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What's In Your Rotation?

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Reading the DR.com database debate made me think. I too am guilty of frequenting the same places, reluctant to try new ones unless they've been favorably reviewed or mentioned by someone I trust. I don't have unlimited money, and hate wasting it on a bad meal. So it got me thinking-- what's in my rotation? What are my tried and true, "go-to," reliable places? For much, such a place would have to be relatively affordable and not terribly "stuffy" or formal. In no particular order:

1. Bar at Palena
2. 2 Amys
3. Kotobuki
4. Colorado Kitchen
5. Indique/Indique Heights
6. Thai Square (before I temporarily gave up Thai food after I was in a car accident there)
7. Hank's Oyster Bar
8. Viridian
9. Majestic Cafe (one of my go-to places for out-of-town guests: not too adventurous, not too expensive, not too "hip")
10. Sushi Ko (so excited one is opening at Friendship Heights)

Places that have dropped off the rotation:
1. Costa Verde (too far)
2. Spices (don't live within walking distance anymore)
3. Cafe Atlantico (inconsistent, menu hasn't changed)

Places that would be in my rotation if I had unlimited funds:
1. Notti Bianche
2. Komi

What's in your "rotation?"

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Capitol Lounge (Footie, beer and bar food)

Sizzler Express (Turkey club sandwich on Fridays for lunch)

Galileo Grill

Pacific Cafe (vietnamese take out on the weekends)





basically I spend way too much time at the Cap Lounge :unsure:

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Fine, I'll stop being a jerk! As an act of goodwill, I'll even post my rotation, which, on reflection and including places I go for lunch, coffee, or purely drinking purposes, I kind of have:

Birreria Paradiso


Corduroy (three or four times a week, depending)


M.E. Swing Coffee Roasters

Juan Valdez Cafe

Charlie Chiang's

Kaz Sushi Bistro

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I don’t “rotate” as much as I used to, but here goes:

Palena (usually the front, occasionally the back)

2 Amys (I wish this was closer)

Stella’s (near work, decent burger, mostly watering hole)

Matchbox (if I can get a spot at the bar)

Sonoma (though I’m tiring of the shit service lately)

Tosca (wife digs her pasta)

Circle Bistro (I’m gonna try to get here once a month)

Bistro D’Oc (before or after a flick at the E St)

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Oh what the heck...

Majestic Cafe (often)

Restaurant Eve (Tasting Room now and then more often for the Bistro)


Yamazato for the sushi

Han Sung Oak/Gom Ba Woo for Korean (naturally)

Super H (one great food court there)

RT''s (N'awlins food!)

RTS (Michael!)


Notte Bianchi

Hmm, just noticed the lack of DC restaurants...with the exception of Dino and NB...

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for better or worse, these are the places that I currently frequent most:

Corduroy (ok, really, my list should just end here, but what the heck)

Juice Joint (on Vermont)

Pizzaria Paradiso

Subway (it is what it is)

Bar at Citronelle



Ella's (to bring the dog to the patio)


Cantina Marina (great view and good drinks)

Le Bar (for drinks)

Old Ebbitt


Salad Bar at Whole Foods


Indian Museum cafeteria

Rice (delivery)

Bobby Van's (unfortunately, but I would have to say I go enough that it should be listed)

Places that I have been recently that I want to add to the rotation:


Ching Ching Cha

Al Crostino

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My rotation is all places in Rockville, which have the virtue of being 5-10 minutes from my house (and kid-friendly). Now that I'll be working downtown, I hope to have a new rotation.

Amici Miei

Pho 75

China Bistro

Tony Lin's

Joe's Noodle

Bob's Noodle

Yekta Kabobi

Tower Oaks Lodge


Popeye's :unsure:

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Sea Catch (for top-neck clams)

Legal Sea Foods (cherrystones)

Joe's Noodle House (H-20, etc.)

Ray's the Steaks (chateaubriand, etc.)

