Greek Restaurant · Northwest Washington · 1509 17th St NW (btwn P & Q St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Inside this unassuming rowhouse next to a CVS, Johnny Monis is putting out the top culinary experience in Washington. The wine pairing ($70 per person) is generous and full of offbeat picks.
American Restaurant · 309 Middle St (at Main St), Washington, VA
Washingtonian Magazine: Five-course meals begin with canapés such as “the world’s tiniest baked potato” and might end with a visit from a mechanical cow named Faira (aka the cheese cart) and cheese savant Cameron Smith.
French Restaurant · Georgetown · 3000 M St NW (at M St), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Escargots done up as “porcupines” in spiky pastry & topped with barbecue sauce; oyster shooters with cucumber gelée; a Technicolor mosaic of thinly sliced venison, eel, and other seafood.
Molecular Gastronomy Restaurant · Penn Quarter · 855 E St NW (9th & E Streets NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: When was the last time you picked up a mezcal-spiked cocktail and ate it like a snowball? José Andrés’s 27-course menu kicks off with just that and follows up with other mind-bending surprises.
New American Restaurant · Cleveland Park · 3529 Connecticut Ave NW (at Porter St. NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Palena is two restaurants under one roof: a softly lit dining room with some formality and a casual cafe where the smell of the wood grill fills the air. The cafe has the area’s best gnocchi.
Indian Restaurant · Penn Quarter · 633 D St NW (at 7th St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Easily the area’s best Indian restaurant and unlike any other in the crowded field. What to get: Ragda patties, potato cakes with tamarind-date-and-mint chutney; avocado and banana with date chutney.
Italian Restaurant · Penn Quarter · 678 Indiana Avenue NW (entrance on Indiana Ave NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Tuna-topped crostini; burrata with heirloom tomatoes and basil; meatballs with a sunny-side-up egg; pappardelle with ragu of Scottish hare; lasagna with morels and truffles.
French Restaurant · West End · 2401 Pennsylvania Ave NW (at 24th St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Chestnut-and-foie-gras soup; shrimp with corn blinis; boudin blanc with truffle sauce and truffled potato purée; melted Montboissie cheese over toasted pecan-raisin bread.
Southern / Soul Food Restaurant · Connecticut Avenue - K Street · 1990 M St NW (at 20th St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Whether you’re enjoying a killer mint julep in the lounge or biting into buttery cornbread in the relaxed dining room, this subterranean eatery is all about comfort, both in mood and cuisine.
Italian Restaurant · Downtown-Penn Quarter-Chinatown · 1100 New York Ave NW (at 12th & H St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: There are other places to go to seal a deal, but we haven’t met one that better blends sophistication with culinary finesse. A great spot for people-watching and celeb-spotting.
New American Restaurant · Northwest Washington · 2020 P St NW (Hopkins), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Two years after opening, the softly lit rowhouse remains something of a secret. You don’t come here to impress the boss—but you might come to woo someone with an appetite for adventure.
Spanish Restaurant · Logan Circle - Shaw · 1520 14th St NW (at Church St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Chef Karoum’s Spanish-influenced cooking doesn’t flaunt whiz-bang techniques or trendy ingredients—it’s made for everyday eating. Still, he’s making some of the most exciting food we’ve had this year.
Ethiopian Restaurant · Near Northeast · 401 H St NE, Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Ethiopian restaurants aren’t unusual in DC, but this is the place to experience spicy, long-cooked stews and the sizzling theatrics of the meat-and-onion stir-fries called tibs.
New American Restaurant · Cleveland Park · 3417 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get:Pickled vegetables with cardamom-spiked yogurt; pistachio agnolotti; quinoa risotto with lobster mushrooms; rabbit two ways (rack and leg-meat confit); duck with crab-apple sabayon.
Washingtonian Magazine: Silk-paddle fans and miles of French doors give the dining room a breezy West Coast feel. The tavern-like lower level—a scene most nights—has a more vintage look with its onyx-and-stacked-stone bar.
New American Restaurant · Old Town · 1120 King St, Alexandria, VA
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Polenta-filled agnolotti; potato-leek soup with smoked cod; beet salad; rib eye with salsa verde; garlic-crusted cod with ham and potato; peanut-butter/chocolate tart.
American Restaurant · Capitol Hill · 1015 H St NE, Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Think of this DC restaurant as a supper club on the cheap—a retreat where it’s hard not to indulge in one of the well-made cocktails and where the staff seems to be taking care of you and you only.
Italian Restaurant · Chinatown · 707 6th St NW (btwn G & H St. NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: What keeps us coming back is the zip of Mike Isabella’s small plates and pizzas, which seem tossed off but involve layers of work and detail. The cooking pulses with a big heart.
Chinese Restaurant · Ballston - Virginia Square · 3434 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Hot pot with pork, prawns, green-bean leaves, and wood-ear mushrooms; wood-ear mushrooms with chili oil and cilantro; pork dumplings; dan-dan noodles; scallion pancake.
