Eating Out in Bethesda Isn't Just About Dinner
Check out these great lunch spots and enjoy Bethesda cuisine for less.
Bethesda has so many delicious choices for a lunchtime escape. Some of the area's finest restaurants serve their lunch entrees in slightly smaller portions, and in many cases, you'll sample the restaurant's standout dishes for significantly less money than it will cost you four hours later.
So abandon your peanut butter and jelly sandwich, turn off Facebook, and make a date for lunch in Bethesda. Here are some fun places for lunchtime business or pleasure.
This restaurant welcomes both the suit crowd and the ladies who lunch. They serve hearty plates of tasty salads, burgers and fish under $15. The sandwiches come with crispy shoestring fries and you should consider splitting the peanut butter chocolate cream pie. It's easier to work off dessert early in the day.
This restaurant has one of the best upscale lunch bargains around, serving Tuesdays through Fridays: for $12 you get an appetizer and a main course. Appetizers include gnocchi or warm pita with three dips. Entrees include fish tacos, turkey burger (they bill it "the world's best") or pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw and fries. The executive entrees like salmon or the risotto of the day are slightly more expensive at $16 and also includes the appetizer of your choice.
This new addition to Woodmont Triangle has some delectable dishes for sharing including Merquez Appetizer with its spicy lamb sausage atop potato puree, spinach and topped with a tangy Moroccan barbeque sauce. Try to resist ordering beer before quitting time—I know it's hard when there are so many choices calling your name.
This Mediterranean-influenced restaurant offers pizzas, sandwiches, Wagu sliders, sweet potato fries, exotic salads, complimentary crusty rolls…too many good things to order, so consider sharing. Nest was voted 2010's best new restaurant by readers of Bethesda Magazine. The outdoor patio is friendly and comfortable, but the dining room is tight. So make sure you're not there to gossip about your neighbor or discuss military secrets. Closed Mondays for lunch.
Mia learned her craft at Pizza Paradiso and 2 Amy's; she knows how to make the finest personal pizza this side of Naples. You'll love sharing the gourmet pizzas and appreciate the smoky aroma emanating from her wood burning oven. Did you know that Rachel Ray Magazine named Mia's Pizza the best Margharita pizza in the Mid-Atlantic? And it's in our neighborhood! Hurry, try it!
They built this place when I was a teenager, and I remember when dining here was a special occasion. Today they're still serving those hamburgers, and while it's not considered upscale anymore by Bethesda standards, it's still a popular place among the hard-working crew hidden away in those nearby office buildings. The burgers are an institution, and servers know to expedite your meal--you'll be back to the office pronto.
These twin restaurants are pricy, but both delicious places worth the splurge. Consider trying Geppetto's thick Sicilian style pizza or pastas. The menu and prices remain the same all day.
At Oakville you'll find white table cloths and entrees that range in price from vegetarian dishes at $10 to seafood dishes at $20. For something different try their international cheese plate (best if you can enjoy this with a glass from their extensive wine list). This is an elegant stop for a special occasion lunch or celebration.
Westfield Montgomery Mall
What can I say, these folks know how to move a lunch crowd! Almost everything they serve is fresh and tasty, especially the pasta with pesto cream sauce and side of garlic bread--a favorite with hungry, sporty girls I know. They serve generous portions of salad, chili and soups. The Panini sandwiches are flavorful and filling. Also, I dare you to walk by the cookies and not succumb.
Whether you're taking a break from shopping or looking for a place to meet, there are two good lunch choices inside the mall. California Pizza Kitchen is crowded and often filled with fussy kids, but you can't beat the food. The salads are fresh and innovative, and the pizza topped with hearty proteins, like their famous barbeque chicken pizza, are scrumptious. Perfect for sharing. Just try to get there early or you'll have a long wait.
Drawing a different crowd from California Pizza Kitchen, diners consist of well-dressed people doing business and treating themselves to some very respectable food. It's pricey but the gumbo is a standout and not to be missed. The little rolls are soft and go perfectly with the chowder. You can also get a nice piece of fish to help you stay trim, and feel satisfied for the rest of the afternoon.
Off the Beaten Path
A yellow Victorian house with small but welcoming rooms, the Irish Inn is a very civilized place to dine. The choices are mostly pub fare like bangers and fish 'n chips, but they also have pasta, quiche, salads and sliders. Waiters, with their charming Irish brogue, help transport you to the Emerald Isle, and of course, everything here goes down better with a pint of Guinness (I take full responsibility with your boss). It can be drafty in the winter and warm in the summer, so avoid going there in extreme temperatures.
Hidden away in the Shops at Sangamore, this French bakery also serves lunch. Everything is freshly prepared. Lunch at the bistro consists of traditional French favorites like Croque Madam and Croque Monsieur, Escargot and Salade Nicoise. Don't leave without a delicate pastry or cake to take home to your family.