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Pre-Theater Eats
By Alexa Beattie
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 4, 2003

    Chow down before curtain up. (File photo)

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Whether you plan to have a quick snack before showtime or want to make the most of the evening with a proper sit-down meal, we have suggestions. Some of the following spots offer pre-theater deals that we think you'll like; others just open early and understand the need for haste; the rest are tasty little quick-stops -- not quite fast food, but close. For convenience, we have organized locations according to their nearest theater neighborhood.

Ford's Theatre, National Theatre, Warner Theatre

Bistro d'Oc: Bang opposite Ford's, the handy little bistro serves a three-course menu for $19.95 (includes a complimentary glass of wine) from 5:30 to 7 nightly.

Butterfield 9: This splashy spot opens for dinner at 5:30.

Cheff Geoff's: Directly across from the Warner, Chef Geoff's opens for dinner every night at 4. A special three-course, pre-theater menu is offered for $23.95 from 4 to 6:30.

Les Halles: A beret's toss from all three of the above theaters, Les Halles serves a three-course theater special for $17.89 from 5:30 to 7 Monday through Saturday. The restaurant also caters to the post-show crowd, serving dinner until midnight.

Shakespeare Theatre, Ford's Theatre

701 Pennsylvania Avenue: A three-course dinner, for $24.95, is offered nightly from 5:30 to 7.

Cafe Atlantico: A set three-course menu is served every day from 5 to 6:30 p.m., $22 per person.

Teaism: The fine tea house is ideal for a healthy and quick Asian supper. It's open all day.

Kennedy Center

600 Restaurant: Making life near the Kennedy Center easy, this restaurant offers a three-course meal (prices vary) all evening long, starting at 5:30.

Dish: A hot little newcomer in walking distance, it opens for dinner at 5:30.

Marcel's: Belgian fave pulls out all the stops for thespians. Included in the $48 is a three-course meal (served between 5:30 and 7), complimentary valet parking and limo service to and from the Kennedy Center.

Melrose: A three-course menu is offered every night from 5:30 until 7 for $38 per person. The Kennedy Center is within walking distance.

Nectar: Also in walking distance, Nectar begins serving dinner at 5 daily and makes accommodations for theatergoers.

The Roof Terrace Restaurant: At the top of the Kennedy Center with a Potomac River view, it doesn't come more convenient than this. (It reopens after extensive renovations in September 2003.) Alternatively, there is the KC Cafe, also on the roof terrace level. The cafe offers selections from the grill, an extensive salad bar and gourmet sandwiches.

Arena Stage

Cantina Marina: With a waterfront view, this new spot is a pleasant place for dinner prior to a show. Go as early as you like; food is served all day and the menu doesn't change.

Maine Avenue Wharf: Another option for eats prior to curtain up at Arena is a fried fish sandwich. There isn't anywhere to sit (besides the grimy sidewalk); but the vibe alone is a treat.

Phillips Flagship Restaurant: This Ocean City seafood-serving original starts dishing at 4.

Studio Theatre

Hamburger Mary's: Hamburger Mary's caters to a mostly gay crowd that seeks healthy, low-fat food. Grab a quick burger before showtime. The kitchen serves all day.

Thai Tanic: This fun, retro-kitschy Thai starts serving at 5 p.m.

Rosslyn Spectrum

Chipotle: Mighty convenient to the Spectrum, it's a fast-food fave.

Ray's the Steaks: The unusual little steakhouse is but a brisk walk up the hill from Spectrum.