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Better than ‘Yelp’

By baharmahzari

People use ‘Yelp’ for everything here. Before I arrived in DC, I had never opened that website on my laptop. Now it is part of my ‘favorites’ sidebar. ‘Yelp’ has spared me miserable meals while eating out as well as encourage me to try something new. But it can also be very exhausting to look through all the recommendations and read the comments. That is the case for me at least and, therefore, I always appreciate first-hand experiences from friends and people I meet. First-hand experiences are always the most valuable when it comes to Restaurant recommendations. So why shouldn’t I just dedicate this blog entry to this cause. Here are my five top recommendations, when it comes to food (We are again embracing the main theme of my writings) in DC:

  • Zenebech Restaurant

608 T Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

I am a huge fan of Ethiopian food and after my friend M told me that there are tons of Ethiopian restaurants in DC, I knew that I would find myself in company with Injera as soon as possible. Never heard of Injera? It is a sourdough-risen flatbread with a unique texture and it is the national dish of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Injera comes always with different kinds of stews and salad. It is served on a big round plate and made for sharing. Fun fact: You eat with your hands. If you’ are over 21, I recommend pairing this tasty cuisine with a St. George (Ethiopian beer brewed in Addis Abeba).

  • Moby Dick – House of Kebab

1070 31st St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Any person, who has some form of Persian heritage, is obsessed with the national cuisine. Any person with some form of Persian heritage will want to go to a Persian restaurant when meeting another Persian. This always ends in a food coma. So when S told me that there is a Persian restaurant in Georgetown, I did not even question a moment of not going. Shortly after, I found myself in a simple place (with some weird Persian pictures on the wall) serving Persian food a la fast food style. I have to say that I was shocked at first since I only know Persian restaurants in Europe, which are sometimes very fancy and do not rush with the food. Going to a Persian restaurant can be compared to a day trip. I am not kidding.   So here I am in this Persian restaurant, which has taken on an American stance on preparing food, and not sure what to think about it. But all my doubts were unnecessary. The quality of the kebab I had was amazing. I ordered my most favorite combo being Joojeh Kabab (Chicken) and Kubideh (Beef) served with Persian rice, Saffron, Salad, Bread and Persian yoghurt with cucumbers. I found my paradise.

  • Ben’s Chili Bowl

1213 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

I have mentioned Ben’s Chili Bowl too many times already in my previous blog entries. Hence, I will make this short. You want to experience DC? Do something local? Have the best Cheese Fries toppled with Chili? And simultaneously find yourself in a place typical American? Ben’s Chili Bowl will be your place. No matter at what time. I have been there for lunch, dinner and after 3am. It never has been disappointing.

  • Paolo’s Ristorante

1303 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007

Two fellow exchange students recommended Paolo’s and it is a gem. Well, to be honest the happy hour is the gem. Food and drinks for $5. Last time I sat there with a friend for three hours. That is a good sign showing that a place is doing it right. I highly recommend the Peach Bellini and Spanish Sausage. I would not call it authentic Italian food, but we are also not in Italy. So everything was just right!

  •  Sushi Para

4221 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

The deal is: $25 and you get all-you-can-eat sushi. Five people, four hours and endless sushi rolls as well as other Japanese delicacies. It might not be the best sushi, but the cost-benefit analysis definitely is on point. Plus, the amounts of food will eventually lead to hysteria as it was the case for us. So if you want value for your money, try out different sushi rolls and have a night full of laughter, Sushi Para right next to Van Ness Metro station should be your next destination.


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