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Dining at National Harbor


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I noticed the exits for National Harbor are now open. Looking at their website, it appears a few restaurants are now open.

Looks like there's a steakhouse, seafood place, sports bar, and Italian place. A Potbelly is coming soon.

Just last week, they started water taxi service between National Harbor and Old Town, Georgetown, and Mount Vernon.

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The following posts have been split into separate threads:

Old Hickory Steakhouse (goldenticket)
Ketchup (dgreen)
McLoone's Pier House (jandres374)
Pienza Italian Market (dpop)
Thai Pavillion (anhdeluxe)

Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats (tfbrennan)

Edited by DonRocks
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It looks like Old Hickory Steakhouse is the stock steakhouse for Gaylord resorts, they also have one at their other resorts. But I really want to hop the water taxi for what I imagine will be a delicious "Italian Market Buffet."

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Going to see Cirque du Soleil at the National Harbor this Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, due to the lack of interesting restaurants, we're slated to suck some ventworm nuts. Will report back on the texture of them nuts.

We're doing the same on Sunday. From the website there isn't much else, yet.

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What a monumental cluster f**k!

We went to the 1:00 show of Kooza yesterday (Sunday) and wanted to grab brunch somewhere beforehand. So, we made 11:00 brunch reservations at the Pienza Italian Market at the Gaylord Hotel figuring that would give us enough time to hop on the shuttle bus and head over to the show. When we arrived at 11:00 for our reservations, we found out that they don't open until 11:30. Their website - http://www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-natio...ffet/index.html - clearly states that they are open at 11:00. And, they even took our reservations for 11:00. Knowing that it would be tough to eat and get to the show in enough time if we didn't get seated until 11:30, and not trusting the restaurant at all at this point, we decided to call Rosa Mexicano to see if they were open. So, I called, they said that they opened at 11:00, we hopped into our car and headed over there, we were there by 11:15. But, when we tried to walk into the restaurant, we were stopped at the door and told that we could not eat unless we had a reservation because their system was down. Not having any clue what the hell that meant, and telling the poor hostess that we had just called five minutes earlier and we assured that we could eat there, she just reiterated that we couldn't go into the restaurant to eat unless we had reservations, which we didn't, but they couldn't check that anyway because their "system was down." Being completely confused and frustrated for the second time that day, we walked to McCormick and Schmick's, grabbed some food there (food was average, service was perfect) and got to the show just in time.

Listen, everything at the National Harbor is brand spanking new. When things start to open, it looks like it is going to be a pretty cool place to hang out. I just don't recommend heading over there this early in the game and expecting it all to work out without any issues. Then again, it is not National Harbor's fault that Pienza and Rosa can't get their crap together, but it leaves a bad taste in your mouth nonetheless.

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It also appears that they have a concession tent at the show that opens at 7 p.m. if you just want a panini. Might be easier, if not tastier.

http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/CirqueDuSole...ntro/bistro.htm

You are correct, if you want to eat on the grounds, they have all the usual fair - hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, etc. - and they had at least one stand that sold some sandwiches/paninis and maybe some salads.

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We're seeing Cirque du Soleil later this month, and I'm planning on eating an early dinner somewhere in Old Town Alexandria beforehand instead. It's on the way for us since I'll be coming down Route 1 to get on the Beltway in Alexandria, and even before these reports, it didn't sound like there would be that much of an advantage in the way of convenience by eating dinner at National Harbor since you have to take a shuttle (or a taxi in Ericandblueboy's case) anyway.

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WWMeade and I have tickets to Cirque this coming Sunday at 5. I was thinking of stopping somewhere in the neighborhood afterwards for a glass of wine and a light supper of some sort. I'm thinking of oysters and other apps at McCormick & Schmick, or cheese and something else at Old Hickory.

Should I try to make a reservation or just hope to be able to sit in the bar? If a reservation, about how long is the show? I'm guessing we'd be out by 7:30.

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My husband and I are planning to go tomorrow and we were thinking about hitting up Hell Burger instead since it's kind of sort of on the way.

