City Tips for a New Resident

When moving to a new city, it takes a while to find the local hangouts and learn about the hidden gems. (I thought Filomena was one of D.C.'s nicest restaurant when I moved here five years ago.) An NYC transplant and Metrocurean reader recently wrote with a list of things he's seeking in the District, and I thought Metrocurean and its readers could extend a warm D.C. welcome and help him out. Below are a few of his requests, followed by my suggestions. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section.

Green markets?
Some of the city's best markets are run by FreshFarm Markets, whose mission is to build and strengthen the local food movement in the Chesapeake region. Their markets include the year-round Dupont market (Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.), the Penn Quarter market (Thursdays, 3-7 p.m., ending Nov. 17), and the new Foggy Bottom market (Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m., ending Oct. 26). The markets are producer-only, meaning the people who grew the food are the ones selling it to you. And Eastern Market's farmers line (weekends 8 a.m.-6 p.m.) is of course one of D.C.'s favorite spots for fresh veggies and flowers. The indoor South Hall Market (pictured) is a great spot to buy meats and cheeses.

Taco trucks?
Would you settle for a burrito hole-in-the-wall? The Well Dressed Burrito may be one of the city's most well-hidden restaurants. Located in a nondescript alley off 19th Street (look for the penguin sign), this popular lunch take-out spot is only open from 11:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. In addition to burritos, they serve enchiladas, quesadillas and salads.

Really good cocktails?
Lucky for us, D.C. has some extremely talented bartenders, mixing up some very creative cocktails as well as quality classics. I'd direct a city newcomer to the bars at Firefly, IndeBleu, Oya, Palena and Restaurant Eve for well-made and always interesting choices. Derek Brown, who made his reputation manning the bar at Palena, is now at Firefly, helping concoct seasonal drinks. Todd Thrasher, Eve's sommelier, has attracted all kinds of attention with his mixology skills, including making his own tonic water. And though they're very pricey, Oya's infused rum cocktails, like the grilled pina colada and cilantro daiquiri, are out of this world.

Best cheese plate not in a hotel restaurant?
Dino and Sonoma, both newcomers, do a nice job with cheese plates, as do Komi and Palena. The no hotel restaurants stipulation rules out CityZen, Bistro Bis, Citronelle and the Inn at Little Washington (with its rolling cow cheese cart), all known for great cheese courses.

Reasonably priced and authentic French food?
Capitol Hill's Montmartre and Dupont's Bistro du Coin are my votes for this category. The former is a friendly, cheerful little spot with hearty French cooking; the latter is a raucous nonstop party where the lights are too bright and the food is no-frills authentic.

A nice place to have a glass of wine and sit outside?
A few ideas: the courtyard at the Tabard Inn, L'Enfant's prime people-watching patio, Tabaq's rooftop and the patio at Sette.

Best bartender to know?
See the above names in the cocktail discussion. I'd add to that the guys at U Street's Saloon. Also check out the Post's bartender of the month feature.

Good ethnic food markets?
You'll find a few Asian markets in Chinatown, but for the best selection, Northern Virginia is the place to be. The Super H Mart (10780 Lee Highway) is a local favorite. Also check out this list.

Your suggestions?