Dining out with the family can be a nice break from leftover Pizza Movers and plastic utensils from Whole Foods, but finding a family-friendly restaurant with open tables this weekend may be a challenge. Skip the last-minute phone calls and 45-minute waits with these alternatives.
While GW’s backyard American eatery Tonic is a cozy spot to chat with your family over a heap of crispy Totchos, seats tend to fill quickly during Colonials Weekend. Trade in the less-than-inspiring bar food for freshly made soft pretzels and stone-baked pizzas at Mellow Mushroom.
Creative pizzas, offered in three sizes, have names like “Magical Mystery Tour” (pesto base, Portobello mushrooms, feta, jalapeños) and “Thai Dye” (grilled curry chicken, Roma tomatoes, Thai chili sauce). Both of those options are $14 for a small pie, but the restaurant also serves hoagies, salads and calzones. Feel free to take along picky or health-conscious family members, who can order from the pizza joint’s vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menus.
Tip: Dine on the rooftop patio, which overlooks Adams Morgan.
2436 18th St. NW
Sunday brunch only happens once a week, so don’t spend the day waiting for a table. Head over to Eastern Market eatery Ted’s Bulletin, which rivals Founding Farmers with a variety of classic comfort foods like pancakes, reuben sandwiches and milkshakes.
The restaurant serves breakfast all day, so you can sleep in and still satisfy your craving for a Walk of Shame Burrito, which packs sirloin steak, fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy hash browns and gooey cheddar cheese into a warm tortilla ($12). Slide into a seat at one of the restaurant’s back-to-back booths, pick up a newspaper-style menu and watch old-time films on a mounted TV while you wait for your meal.
Get there early enough, and you might catch bakers crafting their most popular item, homemade Pop-Tarts, from the restaurant’s front window – a fun activity to occupy younger siblings.
508 8th St. SE
Just a quick walk from campus is Boqueria, a Barcelona-inspired tapas restaurant with a diverse market menu of small plates that changes weekly. With dozens of menu options that come in bite-sized portions, each family member can choose a few items and still have the opportunity to try other dishes.
Each item on the menu, from the Pan con Tomate (grilled bread rubbed with tomato and garlic, $5) to the Patatas Bravas (baked potatoes doused with salsa brava and garlic aioli, $9) and Pintxos Morunos (seared Colorado lamb skewers, $9), is guaranteed to send your tastebuds on a journey to Spain.
But a trip to Boqueria isn’t complete without at least a sip of sangria, poured in tasteful flavor combinations like the Andaluza (lemon, rosemary vodka, white wine and sherry) or the De Mora (blackberries, rosé wine, vodka and lemon juice).
1837 M St. NW
Philadelphia’s famous Starr Restaurants chain has cropped up in D.C. in the form of Le Diplomate, a classic French brasserie that is the perfect alternative to a formal night out at Farmers, Fishers, Bakers. Given the upscale Parisian atmosphere and extensive menu and wine list, it’s no surprise that big names like Michelle Obama, Joe Biden and John Kerry are known to frequent the spot.
From creamy oysters to perfectly salty and crispy french fries, the menu offers a wide selection for every taste. While adventurous eaters might go for the Roasted Duck Breast ($30) or Foie Gras Parfait ($15), younger siblings can choose the Burger Americain ($15) or Roast Chicken ($25).
No matter what you choose for an entrée, don’t leave without grabbing dessert. There’s a reason the French are famous for their pastries, and this restaurant is no exception. In lieu of dinner, indulge in Le Diplomate’s profiteroles ($9), which are filled with sweet vanilla ice cream and covered in warm gooey chocolate sauce, or the Apple Tarte Tatin, a savory twist on apple pie ($8).
1601 14th St. NW
Located in the heart of Chinatown, this restaurant actually offers mostly American cuisine, with savory burgers, sandwiches and brick-oven pizzas. Each item on the menu is carefully arranged on the plate to create a masterpiece, almost too beautiful to eat. The spot also offers brunch, which includes the Bloody Mary Burger ($15) topped with a fried egg, along with cast-iron steak and eggs ($14) and freshly baked cinnamon rolls with homemade cream cheese icing ($6) for dessert.
Take advantage of the last few weeks of sunny skies by sitting out on the patio, where you can people-watch while you eat. The location also makes it easy to get to popular attractions, like the International Spy Museum and National Portrait Gallery, after your meal.
713 H St. NW