pimento mac and cheese)
Evening Star Cafe (always something new and interesting, heard good things about their brunch too)
Taqueria el Poblano (Not being able to eat there every. single. week. was one of the saddest parts of moving away from Alexandria. The tacos and margaritas are so good. Inexpensive too).
posted by zara at 2:51 PM on November 5, 2013

The Helmand in Baltimore. It's Afghan food and delicious. Afghan food can be really good if done well, however I wouldn't have known that if I had not gone here when I lived in Baltimore. Now I'm in Chicago and there are two Afghan restaurants that people consider good here, but they're not, they're mediocre and I often miss the food at The Helmand.
posted by Blitz at 4:43 PM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide
posted by sashapearl at 5:44 PM on November 5, 2013

2 Amys. Theoretically you could get there without a car, but it's about an hour and two bus transfers from Petworth.
posted by chrisulonic at 6:46 PM on November 5, 2013

Black Market Bistro is charming and the food is good, tho not particularly far out.

We went to a nice place in the old historic downtown of Leesburg which was good, can't remember the name but it's a nice little spot to walk around.

Ditto Ellicott City, several good places to eat and nice to walk around.

I'll second the Helmand, too.

For Vietnamese near Eden Center, Present is great.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:19 PM on November 5, 2013

Inn at Little Washington - very fancy, totally out of the way, really good food.
Normandie Farm - haven't eaten there in a very, very long time, but it's a charming French place.
Russia House (Herndon) - Just tasty food, very nice owners too.
posted by jewzilla at 9:15 AM on November 6, 2013

Columbia Firehouse in Old Town Alexandria has the best onion rings. They also have previously participated in Alexandria Restaurant Week.

Huong Viet in Eden Center has absolutely incredible, cheap and no frills Vietnamese food. They only take cash, but when food and drinks is sub $30 for two, it's not too bad. Rice Paper is also delish. And Present (mentioned above) is a bit further down rt 50, but more fancy than Huong Viet, and the presentation is gorgeous (not to mention the food is quite tasty).

Jackson 20 in Old Town Alexandria makes a fabulous brunch.

As far out as Baltimore/Elkridge is, both G&M and Olive Grove have delicious crab cakes, but are definitely reminiscent of those places you'd go with your grandma for a nice dinner (been there, done that). They both have all lump crabcakes as big as a fist.
posted by bleachandink at 10:36 AM on November 6, 2013

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