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Dining Near the Kennedy Center


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If you park in the Thompson's Boat House lot at the base of Virginia Avenue you're about ten minutes from any place in Georgetown, on foot. There's very little within ten minutes of the KC otherwise, save Circle Bistro and Notti Bianchi, neither of which I've heard much of lately, but both of which put out some pretty good plates.

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If you park in the Thompson's Boat House lot
Can you get away with that these days? I used to park there when attending KC events long, long ago, but I thought they'd gotten tougher. Anyway, a place not terribly far that I would recommend without hesitation is Kinkead's. More than a ten-minute walk, to be sure. From Thompson's Boat House, La Chaumiere is a short walk, not even ten minutes.
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Can you get away with that these days? I used to park there when attending KC events long, long ago, but I thought they'd gotten tougher. Anyway, a place not terribly far that I would recommend without hesitation is Kinkead's. More than a ten-minute walk, to be sure. From Thompson's Boat House, La Chaumiere is a short walk, not even ten minutes.

They haven't snagged me lately, but there's definitely a calculated risk. I wouldn't park there suring the day, but for evening performances I think it's pretty safe. Although KC parking, at $17, is expensive enough that it encourages gambling.

Kinkaids is a good idea, especially if you want something light, like the raw bar. Also, I believ Marcel's continues to offer a pre-theater menu.

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Also, I believ Marcel's continues to offer a pre-theater menu.

Marcel's is a GREAT option for pre-KC dining. Spectacular food, 4-star service, and only $52 for 3 courses. Valet parking is $8, but it includes a limo ride to/from the KC! And if you arrange in advance, they'll usually let you do the dessert course after the show.

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I had a depressing first and last trip to Rivers today before Wicked at the Kennedy Center. The place feels like a place that's barely treading water and the 30 minutes I was there were largely frustrating. I got a glass or Reisling from Alsace that simply wasn't very good (acidic and thin) and a cheese plate that was tiny for $14 and had clearly been pre-sliced and refrigerated at least all day, if not longer, until it was cemented to the plate and sweaty. To their credit, they comped the cheese, but I couldn't wait to get out of there and get a glass of nice bubbly at the Roof Terrace before the show (which has a good little bar with a great cheese plate, but a pricey one: $30 . . . though it's huge, easily enough for 4). At least the show was excellent, and I highly recommend it.

but in the interim..................where should we eat before the 7:30 show this Thursday night?

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but in the interim..................where should we eat before the 7:30 show this Thursday night?

I would recommend Marcel's, Ris, or the Blue Duck Tavern. All are within walking distance, and Marcel's will drive you there and back. Downside--all of them are expensive. Founding Farmers in the IMF builing is a bit farther but also less expensive.

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but in the interim..................where should we eat before the 7:30 show this Thursday night?

We just eat a couple of sandwiches at the bar at KC. Drinks too. But that is just us. Same bartender for the 10 years or so. He knows us. The sanwiches at those pop up bars on the main level can be surprisingly good. On a nice day it is pleasant to take them outside with a cold gin and tonic.

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Any new thoughts?  Marcel's is too expensive, Notti Bianchi was booked (I assume that's what we should do next time if we plan more in advance) and Ancora is closed for renovation (with the place next door providing pizza and subs).  I made us a reservation at Circa, which looks decent (it's new in Foggy Bottom, but the one in Arlington was decent last time I tried it).  Not expecting a great culinary experience there, but decent is OK when we don't have a lot of other options.  Would love recs for next time.

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Any new thoughts?  Marcel's is too expensive, Notti Bianchi was booked (I assume that's what we should do next time if we plan more in advance) and Ancora is closed for renovation (with the place next door providing pizza and subs).  I made us a reservation at Circa, which looks decent (it's new in Foggy Bottom, but the one in Arlington was decent last time I tried it).  Not expecting a great culinary experience there, but decent is OK when we don't have a lot of other options.  Would love recs for next time.

Well, you could take one for the team and try La Perla (warning: "O Sole Mio" will burst upon you). This place is one block from where I live now (since a month ago) and I'd love it if it's any good. Looking at the menu, I'd say it's sort of what would have been called "fine Italian and Continental dining" once upon a time. Lots of fairly genteel Italian dishes, but also shrimp cocktail, oysters Rockefeller, Caesar salad, and main dishes with a side of pasta.

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Any new thoughts?  Marcel's is too expensive, Notti Bianchi was booked (I assume that's what we should do next time if we plan more in advance) and Ancora is closed for renovation (with the place next door providing pizza and subs).  I made us a reservation at Circa, which looks decent (it's new in Foggy Bottom, but the one in Arlington was decent last time I tried it).  Not expecting a great culinary experience there, but decent is OK when we don't have a lot of other options.  Would love recs for next time.

Bayou on Penn would tempt me more than Circa.

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If you've bought your tickets with some notice so that you can get a reservation, walk the additional two blocks past Washington Circle and go to Rasika West End.  (I have had luck with very early reservations on short notice, or grabbing seats at the bar, so that could also work.)  They've got a 3-course pre-theatre menu before 6:30.  

