Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > America - USA > Mid-Atlantic
Reload this Page >

DC Chinatown dining suggestions?

DC Chinatown dining suggestions?

Old Apr 26, 14, 3:00 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Oklahoma City, OK,USA
Programs: DL Plat,AA Plat,UA 1Peon,SW(WN) Passing Grade
Posts: 902
DC Chinatown dining suggestions?

Hi all......I haven't been to DC for a few years, so looking for Chinatown restaurant suggestions (or places to avoid) for a dinner or two with colleagues. Just a party of 4 or 5 of us Okies far from home looking for an exotic experience.......

Yeah, yeah, it's touristy....but we'll be at the trendoid Renaissance on 9th St for a conference in mid-June, so Chinatown is within easy walking distance.......

thanks!

Last edited by peersteve; Apr 26, 14 at 3:31 pm
peersteve is offline  
Old Apr 26, 14, 6:21 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: LGA - JFK
Programs: UA, AA, DL, B6, CX, KE, Latitude, VIFP, Crown & Anchor, etc.
Posts: 2,575
Hmmm, that's a tough one for exotic Chinese dinner depending on what you have in mind? Chicken feet, duck's "red", pig's hock, deep fried pigeons & of course, shark fin's soup? Kinda hard to find under/near the Friendship Archway on H St. - probably need to head up to Bethesda, Silver Spring or Rockville or out to Falls Church via Metro or otherwise in a car.

Mr. K is long gone since my DC days but the Sichuan Pavilion is still on K @ the Farragut Sq. stop - I can only think of "Full Kee Restaurant by 5th Street, it's open very late - sort of between comfort food/greasy spoon and family style, home cooking with an Americanized touch. Check out the Family Special - Dinner for 4 for $88 or $108 for 6, get some beer or wine to water it down & you are good to head back to the hotel - well under per diem rates for a DC conference http://www.fullkeedc.com/ Not exactly upscale like Tony Cheng's Restaurant on the block near the famous archway, that's overpriced, IMO but a better setting for those lobbyists on expense accounts.
Letitride3c is offline  
Old Apr 27, 14, 11:22 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,784
"Chinatown" is pretty much all drab, touristy, sh!thole chain restaurants. You'd be better served heading to an actual neighbourhood that isn't overrun with overweight tourists in matching neon t-shirts. Aside from the faux Chinese arch, there is nothing remotely Chinese or exotic about this part of town.

Depending as to how exotic you want to get, I'd recommend going to one of the Ethiopian restaurants up on 9th or on U. Not much doing for good Chinese in DC proper. Fairfax Co., VA and parts of MoCo, MD have the large Asian populations and real Asian restaurants.
brendog is offline  
Old Apr 27, 14, 11:25 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 312
I don't think of Chinatown as a particularly touristy part of town, fwiw. Lots of locals live/work/eat in that part of town.

The other thing to know about it is that isn't not particularly Chinese. I can rattle of a half dozen decent restaurants, but none of them are Chinese.

Rasika (Indian). Oyamel (Mexican). Acadiana (Louisiana Creole). District of Pi (Pizza). Brasserie Beck (Belgian). Poste (Modern American).

Not sure if this is what you had in mind, though?
Anna Phor is offline  
Old Apr 27, 14, 11:30 am
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: south of WAS DC
Posts: 10,131
most decent are not chinese. jaleo, oyamel,ova, bistro d'oc,poste, the thai, and korean are better, but most are out in VA.
slawecki is offline  
Old Apr 28, 14, 6:34 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: DCA ZWU 09W
Programs: BA 2V UA SPG
Posts: 1,732
Most of the Chinese restaurants along H in Chinatown are passably mediocre. Full Kee, Eat First, Chinatown Express, Tai Shan, and Ming's were all OK the last time my parents* were in town for a while (a few weeks ago). The bakery on 6th is also OK, and does a serviceable Hong Kong-style breakfast/lunch. The only standout Chinese food experience is China Boy Noodles, also on 6th; it's a rice noodle factory with one table and an un-exotic menu. (Freshness really matters with rice noodles.)

Honestly, Daikaya and Rasika are the best Asian restaurants in/near Chinatown, but they're Japanese and Indian, respectively.

* My mom ran Chinese restaurants, and a great-uncle owned a Chinese restaurant on H in the 1960s. His family now lives in Maryland, of course.

Last edited by paytonc; Apr 28, 14 at 7:03 pm
paytonc is offline  
Old Apr 29, 14, 10:20 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: NYC
Programs: AA GLD, AC
Posts: 2,976
Originally Posted by brendog View Post
"Chinatown" is pretty much all drab, touristy, sh!thole chain restaurants. You'd be better served heading to an actual neighbourhood that isn't overrun with overweight tourists in matching neon t-shirts. Aside from the faux Chinese arch, there is nothing remotely Chinese or exotic about this part of town.

Depending as to how exotic you want to get, I'd recommend going to one of the Ethiopian restaurants up on 9th or on U. Not much doing for good Chinese in DC proper. Fairfax Co., VA and parts of MoCo, MD have the large Asian populations and real Asian restaurants.
Agree that "Chinablock" (as it's often called) is basically lame.

H St NE has some good restaurants, though - in particular, there's an excellent Ethiopian place on H, NE near 6th St called Ethiopic. It's generally considered one of DC's best Ethiopian places, but it's not terribly expensive. Reservations are a good idea there because it's not the largest space.

