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I may be looking for a downtown man but let’s be serious, I’m an uptown girl. Pretty homes, the National Cathedral and easy access to Rock Creek Park make Cleveland Park (or is it “the CleP?”) the gem that it is. With the restaurant boom happening in neighborhoods like Logan Circle and Penn Quarter, it’s easy to overlook old ones that have stood the test of time.  A good area to stroll, well-heeled yet casual Cleveland Park boasts delicious dining options that don’t require skinny jeans or stilettos.

  • Scenes from an Italian Restaurant: Dino feels like a real neighborhood spot, where you might see the same regulars every Sunday night. Dino keeps it simple, featuring local and sustainable eats. Stick to the comfort foods: homemade pasta like free form lasagnette or risotto ($20) which also comes in half-orders. With extensive wine and cheese lists and desserts like tiramisu ($8) and Nutella bread pudding ($8), you can make the most of Sunday dinner.  3435 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC. 202.686.2966
  • The aromas that surround you upon entering St. Arnold’s are enough to put you in a stupor. I recommend bathing in the sauce that is the foundation of the signature Mussels St. Arnold’s ($18). House beer sauce, caramelized shallot, garlic, thyme and duck fat, this bowl will knock your socks off in the best way possible. Another gem is the Eastern Shore ($18) with Budweiser, Old Bay seasoning, corn and red potatoes. Mondays are a great day to go as all mussel bowls are $10 and come with frites and bread to soak up all the fabulous. Other menu items include Belgian waffles, burgers and a killer Belgian beer list. 3433 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC. 202.621.6719
  • At Medium Rare, vegetarians need not apply. The fixed-price menu ($20) is simple: mixed green salad, top sirloin and French fries. Your only task is to choose the temperature of your steak (though the restaurant name is a dead giveaway), then sit back while the staff does all the work. The steak is tasty, which makes it even better that you get a free second helping. They’ve also started serving brunch, which features a similarly easy menu ($23).  3500 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC. 202.237.1432
  • Indique is good Indian food for beginners like me. Bring a finicky friend and ease into dinner with an order of naan ($2) or thin and crisp papadams ($3) to start. More than once, if necessary. Then dig into chicken curry Indique ($15) or tandoori king shrimps ($22). Indique also features a 3-course pre-theater menu ($22 per person) for you early birds.  3512-14 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC. 202.244.6600
  • There’s never a bad time for pizza. Ever. Carbs, sauce, cheese and a generous dash of heaven. Italian Pizza Kitchen serves a variety of homemade Italian fare like the portabella pizza ($12.95- $18.95), or get crazy with a prima stromboli with spinach, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, ricotta, mozzarella and tomato sauce ($10.95). For dessert, split a big piece of tiramisu ($5.50) and wallow in la dolce vita. And they deliver! 4483 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC.  202.939.2979

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