Family-friendly northern DC dining?
May 7, 2014 7:21 PM   Subscribe

A friend and his family are driving from North Carolina to Washington, DC. I'm going to drive down from Baltimore to meet them for dinner on Friday evening, but I hate going into central DC, so we've agreed to meet in a more northerly region: perhaps Bethesda, Silver Spring or College Park. Unfortunately I'm not too familiar with that area, so AskMe, where should we have dinner? It'll be a party of four adults and three small children at about eight-ish on a Friday night. It should be someplace we can relax and have a leisurely conversation. Easy driving and parking is important. Thanks for the suggestions!
posted by Faint of Butt to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (And as much as we love the place, we've decided against Piratz Tavern.)
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:22 PM on May 7, 2014

Takoma Park is great for family-friendly dining. Roscoe's Pizzeria was my first thought, but Mark's Kitchen (a mix of Korean staples and American diner food, with an emphasis on veggie options and a diner/cafeteria feel) might be right for you too.
posted by duffell at 7:30 PM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Fratelli's on Landover Rd. right off 295
posted by exogenous at 7:35 PM on May 7, 2014

Founding Farmers in Rockville? Easy to drive there, has its own parking lot. You won't have to go anywhere near the city. I have no idea how busy it is Friday night but I'd think you should definitely make a reservation.
posted by citron at 7:41 PM on May 7, 2014

There's a Clyde's south of Bethesda (near the Friendship Heights metro) that is large and is easy to get and has easy parking (I believe they validate), and I'm pretty sure they have a kids menu.
posted by NikitaNikita at 10:22 PM on May 7, 2014

I think the perfect solution would be Pasta Plus (warning: audio) in Laurel. It's almost exactly halfway between DC and Baltimore, and the homemade pasta is excellent. It's also very family-friendly.

Seriously, the food there is great.
posted by yellowcandy at 10:30 PM on May 7, 2014

Carabba's in Bowie, MD.

Delicious Italian and kid-friendly to boot! Ample parking. Just be careful of the red-light camera at the intersection of Governor's Bridge and Crain Hwy (301).
posted by dubious_dude at 2:00 AM on May 8, 2014

The Lebanese Taverna across from the Marriott.
posted by brujita at 2:23 AM on May 8, 2014

Cafe Deluxe, in Bethesda. The food is decent--I wouldn't say out of this world--but if you're looking for casual and family-friendly that's the place. It was always full of families when my husband and I used to go for brunch on the weekends. It's on the main drag, so it may be busy, but there's a huge parking garage (pay with quarters or your cell phone) on the same block so you won't have to circle around looking for spots. If there's not a crazy line going on, you can get cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake afterwards, it's across the street. There's also Cava Mezze Grill on the same block, if you like Mediterranean food. It's a Chipotle-style set up but with Greek food and better decor.

Also, the weather is going to be warm, and that area is pretty walk-friendly, with a couple of courtyards. The kids can run off their energy.

Ooooh, I've heard great things about Founding Farmers. Can't vouch for the kid-friendliness though.
posted by luckyveronica at 6:40 AM on May 8, 2014

Jaleo is Bethesda is my absolute favorite restaurant. You'll prolly need reservations.

Didn't know there was a Founding Farmers in Rockville.

But both of those options can get loud.

Lebanese Tavern might be the quietest of the three.
posted by Neekee at 7:50 AM on May 8, 2014

I've only been to the Founding Farmers in Rockville once (for Sunday brunch), but the acoustics indoors were *incredibly* noisy. Like, my husband and I were pretty miserable and overwhelmed just waiting 15 minutes inside to get an outdoor table. I do not think we could have sat through an entire meal in the downstairs indoor dining area.

My first suggestion is Franklin's in Hyattsville. It should be very simple to navigate to from both directions.

Also, in downtown Silver Spring, Sergio's Ristorante Italiano may or may not be "too fancy", insofar as it is not a super-casual "family Italian" place with bottles of chianti hanging from the rafters. But it's very relaxing and quiet, excellent food, and excellent, accommodating staff.
posted by drlith at 8:12 AM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Parking and traffic a huge negative for Bethesda on a Friday night IMO.
posted by Rash at 8:28 AM on May 8, 2014

Rockville - Founding Farmers, Matchbox. Bethesda - Uncle Julio's Rio Grande, Vapiano, Haven Pizzeria (actually, this might be the winner!). Agreed that Pasta Plus in Laurel is kind of awesome, but the dinner vibe is kind of subdued and quiet. Would also recommend any Lebanese Taverna outpost.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:38 PM on May 8, 2014

...and OMG, if folks are even a TEEEEENY bit adventurous, what about Woo Mi Garden in Wheaton? The tabletop grilling is the *shit*...
posted by ersatzkat at 5:39 PM on May 8, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! As it turned out, the plans fell through anyway, but at least you've given me some great ideas for future dinners out. Founding Farmers, in particular, sounds very much worth the trip.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:55 PM on May 9, 2014

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