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Thanks, all!  I think we're stuck with Circa for today (no availability at District Commons and our time is a little tight to walk to Bayou on Penn) but will definitely go to District Commons or Rasika West End next time.

If you want something more casual, the sister of District Commons (Burger Tap Shake) is pretty good and fast prior to hopping on the bus from Foggy Bottom to KC. Little man and I have either dined at BTS or just eaten at Whole Foods. The DC Dosa stand inside the WF looks pretty good, too.

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Bayou on Penn would tempt me more than Circa.

This isn't even a close call.

If you want something more casual, the sister of District Commons (Burger Tap Shake) is pretty good and fast prior to hopping on the bus from Foggy Bottom to KC. Little man and I have either dined at BTS or just eaten at Whole Foods. The DC Dosa stand inside the WF looks pretty good, too.

I don't know how I managed to miss it, but this is the first I've heard of this. Can anyone report?

Likewise.

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I've only been to the Foggy Bottom Whole Foods once, and I disliked it pretty intensely. The store being split across two levels makes it very difficult, at least for me, to find anything. Back in the old days, when there were department stores with multiple floors, there would always be a store directory somewhere near the main entrance; if there is such a thing at the FB WF, I didn't see it. And the parking is, if anything, even more bewildering; finding my way from the garage entrance to the parking area for WF was bad enough, but then finding my way back to my car and then out of the garage was also absurdly challenging. Now, however, I live only a short walk away, so the parking doesn't matter much. Dosas are among my favorite foods, and if the dosa stand is near the street entrance, the layout of the store won't matter much either. Is it?

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I've only been to the Foggy Bottom Whole Foods once, and I disliked it pretty intensely. The store being split across two levels makes it very difficult, at least for me, to find anything. Back in the old days, when there were department stores with multiple floors, there would always be a store directory somewhere near the main entrance; if there is such a thing at the FB WF, I didn't see it. <snip> Dosas are among my favorite foods, and if the dosa stand is near the street entrance, the layout of the store won't matter much either. Is it?

They hid the directory right by the elevator on the lower level, near the baskets. I ALWAYS get lost in there, so I always am at the map. :P

Please do report back on the dosas! It's also hidden, sadly, right next to the sandwich maker, two from the pizza oven. And I think there's this new rule of ordering from the computers instead of at the stand directly. Never a dull moment at that location!

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They hid the directory right by the elevator on the lower level, near the baskets. I ALWAYS get lost in there, so I always am at the map. :P

I probably walked right by it not knowing until later that the store was on two levels (I had no idea) and that I would need a directory. But please don't try to distract me from my resentment and pique.

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I probably walked right by it not knowing until later that the store was on two levels (I had no idea) and that I would need a directory. But please don't try to distract me from my resentment and pique.

I was at the Foggy Bottom Whole Foods this afternoon, the second time I've been there. It's even worse than I remembered. God, what an awful place. The store directory, as pointed out above, is by the elevator on the lower level. The entrance to the store, however, whether you're coming off the street or from the parking garage (its own separate hell) is on the upper level. I would have thought that the directory would be of most use somewhere near where their customers enter the store. So I entered the store, went down to the lower level, where I thought most of what I needed would be, which was true, discovered the directory down there, and noted that coffee, which I needed, was on the upper level. So when I was through on the lower level, I went back up to the upper to find coffee, not realizing that the directory meant that prepared cups of coffee could be found on the upper level. Actual coffee beans were back down on the lower level, where I returned after having made a complete and bootless search of the upper. Great place. I hope to shop anywhere else for the rest of my life.

Oh, and as a special challenging treat for their customers, they cleverly have beer and wine on the lower level, and a whole other set of beer and wine choices on the upper level. Perhaps they might think of putting Fuji apples on the lower level, and Gala apples upstairs, as part of their whaddayacallit, paradigm?

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Has anyone eaten at Beefsteak yet?  Heading to a show at GW tonight with the teen, will probably take him to Burger Tap Shake (since District Commons is booked), but curious about Beefsteak. Though expect it would be much more to my liking than his (he likes Andres places but is more meat-centric than me and only likes some vegetables).

(Edit - really a Foggy Bottom question rather than precisely KC area, but since the whole discussion above was about Foggy Bottom places, it seemed to fit here. Plus I'm taking the above recommendation of BTS.)

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Any recent recommendations for dining CLOSE to the Kennedy Center?

The area around the Kennedy Center is a wasteland. There is no good dining genuinely close.  Have you considered Marcel's pre-theater prix-fixe deal? It's $70 for three courses if you order by 6:30, and it includes car service to and from the Kennedy Center. I've never tried it myself, but you can't get much better dining than Marcel's.

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My wife and I did Rasika West End and walked to the Kennedy Center (only about 15 mins if I remember correctly), but you might need to give yourself some extra cool down time when you get there with tomorrow's forecast temperatures. 

