Friday Question of the Day – Restaurants and/or Retail You Think are Overlooked?

2212 14th Street, NW

A couple weeks ago when we spoke about abrupt closure of the recently opened Diego restaurant at 14th and V St, NW – some commenters mentioned the nearby Judy Restaurant:

“Judys is an authentic Salvadoran/Mexican restaurant that has been around for more than 20 years. We are right between two of the busiest locations in DC: U Street and Columbia Heights. Along with our many authentic and delicious plates, we are best known for our pupusas and curtido!! Also one of our best kept secrets is our pool tables located on the second floor. Whether you’re in the neighborhood or just visiting, please come and join us for great and affordable food and drinks!”

You can see their menu here.

I thought we could use today’s FQotD to talk about some overlooked spots in town. It doesn’t necessarily have to be cheap eats and it doesn’t necessarily even have to be a restaurant – could be some good clothing or other retail spot. What do you think are the best, most overlooked spots in town?

I’m gonna vote for the sandwiches and back patio of The Bean Counter in Georgetown.

1665 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

It’s not the fanciest of patios but I’ve walked past it a hundred times without realizing it was there. And it’s a great spot to enjoy a great sandwich. You can see their simple but tasty menu here.


128 Comment

  • Posto! It’s been around forever (comparatively on 14th) – always good, EXCELLENT service, the manager is amazing, Angela (waitress) is amazing – as are a couple others on staff…a total go to for me and the gf.

    • I totally agree. POSTO remains for me the best restaurant on 14th St., and certainly it and it’s “mother” Ristorante TOSCA are the best Italian restaurants in DC!

      • I will third Posto. I can never get into the trendier places on 14th but Posto is a reliable standbye with reliable food and a pleasant atmosphere at fair prices.

    • I’ll never understand why people like Posto.

    • How is posto underrated? It was trendy when it first opened. This reeks of troll.

    • Love Posto too. Angela is, indeed, an amazing server. They are so friendly and personable there.

    • I don’t know about “been around forever.” It was a restaurant called Veridian when I moved into the neighborhood 5-6 years ago.

  • Eola!!!! Maybe if it was better known they wouldn’t be closing on Aug 31st 🙁 I urge you to check it out before it does.

    • Completely agree – the food was excellent but it always seemed empty. Don’t know if they still do it, but they used to have an offal menu that was amazing.

  • Kokeb Ethiopian restaurant – the food is really good and it surprises me that this place isn’t packed.
    And being somewhat parochial, Adams Express in Mt Pleasant. A very mom and pop place that gets high reviews on yelp.
    Don’t overlook either of these places!

  • I’d have to say Red Toque on 6th and Rhode Island. The place is never crowded, but the kabobs, biryani, and palak paneer are all very good.

    • I have to agree! There food is excellent, their prices good, and they have Turkish coffee (if you ask for it)! I live and work in the area and I’m constantly going there for lunch. The outside patio seating is lovely when the weather is nice.

  • mtpgal

    I know this is veering off the question, but does anyone know where to get those Brazilian fluffy cheese biscuits besides Fogo de Chao? I’m a vegetarian so Fogo is probably a Nogo, but I’m really craving them. Thanks!

    • As a vegetarian, I have actually eaten at Fogo many times and been very happy with the selection at their salad bar — at times leaving just as full as my carnivorous husband! And they have the delicious biscuits you’re looking for!

      • Yeah, same here, but there is still something inherently wrong with leaving Fogo with a $70 tab when all you’ve had is a salad bar and a few cocktails. It is not a great value. PS the salad bar in the Newseum cafeteria puts Fogo’s to shame. The Newseum kitchen is shared with Wolfgang Puck’s The Source so the vegetables are top-notch.

    • I make this bread sometimes, its very easy:

      Bob’s Red Mill brand makes tapioca flour, you can find it at a surprising amount of places around town. They freeze well so you can make them ahead of time and just defrost when you need a fix!

      • mtpgal

        Many thanks to you both! MtP Guy will be extremely excited if I finally give in to going to Fogo and I’m excited to have the option to make them at home. Thanks again!

      • Also, if you use this recipe, I’d suggest a mix of Parmesan and farmer’s cheese to simulate the flavor of a real Brazilian Minero cheese.

    • If you can get someone to let you in, we have them every morning at our cafeteria at the Inter-American Development Bank. Conversely, google recipies for pão de queijo, or, go to a Brazilian market (there is one in Wheaton) and you can either buy them frozen or buy the Yoki brand mix to make them.

      Guilty pleasure learned living in Brazil — try eating them with a little ketchup. Yum.

    • You can also buy pao de queijo mix at European Foods in Arlington. Just follow the directions on the box — easy yummy cheesy bread!

