Your Guide to Penn Quarter / Chinatown
Never Been to the Neighborhood? The Going Out Gurus Show You The Way

Monday, March 10, 2008 6:16 PM

Since you're going to be spending the day ofthe Post Hunt in the Chinatown area, let the Going Out Gurus of's City Guide steer you to their favorite restaurants, bars and cultural sites. They also offer suggestions that will be fun for the whole family.

Casual Restaurants

These restaurants are good for a quick lunch or a no-reservations-required dinner:

Austin Grill
More than basic taco and enchilada platters, this is better-than-ordinary Tex-Mex.

Bistro D'Oc
This southern French restaurant is like a solid B student, likable and reliable and good to know about if you are in the neighborhood or in need of pre-theater sustenance.

Chinatown Express
Don't let the name fool you: Chinatown Express may be quick, but it serves some of the neighborhood's best food.

Eat First
What this Chinese restaurant's dining room lacks in flair is more than made up for by much of what you get from the kitchen.

Elephant and Castle
Traditional English ales and food (fish & chips, shepherd's pie) balance out the drab decor at this downtown pub, part of a Canadian chain.

Ella's styles itself as a pizza parlor for today.

Greene Turtle
The Maryland sports bar chain opens its first D.C. location right next door to the Verizon Center. Good for families before a game.

Tapas (50 plus) and several main dishes fit all appetites and price ranges; the wine list is friendly and the wait staff is helpful.

Les Halles
French-style steakhouse offers bistro classics but specializes in steak and fries. The patio is worth a visit on warm days.

No longer as tiny as a namesake matchbox, the restaurant uses the revered John's Pizzeria in the Big Apple as the benchmark for the thin, crisp pies.

Greek tapas, glamorous setting, gallant service. Too bad you can't hear yourself think.

Lunch on the Run

Good food to go.

California Tortilla
This friendly local chain aims to please with bountiful burritos.

Choose from around a dozen signature salads or create your own from 60 toppings and 30 dressings.

Cowgirl Cremery Sandwiches
This California-based company makes cheese from pure, natural, organic milk, and offers a selection of sandwiches to go.

Giffords Ice Cream
This local ice cream chain serves old-fashioned flavors like peppermint year-round.

The closest fine teahouse to the FBI headquarters, Teaism offers light lunches, fast food: Soba so good.

Post-Hunt Dinner

These are nicer places to celebrate and recap your day. Reservations are recommended.

Post Restaurant Critic Tom Sietsema finds that this Louisiana-style dining room has "moments ... that whisk me south." The bar serves Hurricanes and other inspired cocktails.

Central Michel Richard
Chef Michel Richard offers his whimsical French takes on American classics for affordable prices.

Clyde's of Gallery Place
A gigantic restaurant that invokes an opulent Gilded Age hotel, this Clyde's contains three bars over two floors, each with its own personality.

A vibrant Mexican restaurant relocates from Crystal City, offering stellar margaritas and grasshopper tacos.

The restaurant and wine bar offers a Mediterranean-themed menu, small plates and over 40 wines by the glass.

Meaning "flavors" in Sanskrit, this chic, stellar restaurant dares to offer more than standard Indian dishes.

Places to Grab a Quick Beer

Self-explanatory, really.

Three Brewpubs for really fresh beer: Gordon Biersch | District Chophouse | Capitol City Brewing Company

Bar Louie
Martinis and burgers are the specialties at this Illinois-based chain. The spacious bar is good for groups and stocked with TVs.

Brasserie Beck
This bistro fizzes up the neighborhood with over 50 Belgian beers.

Irish Channel
An Irish pub with authentic accents and a solid pint of Guinness.

R.F.D. Washington
Numbers don't lie: You'll find 30 beers on draft and close to 300 in bottles at this bar and restaurant, owned and operated by the folks from the Brickskeller.

Rocket Bar
A popular underground bar with pool, tabletop shuffleboard, skeeball, darts and couches for lounging.

After-Dinner Cocktails

These lounges are a little fancier, and the menus run to inventive martinis instead of Budweiser. Dress well.

India mixes with America, noise with calm and serious fun with seriously trained service in this restaurant and lounge with a subway-themed cocktail menu.

Morrison-Clark Veranda
Southern-style juleps on the veranda? Yes, please!

A historic 19th-century building transformed into a beautiful hotel restaurant and bar with noteworthy cocktails and a lovely courtyard patio.

Inventive cocktails -- beet-infused vodka? green tea and gin? -- are served in a comfortable lounge setting.

The excellence of the cocktails at the Spy Museum's lounge isn't exactly a secret, though quarters can be cramped.

Cool Things for Kids and Teens

Koshland Science Museum
The official museum of the National Academy of Sciences is a bold, new sort of museum that's based on information and interactivity, not artifacts.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
Wax sculptures of politicians and celebrities mingle in this tourist attraction.

The Tower of the Old Post Office Pavilion
It takes two elevator rides to reach the 270-foot-high observation gallery of this 1899 tower, which affords some of the best views available of the downtown Washington skyline and the Mall.

Memorials and Museums

True to its mission of fostering understanding between the host country and German culture, the institute exhibits art and sponsors lectures, readings, concerts, films and discussions.

International Spy Museum
Come on in out of the cold into the world's first museum devoted to international espionage.

National Building Museum
The Great Hall is one of Washington's most amazing architectural spaces. The galleries highlight the worlds of architecture and design.

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial
A solemn memorial paying tribute to officers killed in the line of duty.

National Museum of Crime and Punishment Museum
Expected to open in May 2008, this museum will focus on the history of investigation, the science of evidence-gathering and the consequences of criminal behavior.

National Museum of Women in the Arts
This elegant space houses a unique and disparate collection; its walls often tell a double story of artistic accomplishment and social struggle.

Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery
With portraits of athletes, authors and elder statesmen, the collection catalogues American art and history and celebrates the work of American artists.

U.S. Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center
A handsome plaza features ship masts, a giant rendering of the globe designed to demonstrate how much of it is covered by water, and a rim of friezes depicting chapters in U.S. naval history.

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