Bon Appétit, Washington
Robert Griffith, December 2003
Washington is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with a broad range of restaurants for every taste and pocketbook. For those who are planning their trip in advance or who may have access to a computer after they arrive, we strongly recommend the restaurant guides maintained by The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/eg/section/restaurants/index.html) and The Washingtonian (http://www.washingtonian.com/dining/default.asp). Both guides cross reference restaurants by neighborhood, cuisine, and cost. Neighborhoods near the convention hotels include Woodley Park, Cleveland Park, Adams Morgan, and Dupont Circle, but given the convenience of the Metro few neighborhoods are entirely off limits. This includes most of Washington, D.C., as well as suburban neighborhoods in Bethesda, Maryland, and Alexandria and Arlington, Virginia, among others.
Washington includes many world-class (and expensive!) restaurants where, if your budget allows it, you can have a truly memorable dining experience. If you plan such a meal, we urge you to consult the recommendations of Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema or The Washingtonian's 100 Best Restaurants (see above). However, this article focuses on restaurants near the convention hotel.
Woodley Park (the immediate environs)
One may begin in the busy block directly across from the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, where a variety of restaurants clamor for your trade, including the Lebanese Taverna Restaurant (2641 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-265-8681), a popular, moderately priced, Middle Eastern café, and Medaterra (2614 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-797-0400, Mediterranean), also popular and also Middle Eastern, broadly construed. Next door is Jandara Restaurant (2606 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-387-8876, Thai), moderately priced and a fun atmosphere. Across the street is Petits Plats (2653 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-518-0018), a pleasant, moderately priced French restaurant. Other choices include the Afghan Grill (2309 Calvert Street NW, 202-234-5095); Chipotle (2600 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-299-9111), featuring Tex-Mex fare; and the inexpensive Mr. Chen's Organic Chinese Cuisine (2604 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-797-9668).
Less expensive restaurants in the same area include Mama Ayesha (1967 Calvert St. NW, 202-232-5431, Lebanese); Saigon Gourmet (2635 Connecticut Ave. NW), Taste of India (2621 Connecticut Ave. NW), Thai Flavor (2605 Connecticut Ave. NW); Tono Sushi (2605 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-332-7300, Japanese) and Murphy's of DC (2609 24th St. NW, 202-462-7171, burgers).
Cleveland Park (north on Connecticut)
Heading north on Connecticut past the zoo, one finds a large number of very good restaurants, although some are fairly expensive. The latter are very good, but don't expect your university per diem to cover the tab.
Among our (relatively) moderately priced favorites are Ardeo (3311 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-244-6750, American); Bardeo (3309 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-244-6550, tapas); Indique (3512-14 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-244-6600); Lavandou Restaurant (3321 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-966-3002, French, verging on the more expensive); Yanni's Greek Taverna (3500 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-362-8871) and Palena (3529 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-537-9250, American).
Less expensive choices in Cleveland Park include Sala Thai (3507 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-237-2777); Nam-Viet & Pho-79 (3419 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-237-1015); Spices Asian Restaurant & Sushi Bar (3333-A Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-686-3833) and, for good pizza, Vace Italian Delicatessen (3315 Connecticut Ave NW, 202-363-1999) and 2 Amys (3715 Macomb St. NW, 202-885-5700, Neapolitan pizza).
A short walk east along Calvert, the street that runs between the two hotels, brings you to the heart of Adams Morgan. The neighborhood is a lively and dynamic place with an extraordinarily diverse range of bars and a few good restaurants, including many featuring inexpensive but excellent Ethiopian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American food.
Grill from Ipanema (1858 Columbia Rd. NW, 202-986-0757, Brazilian); La Fourchette (2429 18th St. NW, 202-332-3077, French); The Little Fountain Cafe2339 18th St. NW, 202-462-8100, American); Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant (2434 18th St. NW, 202-462-4100, one of Washington's oldest and best Ethiopian restaurants); Perry's Restaurant & Catering (1811 Columbia Rd. NW, 202-234-6218, American/Japanese); and San Marco (2305 18th St. NW, 202-483-9300, Italian). Cashion's Eat Place (1819 Columbia Rd. NW, 202-797-1819, nouvelle southern) is one of the neighborhood's best restaurants.
