Dear PoPville – Van Ness Restaurant Scene?

Dear PoPville,

I recently moved to the Van Ness are but its so different from the other parts of the city in terms of restaurant choices or nightlife which does not exist here period. My question to you or readers is where would you recommend in Van Ness not Cleveland Park to have a decent not overpriced sit down restaurant (Modern American).

This may be a bit too far north but I’d recommend Buck’s at 5031 Connecticut Ave NW. If you’re looking at Van Ness proper you may want to check out Acacia Bistro located at 4340 Connecticut Ave, NW.

Where would you guys recommend?

46 Comment

  • Buck’s, Acacia, Comet Ping Pong and Italian Pizza Kitchen are pretty solid options in the neighborhood for sit-down meals – beyond that, though, you might have to trek down the street. While Van Ness is great for convenience, no one moves there for the restaurants/nightlife.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Comet Ping Pong has good hand made pizza and real ping pong tables in the back. Buck’s is over rated in my opinion.

  • Passport was the best bar in DC. Damn I miss that place.

  • If you’re in the Buck’s/Comet/etc. corridor slightly north of Van Ness, I like Jake’s American Grill, which opened in the last year or so. It’s been pretty solid the handful of times I’ve gone, and prices are pretty reasonable.

  • I lived at Connecticut and Albemarle from 2006-09. A lot of great things about this neighborhood (the Giant, Calvert Woodley, Metro), but my favorite of all was the Schlotzsky’s. Was very sad to see that go. I really wouldn’t consider the Buck’s/Comet area Van Ness, but I guess an argument can be made since the area’s name always seems to be in flux (Forest Hills, North Cleveland Park, etc).

    Definitely do love Italian Pizza Kitchen. They used to show Italian movies on the wall which was a nice touch. Don’t know if they still do that.

  • I used to enjoy Uncle Buck’s a lot, but I haven’t been there in years. Presumably it hasn’t changed much, mostly because it’s still there.

  • I agree with all the recommendations. Unfortunately, that is pretty much in in terms of sit down in Van Ness. I would also recommend Modern Times Coffee in the basement of Politics and Prose. Although it is not sit down, their sandwiches, salads, and soup are fantastic.

  • Try Acacia Bistro. That place is smack in the middle of Van Ness, i found their menu to be kinda small but not that overpriced. Food was decent enough for that area, sure beats the sandwich joints.

  • Palena Cafe in Cleveland Park. Medium Rare is decent, but limited.

  • Terasol (French) in the same neighborhood as buck’s is also quite good and not terribly expensive.

  • If you’re up for a short walk or quick metro ride, you are close to Tenleytown, where some good places are.

  • Don’t overlook Tesoro which is adjacent to the Days Inn. Really good pizza and decent wine prices. When I used to live at Connecticut and Brandywine I would often walk up to Chevy Chase… the Greek restaurant is decent, Bread and Chocolate is nice for brunch but the service is exceptionally slow.

    • Yes, Tesoro is actually really good. Used to go all the time. With Schlotzsky’s, Tesoro and Italian Pizza Kitchen, there were surprisingly good pizza options all so close to each other.

      • Agreed – don’t read the yelp reviews of Tesoro. It’s great! Best pasta with veal sauce I’ve ever had. They make their own pasta, I believe. And the bread with tomatoes (which they only give you at dinner) is so so good. Ambience is nothing, and service not memorable. But it’s never crowded.

    • Yes, Tesoro is good. Service isn’t awesome in dining room. Bartenders are friendly and better service. pizza to go, you can order large size. Used to see Tim Russert in there picking up food to go.

  • Masala Art a little further up in Tenleytpown has excellent Indian food.

  • You have exactly one option in Van Ness proper: Acacia Bistro. You may have moved to one of the least exciting neighborhoods in the city. Bucks and Comet are further than Cleveland Park but their good. And way more fun than anything in the area.

    • It depends on what you mean by “least exciting”. Not too many options in the immediate vicinity, but you’re only one Metro stop away from some good options in Cleveland Park; and it takes less than 30 minutes to get to the heart of Columbia Heights, which I’m sure we can all agree is the ideal urban setting, right?

      I could think of several neighborhoods in DC with much less to offer. Let’s start with north of H St NE.

