Dining in Washington DC
After spending two consecutive weekends in DC, I did my fair share of dining around town.
Let me say that I am not a foodie, by any stretch of the imagination. Although I love food, my travel is really to get out and see the place. In a long weekend, I might make a reservation for one night, but for the rest go by local recommendations, concierge choices, or just wander a certain part of town. I have to say that Washington DC lends itself to reservations even for lunch. People making deals, talking politics, etc. Most of the places we hit could be booked through Open Table. Although, even on my girls trip, we easily squeezed in some places since we were only a party of 2 most of the time.
I hadn’t been to the Georgetown area of DC since my college days, and really wanted to go back. We could Uber over to that part of town and wander around, but other than eat and shop, I wouldn’t have gotten a whole lot else out of it. I had been inspired by other blogs and articles to try out Stray Boots. Its a scavenger hunt walking tour (with a choice of cities) all done with your iPhone. Fill in each clue answer, or take a picture in order to get the next clue and 3 or 4 interesting facts about that particular stop.
As luck would have it, they have a Georgetown version that was only $5 per person. Each tour will tell you the length as well as a range of hours in the day it should be done. The reason for that is you will go into restaurants, parks, and churches to find some clues. Some fun stops included the “Exorcism Steps”(see photo), Singing the Star – Spangled Banner with writer Francis Scott Key himself, and wandering down Wisconsin & M Streets, where you’ll get in the trenches of DC’s Cupcake Wars. We saw historic homes, bars, and restaurants along the way.
That’s how we stumbled onto a Mexican restaurant called Bandolero. Our requirements for lunch were interesting food and a lot of TVs to view World Cup Soccer. They had a lot of TVs in the bar area so Hubby said this was it. Most of the menu items are small plates. Which I loved, so that you could try a little bit of everything. Even with the busy soccer traffic, the service was great. I would definitely visit again.
Another restaurant we visited for lunch in order to watch soccer games on TV was Poste. You feel my pain being married to a soccer fanatic don’t you? Anyway, this gem is actually inside the Hotel Monaco. The indoor restaurant is cozy, but you can go through the bar and out to the courtyard to eat as well. Although we ate in the bar (soccer games, remember?) the food was fantastic. The bartender was super attentive even though the bar was packed for the game. I consider most chicken sandwiches to be about the same. Can you see the thin chicken breast in the photo below? Looks like they pounded it into submission and layered it on my sandwich. The flavors were out of this world. Next time I’m going to insist we sit on the patio, soccer be dammned!
Brasserie Beck was another great lunch spot that I actually hit on my girls trip. It was recommended by a local friend who knew we were going to be in the neighborhood. The casual yet broad menu was really great. The kitchen area was open to the restaurant, and the overall vibe was nice without being pretentious. If you have more than 2 people, I’d try to make a reservation even for lunch.
There are 2 restaurants we had dinner in that are worth mentioning.
Iron Gate is located across the street from the Hotel Topaz where I stayed on my girls trip. The history of the building makes it worth a visit alone. We ate in the enclosed courtyard with overhanging grapevines and century old wisteria. Most of the menu is sourced from a network of local farmers and tries to utilize the food products of the Mid-Atlantic region. Their impressive list of interesting cocktails is nothing to sneeze at either. If you want to experience the dining room, you have to partake of the full tasting menu and reservations are a must. Walk ins (which is what we did) are accepted for the patio and garden that are open (nearly) year round.
Charm is one of the few good things about Lupo Verde. Our table at this rather new restaurant was located upstairs where most of the walls are old exposed brick. I wish I could say great things about the menu. My favorite part was the charcuterie appetizer that utilizes some of their 50 amazing cheese selections. I don’t know if I consider that a culinary success, since no cooking was required. Even I can cut off some pieces of cheese and put them on a plate. It was served on a giant slate slab that was difficult to maneuver around our small table. My fish entree tasted like they had accidentally poured an entire salt shaker on it in the kitchen. In the end, I thought the food was overpriced. It might be a good place to stop for an afternoon cheese sampling and a glass of wine, though.
This post was titled dining in DC. I don’t count the quick service lunch spots we hit along the way. For example, we tried a Shake Shack for the first time this trip, since we don’t have those at home. But I don’t feel I need to mention those in a “dining” post.