Wagshall's Café (dog friendly) (Reuben)

Black Salt (chowder)

Chen's Gourmet (h&s soup, bbq pork)

Oak Tower Lodge (Clyde's)

Mark's Duck House (soup & dim sum)

Rice 'n Noodles (gyoza soup)

off the list:

Confucius Café (closed)

TemptAsian (xChang)

China Gourmet (ditto)

under investigation:

new French place at Sangamore Mall

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I don't have a rotation, other than what I've been known to do with my hips occasionally, but here we are:


Bistro Bis


Lomita II





Bistro Bis



Bistro Bis


Lomita II


I know, I'm hopelessly provincial. Have pity.

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Lunch rotation (Rockville)-

Pho 75


Joe's Noodle

Carribean Feast


Wing Stop

Safeway (Grecian Delight sandwich or the salad bar)

Peanut friendly rotation (SS)

el Golfo

Thai Derm


mi Rancho

sans Peanut rotation (aka jail break night)--






Happy hour at Firefly


and perhaps soon?????

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My "wish list" is VERY different from my "actual" heavy rotation list, which is:


Faccia Luna


Legal on K (business lunches out of my power)

Kramerbooks Cafe

Cafe Asia


Bistro Francais


Daily Grille (I'm sorry)

Russia House (cocktails and perogis and extremely bad behavior)

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Actually, since I live in Maryland near Olney my rotation tends to be out here. Places I go regularly

Manniquin Pis (Belgian)

El Napalito (Mexican)

House of Gyro (for Greek carry out)

Grand'Ma's Cookin (Jamacian carryout)

Bella Nolte (Italian)

Taste of Saigon (Vietnamese)

Joe's Noodle House (Chinese)

Seven Seas (Chinese)

Chef Theo's (Greek)

Out of the Way Cafe (to get a steak near home)

Hinode (Sushi)

Ruan Thai (duh)

Amana Thai (duh again)

Pumpernickles (Jewish deli/diner)

Urban BBQ

Bombay Bistro (Indian)

Ricutti's (Italian and wood fired pizza)

In DC I regularly go to


Palena (back room, I've never eaten in the front)


Firehook (for latte and treats near work)



Bistro Bis (lunch)

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In descending order of approximate total visits:

La Fourchette (my dependable standby)

Mark's Duck House (not nearly as often as when I worked nearby)

Miu Kee (ditto, and an often overlooked excellent Cantonese place)

Le Bistro Français (usually for brunch)

Kinkead's (for lunch mostly)

Corduroy (not often enough)

Palena (ditto)

Marcel's (can't afford to go often enough)

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cashion's - dinner at the bar

capitol grille - dinner at the bar but only on sunday and monday nights

charlie palmers - late lunch on monday's at the bar

aroma (with carryout sushi from spices) - sunday and monday nights only

bistro du coin - when desperate for food after most kitchen's have closed

regent thai - solid thai in my hood, good first date spot - not that i know anything about that

need to get there more often but for my crazy work life




mendocino grille

circle bistro

damn why do they have to be on the wrong side of a river:


restaurant eve - either room


the thought just occured to me that this thread could be extremely useful to stalkers :unsure:

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The list as I can think of it at the moment:



Greek Deli

Capital BBQ (when I have time to get there)

Chipotle (it is what it is)

Galileo Grill (just started going but i can already tell)

Beer only:

Bedrock Billiards (love.this.bar)


Black Cat

Big Hunt

The Raven

Food only:

Tacos Pepitos II

Old Ebbitt (oyster happy hour)

Dinner + Beer:

Cafe St. Ex

Kramerbooks & Afterwords


to clarify, places marked "beer only" or "food only" may also have the other, but I generally don't get them there. old ebbitt is much better at food than they are at beer, and RFD is much bettter at beer than they are at food.

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Adding my faves... please don't flame me... I live AND work in Virginia, so don't get to D.C. as often as I would like:


Pizza Paradiso (Georgetown location)

Rosa Mexicano (for guac and margaritas only)

Tabard Inn (brunch - it's all about the donuts)

2 Amy's

Busboys & Poets



Moby Dicks House of Kabob

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Aside from the obvious one that I eat at 5-6-7 or more times a week...

WoooMi Gardens in Wheaton (probably not as earthy and intense as Gom Ba Woo but way the heck closer!)