I went this past Thursday to the 4 pm show - I got there late because of traffic (so do leave yourself enough time!) but the show, with intermission, ran 2.5 hours. My friend parked near Rosa Mexicano and I parked at the event ($10) - if you park in National Harbor proper, you can take a shuttle to the event, and save money on parking. We ate at Rosa which I would not recommend, except for the guacamole. And, yes, do make a reservation at McCormick's - you should also check the website to see if the restaurant is running any specials tied to Cirque event (i.e. we got free (bad) dessert at Rosa). One more tip - use your Amex card if you buy anything in the Cirque gift shop, and you'll save $5. Enjoy!

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I went this past Thursday to the 4 pm show - I got there late because of traffic (so do leave yourself enough time!) but the show, with intermission, ran 2.5 hours. My friend parked near Rosa Mexicano and I parked at the event ($10) - if you park in National Harbor proper, you can take a shuttle to the event, and save money on parking. We ate at Rosa which I would not recommend, except for the guacamole. And, yes, do make a reservation at McCormick's - you should also check the website to see if the restaurant is running any specials tied to Cirque event (i.e. we got free (bad) dessert at Rosa). One more tip - use your Amex card if you buy anything in the Cirque gift shop, and you'll save $5. Enjoy!
Thank you for extremely helpful and detailed information!
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We had a time crunch so we ended up going to Mia's since that is close to where I work. We had the devil of a time trying to find the stupid big top, the highway was kind of confusing and then I forgot about the shuttle services so we ended up paying 10 for parking. Still worth it, as every cirque show I've seen has my completly enthralled.

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The advice/information given earlier in the thread was extremely helpful to us tonight! We went to the 5:00 show of Kooza, planning to stop for dinner at National Harbor after. After deliberating over all of the information about the open restaurants, I selected McCormick & Schmick, mainly because I wanted some oysters on the halfshell, and I had happy memories of such a treat at the Reston M&S about a year ago. We parked near M&S and took the shuttle to the Plateau. The show was fabulous! But our dinner at M&S was a disaster! They were out of oysters (except for the fried oysters, which were decent), and many other menu items, including fish & chips. I ignored my first instinct, to order the cheeseburger, and went for the "Maryland" crabcake instead. One word: Don't!

If we ever go to another event there, we'll plan to eat elsewhere.

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There is no real thread on here for a topic like this but I want to pass along my thoughts after walking the Wilson Bridge from Old Town (entrance is off of S. Washington st.) to National Harbor. Saturday was the first day this was open to the public. It's approximately three miles in each direction and absolutely spectacular. I've walked 25 to 30 miles a week for over 30 years all over Europe and North America and this is one of the most interesting as well as spectacular of all. And it is here, in our metro area.

From Old Town the walk starts in a dedicated "lane" that is approximately 12 feet wide for the whole 1.5 mile span. The first 1/4 or so of this has a sound barrier so there is little distraction from the noise of the adjacent traffic. At three points on the bridge you'll find rest areas with free telescopes to look upriver towards D. C. Saturday was a clear, sunny day and it was easy to note the National Cathedral as well as Skyline Center and even the television towers at Wisconsin and River. On the Maryland side of the bridge is a 30 yard wide span that passes over the width of the entire bridge. It is heavily landscaped and is essentially a garden, literally over the Wilson bridge. At points on the bridge and in the "garden" spanning it are numerous plaques and signs telling the history of the areas on both sides of the Potomac.

Coming off of the Wilson bridge in Maryland there is another 1.5 miles to the dock area of National Harbor. Part of this is not paved, rather you are walking on crushed stone. Still, it is comfortable. The entire area is adjacent to the water and the sightlines are entirely different from the bridgewalk itself.

On Saturday there were probably two thirds as many cyclists as walkers but the bridge had a lot of people out on it. My guess is that at any time there were several hundred or more on it.

