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TO to DC - new/best for foode tourist? 3 days in summer

LemonLauren | May 23, 2012 06:14 AM

Hi DC Hounds,
I've spent a few days reading the content of the boards here and am not exactly finding what I'm looking for so thought I'd start a new thread to get the best answers.

I am visiting in August (admittedly down the road a bit) and am looking for a few tips.
WHERE: We are staying at the Donovan Hotel which I gather is "downtown", not far from "the Mall" (please tell me if there's a better way to characterize this neighbourhood). We are willing to take public transit far and wide for the best food, especially if there's other things to do (places to drink before/after meals) in the areas we might be travelling to.
WHAT: We have no dietary restrictions but I prefer veggies and seafood and my husband prefers pork or beef. Not too crazy for all-out-offal but we have dined at Incanto in San Francisco and Publican in Chicago and enjoyed them both. We love all varieties of ethnic cuisine but coming from Toronto have had our fill of good pan-Asian. Love traditional Italian but it has to have some non-pasta options. My favourite meals recently have been at ABC Kitchen in NYC, for reference. Husband loves microbrew/craft beers and I love good wine and wines-by-the-glass selections.
WHO: We are in our late 20s/early 30s, and like to dine and hang out all kinds of people. Don't mind trendy spots, love being somewhere that feels busy and buzzing, but don't like to dine among DBsm, of course. Good service is tantamount.
HOW MUCH: In terms of budget, we can do one or two dinners up around $100/pp with tax/tip/1 or 2 drinks, and are also looking for maybe one or two more affordable choices up to $50/pp. Also lunches in that range.

Wanting your tips for:

1. Food Explorations - i am a huge food-explorer-traveller, and love neighbourhoods where I can stroll and explore food shops, small tastes, coffee shops, bars, etc (in the last year, these have included Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Wicker Park in Chicago). Hipster neighbourhoods are okay, clearly, but I'm looking for interesting wandering neighbourhoods, happy to travel off the beaten path.

2. Dinner - as per above, looking for the newest, best food in the area, as well as old standards that are can't-miss.

3. Drinks - places near our hotel or near landmarks or near dinner destinations, where we can have afternoon-happy hour-post-dinner drinks, again the emphasis on local/craft beer and/or great wines-by-the-glass. Snacks optional but welcome as well.

Anything else you'd want us to know, about food culture in DC in general, please let me know.
Thanks in advance, so much!

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