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Sweet-smoky duck-confit nachos; grass-fed sirloin burger at lunch; bison rib eye rubbed with cocoa nibs; sea bass over udon noodles; surf and turf featuring an outstanding filet mignon.
Seafood Restaurant · Logan Circle - Shaw · 1612 14th St NW (at Corcoran Street), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Dishes are upscale enough to be worthy of leaving home for but not so much that they become precious. What to get: Oysters on the half shell; seafood-studded salsa; grilled bacon-wrapped oysters.
Chinese Restaurant · Downtown Columbia · 10215 Wincopin Cir, Columbia, MD
Washingtonian Magazine: If the prospect of driving to Columbia for Chinese food doesn’t appeal to you, focus on the specifics: the best tea-smoked duck we’ve found and superlative dim sum that’s cooked to order.
Food & Drink Shop · Logan Circle - Shaw · 1314 9th St NW (at N St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Chef O’Brien turns out one four-course menu each weekend—no substitutions—and announces it two weeks in advance. Hits have included slow-roasted salmon with parsnips & a “fig newton” with foie gras.
Chinese Restaurant · Central Rockville · 410 Hungerford Dr (at Beall Ave), Rockville, MD
Washingtonian Magazine: Any number of restaurants offer Kung Pao chicken and beef with broccoli, but to be reminded of the depth and variety that even a single subset of Chinese cooking contains, this is the place we turn.
Washingtonian Magazine: No matter where you sit, you’ll find well-executed pâtés and terrines, exquisite salads and soups, and main courses that are models of elegant simplicity. If only the service had the same polish.
Tapas Restaurant · Penn Quarter · 480 7th St NW (at E St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Tapas we’ve been loving for years include goat-cheese-stuffed red peppers, crusty bread rubbed with tomatoes & layered with thinly sliced Manchego, a textbook gazpacho, & warm dates wrapped in bacon.
Vietnamese Restaurant · Clarendon - Courthouse · 2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Shrimp-and-yam patties; bun cha, charred pork meatballs in spicy fish sauce; Hanoi-style sizzling catfish with dill and mint; clay pots of pork or catfish; lemongrass-marinated short rib.
Italian Restaurant · Northwest Washington · 2029 P St NW (btwn Hopkins & 21st St. NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: The handwritten menu and the array of antipasti change daily, but some gems do reappear. Thrills on a recent menu included meatballs studded with pine nuts; ultralight arancini; chocolate polenta cake
Steakhouse · Clarendon - Courthouse · 2300 Wilson Blvd (at Clarendon Blvd & N Wayne St), Arlington, VA
Washingtonian Magazine: When we crave a thick, bloody steak, this is the place that leaps to mind. We prefer restaurateur Michael Landrum’s for its value, its warmth, and its scale. This is a steakhouse for the common man.
American Restaurant · Georgetown · 1226 36th St NW (at Prospect), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: With its cobblestone foyer, wood-paneled dining rooms, and formal service, this Georgetown restaurant is a lovely throwback. What to get: Tagliatelle with clams and bacon & rockfish with lobster farro
Pizza Place · Cathedral - Wesley Heights - McLean Gardens · 3715 Macomb St NW, Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Some of our favorites—deviled eggs topped with piquant green sauce, gorgeously fried prosciutto croquettes—never leave the menu. Look to the specials for interesting spins on seasonal veggies.
French Restaurant · Connecticut Avenue - K Street · 923 16th and K Streets, N.W. (at K St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: The formidable wine list is among Washington’s best. What to get: Japanese hamachi with green-apple mustard; olive-oil-poached cod with pipérade jus; braised halibut in Arbois wine sauce.
American Restaurant · Logan Circle - Shaw · 1337 14th St NW (at Rhode Island Ave NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Pork loin with greens and eggplant; cavatelli with roasted chicken and chicken-skin cracklings; hake with beans and corn; grilled skirt steak with puréed potatoes and mustard greens.
French Restaurant · Downtown-Penn Quarter-Chinatown · 15 E St NW (at North Capitol St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: A good onion soup is hard to find—but not if you’re eating here. What to get: Endive salad with blue cheese; steamed mussels in saffron broth; steak frites; steak tartare; apple tart with Calvados.
French Restaurant · 4933 Fairmont Ave (at Old Georgetown Rd), Bethesda, MD
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Baby squid with wild mushrooms; clams stuffed with spinach, walnuts, and onion confit; bouillabaisse with scallops and sea bass; hanger steak; roasted-pineapple baba au rhum.
Washingtonian Magazine: Chef David Ashwell, Robert Wiedmaier’s longtime right-hand man, is turning out such straightforward but soulful bistro fare as excellent steak frites, crocks of mussels, and a rich onion soup.
American Restaurant · 4600 Waverly Ave (at Rokeby Ave.), Garrett Park, MD
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Corn chowder (summer); Thai-style mussels; hanger steak with chimichurri; cheeseburger; roast chicken; apple crisp; potato pancakes with house-made apple sauce (brunch).
