Weâ€™ve all been there: Saturday night, group of friends, 14th and U Street area… 17th Street â€”Â hungry and looking for a good night out.
After several minutes of suggesting, bantering and countering each othersâ€™ ideas, the group finally decides on a place highly recommended by The Post, Thrillist and City Eats.
You stroll into the restaurant, scope out the bar scene and head to the hostess stand with all the confidence in the worldâ€¦ only to hear the three most dreaded words in a restaurant junkieâ€™s vocabulary: TwoÂ hour wait.
What? Youâ€™ve got to be kidding me. Two hours? (But Iâ€™ve already been chewing this 11-hour-old gum in a desperate attempt to not eat my own hand!)
If thereâ€™s one thing the Borderstan area is not short of, it’s a plethora of quality up-and-coming restaurants â€”Â a characteristic that is both a blessing and a curse for the stripâ€™s hungry and culinary curious patrons. Thankfully, you can still grab a delicious meal in the area, without a two hour wait â€”Â or even a wait at all!
Here are a few places where weâ€™ve dined and recommend you try the next time you are looking for a quick bite and a brew before hitting up a night on the town. Of course, I cannot guarantee there won’t be a snag in your plansÂ â€” they are all good places.
Ulah Bistro (1214 U Street NW):Â This American bistro serves the classic fare, from bar-type appetizers to homemade pizzas, sandwiches and entrees. The two-level restaurant (with patio seating), is consistently full, yet rarely has a wait. The good food, diverse menu, dynamic drink specials and reasonable prices keep this U Street eatery a go-to when CafĂ© Saint-Ex or Bus Boys and Poets turn you away. Check out Aparna’s review,Â Ulah-lah: Bistro Classics in the Neighborhood.
Judy RestaurantÂ (2212 14th Street NW):Â Yes, El Centro is just down the street, but that doesnâ€™t stop neighbors from frequenting Restaurant Judy at 14th and W Streets NW (just up a few blocks!). Â Trust us, the four-block walk is worth the effort. If you live in the area, chances are youâ€™ve walked by this Latin/Salvadoran hole-in-the-wall several times without even noticing the no-frills faĂ§ade. Traditional fare, cold beers, good prices. Enough said, butÂ check out Luis’ review,Â Judy Restaurant Delivers Authentic Food at Good Prices.
Agora (1527 17th Street NW):Â Nestled a few blocks away from U Street, Agora offers Mediterranean-fusion foods and cocktails at economical prices. The next time Masa 14’s rooftop is a mess, try a combination of Agoraâ€™s spreads, mezes and flatbreads (with a glass of wine) and call it a night! See what Sarah had to say about Agora:Â Sunday in the Mediterranean at Agora.
Coppiâ€™s Organic Restaurant (1414 U Street NW):Â The name says it all. This neighborhood cafĂ© offers the freshest local, organic ingredients, cooked with old-time Italian recipes. From antipastos to pizzas and entrees, you are sure to tickle your Tuscan taste buds here. And, yes, Coppi’s is staying open during the construction of the Louis at the southwest corner of 14th and U NW.
Taylor Gourmet (1908 14th Street NW):Â When in doubt, grab a sub. I am not sure when that became a frequently recited phrase in my vocabulary, but it totally does the trick. The boys behind Taylor Gourmet are keeping more than just The president happyâ€“ The food joint’s extensive menu keeps DC residents coming back for more. And the fact that it’s open until 3:30 am (yes, you read that correctly), makes this locally owned sub stop the fancy (and more delicious) Jumbo Slice of 14th Street. Don’t believe me? Read Ashley’sÂ Why I Love Taylor Gourmet (A Very Biased Review).