Need recommendations for 4 evenings and an afternoon in Washington DC
October 23, 2017 3:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm in Washington DC for a conference, staying near the national portrait gallery. Conference talks end at 5-6 but would like to make the most of the evenings. I also have an afternoon: I will see all the usual political landmarks and museums but interested in finding: 1. Cheap to mid-scale dining options, in particular hole in the wall korean/vietnamese thai places. Previous threads have mentioned that ethiopian food is a specialty - any others or specific recomendations? 2. Vintage/kitchenware shops? 3. Fun walks that I could do after 5pm when the conferences lets out?
posted by cacofonie to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Thai: Thaitanic on 14th street in Logan Circle
Vietnamese: Pho 14 in Columbia Heights
Ethiopian: Zenebech Injera in Adams Morgan
Kitchenware shop: Hill's Kitchen on Capitol Hill (Bonus: Labyrinth is nearby if games are your kind of thing)
posted by General Malaise at 3:30 PM on October 23, 2017

DC is... not super great for vintage shops, although if you're willing to make the trek to Hyattsville I'm doing a vintage pop-up right now! Most of the stores here don't really have much older vintage-- lots of 70s-90s. If you want older stuff, within DC proper there's Meeps and Mercedes Bien, for gorgeous antique jewelry there's Legendary Beast, and I think the Femme Fatale pop-up is open.
posted by nonasuch at 3:44 PM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

The best Korean and Thai restaurants are out in the burbs, like Lighthouse Tofu out in seven corners (VA) or Nava Thai in Wheaton (MD). This is sadly also where to go for most of the good thrift/vintage shops in the area, although Meeps is def. worth a visit.

For Ethiopian I've always been partial to Dukem on U st. (lots of vegetarian options), although for my money the best spot in the area is Addis Ababa up in Silver Spring (MD).

Not "authentic," but Little Serow in Dupont is another excellent Thai place with a prix fixe menu. No reservations, but if you're solo just line up and you shouldn't have trouble getting a spot.

In terms of walks, it sorta depends how far you want to go and how adventurous you're feeling. If you like beer, you could do worse than to pop down to Navy Yard, peek at Nationals Stadium, explore Yards park, then wander over to Bluejacket for a few beers.

A classic is to walk up Georgetown waterfront park and then over to the Exorcist stairs.

Congressional cemetery is also pretty cool, but they close at dusk.

The US Botanical Garden is an oft-overlooked gem.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:07 PM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

If your location is correct, you may also be interested in Afghan Grill near Woodley Park station, perhaps Salvadoran food, and southern and soul food (my pick is Oohs and Aahs near U Street metro, but that's old and is a serious hole in the wall). I can second Dukem for Ethiopian.

The transit isn't bad; in addition to the metro, familiarize yourself with the circulator bus system which is only a buck and goes to most of the more touristically interesting districts; a walk in the embassy area west of Dupont Circle has a lot of architecture spotting potential, and the greater Dupont area has tons of food/entertainment options.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 5:22 PM on October 23, 2017

Instead of Thai Tanic on 14th Street, go upstairs to Baan Thai - Thai Street food, delicious, well-reviewed, friendly, inexpensive.
posted by marguerite at 5:45 PM on October 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

You can also get great Ethiopian at Queen of Sheba, 9th and P Streets NW.
posted by marguerite at 5:47 PM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, there’s not really Korean/Vietnamese hole in the wall places in DC. If you’re visiting the Capitol, it’s not too far a way to Chiko in Capital Hill—which has yummy Korean wings/fusion food and is also near Eastern Market.

During lunchtime, a line of food trucks are right in front of the Portait Gallery. Sometimes there’s a good pho/banh mi truck there. Also Jose Andreas has his sandwich truck there on occasion.

Asian food in that area include Reren (handmade dumplings) and Daikaya (upstairs has a fun happy hour with good cocktails and Japanese fusion bar food). Mandu is in the area if you’re craving Korean. Compass coffee and dangerously delicious pie are also local and in the area.

Evening strolls around the Mall are nice, just walk south on 7th. Newseum is also nearby and one of my fav museums. Hill Country bbq does a fun live band karaoke.
posted by inevitability at 6:45 PM on October 23, 2017

Baan Thai on 14th is supposed to be really good. Rice, which has the tastiest Vietnamese inspired Brussels sprout dish in the city, is also over on 14th near U Street. Both are walking distance to Little Miss Pixie's which is pretty much the only vintage store I can think of in downtown D.C.

There's also a super cute non-vintage home goods kitchen store on 14th called Home Rule.
posted by forkisbetter at 7:59 PM on October 23, 2017


DC is not the best for delicious holes in the wall until you get to the suburbs. It's not in a category that you are asking for, but I'd go to Bub and Pop's for a truly amazing sandwich at some point. Sundevich and Smoked & Stacked also.

For Thai, I've heard good things about Baan Thai and Thai X-ing and can personally vouch for Little Serow being delicious. Momofuku CCDC is also near the conference center and can bring in Korean flavors well, if not remotely aiming for authenticity. Seconding Zenebach Injera.

You also might want to poke around this guide for cheap eats, which gives a pretty good lay of the land.
posted by Schismatic at 8:36 PM on October 23, 2017

Ababa Restaurant in Adams Morgan is a place I tend to hit up whenever I'm in town. There's also Amsterdam Falafelshop on that street, which is cheap, open late, and mega-tasty. Plus: who doesn't love frites and falafel?

Some of my favorite evening spots are Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle (late night bookstore/cafe) and the Black Cat on 14th NW. Have fun!
posted by helloimjennsco at 6:00 AM on October 24, 2017

If you're interested in Chinese, you'll be just a few blocks from Chinatown. It's basically gone, but there are still a few decent places. Try New Big Wong or the shrimp dumpling soup or casseroles at Full Kee.

DC's Cultural Tourism has put together a few dozen "neighborhood heritage" walking trails, each with a series of signs about the history of the neighborhood, often including historic photos of the spot you're standing on. You'll be close to the downtown, Federal Triangle, Logan, Shaw, and U Street, and many of the rest are a 10 minute drive or Metro ride away.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:10 AM on October 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thirding Baan Thai. Also try Thip Khao for Laotian. And if you have time to wait in line, hie thee to Bad Saint, which is Filipino and not one of the cuisines you mentioned, but just go already.

For a fun walk: the Mall is nice in the evening and less crowded than it is during the day, but it is 2.5 miles from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol, so allow at least an hour and a half if you plan to walk the whole length at once and stop to look at anything at all on the way.

Rock Creek Park has some paved paths and some unpaved trails if you have the time. I believe there's officially a curfew after dark (in the Park, that is, not for all of DC) but even so I see runners along the parkway every evening. And lots of people run or stroll through the Zoo.
posted by fedward at 8:07 AM on October 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh also, the other thing to get at Reren (aside from the dumplings) is the lamen (hand-pulled noodles, a Chinese precursor to ramen). And there are different hand-pulled noodles at Chinatown Express.
posted by fedward at 8:08 AM on October 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

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