On the cheap side
J Bell’s Wing House (715 Euclid St. NW)
At first glance, J Bell’s Wing House looks more like a vibrant yellow corner store than a carryout restaurant and caterer. But the exterior is = part of this southern-flavored hole-in-the-wall’s charm. Buffalo wings ($13.99 for 10 pieces) are the main attraction at J Bell’s. Sandwiches ($5.49 to $7.49), boneless chicken nuggets ($5.49 for 12) and a slew of traditional side dishes, from collard greens to macaroni and cheese and coleslaw, are also available. While there are no vegetarian entrées, 10 of the 11 side dishes are labeled as “For the Vegetarian!” and any three can be ordered for just $8.59, the same price as a single order of wings.
Mondays to Thursdays 4 to 10 p.m., Fridays to Saturdays 4 p.m.. to 11 p.m.
JFar East Taco Grille (Check @FarEastTG on Twitter for location)
Korean and Japanese barbecue mix with Mexican food at the Far East Taco Grille food truck. Based in the Federal Triangle neighborhood, this roaming restaurant can be found by following @FarEastTG on Twitter. It often parks in Metro Center, Farragut Square, L’Enfant Plaza and even Foggy Bottom. Each individual taco is $3, but you can buy three for $8. Pick from options for the protein and spice level, “slaw” and “finisher” choices.
In the middle
JLuke’s Lobster (624 E St. NW)
Luke’s Lobster, a New England-style restaurant imported from New York, and has been in the District just since last May. The establishment is proud of its Maine roots and has three nautically themed locations in the area, including in Penn Quarter, Georgetown and Bethesda, Md.
The atmosphere is very casual and patrons order and pay for food at a cash register and then pick up the food at a window. The menu is simple and seafood-focused, with “Maine style” lobster ($15), crab ($12) and shrimp rolls ($8), as well as New England clam chowder ($7). A popular combo is the “Taste of Maine” ($20) which includes a half lobster roll, a half crab roll, a half shrimp roll, a soda, chips and a pickle.
Sundays to Thursdays 11 a.m. to 9 a.m., Fridays to Saturdays 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
JIl Canale (1063 31 St. NW)
In January, the pizza at Il Canale was certified as authentic neapolitan pizza by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, an organization based in Naples, Italy. In the busy shopping district of Georgetown, this restaurant is a great choice for lunch or dinner for families looking for an authentic Italian meal. Pizzas are reasonably priced for their quality, ranging from $11 to $17. The jewel of the restaurant is the oven that the owner imported from Italy in order to receive the authentication of their pizza.
Mondays to Thursdays 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fridays to Saturdays 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Sundays 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Break the bank
Tosca (1112 F St. NW)
Parents looking to treat their Colonials to a fancy meal should consider Tosca. Five blocks from the White House by the Metro Center Metro stop, a warm atmosphere and a suggested business casual dress code accompany contemporary northern Italian Cuisine. This high-end restaurant has an equally high-end price tag, entrées running from $19 all the way up to $48. It has also been featured in Washingtonian’s “100 Best Restaurants” three years in a row. To indulge in some lighter options, try the radicchio salad with pears, gorgonzola cheese, terrine and toasted walnuts ($13) and order one of six $8 sides, like the rosemary-garlic roasted potatoes, or stick with a more traditional Italian pasta (ranging from $13 to $34). The fusion of modernity and tradition is evident through the food and the atmosphere, creating a uniquely enjoyable dining experience.
Lunch: Mondays to Fridaya 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Dinner: Mondays to Thursdays 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., Fridays to Saturdays 5:30 to 11:00 p.m.
JLittle Serow (1511 17th Street NW)
Little Serow is a destination in itself. Food is served family-style and consists of northern and northeastern Thai cuisine. Tables share, and each of the weekly menu items is $45. The menu is very short, with about seven dishes available to choose from. But there is a variety within those dishes, with options like the Jeow Mak Len, with salted fish, tamarind and shrimp paste, and the Khao Tod, with crispy rice, mint and peanuts. They do not take reservations or make menu substitutions.
Tuesdays to Wednesdays 5:30 to 10:00 p.m., Thursdays to Saturdays 5:30-10:30 p.m.