    • That delicious Brazilian bread is called pao do qeijo. You can also buy it at By Brazil , small import store in Wheaton. The store sells lots of Brazilian food, candy, and condiments. The store is walking distance from the Wheaton metro station.

      DC’s Brazilian Independence celebration will be happening soon in early September. Sometimes vendors sell pao de qeijo.

      • The Brazilian Festival was cancelled this year– apparently they feel they’ve outgrown the Yards Park are are looking for a bigger venue.

    • MtP Gal – Those are called pao de queijo, and you can buy them frozen and ready-to-bake at The European Foods in Arlington (corner of Washington Blvd and Pershing Dr, just off Rt 50 and also somewhat walkable from Clarendon Metro). They also sell a dry mix or ingredients if you wish to make them from scratch, AND they have a butcher who has picanha (the really tasty crescent-shaped steak from Fogo), portuguese sausage, and other goodies. I am not affiliated with them but am a rabid fan (and married to a Brazilian).

  • a Deli on 2nd street NE, right at the NY Ave Metro. The sandwiches are far superior to the proposterously overrated A Litteri, just down the street…

  • Dickey’s Frozen Custard off 18th/I has these great pressed non-greasy paninis made with Cuban bread (get the Panini Amour). I think West Wing Cafe makes the best valued deli meat sandwiches downtown. Bar-wise, most bars aren’t really under the radar and all my faves have lots of fans, but St. Arnold’s in Dupont seems to be under the radar oasis on weekends.

    • 2nd the vote for West Wing Cafe. The price for quality ratio is one of the best downtown, and they are open on Saturdays too, finally giving lower Logan Circle a breakfast joint that won’t break the bank. Their coffee is delicious also.

    • Yes to St. Arnold’s.

  • Himalayan Heritage at Kalarama and 18th. The best Napalese and Indian food in the area in my opinion. Great food in a alcohol sea of Adam Morgan

    • While the food we got was indeed good, the service was absolutely horrible to the point where I don’t want to come back. Took over 45 minutes for someone to take our order or even really acknowledge out party of 6.

  • TAAN in Adams Morgan! Extremely flavorful and not too salty ramen.

  • Jam Doung on N Capitol in Bloomingdale. I would drive across town for their goat curry, but luckily we only live a few blocks away.

  • jim_ed

    El Don at 14th and Webster for Mexican/Salvadorean. Their steak tacos and revuelta pupusas are really, really good.

    The Big Board at 5th and H NE – I think this place is overshadowed by some of the trendier places on H, but we’ve always had consistently good burgers and other things at a reasonable price.

    Bistro D’OC at 10th and F – A hidden gem of a French Bistro in the tourist wasteland of this part of downtown.

    • Quotia Zelda

      I really like Bistro d’Oc.

    • andy

      we went to El Don Saturday night – it was party time. Lights mostly out, light machine beaming green shapes on to everyone. Stereo on super-blast. Such a contrast with weekdays. I would suggest not, as an alternative, going up to La Libertad between Buchanan and Crittenden. They seem to have two lines of business operating out of the same storefront.

    • +500 Bistro D’Oc is lovely and always on the shortlist of places I recommend. Their specials list is always fun and creative.

  • Cafe Phillips. They serve excellent hand carved roast beef, turkey and ham sandwiches.

  • G Street Food at 17th and G St. The most consistent sandwiches in the city. Better than Sundivich, Graffiatto Sandwich Shop, and Fast Gourmet (even before it changed owners). Great bread, diverse menu with non-sandwich selections. Even good breakfast and coffee in the morning. Sadly, it is only open M-F!

  • Great topic – but PoP – is the site ever going to have a “search” box like it used to? I’d like to be able to call up topics like this again in the future. The current option of “browse by topic” just doesn’t do it.

    • There’s a search box at the top of the page. Does it not work?

    • There is a search box.

    • I’ve found topics here via google search

      • I don’t see the search box – only the “browse by topic.” I looked all over the masthead and all down the side and see no box where I can type in a word or phrase. But yes, I’ve found a few old topics by just googling.

    • Blithe

      I get the search box when I’m using my Macbook — but not when I’m using my ipad. There are also features that I get on my ipad when it’s in landscape mode that I don’t when I have it in portrait mode. The bummer -duh — is that after the site changes, there were features that I missed that I only realized still existed when I happened to switch back to my laptop.

  • I like Malgudi, newly opened at 17/P… Very good south indian, don’t understand why it’s not more popular

  • MGM Roast Beef in Brentwood near the Auto Auction and Home Depot. Amazing sandwiches, fries…everything carved right in front of you. Great value, wonderful service, total hidden gem.

  • cafeteria at brookings

  • Juice Joint Cafe on Vermont between K and L. Great vegetarian and vegan options. The owner is always around and is truly grateful for your patronage.

    • Good addition to the list!

