I am no critic, I do not belong to Zagat nor do I claim to have any special taste buds extraordinaire. But as an avid foodie, bent on exploring international cuisines in the DC region I present to you what’s yum and what’s not.
Washington DC has for sure, a lot to offer to tickle taste buds of someone who has limited meat eating abilities, not necessarily finicky but certainly limited. Speaking from the perspective of someone who grew up in middle class cosmopolitan India, there was absolutely zero exposures to anything outside the traditional north Indian cuisines. Well may be Indian version of Chinese may have crept in towards the mid 80s. That’s about it. So with that as the backdrop, I am freely experimenting anything that DC has on offer. Indian food or curry houses are dime a dozen and have spawned across the region and even sordid looking places which actually could be sorry excuses for food are seen around the several strip malls in the area.
Indians as stereotypical as they may be lend credibility to this word. The only “eating out” is getting all excited at the sight of an Indian restaurant and of course when the weekend buffets are on offer, the trails of saliva have been known to resemble a Mumbai monsoons.
Getting out of the box and willing to venture out takes some doing, a bit of daredevilry accompanied by some adventure. Having done this for over 12 years now, I am going to stick my neck out and offer my opinions. Opinions as they they say is free but my only underlying message to people who have not been too exposed to some rather exotic cuisine is “just try it”. It may not turn on your palate but the trip and ambience are most certainly worth the efforts. And eating at the food courts do not count.
Italian- Maggiano’s, Chevy Chase- Awesome ambience, great wines and great value for your $$
Thai- Mai Thai, Georgetown- Great variety of dishes for the veggies too, with that warm Saki to wash it all down
Indian- Rasika, Westend (Dupont circle)- You need to plan for this, you have to book weeks in advance if you want to get in for prime time dinner slot. A little on the expensive side but this place blows me away all the time
Ethiopian- Try Das, M St, Georgetown- Its not too dissimilar to some version of Indian grub. Spicy for sure and the townhome settings makes it for an amazing experience.
Turkish- Zaytinya, 9th St NW, DC- Small portions, great wine selections and some super mouth watering appies and entrees. Its a lively place and brings cheer to the inner self. Still have to book a few weeks in advance to get in at a decent hour.
Peruvian- The spice levels of the food at the Cochina is a place for a special occasion.Not too much for the veggies though.Bit pricy, I suppose.
Asian fusion- Banana Leaf, Florida Ave- A nice informal townhome setting, the array of choices from a fusion cuisine of Malay, Indonesian, Thai and Japanese is an absolute must for the curry munchers or the not not so curry inclined too.
Now if you were to decide to go for a mean steak or lobsters, your options grow exponentially.