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Any Gems near Crystal City Hyatt?


bonmot
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Coming in for a conference in early April which is held at this hotel. I'm familiar with the Metro, so I don't mind hopping on the Yellow or Blue lines to dine, but I don't want to miss any hidden gems in the area. I prefer the casual hole in the wall with great food to the "be seen" places with mediocre food. I'll be relying on walking,shuttles, metro and taxi to get around-- no rental car.

Last time I came to town, I had a great time and enjoyed Ben's Chili Bowl, El Pollo Rico, and these restaurants in Alexandria - Eammon's Dublin Chippery, 5 guys, Pita House & Mai Thai. If there's nothing close to the hotel in Crystal city, I think I have enough spots left on my list from last time to keep me full (Thai X-ing and Queen Makeda come to mind).

DC, like Chicago is a great place to eat. I'm looking forward to the trip.

Thanks 1MM in advance,

bonmot

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The Crystal City Hyatt is separate from most of the other Crystal City stuff. It's a bit of a walk to the Metro (not ridiculous, but it's 5 -long- blocks). Also, don't believe them when they say the address is on Jefferson Davis Highway, there's no way to get to the Hyatt directly from Jefferson Davis (though I assume the conference people are handling that for you).

As for eating directly in Crystal City, Bebo is an option. Sit at the bar (as table service is erratic at best) and if the pizza oven is running seriously think about ordering pizza. If the pizza oven isn't running I don't know that it's worth eating at.

As far as serviceable places to eat go, I personally like Ted's Montana Grill. It's nothing special, but on nights when I'm staying in Crystal City and am looking around for something to eat, more often than not it wins.

Legal Seafood is also right in Crystal City. It's a chain so there's a chance you've eaten there before somewhere else and thus aren't interested in it. However, it does seafood pretty well so is also an option.

Once you get outside of Crystal City there are plenty of options (and I'm sure someone else will point out something in Crystal City that I forgot). Maybe peruse the Dining Guide to get an idea? It's so broad of a field that I'm having trouble narrowing it down :-)

One place that I would try to get to would be either Ray's the Steaks or Ray's Hell Burger (or both!) in the same little row of shops in between Rosslyn and Courthouse, it has the best steaks (for a decent price) and the best burgers, respectively, in DC.

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jaleo is right next to bebo, on crystal drive. The food at the crystal city location has improved noticeably in the past year or so, and is quite good.
That is interesting to know, I stopped going there a little more than a year ago because it was so frightfully inconsistent, and seemed to be heading towards consistently bad.
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That is interesting to know, I stopped going there a little more than a year ago because it was so frightfully inconsistent, and seemed to be heading towards consistently bad.

i don't know if this matters, but i'm vegetarian, so i've only tried the vegetable dishes, and can't comment upon the non-veg ones.

but the vegetarian options are definitely improved.

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Hi everyone -- I wanted to give a post-trip debriefing on my dining experiences. Thanks so much to everyone for their help in picking some good spots. Here's where we ended up going:

1) Kabab Palace: 2315 S. Eads St. Arlington, VA 22202. This is the one on the back side of the strip mall... not the one facing Jefferson Davis. I had the Lamb Kabab with a side of chickpeas. The meat was really flavorful. Seating was tight, even at 3PM on a Sunday afternoon. Not particularly friendly service or great ambiance, but I'd go back for the food.

Kabab Palace - Lamb Kabab with Chickpeas

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2) Cafe Pizzaiolo: 507 23rd St S, Arlington, VA 22202. Had a nice dinner at this neighborhood pizza joint. The pizza seemed to be in Neapolitan style. I had one of the special pizzas which was topped with flavorful tomatoes and roasted garlic. The gelato was fantastic too. Uber-friendly waitstaff topped-off this positive experience.

3) Matsusake Sushi: 320 23rd Street South #1001Arlington, VA 22202. Escaped from conference food hell and had a good sushi buffet experience. I don't have a great deal of experience with this genre, so I can't make an authoritative pronouncement. Items on the buffet were replenished exceptionally quickly, so you're unlikely to get anything not fresh.

Sushi Buffet selections at Matsusake

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4) Eammon's A Dublin Chipper: 728 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314. Made a return visit here since I was at the Alexandria Whole Foods anyway. This time I had the ray (with the Chesapeake sauce), chips and a fried snickers. Good stuff.

Fried Ray with Chips and a Fried Snickers

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5) Ray's Hell Burger: 1713 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA. I'd call this the culinary pinnacle of my visit. The positive reviews here were not at all unwarranted or embellished. I built my own burger with pepper jack, some sort of green salsa on the side and charred Jalapenos. The patty was cooked Medium as ordered and was exceptionally flavorful and juicy. The cuts they use for the beef really make a difference. I think perhaps it is in competition as the best burger I've ever had without question is in the top 5. I had the cheesy tater tots which were good, though I would have preferred traditional double-fried french fries. This is definitely a place I wouldn't have found without the recommendations here. Thanks a million!

6) Hank's Oyster Bar: 1624 Q St NW, Washington, DC 20009. Very busy for a Tuesday night arrival, but we sat outside. Temps were in the mid 50's so the propane heaters were out in force on the patio. I enjoyed the fried calamari and shrimp appetizer as well as my fried oyster platter. It was a nice meal made even better with the company of an old friend.

7) Sawatdee Thai: 2250 Clarendon Blvd (Courthouse Square) Arlington, VA 22201. A very solid Thai restaurant which does rather better than expected given its pedestrian mall setting. The Papaya Salad (Sam Tam) was tangy and spicy as it should be, and the Panang Curry (with Chicken) was one of the better renditions of this dish that I've tried. Service was attentive and never let my water glass get more than half empty.

8) Bread Line: 1751 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006. I had a Cuban sandwich here for an early lunch. For as hyped as this place is in mainstream circles, I was a little disappointed in the value I received. I will say that the bread on my sandwich was fantastic, but the overall sandwich was about a 6 or 7 out of 10 in my opinion. I'd say if they lowered the prices by about 30% I would have been pleased. The location near the White House probably commands high rents, so I can understand why they'd be unable to make that change.

Breadline - Cuban Sandwich

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9) CF Folks: 1225 19th St NW. Washington, DC 20036. I had an exceptional crab cake sandwich here for lunch. The staff were exceedingly friendly and attentive. I recommend this spot highly. There's not too much seating available, so you might try an off-peak visit. I'll definitely be back.

CF Folks - Crab cake Sandwich

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Overall, it was a very fine food adventure. Thanks to everyone for your assistance and to Don for having such an awesome food board.

Cheers,

Bonmot

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