Sergio's Place in Wheaton

Joe's Noodle House

Green Field BBQ

China Town Express (on the way to the KC or Signature theater)


Tako Grill

Vace (take out Pizza by the slice)

Full Key (WHeaton)

Hollywood East on the Boulevard

and the nimber one place I eat at....

Bybylos in Cleveland Park!

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Restaurant Eve--esp. lunch at the bar

Maestro (more often than I care to admit)

Caribou Coffee (Kings Park)

Chinatown Carryout (Burke Village)

San Vito (Kings Park)

Pho Cyclo (Merrifield)

Cafe Right Angle (in the Dewberry building on Arlington Blvd.)

North China Cafe--for delivery sushi (Fairfield Park)

Bangkok 54

Taqueria del Poblano

Bombay Curry Company

Taco Bell


I have to get out more!

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[ Palena: 7-Eleven. Palena: Exxon. . Ray's bar: bp. Mihn's: CVS. Pho 75: Dry Cleaners. Corduroy: McDonald's. Murky Coffee: Greenberries. Taqueria Poblano: Whole Tools. Guajillo: Gua-rapo. Smoothie King: Boobie Queen. Farm Market: Starbucks. IOTA: Sports Club LA. ;) ]

[Here's Don: Citronelle, 7-Eleven. McDonald's. Starbucks. : Citronelle, 7-Eleven. McDonald's. Starbucks. : Citronelle, 7-Eleven. McDonald's. Starbucks. Eve, Exxon, 7-Eleven] :unsure:

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Lunch rotation:

Ruan Thai (Wheaton)

Woomi Garden (Wheaton, for the buffet)

Hollywood East (Wheaton)

La Bamba (Silver Spring)

Mandalay (Silver Spring)

Samantha's (Silver Spring)

Woodlands (Langley Park)

Pho 75 (Rockville)

Bombay Bistro (Rockville)

Chipotle/Baha Fresh/Popeye's--when I'm in a hurry.

Super Chicken (Wheaton--sometimes for dinner, too.)

Dinner rotation:


Passage to India



Two Amys

Heritage India

Ruan Thai

Urban BBQ--always carryout, on the way home from work.

My lunch rotation is larger and more varied, as I eat out almost every day. The sleeper is La Bamba, a Guatemalan place near the intersection of Thayer and Georgia, in Silver Spring. I absolutely love the place, though it'll never make anyone's list of great restaurants. Cheap eats--nothing on the menu over $10--and always good. I especially like their carne guisada and the picante de pollo.

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I'll post my spots even though I am being stalked:

Corduroy (big freakin surprise)


Colorado Kitchen



Etete (I am addicted to the zilzil tibs, which is the beef with onions, garlic and jalapenos)

Firefly and Notti Bianche (dr.com HH)

Working into the rotation:


Agraria (i like the space and the drinks and it's about time i try the burger. yes, i am aware that agraria is west of 25th street)

Ray's (when ray's hits silver spring, i'll be in big trouble.)

Clyde's to go on 7th (for the salmon salad)

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Like anyone needs a reminder.

Gluttony and indulgence: Komi

Monday night: Palena

Sushi: SushiKo or Kotobuki

Anytime, anywhere: BdC

Fab pasta at bar: Tosca

Dreams that rarely come true: Eve

Chocolate fix: Corduroy

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Passage to India, Jaleo (Bethesda), Raku (Bethesda), Chicken on the Run, Booeymonger, A&J, Tabard Inn (brunch), Logan Tavern (brunch – the sacrifices we make for our friends), Dupont Market, Jolt & Bolt, Teaism


Bar at Palena, Bar at Tosca, Firefly, Bar at Restaurant Eve, Poste, Regent Thai (carryout/delivery), 2 Amys, Sushi-Ko

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Just keep going back to The Pines of Rome, Bethesda - since we moved here in 1973!

Used to mix in the dear departed Fio's.

Pines of Rome = Pints of Oil :unsure: I've had my fair share of meals of past there. I worked somewhere that used Pines to cater just about everything. I don't think Don Rockwell would like their bread.

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We used to go out a lot more, and the rotation then included Corduroy, The Diner, Thai Kitchen (convenience!), and Palena Cafe.

These days, it's more like: home, home, home, Dino, home, Dino, home, home, Dino. With regular trips to Galileo Grill, when it's open, for lunch.

