The Hill Street Café is a diner in an office park that perfectly serves out its mission. The food was homey, cheap, and filling, and we had some of the best service I’ve ever had in a dining establishment. Our server was an older woman who knew exactly how to charm and disarm, make knowledgeable suggestions about and tweaks to the menu offerings, remember each order perfectly, and make change effortlessly at the table for each individual place setting. All without ever consulting the menu or a notepad! I had a monstrous sausage avocado eggs benedict with excellent side potatoes for lunch and it was rich and wonderful, though I felt grossly full afterwards (not their fault; I shouldn’t have finished it). It is an excellent place to grab lunch with picky coworkers when you want to bypass a chain restaurant.
Though we didn’t get to it on this past trip, Tipps Thai Restaurant is an adequate little Thai place with wonderful, smiling service. I’ve eaten there for several business trips, and I wouldn’t mind going back, though I don’t make it a priority. If I recall, the rice noodles are the rehydrated kind, the curries are a little watery, and they don’t serve Chinese, but American-style broccoli in its dishes. The soups are good, though, overall the food is not too sweet, and the restaurant is pretty and very relaxing. Hard to say what its equivalent restaurant would be around here, as I can’t really think of any pretty dining rooms, but the food is probably on par with one of the Sala or Tara Thais and the service is like your favorite mom-n-pop.
Café Fiore is a surprisingly great Italian restaurant! I didn’t know what to expect, but I suddenly found myself back on Long Island, amidst a hearty, humming dining room full of laughing, loud people. We had an excellent round of very fresh, colorful salads; the best were my burrata and the one dressed with grapefruit. The entrees were weirdly priced - my risotto, which came with a full portion of sliced lamb, was quite large, and priced about the same as the entrée pastas without meat. Mine was the best, though my dining companions were pleased with their dishes. I thought the squash ravioli were too sweet, but the owner gobbled them up, so had no complaints. Also, the salads were more expensive, being priced in the low-mid teens, while the pastas were only a bit more, in the high teens/low twenties. The portions were generous and we were too full for dessert. Overall the food was quite good, but what struck me most about the dining room was the energy and general feeling of congeniality. There seemed to be a lot of regulars in the crowd and the GM/owners were out working the room on a weeknight. The closest equivalent to a restaurant here in DC (take this with a big grain of salt, as I usually don’t seek out Italian food besides going to Tosca) might be Dolce Vita, with solid food (the food at Fiore was better) and a convivial atmosphere.
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