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Destination Dining in DC?

pretender414 | Aug 17, 201905:23 AM     20

I'm looking to get some feedback on my D.C. restaurants list. We'll be able to have a family member babysit about 1x per month, so I'm putting together a list of 10-12 restaurants to try over the next two years. Since we'll be trekking in from the suburbs plus the added time of dropping off and picking up our kid (and likely disrupting his sleep schedule), I'm mainly interested in restaurants worth the time investment/memorable meals.

Some background on criteria/our interests: price isn't a factor at this early stage. We don't mind spending money on a meal, but like to leave a place feeling it was "worth it." (Example: Spending $80 on a meal we really enjoyed with good service is better than $50 on a meal we felt was overpriced.) Reservations are a must - we're not at the stage of life where we can wait two hours in line in hopes of getting a seat.

Nearly anything goes as to the type of restaurant. I tend to like classic French / American farm to table types / Italian, and my husband enjoys seafood. (I'm pickier than he is, but don't have problems finding something to order on any menu.) Southern food is a low priority right now, just due to our location over the past few years.

For comparison, our favorite restaurant meals in Vegas were at Twist, Spago, and Carnevino, while we regularly ate at Monta Ramen, Jaleo, Patisserie Manon, and the Cracked Egg. We prefer to avoid places like Joël Rubuchon, where the atmosphere is very, very formal and the waiters whisper (but did love the bread and dessert carts!). We also rarely go to steakhouses, unless they are serving something special, since my husband can cook a pretty tasty steak at home for much less. Drink menus aren't a consideration - at most, we'll have a drink each.

With that, here's my list right now:

- minibar by José Andrés vs. The Inn at Little Washington
- Tour de José (seems like a fun way to hit multiple José Andrés restaurants)
- Convival
- The Dabney
- The Red Hen
- Tail Up Goat
- Kinship
- Elle
- Le Diplomate (Brunch)
- Tabard Inn (Brunch)
- Thip Kao

Bonus places: Unconventional Diner & Rappahannock Oyster Co (both seem ok for kids)

- Would you add or remove any restaurants from this list?
- Where is the one place you wouldn't leave D.C. without trying? (Your favorite?)
- Are any of these restaurants kid-friendly for a reasonably well-behaved pre-schooler eating an early dinner? (My default on this list is "no.")
- Do you have any specific suggestions on what to order? (for the few w/o a rotating menu)

Thanks for your input! :-)

Convivial
The Dabney
The Red Hen
Tail Up Goat
Kinship
Ellē
Unconventional Diner
Rappahannock Oyster Bar (Wharf)
Rappahannock Oyster Bar (Union Market)
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