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18 minutes ago, Bart said:

My wife and I did Rasika West End and walked to the Kennedy Center (only about 15 mins if I remember correctly), but you might need to give yourself some extra cool down time when you get there with tomorrow's forecast temperatures. 

Brian Wolken and Tracy O'Grady (Willow) are running the day-to-day ops at Campono Trattoria for the time being. I doubt they'll be there forever, but for now, that's KC's sunshine band.

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On 8/9/2016 at 4:30 PM, DonRocks said:

Brian Wolken and Tracy O'Grady (Willow) are running the day-to-day ops at Campono Trattoria for the time being. I doubt they'll be there forever, but for now, that's KC's sunshine band.

Thank you for the suggestion, DonRocks!  EatRunEat and I thought Campono was the perfect place for the pre-show dinner.  Show time was at 7, so by the time she and I left work and got there we didn't have a whole lot of time to eat.  But it was enough time to get the Atomica pie, Caesar Salad and Deviled Eggs.  The Atomica pie was exactly as I'd hoped it'd be with thin - but not too thin - and crispy crust.  The meats were plentiful on the pie and the peppers offered a welcome kick.  I will definitely go back next time I'm going to the Kennedy center.  

For those who have not gone.  It's a self service restaurant.  You order, get all of your plates, utensils, etc for your table.  They bring out the food and bus the table.  Not a knock on the place at all.  Just came as a surprise based on the pictures I saw on their site.

Thanks again,

Mb 

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Going to see Aladdin on a Sunday in July.  The oldest kid wants to run a race that very same morning 🙄.  The show starts at 1:30.  I'm guessing we can get to Foggy Bottom around 11:30 (so the kid can clean herself up).  I want a good non-eggy brunch.  Thoughts?  Is District Common any good?  Can't do Kingbird (they offer a buffet on Sundays).   

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8 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Going to see Aladdin on a Sunday in July.  The oldest kid wants to run a race that very same morning 🙄.  The show starts at 1:30.  I'm guessing we can get to Foggy Bottom around 11:30 (so the kid can clean herself up).  I want a good non-eggy brunch.  Thoughts?  Is District Common any good?  Can't do Kingbird (they offer a buffet on Sundays).   

Duke's Grocery just opened up in the old Kinkead's space at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave.  I would be inclined to try that over District Common.  Haven't seen the menu posted yet.  It is reported to be more expansive than the Dupont and Woodley Park locations.

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You can always try Campono. We offer discounted parking in our garage and we are literally right across the street from the KC. 

We are fast casual and make most things in-house, including all of our own doughs, breads and pastries. 

We feature authentic Italian wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza, both hot and cold sandwiches and a nice variety of salads.  

Who doesn't like like pizza after a race:)

www.camponodc.com

---

Campono (beachgirl54)

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8 hours ago, saf said:

OK folks - symphony tickets for this season for us begin tomorrow. And Campono has been our go-to for a while. Now what?

Tazza Cafe has set up in the old Campono space.  I have not been but they seem to be following the Campono format with some changes.  You could also visit Victura Park Wine Garden and Café at the REACH on the other side of the Kennedy Center.

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8 hours ago, dcs said:

Tazza Cafe has set up in the old Campono space.  I have not been but they seem to be following the Campono format with some changes.  You could also visit Victura Park Wine Garden and Café at the REACH on the other side of the Kennedy Center.

Thanks - Tazza was the only thing we could think of, but it does not look amazing. (He finds it more appealing than I do.)

Ooooo - I had not heard about the thing in the REACH. 

In the past we have picked up a sub and eaten on the terrace, but the boy wants to try the places down there before the weather gets bad.

It will be one of these. I will report back.

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On 9/29/2021 at 10:07 PM, saf said:

OK folks - symphony tickets for this season for us begin tomorrow. And Campono has been our go-to for a while. Now what?

Say hi next time!

(The Florence Price Symphony #3 was terrific, and needs to become part of the standard 20th century symphonic canon. Plus there’s just something intrinsically riotous about an old white conductor dancing the hambone.)

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On 10/1/2021 at 9:08 AM, DonRocks said:

Say hi next time!

(The Florence Price Symphony #3 was terrific, and needs to become part of the standard 20th century symphonic canon. Plus there’s just something intrinsically riotous about an old white conductor dancing the hambone.)

I will! If I see you. (I'm pretty recognizable - but I am not sure you are! Although, not recognizable from the photo of Mr Kitty I use here!) I believe our next tickets are November 4th. And yes, we very much agree with you about the Price. It was very good, and they did it very well. The boy really likes American music of that era, so it made it him happy.

We ate at Tazza Cafe. It was OK. We may give them another chance, but not for a while. The service was very slow. Polite, but not very efficient at all. And they didn't seem to care. The pizza took half an hour, and was tepid when it arrived. It might have been better hot, but was just OK. There was no gelato - and the line to order was really long, so I probably couldn't have had it if it was there. One person running food. One person taking in-person orders, phone orders, and getting drinks. We were early, and it took 20 minutes to order. I know there are staff shortages everywhere, but... this wouldn't have worked had we been 10 minutes later.

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