Places to Eat at MAGFest/ Katsucon
It’s almost the New Year, and with that comes two of the most popular conventions in the DC metro area: MAGFest and Katsucon. Both of these conventions take place at the Gaylord National Harbor, a beautiful hotel that exists almost in its’ own little world. While I can’t review the food in the hotel proper (I try to avoid hotel dining as it tends to be on the pricier side- especially room service!) here are my reviews of some of the restaurants in the surrounding area.
1. Cadillac Ranch (http://www.cadillacranchgroup.com/location/national-harbor/)
Cadillac Ranch is just a quick walk away from the convention center and serves the usual American bar-food fare. It is a sit-down type restaurant and does serve alcohol for those of legal age. My friends try to go there at least once per convention, if only for the loaded fry appetizer: cheesy, bacon-y, ranch-y goodness.
2. CVS (http://www.cvs.com/store-locator/store-locator-landing.jsp?_requestid=876370)
CVS is not a restaurant, it’s a convenience store, but it does sell prepackaged food and beverages if you are short on cash and have a refrigerator in your hotel room. Just be aware, it is not a 24-hour establishment, so check hours to avoid disappointment.
3. Elevation Burger (http://eb.gustofb.com/?c=1020&l=1110#/?c=1020&l=1110)
Elevation burger is actually not that far from the convention center, but it feels like an eternity walking there in frigid howling winds, so plan accordingly. It serves burgers, fries, and shakes, but is definitely a step up in quality from McDonalds. It also includes grilled cheese on the menu if you are vegetarian, and you can add toppings to your cheese sandwich just like the burgers (I personally like adding fresh tomatoes).
4. Subway (https://www.nationalharbor.com/stores/subway/)
Subway is the same basic Subway you see all over the USA. The one thing that it has going in the National Harbor is that it is one of the few places open for breakfast.
5. Thai Pavilion (https://www.nationalharbor.com/stores/thai-pavillion/)
Thai Pavilion serves delicious Thai food in generous quantities that is an absolute delight on a cold convention evening. Just look for the ornate silver door and you will know you have arrived. It is a sit-down type restaurant, so expect to spend some time there, but this is one of my favorite places to eat in the National Harbor.
6. Chipotle (https://order.chipotle.com/)
The usual Chipotle you find in the rest of the US. Build your own burrito and eat it there, or get a burrito to stash in the hotel mini-fridge for midnight snacking like my friend does.
7. Potbelly Sandwich Shop (https://m.potbelly.com/locations/md/oxon-hill/national-plaza/)
A bit more gourmet than Subway, Potbelly’s serves hot soup and sandwiches.
8. Nando’s Peri-Peri (https://www.nandosperiperi.com/eat/restaurants/national-harbor)
I will admit my view of this restaurant is a bit tarnished. Last time I was there we ended up waiting two hours from walking in the door, to ordering, to finally getting our food. At that time, the staff was overwhelmed with both dine-in and take-out orders. Hopefully they will have learned how to manage convention rush, but I don’t plan on returning anytime soon.
9. Fiorella’s Italian Kitchen (http://www.fiorellapizzeria.com/menu)
Perhaps because it isn’t as visible from the street as some of the other restaurants, Fiorella’s didn’t have the long lines that the others did the one time we went. And going there was a fantastic decision. We were tired, cold, and hungry, and a nice big bowl of alfredo was everything we wanted.
(Image from the Cadillac Ranch Facebook page, sadly there was no pictures of the loaded fries https://www.facebook.com/cadillac.ranch.group/)
These are only a handful of the places to eat around the Gaylord, but I hope this gave you some ideas for your next convention! Check out the National Harbor website for more (https://www.nationalharbor.com/), an let me know in the comments if there is anything you think I missed.