Dining Recommendations for Next Week’s FTU

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If you’ll be coming to Washington, DC for the Frequent Traveler University next week, here are a few dining recommendations (based on my favorites) that may or may not be familiar!

In Crystal City

  • Jaleo — delicious Spanish tapas close to the hotel, good happy hour specials as well.
  • Kabob Palace — haven’t been yet, but heard rave reviews from friends. Open 24/7 and they don’t overcook the chicken.

In the Area (mostly metro accessible)

  • El Pollo Rico — the best Peruvian rotisserie chicken I’ve had in the area, though I usually come for the fries!
  • Tacos El Chilango Al Pastor TacoTaco El Chilango — cheap but delicious fresh tacos. Two locations, a food truck in nearby Rosslyn and a small sit down option near the U Street Metro.  I like them all (except the tongue) and recommend trying the Mixto and Vegetarian.
  • Cheestique — south of the hotel in the charming Del Ray community it offers delicious cheese inspired menu items and affordable wine pairings.
  • Centrale Michel Richard — high end food in a casual atmosphere and decent prices. All of it’s good, but I highly recommend the charcuterie tower and Michel’s fried chicken.
  • Tabard Inn — located right off Dupont Circle, this quirky hotel has a great restaurant. Or just stop by the lounge for appetizers and drinks by the cozy fireplace.
  • Iron Gate — across the street from Tabard Inn, this tiny restaurant has good food and amazing atmosphere. Meals are served in the converted stable stalls or outside underneath 100 year old grape and wisteria vines.

Worth the Drive (in the area, but you’ll need a car)

  • marks duck house shumaiMark’s Duck House — Off 50 in Falls Church, great (and affordable) dim sum available every day for lunch. Dinner is good too — try the BBQ pork or roast duck.
  • Elephant Jumps — just outside the 495 beltway and by far the best Thai food I’ve ever had in the US and a favorite of View from the Wing. Definitely go with whatever the specials of the day are.
  • Bangkok Golden — also right off 50, it has the best Lao food in DC. Just make sure you avoid the Thai menu and buffet and head for the brown Lao menu. I highly recommend the fried watercress special, the Nam Khao crispy rice salad, and any of the Orm stews.
  • Kogiya — outstanding Korean BBQ in Annandale, definitely call ahead for reservations and enjoy the dozen + sides that come with every meal.
  • China Star — excellent authentic Chinese food in Fairfax. Ignore the awful American menu and zero in on the House Specialties. The Scallion Fried Fish is a hit even with folks who hate fish, and the Lamb in Sizzling Pot is amazing.

Looking for something else? Tyler Cowen’s Ethnic Food Guide and the Washington Post Restaurant Guide are usually good places to start.


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  1. Flyer Hound

    December 1, 2014 at 1:34 am

    Awesome Bahn Mi at Nhu Lan Sandwich Shop.
    Eden Center 6763 Wilson Blvd., #14; 703-532-9009.

  2. Dan

    December 1, 2014 at 4:01 am

    THE PARTISAN is new and fun in penn quarter by archives metro (yellow line) — also in penn quarter is splurge worthy FIOLA.

    If you can take venture a bit further and make a switch to the red line, there are lots of nice neighborhood spots in Adams Morgan and in my neighborhood of Cleveland Park. Superbly biased… But we have good cheap Greek food at Byblos, nice pizzas at Vace, two thai restaurants and an excellent restaurant in Ripple, which has amassed it’s share of awards, especially for the wine list…. And you can check out the zoo while you’re up this way.

    Either way, do try to visit DC proper, as much as it may be more convenient to hang out in Arlington. KABOB PALACE is awesome though. Just make sure you go to the one that’s FARTHER from CVS, since there are two within 50 feet that share the same name!

  3. Charles McCool

    December 2, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I live about 20 miles from there but have not tried all those places. Something to look forward to. Thank you.

  4. Juno

    December 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    From FTU, take the Metro’s Yellow line to Archives/Penn Quarter. Right off of US Navy Memorial there is a new awesome restaurant called Plan B Burger…fantastic food. And there is a Jaleo (maybe the original Jaleo) a block up from the station for excellent Tapas.

    Go one more stop on the Yellow line to Gallery Place/Chinatown stop.. and of course you have all the Chinese restaurants. For a quick bite.. I like Luke’s Lobster.. small place with limited seating but awesome Lobster/Shrimp/Crab rolls.

  5. thegrailer

    December 4, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    If you want Lao food and don’t have a car, Chef Seng from Bangkok Golden has a new place in DC – Thip Kao – and it opens this Friday (just in time) http://www.thipkhao.com/ or 3462 14th Street NW for those not wishing to click through — I believe the closest metro stop is Columbia Heights.

    I went to one of the soft opening nights in Nov. and the food was wonderful.


    • Keri Anderson

      December 4, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      I love her Falls Church restaurant and am looking forward to trying Thip Khao. How do you think it compares?

  6. thegrailer

    December 4, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    *Khao (oops)

  7. Pingback: London Flight Taxes to Be Reduced, Flights that Don't Earn Miles, and an Airline Dropping $500mm on Wine! - View from the Wing - View from the Wing

  8. Boraxo

    December 4, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Unfortunately the Crystal City area blows when it comes to good dining options. However I find it curious that you did not mention old town Alexandria, which is fairly close, or the Rosslyn/Ballston corridor which has many options. Fall Church etc is not so easy to navigate for visitors. And I can’t say I would go out of my way to drive to any of those places in Fairfax Co.

  9. thegrailer

    December 6, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    The food is very similar. All very good! One interesting thing at Thip Khao was an at the table papaya salad “thing” – looked good but I stuck to my favorites. 7 Corners seems a bit spicier so make your wishes known in DC.

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