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Are Restaurant Reservations Needed?

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Pewaukee, Wisconsin
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Are Restaurant Reservations Needed?

Our family of four is traveling to Washington DC Mar 29 - Apr 6 and staying at the Embassy Suites Chevy Chase Paviliion. We will eat most of our dinners near the hotel but plan on eating most of our lunches near the museums and attractions we are visiting in the city.

I know we are visiting at a busy time with the Cherry Blossom Festival and spring break. We have a child with several food allergies(peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy protein, and bananas) and I have combed many listings to find restaurants with menus that look as if they carry foods that our family will like and that have many allergy safe options.

Will we need to make restaurant reservations for lunch? If so, how far in advance would you suggest? The restaurants we have so far on our list of options are Elephant & Castle, Open City, Georgia Brown's, We The Pizza, Founding Farmers, Legal Sea Foods, and Johnny Rockets.

Will we need reservations for dinner? If so, how far in advance? For dinner, we are considering, Maggiano's Little Italy, Range, Murphy's of DC, Capitol Grille (Chevy Chase) Clyde's at Chevy Chase. May also consider a dinner at Legal Sea Foods or Georgia Brown's in the city.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. TIA

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Are Restaurant Reservations Needed?

For dinner especially, it never hurts to make reservations. A party of 4 is not difficult to seat though, so it may not be absolutely necessary. But I would since you have your plans already made.

For lunch it may be more difficult, since you may not know exactly when you will be ready to eat when in the midst of playing tourist. But if you are able to stick to a schedule, then again: it never hurts to make reservations. I don't know that Johnny Rocket's takes reservations though.

Springfield, VA
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2. Re: Are Restaurant Reservations Needed?

We the PIzza doesn't take reservations either. I haven't had lunch at Founding Farmers, but I would recommend reservations for dinner or you'll end up eating in the bar where the noise is loud it will make your ears bleed. If would also recommend reservations at Georgia Brown's for dinner also. My book club meets there for dinner, and it can get very busy.

Arlington, Virginia
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3. Re: Are Restaurant Reservations Needed?

Not to be snarky, but in all seriousness if a place takes reservations you should make them and if they don't take reservations then you can't really worry about it. Some of the places on your list (like Georgia Brown's) take reservations, some don't. www.opentable.com is a good resource, as I'd estimate 60-70% of the more popular restaurants in d.c. are bookable for free through that webiste.

Pewaukee, Wisconsin
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4. Re: Are Restaurant Reservations Needed?

Thanks so much for the replies. it sounds like a definite to make reservations for dinner and also for lunch if we are going to one of the nicer/more popular restaurants. Lunch is the harder one to estimate exactly where we will be. I only plan on eating 2 or 3 sit-down type lunches as the rest will be quick subs or burgers from the many McDs and Subways scattered around the city as they are chains with predictable food ingredients.

Along the same lines, should I get my itinerery complete before March and nail down all the reservations this month or would I be OK to make the lunch and dinner reservations within 2 weeks of the trip? Do any of the restaurants on my list typically fill their reservations weeks in advance or are they more typical in the two week range? So hard for me to guage for a city I haven't visited since the 5th grade...LOL

I plan on emailing several of the restaurants this month regarding their ability to prepare certain menu items allergy free for my daughter. Depending on their responses and timing, I may need to comb the listings for more restaurant choices. Do you have any recommendations for restaurants that are not on my list? The husband and I enjoy most foods but the girls are more into foods like the typical picky eaters--burgers, pizza, pasta, subs, mac-n-cheese, fries, hot dogs--but also really enjoy an English style fish-n-chips, shrimp(cooked many ways), and some chicken and pork dishes. We are not opposed to taking a cab if the restaurant is not close to a Metro station but would not want to travel more than 20 minutes to somewhere too far out of the city(DC proper or Chevy Chase).

Thanks again.

Springfield, VA
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5. Re: Are Restaurant Reservations Needed?

I've mentioned this before here, but my favorite downtown restaurant to take visitors with children is Chef Geoff's.

Edited: 03 February 2013, 20:25
6. Re: Are Restaurant Reservations Needed?

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