Next to So’s Your Mom is Astor Mediterrean, a neighborhood joint that prominently thrives on takeout orders.  Here’s their menu.

  • Food:I’ve ordered a lot of their chicken kebobs and lamb (or chicken) gyros in the five years I’ve lived here.   Despite their sometimes dry chicken, it’s still delicious.  The fries are super crispy and hot — a must in my book.   

Astor Mediterrean - Lamb Gyro and Fries

  • Service: When you walk in, they have a large display case with their various sides and above that, a huge menu of options.  When you’re ready to order, go to the cash register to order and pay.  Then you huddle around the counter (or run other errands) while you wait for your number to be called.
  • Atmosphere:In the summer, they have 3-4 tables and chairs, and if you like to people watch, it’s a perfect spot to go.  You’re on the sidewalk by the Bank of America ATM line.  They did a renovation to the restaurant a few years ago, which greatly improved the interior, but it’s still not that conducive to sit-down dining.  Instead, most pick-up their food orders and take it back to their respective homes. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall:If you’re new to the Adams Morgan neighborhood, this is a must.  And if you’ve lived here for decades, chances are you’ve visited this nondescript restaurant because the food is good and reasonably priced.  At least that’s why I keep coming back. 


  • Hours: Mon-Sat 11 AM-10:30 PM; Sun 11 AM-9:30 AM
  • Address: 1829 Columbia Road NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-745-7495

I’ve been to Olives a handful of times and have never gotten anything but a really good (albeit expensive) meal. 

  • Food:I ordered the Greek-style Baby Red Romaine Salad with tomatoes, cucumber, mixed olives, red onions, oregano, and crispy phyllo-wrapped feta.  But the star salad was the grilled squid and octopus with a vinaigrette of chickpeas, tomatoes, toasted garlic, and parsley.  I ordered their grilled salmon special with Israeli couscous which was spectacular.  Their fig and prosciutto pizza is amazing too.
  • Service:It’s not bad, but considering the price tag, you’d think they’d be a little more attentive.  I’ve also witnessed several times when they’d rush people eating.  If you’re eating a salad, they might bring your entree before you’re ready.
  • Atmosphere: When you walk in, on the right is their bar and on the left are tables (and their open kitchen).  If you walk straight ahead, you’ll see their stairs to their downstairs dining room.  The restaurant has an open, warm feeling and tons of windows on the first floor (meaning great sun…if it’s out).  I love their open kitchen with their wood-burning oven and their chef was cute. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: Like I said, I’ve never gotten anything but a solid, yummy meal here.  Thankfully, I’ve also never had to pay either.  Ha! 


  • Reservations strongly recommended.
  • Hours: Lunch: Monday – Friday: 11:30am – 2:30pm Dinner: Monday – Saturday: 5:30pm – 10:00pm Closed for lunch on Saturdays, all day Sundays
  • Address: 1600 K Street, NW; Washington, DC 20006
  • Ph: (202) 452-1866

Feeling like taking a bit more of a hike for lunch than normal, I thought I’d try Aioli Mediterranean.  Thankfully, I was able to convince a friend of mine to join me. 

  • Food:We looked at their menu online and I decided to order the Roma (right sandwich), with dry cured Prosciutto Ham, lightly smoked Mortadella, Genoa Salami, and Provolone cheese.  My friend decided to order the Capri which had Prosciutto blended with Geonoa Salami, Spice Capacola Ham and Provolone cheese (left sandwich).  And, since both sandwiches sounded good, we agreed to split our orders.  We were asked whether we wanted them hot or cold and we both said yes.  While we were waiting for our sandwiches to be made, we also looked at their sides.  I got a side of lentils as an impulse purchase — and am I’m really glad I did.  I thought it had a really good flavor and I felt pretty healthy eating it (I did have to add a little salt though).    The sandwiches had a little lettuce and a unique vinegar sauce.  This meant the bread ended up being soggy.  😦 And while we both ordered hot sandwiches, they were cold and the cheese was not melted.  The highlight of the meal was definitely the lentils.  Oh, and they give you a small little container of salad with carrots, cardamon, celery, onions, olive oil, vinegar, and maybe a couple of other ingredients.  I don’t like cardamon seeds, but the salad was pretty good! 