Among the many less expensive restaurants in Adams Morgan are Addis Ababa (2106 18th St. NW, 202-232-6092); The Diner (2453 18th St. NW, 202-232-8800, what the name implies); Dukem Ethiopian Market (1114 U St. NW, 202-667-8735); Mixtec (792 Columbia Rd. NW, 202-332-1011, Tex-Mex); and Pasta Mia (1790 Columbia Rd. NW, 202-328-9114, homemade pasta with an extraordinarily long wait).
South on Connecticut, one stop on the Red Line or a brisk walk if weather permits, is Dupont Circle, a lively area packed with more than 100 restaurants and bars.
Among those that are moderately priced (again, by D.C. standards) are Al Tiramisu (2014 P St. NW, 202-467-4466); Bacchus (1827 Jefferson Pl. NW, 202-785-0734, Middle Eastern); Bistrot du Coin (1738 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-234-6969, French); Etrusco1606 20th St. NW, 202-667-0047, Italian); Firefly Restaurant (1310 New Hampshire Ave. NW, 202-861-1310, new American); Gabriel Restaurant (2121 P St. NW, in the Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 202-956-6690, Latin American); Grillfish (1200 New Hampshire Ave. NW, 202-331-7310, seafood); and Johnny's Half Shell (2002 P St. NW, 202-296-2021, seafood). Malaysia Kopitiam (1827 M St. NW, 202-833-6232, pan Asian); Meiwah (1200 New Hampshire Ave., 202-833-2888, Chinese); and The Melting Pot (1220 19th St. NW, 202-857-0777, fondu) are fun and inexpensive. Be treated to waiters singing show tunes at Mimi's (2120 P St. NW, 202-464-6464, bistro fare). One can't go wrong at any of the following: Penang (1837 M St NW, 202-822-8773, Malaysian); Pesce (2016 P St. NW, 202-466-3474, seafood); Raku (1900 Q St. NW, 202-265-7258, Asian); Savino's Cafe and Lounge (1 Dupont Circle, 202-872-1122, Italian); Sushi Taro (1503 17th St. NW, 202-462-8999, Japanese); Thaiphoon (2011 S St. NW, 202-667-3505, Thai); Vivo! (1509 17th St. NW, 202-986-2627, Italian); or Wazuri (1836 18th St. NW, 202-797-4930, African). Nora (2132 Florida Ave. NW, 202-462-5143, organic) and Asia Nora (2213 M St. NW, 202-797-4860, organic Asian) are primarily organic restaurants. Newly opened Dupont Grill (1500 New Hampshire Ave. NW, 202-939-8596, American) has a great atmosphere and moderately priced entrees.
Less expensive restaurants include Annie's Paramount Steak House (1609 17th St. NW, 202-232-0395); Cafe Citron (1343 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-530-8844, Mexican); Cafe Midi Cuisine (1635 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-234-3090, Mediterranean); Caravan Grill (1825 18th St. NW, 202-518-0444, Middle Eastern); Chipotle (Tex-Mex, with two Dupont Circle locations, at 1629 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-387-8261, and at 1837 M St. NW, 202-466-4104); City Lights of China (1731 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-265-6688); Firehook Bakery & Coffee House (1909 Q St NW, 202-588-9296, for breakfast or lunch); Himalayan Grill (1805 18th St. NW, 202-986-5124, Indian); Pizzeria Paradiso (2029 P St. NW, 202-223-1245); and Sala Thai (2016 P St. NW, 202-872-1144). The Brickskeller Saloon (1523 22nd St. NW, 202-293-1885) has a menu of more than 700 beers from around the world.
—Robert Griffith is professor of history at American University and is the chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for the 2004 annual meeting.