jrichstar Posted June 10, 2008 Share Posted June 10, 2008 There are a lot of factors that are somewhat unique to the area that I think affect Bethesda as a dining destination. First, there's such a huge number of restaurants in such a small space that it's inevitable that most of them WON'T be great, hence the reputation for mediocrity. Given sky-high rents, it's hard to find "bargains" there - even neighborhood Chinese places have to charge a few bucks more for every dish than they would in Rockville. And, though there is a LOT of money in Potomac/Bethesda, which should support some great restaurants, there is also a lot of silver hair, so early birds and "safe" dishes drive many places. The insane Mont Co wine/beer/liquor sales laws do not help. But, with a few exceptions, Bethesda has very few chains, so at least you're supporting a local business most of the time.One thing that's not deserved is the parking reputation. Except for the south tip of Bethesda at prime time on Fri/Sat, the garages never fill up, which means you're never more than 1-2 blocks from parking. A number of the high-end places have valet parking. And a secret is that the NORTH end of Bethesda garages never fill up, and they have a free shuttle that runs from there to the south end! The only thing that's clearly missing is a "top 10 in the DC area" destination restaurant. We don't have a Komi, Eve, CityZen, Citronelle, etc. Lots of cheap eats a few minutes away in Rockville, and there are many very good moderate-to-expensive places, but nothing top-tier. Maybe that also drives the mediocrity reputation. All in all, I think Bethesda is a far better dining destination than it was 5 years ago, and between Bethesda, Rockville (and RTC), I rarely have to leave Mont Co to find whatever I want to eat, from cheap eats to special occasion. Agree with everything here except the parking. I live in Bethesda and basically refuse to go to the South side on Fri/Sat due to the lack of parking after 6pm in the immediate area. This includes the stacked lot and even the outside pay lot. There's been too many times I've gone into the stacked lot, gone all the way to the top with no spaces found and had to come back down. That whole process can take 30 minutes in itself. If you feel like walking (about 10 minutes), there are stacked lots on the other side of Wisconsin Avenue, near the road that becomes East-West Highway, that have availability even on Fri/Sat. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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