Aioli Mediterranean Lentil Salad  Aioli Mediterranean Sandwich

  • Service: There was a really nice guy behind the counter and we got the sandwiches in under 15 minutes.
  • Atmosphere:With sparse artwork on the walls, it’s a bit of a sterile environment.  There are about 10 tables and chair inside and there’s also a small outside seating location.  There are also a few refrigerators with various sides, beverages, etc.  They have a small deli counter too.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: I really liked the lentils and the little side salad they gave us.  Their Web site is really impressive and it seems like if you’re big on the sides, you’d love this place.  Their sides are pretty reasonablely priced.  I would skip the $8 sandwich though.


  • Hours: Mon-Sat 11 am-9 pm, Sun 11 am-6 pm
  • Address: 2153 P St. NW, Washington, DC 20037
  • Ph: 202-558-6188

Feeling like something different for lunch, I convinced a friend of mine to go with me to Rumi Restaurant

  • Food:I went twice — once I went to their restaurant and the second time I ordered delivery.  The first time, I ordered their chicken doner (first photo).  It was really good, but there was no “Special Rumi sauce” as the description promised.  Then the second time, I ordered the doner sandwich (mixture of beef and lamb).  The pita bread was pretty good and a generous size.  Unfortunately, again, there was no yogurt sauce (as they had promised).  So both of these sandwiches, while they were good, were dry.  If there was sauce on them, I bet they would have been good!

Rumi Chicken Doner Sandwich  Rumi Doner Sandwich

  • Service: They’re pretty quick and polite.  My delivery order didn’t come with the soda though that I had ordered (and paid for). 
  • Atmosphere: The interior completely lacks any character.  It’s fake wood tables and cheap chairs, but they offer good deals and big helpings.  For example, they have a $8 pizza special where they give you two slices and a can of soda (and the slices are pretty big).
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall:Next time I order from here, I’ll make it very clear I want the sauce to be included on the sandwich.  I like the fact they’re open late and have an $8 minimum needed for free delivery. 

Here’s the menu to their pizza (Pizza Milano Menu Side A and Pizza Milano Menu Side B) and here’s Rumi’s menu (Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4).  Just click on the menu and then click on the photo icon to make the menu bigger.


  • Hours: Sun-Thurs 10 AM-2 AM; Fri & Sat 11 AM-5 AM
  • Address: 2001 L St NW; Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: 202-331-1922

Unless you know where you’re going, Iron Gate Restaurant could be easily missed.  It has (surprise) a huge iron gate that’s open when they’re open. 

Iron Gate  Iron Gate Entrance

  • Food: While I was there for lunch, we received a basket of bread with a spread that had capers, roasted red peppers, and a bunch of other things.  It had a consistency of a very thick hummus, but I have no idea what else was in it.  But it was pretty good. I ordered the lamb shank with orzo and goat cheese and spinach.  While the lamb was cooked properly, it had a bit too much garlic.   My sides were great though.  Here’s a photo of their dinner menu (and if you click, you can actually see what’s available)
Iron Gate Dinner Menu

  • Service: Our server was polite and our ice tea and water glasses were always refilled.  Although when I’ve been there for drinks after work, they have a tendency to forget about you if you’re sitting outside and they’re not busy.
  • Atmosphere: Considered a romantic spot with their outside water fountain in their main outside dining area, it is a cute spot.  I’ve been many times for drinks after work with friends and love coming here for their courtyard.  They also usually have a special on wine and their hummus is good.  Inside is dark with fireplaces — you can see where it was once a stable and carriage house. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: When it’s a beautiful day outside, this is a perfect spot to go when you want to discuss the finer things in life over a bottle of wine and a few small plates . 