A fantastic experience that for anyone who is into hiking, walking, biking or a stroll should take advantage of. We are extremely fortunate to have this available to us. I should also note that for anyone who only wants to travel in one direction there is a water taxi from both the Gaylord and another pier at National Harbor that will take you back to Old Town for $8.00. The dock in Old Town is approximately 3/4 of a mile from the start of the walk. Also, we did not see any water taxis going anywhere other than Old Town. I understood that you could take one from National Harbor to Georgetown, even Mt. Vernon but we looked everywhere and could not find one. My guess is that this service never originated or was discontinued. I am told that the Gaylord has not lived up to its expectations thus far. As for National Harbor we liked it but it is NOT an experience that has anything to do with Washington, D. C.

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I should also note that for anyone who only wants to travel in one direction there is a water taxi from both the Gaylord and another pier at National Harbor that will take you back to Old Town for $8.00. The dock in Old Town is approximately 3/4 of a mile from the start of the walk. Also, we did not see any water taxis going anywhere other than Old Town. I understood that you could take one from National Harbor to Georgetown, even Mt. Vernon but we looked everywhere and could not find one. My guess is that this service never originated or was discontinued. I am told that the Gaylord has not lived up to its expectations thus far. As for National Harbor we liked it but it is NOT an experience that has anything to do with Washington, D. C.
Thanks for the nice write-up, Joe. I'm looking forward to cycling/walking across the bridge very soon!

Regarding the boat service to Mount Vernon and Georgetown, you have to take the water taxi from National Harbor to Old Town to catch the sightseeing tours. The "Monuments Cruise" goes to/from Georgetown.

Did you notice anywhere casual in National Harbor to grab a bite to eat at the end (or midpoint) of a ride/walk? I haven't been there in a while, but don't remember seeing a sandwich shop, or something similar, with reasonable prices and outdoor seating (or carry out).

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Thanks for the nice write-up, Joe. I'm looking forward to cycling/walking across the bridge very soon!

Regarding the boat service to Mount Vernon and Georgetown, you have to take the water taxi from National Harbor to Old Town to catch the sightseeing tours. The "Monuments Cruise" goes to/from Georgetown.

Did you notice anywhere casual in National Harbor to grab a bite to eat at the end (or midpoint) of a ride/walk? I haven't been there in a while, but don't remember seeing a sandwich shop, or something similar, with reasonable prices and outdoor seating (or carry out).

We saw signs for Potbelly and Elevation Burger (indoors) along with Rosa Mexicana having outdoor tables and an excellent central location over the harbor. I remember looking at the brochure we picked up and counting 16 places listed for dining. Frankly, many of them seemed expensive for what they were offering. I also remember Tom's reviews being fairly critical. We were going to eat at Rosa (casual) but the wait was 45 minutes @4:30 and decided to go back to Old Town. A number of other restaurants didn't open until 5:00-which seemed like a huge mistake to me considering the crowds outside their doors. The Gaylord is actually in a different part of National Harbor, virtually off to itself. There were two restaurants and a carry out that were open around 4:00 and casual but we passed on these also.

Nothing midpoint. The food and wine festival had a fairly good crowd but nothing comparable to what D. C. gets at the Reagan building or even Reston Town Center.

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Did you notice anywhere casual in National Harbor to grab a bite to eat at the end (or midpoint) of a ride/walk? I haven't been there in a while, but don't remember seeing a sandwich shop, or something similar, with reasonable prices and outdoor seating (or carry out).
I think it's because things aren't quite open yet, but there's an "Almost" spark to this area. For the moment, click here for a current dining list.
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Help me dust this thread off.

Say you're trapped at the National Harbor for about 48 hours with no foreseeable sign of escape, where would you eat?

Get a cheese course at Old Hickory Steakhouse - call and make sure Carolyn (our own LittleWing) is working.

Other than that, it's a short cab ride to Restaurant Eve. :)

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Between Chipotle and Jimmy Johns, Potbelly fueled me through many a late-night cram session in college.

Oh! Someone else knows that Jimmy Johns exists!! I thought they were just a midwest thing, although I swore I saw one in College Park once...

