It all depends on your tastes, but here are a few places downtown that never disappoint.
American – Ted’s Bulletin 505 8th St. SE
It’s a throwback to the 1950s and photos on the walls of days past around town are cool. First and foremost, you have to order the pop tarts. They’re homemade. I’m not sure who else does that anymore. Of course, the meal portions are enormous (notice a trend in my reviews?) Don’t miss the milkshakes. I ate a “Rachel” sandwich last time (kinda like a Reuben) that was awesome. Seriously, wear your belt a notch loose coming in. Also, seriously recommend reservations because it’s not a big place. This is probably the most local-type restaurant on my list and good for families.
Chinese – Tony Cheng’s 619 H St., NW
Bring your appetite because you’re not leaving hungry. I know some people will say Tony’s is too commercial and you should eat at the other nearby Asian restaurants where chickens hang in the window, but I love Tony’s. The best strategy is to order a couple things and share them with the whole table. It’s all good, but I especially like the crispy orange chicken and the sea scallops.
British – Elephant and Castle 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Yes, it’s a British pub across the street from the Old Post Office. While I’m not a big drinker, I do appreciate an ale and they have a large selection. Great place to watch a game. Pub pretzels are an excellent appetizer. I like the fish and chips, bangers and mash and Shepherd’s Pie. There’s also outdoor seating that’s superb in the spring and fall. The afternoon crowd is government workers, the evening has plenty of theater goers.
Italian – Carmine’s 425 7th St. NW
Yes, it’s a chain with five locations from here to New York, but you’ll feel like it’s an old-fashioned Italian restaurant. I love the service here. The food is awesome from the spaghetti and meatballs to the rack of lamb. The food isn’t fancy, just delicious. The atmosphere is pure energy. It’s not a meal, it’s an experience. Good for families.