  • Reservations accepted and recommended.
  • Address: 1734 N Street NW; Washington, DC 20036 
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 AM-2:30 PM and 5:30-10 PM; Sat 5:30-10 PM; Sun closed
  • Ph: 202-737-1370

After a few of the cold evenings we’ve had, a few friends and I decided to hit Locanda Italian for some pasta, red wine, and good conversation.

  • Food:When you have 3 people coming from 3 different places around the city during rush hour, it makes it difficult to make it anywhere at the same time.  So while I was waiting for my other other dining companions, I sat at the bar with a glass of red.  The bartender was incredibly nice and super attentive (you’ll see why I’m giving her props later).  One of my friends came in and we decided to order their calamari.  Despite being incredibly heavy on the garlic powder, it was really good.  It was light (despite being fried) and came with two dipping sides of salsa verde and spicy anchovy aioli.  We decided we liked the aioli the best.  Then my last friend came and ordered the warm olives.  After looking at the menu, we were ready to order. I ordered the mushroom ravioli which was so light and full of mushroom goodness(and also was covered in a very light butter sauce); one friend ordered the pennette all’Arrabbiata (which was good and spicy); the other ordered maccheroncelli & cheese.  Now here’s where it gets interesting — she got the right food, but there was no pancetta with it.  So she had to ask for it on the side.  But when you look at the menu, it says it comes with pancetta.  What’s up with that?  Once she got her pancetta, it was excellent.  All three of us loved our entrees.  For dessert, we ordered the chocolate and hazelnut cake.  Let me tell you — I like bitter chocolate.  But this was bad.  There was absolutely no flavor
  • Service:Dismal.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times I asked for more water…where was our server?  Too bad the bartender didn’t serve our table.  Oh, and you know how Sietsema said you get cookies with your bill?  Yeah, we didn’t get any.
  • Atmosphere: It’s a narrow restaurant with 3-4 floor to ceiling windows in the front.  The interior is light with orange (comfortable) chairs.  In the back, there’s a bar with about 10 chairs that make it a perfect spot to wait for your friends.
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I’d definitely go again to get their calamari and pasta.  It was really good, but if I see the same server as we had this last time, I’ll run in the direction of the door. 


  • Reservations recommended.
  • Hours: Tue-Thu 11:30 am-2:30 pm, 6-10 pm, Fri 11:00 am-2:30 pm, 6-11 pm, Sat 6-11 pm, Sun 11:30 am-3 pm
  • Address: 633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003
  • Ph: 202-547-0002

Sometimes, you just want a good burger and fries for lunch.  You know it’s wrong because it’s unhealthy.  But you just can’t help it.  You have to give in.  And that’s when you go to Ollie’s Trolley (Ollie’s Trolley Menu and Ollie’s Trolley Menu Side B — once it downloads, click on the bottom right big photo icon to see the menu). 

  • Food: You know in When Harry Met Sally and “Sally” (aka Meg Ryan) takes forever to order her food and substitutes like crazy?  Well, I don’t know why, but I have a feeling that this is not the place to do that.  They are very nice people though — don’t get me wrong.  In the photo, you’ll see an Ollie Burger (with Ollie sauce).  I don’t know what Ollie sauce is, but I feel like it’s a bit like 1000 Island.  They have simple, but good American fare including Philly Steak sandwiches, burgers, etc.  The burger is just a burger, but they are known for their fries and the unique blend of spices.  While the fries are a bit salty for me, I have found I can get over it quickly.  They’re not super crispy, but they’re pretty good.  They also offer a lot of Mediterranean dishes, but I’ve never tried them.

Ollie's Trolley 

  • Service: They’re nice and efficient.  You can usually get in and out in under 15 minutes.
  • Atmosphere: It’s a fast-casual restaurant.  There are about 15 tables and a few stools at the window. 
  • Attire: Casual 
  • Price: $
  • Overall: It’s a great, fast lunch.  If you’ve never been, you are missing out on a good burger and fries combo. 


  • Hours: Mon-Fri 8 am – 8 pm; Sat 8 am – 3 pm; Closed Sundays
  • Address: 1426 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20005
  • Ph: 202-628-3833