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I've heard mainly bad reviews of the restaurants here. However, I am surprising my hubby with tickets to see Cirque du Soleil there in Sep. Due to time constraints we will have to have dinner there and I have no clue where to eat. Taking the water taxi to Alexandria is not an option, so we mainly will be stuck there. What is the best place to eat there? I thought about McLoone's Pier House mainly because I see they have Shepard's Pie which hubby loves, but don't want to be disappointed (though after reading reviews I am not very positive about dining at the harbor at all).

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I've heard mainly bad reviews of the restaurants here. However, I am surprising my hubby with tickets to see Cirque du Soleil there in Sep. Due to time constraints we will have to have dinner there and I have no clue where to eat. Taking the water taxi to Alexandria is not an option, so we mainly will be stuck there. What is the best place to eat there? I thought about McLoone's Pier House mainly because I see they have Shepard's Pie which hubby loves, but don't want to be disappointed (though after reading reviews I am not very positive about dining at the harbor at all).

i've only been to Rosa Mexicana last year, but it was enjoyable and the service was very nice, so I'd give it a go again if I were at National Harbor with time constraints.

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i've only been to Rosa Mexicana last year, but it was enjoyable and the service was very nice, so I'd give it a go again if I were at National Harbor with time constraints.

Thanks for all your suggestions. My business trip was permanently postponed.

However, I did help out a couple of colleagues who did end up going. They managed to escape the National Harbor and had lunch at Hank's in Alexandria and lunch (or was it early dinner?) at Central Michel Richard.

D.C. is begging me to return. So many places I need to eat there!

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Parking in front of the tent is $12...no other option is available if you arrive 15 minutes before the show starts - yesterday it took about 15 minutes to park the car and hustle our butts in to see Ovo. I suggest going early, park somewhere else and take their free shuttle if there is such a thing. Oh, Ovo is long, 2 hrs. and 40 minutes with a 30 minute intermission. Plan accordingly if you're gonna eat afterwards and not screw up your babysitter's date.

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OK, RM is already booked solid.

OpenTable suggests the following:

Grace's Mandarin

McLoone's Pier House

Moon Bay - Gaylord

Sauciety - The Westin

Anyone been to any of these?

I've been to Moon Bay. It is definitely not good. I'd go to McCormick before Moon Bay. It's not cheap either. You're better off going to Ketchup, which I've never been and heard bad things about but it's comfort food, how bad can it get?

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I've been to Moon Bay. It is definitely not good. I'd go to McCormick before Moon Bay. It's not cheap either. You're better off going to Ketchup, which I've never been and heard bad things about but it's comfort food, how bad can it get?

Bad. Really fucking bad.

Go to Potbelly...or fill up on Peeps. Either one is in contention for being the best food in National Harbor. Avoid Ketchup like the plague.

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The place was picked by my dining companions, so I was only able to offer advice.

Don - didn't have the time for the taxi.

They chose Grace's Mandarin.

AVOID! AVOID! AVOID!

Mediocre Americanized Chinese food, dressed up in fancy linens, at 3x the price of your neighborhood joint.

Luckily, for lunches, there are a number of DC food trucks parked around, so I was able to try DC Slices (pretty decent) and CapMac.

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No matter which restaurant you end up at here, be assured that it's head and shoulders above the conference "food" served by the Gaylord. I'm sure the offerings are dictated by scale, but good God it's bad, bad, bad.

After having spent Labor Day weekend there, I disagree. There wasn't a single restaurant worth returning to within walking distance of the Gaylord.

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No matter which restaurant you end up at here, be assured that it's head and shoulders above the conference "food" served by the Gaylord. I'm sure the offerings are dictated by scale, but good God it's bad, bad, bad.

After being forced to spend the weekend before Christmas at Gaylord Operaland last year to attend a wedding, I can attest that the conference/banquet food served up by Gaylord sucks ass. In fact sucking ass would be more pleasurable.

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Whoa. Not even Elevation Burger?

There's an Elevation really close to my house, and I've gone a couple of times, but 2 minutes further is Burger Joint, and there's no comparison. I think of Elevation as competition to 5 Guys, not BGR.

Luckily, the guys at the food festival got a handful of DC food trucks to come park on the grounds, so that's what we ate for most of the weekend.

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