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Food and Wine Events

Question and Answer

I haven't done a question and answer post in a while because I've been crazy busy. Things are calming down a little now, and hopefully I'll get caught up with my emails, but for those of you that sent me questions that I didn't respond to, I'm sorry.

I need a recommendation, and fast! I'm coming to town April 8th to advance celebrate my friend's wedding. It is my task to find a restaurant for Saturday night, in or around Dupont Circle. The ride-to-be would like some place classy where we can get dressed up and have drinks (in addition to a good meal). I need some place that won't break the bank.

Can you suggest a moderately priced restaurant with great food, a "grown up" atmosphere and a wine and cocktail list? Cuisine can be American, fusion, European... I prefer ethnic, but unfortunately, it's not me that's getting married!

Thanks and best wishes,

Well, If I were going to go out for dinner in Dupont, I would either go to Komi, Al Tiramisu, or 21P. If you've read my web site at all, you already know my opinion of Komi. You'll have a great Italian meal at Al Tiramisu, but it will probably be more expensive than Komi and therefore not as good of a value. 21P is new, and I haven't actually eaten there myself, but I've heard some positive things about it.

If you're party is looking to get some drinks and have a fun night out, I don't feel like Dupont is your best bet. There are plenty of "trendy" places in Dupont, but I don't feel that any of them have a good combination of great food and service. If you're looking for that, your best bet is to go Downtown or to Penn Quarter. Rasika in Penn Quarter will please all of you, as will Ceiba or Acadiana in the Downtown area.

My boyfriend lives in the DC area and I'm coming down this weekend for his birthday.  I'd love to take him out somewhere nice but we're both graduate students and therefore the budget is...well, tight. No other real restrictions though.  Do you have any inexpensive, but classy places that you recommend?  Even something along the lines of a brunch would work.  We love mimosas

Thanks for your help, and keep up the great work with your site and your son!  He is mesmerizing.

All the best,

Brunches in DC aren't very good in my experience and the ones that are good are pretty expensive...

For classy yet reasonably priced you have a few options.
Dino has great food at reasonable prices. Get the lasagnette or cinghiale and ask for a recommendation from the extensive and reasonably priced wine list. Tabard Inn is a smart choice for brunch if you're not looking for one of those $20 all you can eat buffets and it has a talented chef as well. 2 Amys is one of my favorite places to eat in the city, but the atmosphere is loud. Finally,  there's Osteria del Galileo. It's been a while since I've eaten here, but it's very inexpensive and it's in the same restaurant as Galileo, run by world famous chef Roberto Donna (he was and will be on Iron Chef again.) If you go, specify that you want to sit in the Osteria -- it's the area to the right of the bar. The prices at the real Galileo will give you a heart attack if you're looking for reasonably priced fare. The only problem is that the food can be a little hit or miss at times because they rotate what's available on the menu frequently, but most of the time it's very good.

By any chance are you aware of a Costa Rican restaurant in the DC area?

Sadly, there are none in DC. I think that's one of the few ethnic cuisines that we are missing. Anyone out there know of a Costa Rican restaurant that I don't know of?

Help!  Easter Sunday in DC, son is vegetarian (not vegan)...we are from Rochester, NY but get to DC often, but holidays there always stump me. 
Way out there in UpState NY.

First, why are you yelling at me with big bold text? (kidding)

I'm going to toss this one up to readers because vegetarian cuisine isn't my forte, but Viridian and Vegetate come to mind.

Is there any way I could convince you to divulge where I might get
that extra special burger???

Nope. Sorry.



Jason, you should check out 21P before recommending it. I went once and the food was so so and the servers were real novices. One quick example: we waited forever for a final dessert (we ordered 4 for a party of 4) and when the creme brulee arrived - it had no sugar on top. So we sent it back and then it came back bubbling. Apparently they had no blow torch. Plus they didn't even know they were offering a pre-theater menu. I've also heard bad things from others who tried it after me. So I'd say go check it out and i hope your experience is better, but don't recommend it just yet.