Lots of other dining options (although not necessarily excellent ones) and bars on the H St, NE strip as well - although like most nightlife areas in DC it tends to appeal to a post-college crowd. You could easily get there from the hotel by X2 bus going down H (about 10 minutes) or by walking east out the back entrance of Union Station, where the Bolt Buses etc hang out (about 5-10 minutes).
M60_to_LGA is offline  
Old Apr 29, 14, 12:56 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,784
Originally Posted by M60_to_LGA View Post
Agree that "Chinablock" (as it's often called) is basically lame.
Is it even an entire block??? Maybe I'm just jaded because I've lived several places with predominantly Asian populations, but there is absolutely nothing in that area, aside from the occasional jaunt to Zaytinya, that is at all interesting.

Come to think of it, DC proper is pretty much bereft of decent Vietnamese, Chinese, or Thai options, unless one jumps in a car for a looooooong trip out to NoVa.
brendog is offline  
Old Apr 29, 14, 4:04 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: NYC
Programs: AA GLD, AC
Posts: 2,976
Originally Posted by brendog View Post
Is it even an entire block??? Maybe I'm just jaded because I've lived several places with predominantly Asian populations, but there is absolutely nothing in that area, aside from the occasional jaunt to Zaytinya, that is at all interesting.

Come to think of it, DC proper is pretty much bereft of decent Vietnamese, Chinese, or Thai options, unless one jumps in a car for a looooooong trip out to NoVa.
Yeah, DC has long had a pretty mediocre dining scene - paticularly when you move below the high-end price range - although in recent years it's improved substantially.

I've had very good dim sum at Oriental East in Silver Spring (I know, not DC) - although their regular meals are nothing to get too excited about.

Thaitanic/Thaiphoon in the District are also pretty decent - solid but not life-changing.

DC has historically lacked the working-class immigrant populations that built the great dining scenes in cities like NYC, Chicago, SF, etc. The only exceptions to this would be Ethiopian (which is excellent in DC) and Salvadoran.

As you mentioned, the main ethnic dining destinations are in the suburbs, because that's where the immigrants are. Falls Church is great for Vietnamese, Silver Spring has a bunch of interesting places, etc.

DC proper is definitely getting better, though.
M60_to_LGA is offline  
Old Apr 29, 14, 4:09 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Oklahoma City, OK,USA
Programs: DL Plat,AA Plat,UA 1Peon,SW(WN) Passing Grade
Posts: 902
Hey, that's all quite helpful......as mentioned, just a "decent"-level meal within walking distance of Ren hotel on 9th St (and within per-diem) is just what we're looking for......Americanized-Chinese menus are fine...not sure how adventurous colleagues are likely to be, but just wanted to avoid very sub-par places.

Thanks again for the very specific and current recommendations.....wonder if the fresh rice noodle place does a fully gluten-free dish? (I was thinking Chinese cuisine since that's what this colleague says gives her most options in ordering...without MSG, of course.)
peersteve is offline  
Old Apr 29, 14, 11:40 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: SQ KF (ex-UA)
Posts: 588
Honestly all the Chinese places in Chinatown are pretty dire. Particularly if you want to avoid MSG.

There's Ping Pong Dim Sum, which is not very authentic but a little different from the standard Americanized Chinese fare.
gailwynand is offline  
Old Apr 30, 14, 5:20 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 217
Agree with the above. We live in NW DC. The only restaurant we tend to go to in DC is Pizza Paradiso for its beer and good pizza, and that's only 1-2x/year. For Korean, we go to Annandale, especially Lighthouse Tofu. Vietnamese is Eden Plaza. Chinese we go to Rockville to Joe's or further north if we're feeling adventuresome. Haven't found an Indian place worth going back to, or a Mexican place with more than OK tacos.

Wife is a Chicago native, where we met and go frequently. DC has none of the ethnic enclaves that cities like Chicago have, with the good restaurants.

I've heard that a big part of the problem with DC's restaurant scene is high costs, both for real estate, but also for getting through DC's byzantine permitting system - too many palms to grease, I suspect. So the good stuff is in the burbs, but getting to them can be a pain.
klevin99 is offline  
Old May 1, 14, 7:21 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Singapore
Programs: SQ KF (ex-UA)
Posts: 588
Oyamel is actually legitimately good Mexican food, all the Mexicans I know in DC swear by it.
gailwynand is offline  
Old May 1, 14, 10:32 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 217
Oyamel = overpriced mexican style. Chips with cheese for 8 bucks? A taco described as "Stew of shredded Shenandoah Valley pork with chorizo, chipotle, lettuce and avocado", 4 bucks each?

Heck, if that's what you want, more power to you.

BTW, you do know that there aren't that many mexicans in DC? according to one online source, the most in any zipcode is under 4%. Salvadorans are the bulk of our latino population, which is why there are some pretty good, affordable salvadoran places in the area, but no good mexican.
klevin99 is offline  
Old May 4, 14, 7:36 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Programs: UA Million Miler
Posts: 1,267
I end up in the Gallery Place-Chinatown neighborhood about monthly for dinner, but almost never for Asian food. Recently went to Daikaya, which was rather interesting and OK -- very loosely Japanese! There is a Japanese-themed place very close to the Ren that was OK; can't remember the name. I do like Chinatown Express for cheapo, non-fancy experience.

Non-Asian I like include Graffiato, Zaytinya, Proof, Jaleo, Rasika (ok this is Asian -- Indian), Arcadiana, Corduroy (more expensive).
AlanInDC is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: