Saturday, November 27, 2010

10 Bests of Downtown Bethesda

I've been living in downtown Bethesda for over a year now and have gained a lot of wisdom in the food/bar/living scene in the area.  If you're just visiting, living in the area or just venturing out of the District for a day, these are the top 10 bests of downtown Bethesda:
  1. Bethesda Bagels - the best place for bagels in downtown Bethesda (or possibly DC).  A question to the powers that be: why isn't there just a good sit-down breakfast place that doesn't give you a headache while waiting for a table (like the Original Pancake House)? 
  2. Caddies on Cordell - the best place for bar food and strong drinks.  Don't worry about spending the $10 for a drink at Caddies, trust me one is enough there.  They are in no way skimpy on the liquor intake.  On top of this wonderful fact, they also happen to have the best bar food in the area (I recommend any of the appetizer sliders as a main course).  Also, a great place to watch any game that your man desires.
  3. Raku - the best sushi restaurant in Bethesda and DC.  This tiny eatery is always hopping.  While they have a full bar, I wouldn't recommend a drink there.  Instead spend your money on the tuna tartar appetizer (with extra bread if you're more than one person).  Then any of their selection of sushi rolls.  Fish is always fresh, food always amazing and service prompt.  Only word of caution is beware of the crowds.
  4. The Harp & Fiddle - the best Irish bar for all ages in Bethesda.  Awesome beer selection, great live music, yummy appetizers and appropriate from anyone ages 21-75.  Seriously, I've been there on nights where a 70-something is picking up a 50-something across the bar from a 25-year-old sloppy drunk.  This is always an interesting night and the best part is if your parents are in town, no problem bringing them here for some fun.
  5. BlackFinn - the best Irish car bomb in Bethesda.  Looking for a bar that plays 80s music videos all night long and has $5 Irish car bombs?  Then BlackFinn Bethesda is the place for you.  If your not into the bar scene anymore though, I would stay away.  It can get quite busy (push through crowds and wait in the girls bathroom with bunches of drunk college girls) scene.  But, if that's what you're looking for, this is my favorite in downtown Bethesda.
  6. Fancy Cakes by Leslie - the best place for cakes of all sorts in Bethesda.  Forget about Georgetown Cupcukes, which often features a ridiculous line outside of its Bethesda store, instead head across the street to Fancy Cakes by Leslie.  This small cake shop is known for its gourmet cakes fit for any occasion, but if you're just looking for a snack, then pick up one of their delicious cupcakes ($3.25 each).  If you're with the kids, then let them decorate their own cupcakes right in the store!  
  7. 34 Ride on Bus - the best way to get to a good shopping area near Bethesda.  While I love Bethesda stores, they are often out of my price range.  If you're not into shopping at overpriced boutiques, then jump on the 34 Ride on Bus towards Friendship Heights ($1.70 cash or $1.50 using your SmartTrip).  Friendship Heights is a nice, outdoor shopping area that has everything from TJ Maxx to Tiffany's.  If you're feeling active, it's only about a 30 minute walk south on Wisconsin Avenue from Bethesda.
  8. Bethesda Court Hotel - the best hotel for the money in Bethesda. Central location near Metro, clean rooms, good price.  Always recommend this hotel when people come into town. 
  9. Cacao - the best place for "Top Chef" like desserts in Bethesda.  If you're feeling like being bad on the diet and wallet, then pick up a few individually sized pastries by French chocolatier Jacques Poulain.  They also have a good selection of homemade chocolates for gifts. 
  10. Capital Crescent Trail - the best scenic route in Bethesda. This Trail, starting on the corner of Bethesda Ave. and Woodmont Ave.,  is a converted railroad track from the B&O Railroad. This 11-mile-long trail from Bethesda to Georgetown is great for walking the dog, biking or just a stroll.