How we eat out in Washington, DC

Earlier this week we called out The Washington City Paper list of 52 great things to do in Washington, D.C.

Their restaurant recommendations didn’t overlap with any of the ones we included in the first edition of our quarterly ebook Just the Ticket, but as we pored over the list it reminded us of one of Washington’s heated debates, so we’re bringing the question to you.

A few of the best places they put on their list are restaurants that don’t take reservations. Hopeful patrons show up early and wait in line, either to be seated immediately or to sign up to get a text when there’s a free table.  It’s driving many of DC’s foodies crazy, as the time commitment and uncertainty can be pretty steep, particularly on a weekend night out.

We’ve eaten at a couple of these restaurants, and give an enthusiastic thumbs-up to Rose’s Luxury, in the Eastern Market neighborhood.  We’ll brave the line up to 45 minutes before the restaurant opens, and have our friends meet us once we have a better idea of what time we can get a table. However, despite our enthusiasm for the form, we’ve been shying away from no-reservation restaurants for Just the Ticket for two reasons:

  1. visitors don’t have the patience and/or enough advance info to go through that kind of rigmarole.
  2. an evening at one of these restaurants, which tend to serve multi-course meals and encourage a slow-dining, food-and-drink savoring approach, is usually the entirety of the great evening, leaving no time for other entertainment.

So we’re looking for your thoughts.  On the one hand: exceptional food and service at a relatively affordable price for such high-quality meals and the experience of a truly “hot” dining venues.  On the other: there’s that pesky 20-45 minutes or so in line, outdoors, while you fret that you might not make it in. (The modest consolation is that most of these restaurants are in neighborhoods with other good places to eat that are easier to get a table at.)

What do you think? Is no-reservations dining something that would fit into your future DC visits or not?

Great things to do in DC

The New York Times recently published their list of 52 places to go in 2016. Washington, DC made the list (#26) along with other great cities like Mexico City and Dublin.

It’s always nice to have some light shine on our beloved city! … However, DC’s local free weekly, The Washington City Paper, threw some shade on the Gray Lady’s recommendations. We’re all excited for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, but it doesn’t open until late in the year, and the only restaurant the Times mentioned, Momofuku, is one that has its main branch in New York. City Paper, which is a great source for what’s going on in DC while you’re visiting, graciously published their own list of 52 things to check out while in town, which we think is spot on.

They call out several of our favorite theaters, including Studio and Folger, both of whom have terrific shows featured in the Jan-Mar 16 release of our quarterly ebook Just the Ticket: An Insider’s Guide to Great Evenings Out in Washington DC, and Woolly Mammoth which is another of our favorites that I’m sure we’ll give space to in future releases of the ebook.

Did you see either of the lists, Times or City Paper?  What did you think?