    • Awesome place! I just discovered it a few months ago and it’s now my go to place for lunch when I don’t bring my own from home.

    • Word, this is the best veggie food downtown, especially Wednesdays when they have the tofu, spinach & mushroom wrap special. For non-veg options, their Mariner (salmon) sandwich is bomb, just tried it.

  • Cafe Tu-O-Tu in Georgetown. Wonderful salads and sandwiches with a Mediterranean/Turkish influence, and I love curling up with a magazine in the little sunroom in the back.

  • orderedchaos

    There are lots of good candidates, but MOTHERSHIP (Georgia & Lamont) is without a doubt an overlooked gem.

    They just don’t seem very good at advertising themselves… for example, their Happy Hour is half-off all drinks and beers, including their excellent craft cocktails that are only $9 normal price. Their infused booze (e.g., earl grey gin) makes for tasty mixology.

    The food ranges from good to absolutely stellar… best dish I’ve had there is the wild boar.

    Anyway, good stuff, check it out!

    • Woah, when are their happy hours? We live super-close to Mothership, and have been really impressed so far (even two days after their opening). The owner/staff are all super-nice too. Half off booze would make us go more often!

      • orderedchaos

        IIRC they open at 5:30pm, and the HH goes until either 7:00 or 7:30 every weeknight… though I’ve never seen them mention it on their chalkboard out front, which seems like a missed opportunity to me!

    • So, so good! Their drinks are tasty and reasonably priced.

    • I see you’re part of the Bring-More-People-to-Mothership Brigade. AGREED.

  • andy

    Highlands up at 14th and Crittenden. It’s an institution now and deserves more credit.

  • epric002

    bistro la bonne on U st.

  • So’s Your Mom deli in Adams Morgan

  • Everlasting Life Cafe on Georgia Ave. Amazing vegan food.

    • Just don’t order the quesadilla. I went with a group once and the person who ordered it had to wait over an hour for her food. The rest of us had eaten, chatted for a while, and were ready to get out of there before it finally came out. We kept checking back in the kitchen and it was being cooked the whole time. Which is weird because a normal quesdilla only takes a minute or two to make. Do vegan quesadillas take that much longer?

    • Agreed! It’s absoulutely amazing. My roommate and I grab food from there at least once a week. Even their carrot ginger “froyo” was heavenly. I have not had anything bad from there yet. It’s a delicious and well priced gem.

    • I liked the fake fried chicken sandwich I had there except the roll was weird (ice-cold and hard and it was disintegrating in my hands). You don’t need animal products to make bread, so what’s the deal?

  • Salt and Pepper Grill on Georgia. Delicious Pakistani/Indian food. Try their Malai Kofta or Kadi Pkora.

    • +1000 This place is the best. Huge portions, amazing food, great price, and a very nice owner. It’s our go to place for take out.

    • Yeah, great mention. This is one of our “go-to” places when I’m too lazy to cook!

  • Since no one else has mentioned much retail I am going to go with some of my favorite shops in Petworth that are a bit overlooked.

    Fia’s Fabulous Finds

    And whenever, I am on a furniture/house stuff hunt I always hit up:
    Mom and Pop’s Antiques in Park View
    Ruff and Ready in 16th Street Heights

    And I recently went to Simon Vintage on 9th street for the first time. I thought they had decent prices and a pretty good selection.

    • Bentley’s…hopefully you don’t mean R.J. Bentley’s in College Park. People are somehow willing to put up with the cleaning-products-and-vomit scent of that place due to the lack of bars around U-Md.

      • No, Bentley’s vintage furniture in Petworth on Upshur. I found a couple of lights and some smaller furniture at really good prices.

    • Second on Fia’s Fabulous Finds. I found it through PoP actually and had an awesome experience. I got a couple professional skirts there that were awesome quality for the super low price.

    • I second Willow, Bentley’s, Fia’s. Really love that Willow clothes but have also found it to be a great place to find gifts.

  • I am a big fan of Crepeaway in Foggy Bottom. The crepes are so fresh and tasty. The cooks and servers are always very nice. The prices are reasonable and they even have delivery.

  • La Villa on 14th is top notch, and if you want to journey a little out of town hit Pike Pizza, which has saltenas and other Bolivian food.

  • Cafe Mozart in downtown DC is a much-overlooked happy hour destination. Good German food and beer.

  • El Rinconcito II, across from the CH Giant. Ropa Vieja, Carne Deshilada, pupusas… YUM.

    For fancier Latin fare, I love Ceiba. And their HH is fantastic – half off all delish bar food, $5 cocktails.