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I don't have a rotation per se, I don't have enough time off :unsure: But, when I think about it, I do seem to eat at the same places when I do eat out. I'll note the places I do eat at alot and places I make it to on an occasion


Fortune, I love that schezuan chicken

Marks.....I need to get out more

Old Ebbit for oyster happy hour

Bahn Mi Sandwich in Falls Church


Pho 75

Pollo Campero

and with alarming frequency Bob & Ediths and IHOP, at 1 in the morning when I'm done with work, breakfast calls to me....what can I say



Johnny's Half Shell


Bistro du Coin


Cafe St. Ex

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I live in Reston and work in Arlington, so bear in that in mind...

Chao Phra Ya (for Thai)

Pho Reston 75




Fortune (Reston)

Sorrento Grille (Herndon)

Tacqueria Poblano (a recent addition)

Lakeside Inn (Reston -- I know, I know)


Rock Bottom -- Ballston (it's basically our local)

I'm visiting Willow for the first time next week and I'm hoping to add it to the rotation. It's just around the corner from the office and priced about the same as most of the higher end chains in the area for lunch and it sounds like a far more satisfying experience.

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Our rotation tends to skew towards what's walkable or in the zone that our car is permitted for:


RTS (once in a while, when we decide to be daring and put our name on the list)

Cafe Asia (its proximity rather than excellent cuisine puts it on this list)

Faccia Luna

Singh Thai

Sette Bello


Italian Store

Wish list

RTS (all the time)

Restaurant Eve


good Chinese delivery (why is it so f.ing hard to find this in Arlington????)

...and most of the other places that are on most of y'alls normal rotation!

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(the breaks convey frequency from the highest)

Colorado Kitchen

W Domku

(These first two are where we go 70% of the time—partially due to their proximity to where we live, but mostly due to our keen liking of their unique experience)




Vegetable Garden

2 Amys


Sala Thai


Virdian– on Studio nights, at the bar

Jaleo – on Shakespeare nights

Bangkok Joes Dumpling (after movies in Georgetown – looking forward to trying Agraria)

Rays – but not enough (hope more once Classics opens)

There is one other I am not willing to confess – my +1’s favorite.

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RT's-Shrimp Norman & She Crab Soup :)

Los Tios-Rib and Shrimp Fajitas :)

Chart House (O.T.)-Prime Rib & Loaded Baked Potato...holla at RICHIE the bartender :unsure:

constant hits

McD's ;)

Popeyes :D

Chipotle... it does get old quick :P

Bonsai (28 st) Arl. (DECENT (not great) Sushi) B)

every now and then

And my sleeper pick of the week...

Mt. Vernon Deli... located @ Monroe & Mt. Vernon :D

R.B. Club and Arizona Ice-T (Southern Style)

there would be others, but I don't get out much for obvious reasons...

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Mostly governed by what's within walking distance:

Thai Tanic

Logan Tavern


Dakota Cowgirl

Alero (U Street)

Whole Foods Sandwich Counter


Au Bon Pain


Al Crostino


Lauriol Plaza



California Tortilla


Pizzeria Paradiso

Ooohs and Aaahs

Hank's Oyster Bar

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For me, the regular rotation is all about Location! Location! Location!

Always looking for new additions! Several of these (especially the lunch options) aren not my favorite, but they beat starving.

These days dinner is:


2 Amys


Acadiana bar

La Lomita I

Palena bar

Al's for take-out


Panera Bread


Mei Wah

2 Amys (gosh, I wish they were open for lunch on Mondays!)

Cheesecake bar


occasional trips to Bethesda for Raku or Deluxe or Mon Ami Gabi or Persimmon

Halfsmokes from the vendor at Wisc and Jenifer

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My rotation is also determined largely by location. Beginning with bimonthly stops (at minimum):




Palena Cafe (usually Tues or Thurs)

bar at Le Paradou



Lunch/Brunch/Late Night:



2 Amy's

Town Hall

Ben's Chili Bowl

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for the past several months we have been eating out two or three nights a week, and it is invariably: palena cafe, heritage and 2 amys, all within walking distance. in other words, we are in a rut, but it's a nice rut to be in (and the menus at two of these places are hardly static).