Thanks for the heads up KeithA. I've had some friends tell me that they went recently and had good experiences. How long ago did you go? It sounds to me like 21P had a rough opening, but that things are smoothing out for them, but you're right. I haven't been there myself yet.


"Ride-to-be" cracked me up.

Lebanese Taverna and Heritage India are two of my favorite places to go for good vegetarian food. When we had a bunch of family in town for a graduation we went to Lebanese Taverna, which kept the meat-eaters and the vegetarians quite happy.

Brunch: If you're in Virginia, the Carlyle isn't bad for brunch (brioche French toast = yum). I've also heard good things about brunch at The Boulevard Woodgrill, but I haven't tried it myself.


I could HIGHLY recommend the Tabard Inn in Dupont for brunch. I can't think of a nicer spot to dine on a Sunday and for what you get the prices really aren't off the charts. Also, Hank's Oyster Bar had a nice brunch menu....


To the person from upstate NY (whooot!) coming down for Easter, I know that Georgia Browns, B. Smith's, Clydes (in Chevy Chase) and Chef Geoff's have good vegetarian options. Though I'm a pescetarian (I eat fish, but not pork, chicken or beef), most restaurants are pretty acommodating and usually have some sort of Vegetarian option.


Visited Vegetate for the first time last night - after hearing all the hype - and was very impressed. The food was fantastic (my recommendation: get the four sides. Lots of food and it gives you an opportunity to try everything) as was the service. Jenn and Dominic - the owners - came by to see how our meal was, and to chat a bit.

The only downside is that they are having trouble with their liquor license, due to some zoning issues. They do have temporary licenses on the weekends though! Dominic is a DJ and I look forward to going back during the weekend to hear him spin!

If you're looking to go there for Easter - give them a call and see if they're doing a special menu.

NB: I'm not a vegetarian. In fact, I really like meat! But, I was very satisfied with my meal.


To the person looking for semi-trendy cokctails and tasty food in Dupont...

How about Mark and Orlando's? They have great food with a lounge upstairs and a more formal dining spot downstairs. I've had a couple of good meals there.

I've also heard that the new chef over at dupont grille in the Jurys hotel (or whatever it is now) is quite good. I've also enjoyed Sette osteria at Conn. and R. fairly inexpensive and very trendy (IOW, LOUD)


Utopia has good vegetarian food and a nice selection. For brunches, I really like Colorado Kitchen (homemade donuts and great grits) and L'Enfant (on 18th and U) which is a French style place with great crepes and fun decor. Cashions on Columbia Road also has a good brunch, with the prices being much cheaper than their dinner menu.


Thyme Square Cafe in Bethesda is a Vegan Restaurant, with Non-Vegan Items. The food and prices are not bad, but the service is not so great.


I'd take Layalina on Wilson Blvd in Arlington over Lebanese Taverna for vegetarian or for any Syrian/Lebanese cuisine any day. The food is better, the prices are better, and the atmosphere is way better. It's a nice date spot too!

Heather B.

Also, Asia Nora is a good vegetarian restaurant. I've never been but a friend of mine just recommended it to me.


I heard from an Indian friend that Nirvana on K St. has good southern Indian. I can't personally testify, but I imagine that he knows what he's talking about.


I like the lunch buffet at Nirvana, but I haven't been impressed with the dinners I've had there. Most Indian places are going to have plenty of veggie options. I finally tried Indique last week and loved it.

And now it sounds like I have to try Layalina.

Oh, and Cafe Divan also has several good options for vegetarians.


I might also recommend Firefly for the person looking for something in/near Dupont Circle.


RIGHT. Why didn't I think of that??

The Peoples Champ

Good tip on Tabard..not a bad hotel either that is very unique. Thanks for the tip on Osteria , I will have to try that. Galileo I was not impressed with


Cafe Atlantico's weekend "Latino dim sum" (why don't they just call it tapas) has a large number of excellent vegetarian choices.

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