Are you tired of the Cheesecake Factory? (If you aren’t, which I know you aren’t, there’s one of those too, located right by the Friendship Heights Metro station.) Yawning into your Maggiano’s minestrone? Weeping while ordering another Domino’s pepperoni pizza over the phone? Here is a sampling of the fantastic culinary selection that lies conveniently along Metrorail’s red line that will keep you full, enlightened, or at the very least, not bored.
BEST PLACE TO GET YOUR PARENTS TO TAKE YOU
Passage to India
WHERE: 4931 Cordell Ave., Bethesda, Md.
AVERAGE DINNER ENTREE: $14-$18
AU students are known for their worldly sensibilities, and Passage to India certainly does not disappoint for those looking for a gastronomic adventure. The dinner menu is split into the different culinary geographic regions of India, truly showcasing the diversity of the country. The restaurant also recently ranked among the top 25 in Washingtonian magazine’s "Top 100 Restaurants of the Washington D.C. Area." The moral of this story? Definitely worth the splurge.
BEST PLACE FOR A HOT DATE
WHERE: 2606 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
METRO: Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan
AVERAGE DINNER ENTREE: $9-$13
Jandara is the Carmen Electra of Woodley Park cuisine: exotic, yet approachable and very, very sexy. The restaurant does a good job of making Thai food accessible (you can go from basic pad thai to ultra-spicy curried duck), without slaughtering your wallet. Jandara’s hidden-in-plain-sight mentality is exactly what gives the restaurant its charm. While taking in the sophisticated decor and basking in the plush seats, you and your lover can stare deep into each other’s eyes in the cozy and intellectual candle-lit restaurant. Just remember to keep the PDA to a minimum or you’ll scare the waiters.
BEST PLACE TO GO WHEN YOU CAN NO LONGER STAND THE SMELL OF SUBWAY
WHERE: 5252 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
METRO: Friendship Heights (also at three other locations, including Bethesda and Georgetown)
AVERAGE SANDWICH: $6
If you’re from New York, or one of those people from northern New Jersey who says you’re from New York, here’s a great place for a taste of home. Washington’s "unique delicatessen," as they call themselves, serves up a cornucopia from reubens to lox and everything in between. Plus they accept EagleBuck$ and that fact alone makes it worth visiting.
BEST PLACE TO GIVE YOUR ACNE A FIGHTING CHANCE
WHERE: 2425 18th St. N.W.
METRO: Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan
AVERAGE PITA: $6
While the price of eating out in D.C. can be daunting, Amsterdam Falafel is the perfect way to eat something a little different without spending much. The restaurant is no frills, with only three items on the menu: falafel, fries and brownies. However, it is easy to mix it up with their huge bar of toppings and sauces. While eating deep fried crushed chickpeas isn’t necessarily the healthiest choice, it’s a great thing to munch on while you comb through Adams Morgan’s many offbeat international stores.
BEST PLACE TO FEEL LIKE A TRUE WASHINGTONIAN
Afterwords Café and Grill
WHERE: 1517 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
METRO: Dupont Circle
AVERAGE DINNER ENTREE: $15
Located at the back of Kramerbooks, itself a famous Dupont Circle institution, Afterwords is essential eating for anyone who wants to consider himself a local. While waiting for someone to seat you in the cozy restaurant, entertain yourself by perusing the bookstore shelves for this week’s bestsellers. There is usually live music Wednesday through Saturday nights, and the tiny store is usually packed, even past midnight. The café serves everything from filet mignon to crab quesadillas, but their true specialty lies in the dessert case. Despite the cheesecake’s staggering $8 price tag, one bite and you will be schmoozing with the dessert gods.
BEST PLACE TO GO WHEN YOU’RE FEELING FESTIVE
WHERE: 722 Seventh St. N.W.
METRO: Gallery Place-Chinatown
AVERAGE TAPAS DISH: $7
Located in the heart of Chinatown, La Tasca is a fun restaurant that is always bustling with people. The restaurant takes its "Spanishness" very seriously, which is amusing if not a tad cliché; the last time I was there a Latin band in sombreros was performing the classic "Cielito Lindo." While the prices on the menu may seem relatively reasonable, don’t let them fool you: tapas are like appetizers, so you will need at least two or three dishes per person for it to feel like a meal. With that said, their seafood tapas are excellent (the scallops wrapped in bacon are a personal favorite), and the restaurant makes for an adventurous late-night snack or second dinner.
BEST PLACE TO COMPLETELY NEGATE THAT JOG YOU TOOK THIS MORNING (AND THEN SOME)
WHERE: 7237 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda, Md.
METRO: Bethesda (also at four other Metrorail-accessible locations, including Friendship Heights)
AVERAGE ICE CREAM: $4-6
The best ice cream in D.C., period. This is single-handedly the reason for my freshman 15. Who can resist flavors like peppermint stick (with actual chunks of peppermint), Grand Marnier coconut and coffee chip? Gifford’s is a true indulgence in both price and calories, but worth every cent. You can also buy pints of the ice cream at The Eagle’s Nest on campus, but be careful when you’ve got a 2 a.m. craving. A word of advice, ladies: avoid at certain times of the month.