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Need some DC dining help for this coming weekend

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Contrary to most dining needs, I am actually looking for style over substance for this weekend. I am treating my wife to a concert/suite at the Park Hyatt and we need a dinner spot. Her tastes are pedestrian compared to most... as such, I am looking for a place high on style and low on the complex, fancy food scale. The hotel is close to Georgetown so something in that area would be ideal. Agraria looks great, but the menu is more limited than I expected. Filomena has the menu, but style/service sounds low. Georgia Brown's sounds great but not in Gtown and perhaps a bit 'older atmosphere. TenPenh and co. will all be impossible to reserve at the time I am looking for.

Suggestions please...
post #2 of 17
Citronelle is reputed to be one of the top restaurants in the city, but unlikely to have any openings for this Saturday night.

I like Mendocino Grille & Wine Bar a lot.

Tony & Joes and Sequoia have nice views of the waterfront, but so-so food. I have heard good things about Sea Catch if you like seafood.
post #3 of 17
I second Mendocino - one of our favorites in the neighborhood. It's a small place with a fairly small menu. Terrific wines and cheeses, as well as, food. Generally organic, I believe. Also consider: Bistro LePic (up Wisconsin, near safeway) -- terrific food, nice atmosphere. It's a small place. More formal downstairs, informal upstairs. I recommend upstairs. Americanized French food. Neyla (N & Wisconsin) - very trendy, flashy crowd. Mid-east cuisine, nice cocktails (mango martini), good food. Agraria is good, but there is a bit of a limited menu. The service was below expectations. It is on the waterfront. I would stay away from Tony & Joes, and Sequoia. I think the food is sub-par at both. Not in Georgetown, but for flash you might consider Blue Duck Tavern. It's near Georgetown (on M across the bridge), and the food is excellent. It's also new and trendy. As A-C says, Citronelle is the creme de la creme of Georgetown. The food is artwork both in presentation and taste. If you're considering branching out of the Georgetown area, there are many nice places. We just tried BlackSalt in the pallisades (5/10 minute drive from Georgetown). It was flashy, and the food (fish, raw bar, etc.) was terrific. It's difficult to get a reservation though, so you should call them asap.
post #4 of 17
Cosign on Citronelle - it has both style and substance. IF you can get in, which is a huge if. I would also think that Fahrenheit at the Ritz meets your criteria, and would be easier to get into on short notice. Asia Nora is much closer to G-town than Ten Penh, and you might be able to wrangle a reservation. Vidalia is also a good option. So is Cashions if you're inclined to stay slightly further. Distance aside, I'm inclined to mention Charlie Palmer, which is very stylish, serves very good, basic dishes, has an unintimidating, all-American wine list, and does not suffer from the limited scope of the average steak house. Great views on the Waterfront, but not great food, and I've had hit or miss service. You should be able to get a reservation at one of these places for a decent time, though you may need to call several, since most will be booked.
post #5 of 17
BigBadBuff suggested the place I would direct you to: Black Salt in the Pallisades. Also in that neighborhood is Makoto -- great Japanese tasting menu, intimate space. Went there with the wife for our anniversary.

Up Wisconsin Avenue a bit is Cafe Divan -- ok food, questionable service, but a great use of an odd triangluar space and street views of the neighborhood.

There's the restaurant at the Ritz-Carleton on Church Street (between Wisc. Ave and 31st Street. Degrees is the bar, can't think of the restaurant's name). Brilliant reuse of the old Georgetown power station -- one of the conference rooms is in the old smoke stack. Valentine's Day last year.
post #6 of 17
i just went back to agraria for the second time. yes limited menu, but if your wife has "pedestrian" tastes then it is simple, but good food. service was decent both times i went. neyla is a good option. if you want sushi, sushi-ko on wisconsin is good. and i've heard good things about sushi taro and another place, who's name escapes me mato something or other.

i was less than impressed with vidalia recently (used to be one of my favorite spots). georgia browns is also an option for "southern" food.

filomena is low key, but good food.
post #7 of 17
Cafe Milano is in Georgetown and has long been the place to spot the serious players, just as Citronelle by convention has the best food in the city. You might get something for this weekend if you call now. I've never actually eaten there (I am most decidedly not a serious player), but the ambience looks nice from the outside. It's the biggest wow factor place I can think of in DC. Another place I have not been that is getting rave reviews is CityZen at the Mandarin Oriental. You might be wasting your money if she's not huge on good food.

Mendocino and the sushi places mentioned are great, but not real big on the wow factor (maybe Taro--I've never been there and hear it's outstanding). Blue Duck is visually stunning. Cashion's is my favorite restaurant in DC, but I don't know that I'd call it stylish. More of a comfy, richish air. Vidalia is underground and the service sometimes indifferent. Don't go to Sequoia. If you want something with more of an urban hipster, soho feel, Tabaq on U Street has a great view of the city and is close to a lot of decent bars. If that's your style, I can probably think of other, simiar places. TenPenh is a good bet for that.
post #8 of 17
In Georgetown and high on style, low on fancy food index.... That's a tough one.

Citronelle, in the Latham Hotel on M Street in Gtown, is high on style but is very high on the fancy food index. A truly superb experience. Super wine list and sommelier.

Mendocino is a good choice. Stylish, but somewhat low key. Expensive wine list.

Black Salt is fantastic too. A seafood place on MacArthur Blvd. in the Palisades. Too far to walk from Gtown, but a 10 minute cab ride at most. It's my neighborhood restaurant, so I'm biased, but I think it's the best place in the city next to Citronelle.

Le Chaumier is a fantastic little French place across from the Four Seasons at the west end of Gtown on M Street. I'd say it is medium on style (classic French, fireplace, cozy) but also medium on the fancy food index (excellent food, but no wild menu descriptions). Not cheap though.

For the best pizza in the city, go to Pizza Paradiso on the east end of M street, around M and 33rd.

I haven't been to Filomena for years, but it's still open, so it must be doing something right.

Cafe Milano is known much more for its scene than its food. Service can be mixed; best on weeknights unless you're a celebrity or a congressman.

Wait a minute -- what about 1789? It's on 36th or 37th street, btw N and Prospect, 2 blocks from the Georgetown University restaurant. It's similar to Le Chaumier in style/food. "Understated high-end" patrons. Another good option. Not cheap either.

Good luck.
post #9 of 17
I'll second Charlie Palmer. I went there a few months back and was impressed.
post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by kabert
Wait a minute -- what about 1789?

1789 sounds perfect. Impressive space, good food with lots of options for the unadventurous. I can't believe that none of us (myself included) thought of it.

NB: they enforce the jacket requirement for men.
post #11 of 17
Originally Posted by wpeters
1789 sounds perfect. Impressive space, good food with lots of options for the unadventurous. I can't believe that none of us (myself included) thought of it.

I guess I think of it as being in Citronelle's "not worth it if you won't treasure the food" category. And being another place that I one day will be able to afford.
post #12 of 17
It was between 1789 and Citronelle for a celebratory meal on Monday night.. we chose Citronelle - hopefully, it was a wise choice.

We enjoyed Maestro but were not overly impressed.. then again, that night the chef was on a serious fennel kick and it just became too much about 3 courses in.
post #13 of 17
In addition to what others have suggested, I would also add Komi to the list at 17th and P. Although, it may be difficult to get a table on such short notice.
post #14 of 17
Kaz Sushi Bistro http://www.kazsushibistro.com/ 1915 eye st. n.w.

or Dragonfly http://www.dragonflysushibar.com/ 1215 Connecticut Ave NW
post #15 of 17
id say citronelle or cafe milano in gtown
i dont think neyla is all that great for the food, you can get some of the same stuff at moby dick and tastes a hell of a lot better
but i agraria isnt all too great, neither is any resteraunt at the water front, they all kinda suck esp nicks and im not a big fan of tony and joes
but if you wanna go some where else other then gtown

acadiana in dc is really good
and kinkeads in foggy bottoms pretty good too

also maybe peacock cafe in gtown...i dont really like it but some people do
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