  • will throw out some retail to broaden the discussion:
    tourquoise jewelry in adams morgan
    violet boutique in adams morgan

    and a random overlooked gem,
    Bartholdi park

    • There’s a consignment store near me, Clothes Encounters, that I like a lot. Most of the clothing is frumpy middle-aged lady stuff, but you can find some good buys if you’re patient enough. Last fall I found a Theory cashmere sweater for $30 (similar things were retailing for over $300) and Jimmy Choo shoes for $12 that looked like they’d never been worn.

    • Agree – we had our wedding portraits done in Bartholdi Park. Great lunch spot, too, if you work on the Hill/HHS and want to eat outside on a nice day.

  • Cafe Divan across from the Social Safeway in Georgetown. Really tasty Turkish food.

  • Pure retail wise federal on 14th and FL is the best menswear boutique in the city. No idea why it doesn’t get more hype than it does.

    • +1, got a great deal on a denim jacket there that looks awesome.

    • ledroittiger

      A little pricey, but excellent stuff to be had. Just bought myself a beautiful new Tanner Goods wallet – hand-stitched in OR. Mutiny makes some excellent man gear as well, though they don’t have a brick and mortar. Redeem sells their gear on 14th St. as does Wise Owl Club on 18th.

  • Flip It Twice Bakery on Rhode Island Avenue– solid brunch fare for CHEAP!

    Shemali’s is pretty far off the beaten path, on New Mexico Avenue near American University. I haven’t been there myself, but my husband works near there and raves about it.

    • andy

      yeah the Spanish breakfast, I think it’s called – with plantains and beans, etc., is a winner.

      • Tortilla Cafe near Eastern Market has a similar thing, called the Salvadorian breakfast. Fried plantains, refried beans, scrambled eggs, and a flour tortilla. Such a great combination, especially with one of their fruit juices.

  • MGM over in NE. Great sandwiches and salads. If only they had longer hours and were open on Sundays!

  • Retail: Big Planet Comics on U St.

    Comics readers obviously know about this place, but this is a place that has something for everyone. Stop in one day and just poke around, you’ll probably find something you like!

  • Carls Foods/Subbs on Rhode Island Ave NE. God how I miss this place from when I lived 2 blocks away. Traditional cold cut subs, dirt cheap and sooo good. They really load you up on the meat here.

  • We love Oaxaca in Adams Morgan for Mexican. More authentic than many places, with no pretension. Plus it’s easy to get a table.

    Also, another vote for Bistro d’Oc here–we go there for lunch with clients since it’s by our office, but the food is really good. Hopefully, they’ll stay when that corner is completely reworked.

    For retail, I love Federal on 14th Street for men’s clothing. Great products without the snobbery of shopping in Georgetown.

  • Absolute Thai downtown at 6th & G, behind the Verizon Center. Most of the Thai in that neighborhood is lackluster, and that’s being charitable, but Absolute is some of the best I’ve had anywhere. Their menu is divided into traditional, modern and healthy sections. The fiery entrees on the traditional menu remind me of what I used to get back in the ’80s, before Thai restaurants got all fusiony. That’s why I’ve gone back three times already. That and the comfortable atmosphere.

  • Momiji in Chinatown. Good sushi, very affordable, convenient location. Nothing spectacular, but unlike the top few sushi places in D.C., it’s not way off the beaten track. One of the few consistently solid, affordable pre-movie food options in that area.

    • Moved away from Chinatown a few months ago and Momiji is the restaurant I miss the most. Good sushi at modest prices, friendly service, and easy to get a table.

  • Every time I walk by Kruba Thai and Sushi in Navy Yard, it’s near-empty. Which is a shame, since they have some of the best sushi in town, and definitely the best Thai I’ve had around here. Highly recommend.

    • Kruba’s biggest problem is that they were the first ones there. I love the Yards Park and go there often for recreational purposes, but I still haven’t thought of it as a dining destination. I think they’ll get more business once the lumber Shed and Boilermaker restaurants open up.

      I dined at Kruba when it first opened and felt the food was overpriced and the portions were stingy. The sushi was also not memorable. I do think the Thai was good, and there service was excellent, and the interior is simply gorgeous. I doubt most people passing by realize how beautiful the restaurant is inside.

  • +1 to Momiji and Absolute Thai.

    Also, Pesce in Dupont and Doner Bistro in Adams Morgan.

  • New Orleans Cafe in AdMo is amazing, great service and awesome creole! Plus they have authentic Cafe Au’Lait. Las Placitas is also great in Eastern Market.

  • I just need to say that we went to Judy hoping it was an overlooked hole in the wall. DO NOT GET THE NACHOS. My husband’s came with torn up squares of half-melted American cheese on it. If you go stick with the authentic food like pupusas. But I’m not sure I’ll go back since between the nachos and the service, I was totally bummed out.

    We frequent Vinoteca. The food is always amazing and seasonal, and I feel like it’s a bit underrated for how delicious the food is and how friendly the service is – it’s more than a wine bar and a great bottomless brunch!

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