buck's is almost on the list, followed by colorado kitchen (they have good sangria these days) and etete. we were going to sushi-ko once a week and then just stopped, why i don't know. we almost go to cafe saint-ex quite often, but never seem to get there. ditto for the less expensive sides of citronelle and galileo. my wife says that the grill makes her ankles swell after lunch.

also in our neighborhood, austin grill and even cactus cantina used to be good but aren't anymore. i couldn't tell you anything about busara, but we used to eat there often. cafe deluxe seems tired if not entirely hopeless. chef geoff's set us off in a promising new direction, but that lasted for just three meals. we know some paths through the park to foxhall road and the girl's college, which is just up the hill from macarthur boulevard, but haven't checked that area out since around the time they converted the theatre next to our lady of victory into a cvs. also, my wife always complains when we walk through the woods at night because she is afraid of creeps. we are the creeps, i tell her.

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we know some paths through the park to foxhall road and the girl's college, which is just up the hill from macarthur boulevard, but haven't checked that area out since around the time they converted the theatre next to our lady of victory into a cvs. also, my wife always complains when we walk through the woods at night because she is afraid of creeps. we are the creeps, i tell her.

The "girl's college" (Mount Vernon), was bought by GW a few years ago, and is now one of their campuses. It has been a long time since you've been to the Palisades neighborhood, which is where I live.

You are missing out on Kotobuki, across from CVS, which has excellent $1 per piece sushi, and a limited menu of other tasty Japanese home-cooking-type dishes (kamameshi). Also, BlackSalt, in the former MacArthur Pharmacy space, which is an excellent seafood restaurant and fish market.

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Well, there's the dive/carryout/inexpensive rotation, and the good table service rotation.

My budget allows a good number of trips on the former circuit, a few on the latter. For example, I'm only hitting Corduroy maybe 3 times a year, but I still consider it in the rotation, since I go regularly.

The upscale(ish) favorites:



Ray's The Steaks

Dino (just went for the first time a few weeks ago, but I'll be back)


Old Ebbitt Grill (oysters, oysters, oysters)

Kotobuki (well, not necessarily upscale, but I'm putting it up here because a waitstaff is involved)

The downscale:

Oohhs and Aahhs (Ohhh, I'm rotating here all right)

Amsterdam Falafel Shop

Peking Garden (Chinese place around the corner, great lo mein and chow mein at least, other stuff so-so)

Thai X-ing


Urban BBQ

Willard's Pit BBQ

La Prima/Via Cucina (love their soups at lunchtime)

Breadline (only once every couple months, really)

Old Ebbitt Express

Galileo Grill

Five Guys (loyal to the Old Town location)

Dairy Godmother

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Glad to see I'm not the only one whose rotation is heavily based on location.

Very Regular: Temperance Hall (serious burger), Dukem, Oohs and Aahs, Domku, Taqueria Distrito Federal, Etete. Yes two Ethiopian places. I'm a kitfo addict.

A little less regular: Kotobuki, Radius, Hanks, Meze, Acuario (probably belongs in the very regular but has only been open for a month), Chez Auntie Libe, Two Amys.

Should really go more often: Komi, real Mexican food of any kind, Dino, Thai Xing.

One of these days I really ought to venture out of the District. If only VA weren't so confusing, with Glebe Roads coming at you from every direction :unsure:

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The pre-wedding savings plan skews me toward the cheap-but-good end of the dining continuum these days.

Elevation Burger

Mexicalli Blues

Lost Dog Cafe

Los Tios

Del Ray Dreamery

The Italian Store

Eve, although not nearly often enough (see note above)

Ray's the Steaks, ditto

Why the hell do half the posts in this thread contain apologies for eating in Virginia? Sheesh. :-)

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I suppose this is a good thread to really get started here...

My rotation is relatively limited and includes many cheap-and-cheerful options due to my post graduate school employment at a think tank, but I try to get out. In alphabetical order:

2 Amys

Amsterdam Falafel


Birreria Paradiso

El Pollo Sabroso

Naan and Beyond

Palena Cafe

Pepito's Tacos


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