      • I feel you on this point but it is completely safe to say that Van Ness is “one of” the least exciting neighborhoods. No matter how you measure it. Bad architecture, UDC, the embassy / Intelsat no-mans-land, 60’s apartment buildings, limited surface access to and from the rest of the city. the only thing I like about it is the proximity to soap stone valley and cow hill.

      • We have lots to offer in my North of H street neighborhood

        -catch the alley cat
        -friendly dice outings
        -the ever popular miss the trash can game
        -arguing with your significant other late at night
        -counting maryland license plates

        and much more fun.

        • Sure, the “trendy” thing is to diss Van Ness, but check out the rent on some of the 2 bedrooms and the prices on the Condos. They’re at or even less than the rents in some of the more “desirable” places like Columbia Heights or U Street. Plus the neighborhood is safe, convienent, clean, and super liveable. Overall, it’s a great bargain. It may not be gritty enough for the Hipsters in Bloomingdale or on H St, but that’s ok with me. I don’t need to see a passed out drunk or used 40 bottle on my way to Metro to feel cool and hip. BTW, if you’re in the neighborhood, try Terasol – it’s an excellent French Bistro. Just like the neighborhood, undiscovered and underrated.

  • I used to work in Van Ness and Acacia had OK sandwiches but served these slimy, black lettuce salads on the side that kind of made me want to vomit.

  • brookland_rez

    Comet Pizza is always good.

  • My wife and I are moving just south of Chevy Chase circle. We are bemoaning the lack of night life as well.

    • the locals probably quashed it in favor of local “quality of life”

      • That is exactly the case. I lived up there for a long time and was amazed at how intent they were to keep Ward 3 entertainment-free. Super-liberal at the ballot box, hyper-conservative elsewhere.

        • It is an older population but will turn over in the next 10-15 years. We are moving to have a detached house, still close in but way more low scoring on the crime-o-meter. I have true mixed feelings about it.

        • i wouldn’t call the area super liberal. super democrat definitely, but not super liberal.

  • Went to Buck’s recently and was hugely disappointed. If you live in the neighborhood, are really rich (which you have to be to live in the neighborhood) and like basic unchallenging food – meat and potatoes with just enough modern twist to make you feel like not such a fogey – it is fine. Decor is lovely, though tables are very close. Service is adequate to slightly poor – nowhere near what I would expect at this price level. No wine by the glass less than $10.00, rail drinks are $9.00. I could have eaten 2xs better for half the price at Meridian Pint.

    • You certainly don’t have to be rich to live in one of the apartment buildings just north of that commercial strip. They’re a lot cheaper than most of what is available for rent two or three stops down the Red Line.

      • I agree. Check out the rent on some of the 2 bedrooms and the prices on the Condos. They’re at or even less than the rents in some of the more desirable places like Columbia Heights or U Street. Plus the neighborhood is safe, convienent, clean, and super liveable. Parking is easy, and if you need to go to Adam’s Morgan, Dupont, or U Street to party, it’s an easy bus or Metro ride. Overall, it’s a great bargain. It may not be gritty enough for the Hipsters in Bloomingdale, but that’s ok with us. BTW, try Terasol – it’s an excellent French Bistro. Just like the neighborhood, undiscovered and underrated.

  • Fusion new years $40.00 for 4 course dinner with sparkling wine

  • to all posters there is a moderately priced Modern American Concept coming soon to this area will keep you all posted……

  • If you have kids, there is a great playground (Forest Hills) on Chesapeake just east of Connecticut. Its only a few blocks up to Buck’s or Jakes American Grill for lunch, or you can get pasta or sandwiches and dessert at the Marvelous Market. They will warm up your pasta for you, the penne is enough to feed 3 (1 adult and 2 small people)
    Boring neighborhood but good schools & Metro access, that is a recipe a parent could live with. I do like the wide open spaces, lack of traffic and proximity Petworth offers though.

  • I am surprised that Indian Ocean hasn’t made the list. They have the classics and some innovative dishes too, but without any pretenses. Plus they have $10 lunch buffet every day, which is divne.

    • Agreed on Indian Ocean. It’s in the death strip of Van Ness, but it’s by far my favorite Indian in the area… The spices are well balanced on most of the dishes (had one hot curry chicken dish, cant remember which, that was over-powering) and they all are comparatively light, probably because they don’t use ghee.

  • tesoro has decent pizza, salads, and some pasta dishes.
    not excellent but good.

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