Seafood Restaurant · Foxhall-Palisades · 4883 MacArthur Blvd NW (at V St. NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Walking by the fish market up front you’ll likely get a sense of what will be on the menu from the ice beds holding super-sweet Nantucket bay scallops or a bountiful array of oysters.
Steakhouse · Connecticut Avenue - K Street · 1625 I Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Midday is especially busy, with lawyers and lobbyists sinking into the pale-suede banquettes, but at night the action shifts to the raw bar, where oysters, shrimp, & lobsters glisten in mounds of ice.
New American Restaurant · West End · 1201 24th St NW (at M St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: We gravitate to this high-toned farm-to-table destination whenever we’re in the mood for brunch and whenever we’re trying to satisfy a group of disparate personalities. Service is attentive & polished
Washingtonian Magazine: The main dining room is bright and noisy, the smaller annex cozier. Tables are covered in leather, and there’s the whiff of money in the crowd of politicos, Georgetown old guard, & singles at the bar.
Belgian Restaurant · Downtown-Penn Quarter-Chinatown · 1101 K St NW (at 11th St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: This brasserie and beer hall is a multipurpose space—great for blowing off steam with coworkers, downing platters of oysters and pints of beer, enjoying a hearty meal or a leisurely weekend brunch.
New American Restaurant · Mount Vernon Square · 1122 9th St NW, Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Surprises reveal themselves slowly. The best examples are the complexly layered soups. If we see one on the menu, we order it. The $65 five-course tasting menu is an excellent value.
Wine Bar · Logan Circle - Shaw · 1720 14th St NW (btw R & S), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Chicken-liver pâté with shallot marmalade; oil-cured tomatoes on toast; fried calamari and shrimp with zingy rémoulade; grilled flatiron steak with anchovy vinaigrette.
New American Restaurant · 8407 Ramsey Ave (btwn Wayne Ave & Bonifant St), Silver Spring, MD
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Deviled eggs with pastrami bacon; bowl of pickles, tomatoes, and cucumbers; steamed mussels with lomo; Cuban-style pressed-pork sandwich; grilled quail; grilled rib eye; lamb Bolognese.
American Restaurant · Downtown Bethesda, Bethesda, Maryland · 7272 Wisconsin Ave (at Elm St), Bethesda, MD
Washingtonian Magazine: The dining room hints at a '20s train station, complete with a large clock, an opulent bar, and glowing lamps. We loved the raspberry-rhubarb shortcake & the blueberry-lemon crostada on our 1st visit.
Vietnamese Restaurant · 8190 Strawberry Ln (at Lee Hwy), Falls Church, VA
Washingtonian Magazine: Salads, such as a platter of shredded green papaya, explode with limey tang and chili-fueled heat, while bowls of pho are eminently soothing. Nibbles from the fryer make excellent shares.
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Miniature Elvis burgers with pimiento cheese; mixed greens with goat cheese, flaxseed cracker, and cider vinaigrette; Scottish salmon in foie gras sauce; Amish chicken with mole.
Washingtonian Magazine: Don’t be put off by the Lewis Carroll–on-acid hotel lounge that fronts the restaurant. With cream-painted walls, soaring windows, and velvet banquettes, J&G is one of the most elegant rooms in town.
Seafood Restaurant · George Washington University · 2000 Pennsylvania Ave Nw (21st St.), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: After a long day, we sometimes pine for the downstairs bar. The barmen exude old-school charm & can whip up any drink in the book. The oysters are well sourced and cleanly shucked.
Japanese Restaurant · Mount Vernon Square · 465 K St NW (at 5th St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: The charcoal fire pit and surrounding U-shaped bar dominate the room. But don’t ignore the raw items—sushi and sashimi are almost always pristine. What to get: Braised pork-belly rolls; duck sausage.
Washingtonian Magazine: This modest storefront is a soulful spot with vibrant, generous cooking and a familial feeling. What to get: Anticuchos, skewered, marinated beef hearts; ceviche garnished with soft sweet potatoes.
American Restaurant · Old Town · 911 King St, Alexandria, VA
Washingtonian Magazine: This eclectic American cafe, part of Cathal Armstrong’s growing empire, features the same farm-to-table dedication as its higher-end sibling, Restaurant Eve, along with cocktails from Todd Thrasher.
French Restaurant · The Ritz-Carlton, 1700 Tysons Blvd, 4th Floor, McLean, VA
Washingtonian Magazine: What to get: Gougères, light-as-air cheese puffs; salmon tartare; rich chestnut soup; 72-hour braised short ribs; fried chicken with mustard sauce; roast salmon with lentils and shallot dressing.
French Restaurant · Capitol Hill · 327 7th St SE (at Pennsylvania Ave. SE), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: More than any other French bistro in the area, this chatty room on Capitol Hill makes us feel like we’re in Paris. What to get: Mussels with pastis; country pâté; veal tongue with sauce gribiche.
Washingtonian Magazine: There are moments in nearly every meal here—a soup that activates every taste sensor, a salad of Technicolor intensity—that make you think you’ve never really eaten Thai food before.
New American Restaurant · Woodley Park · 2317 Calvert St NW (Shoreham Dr NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: The Babinga Bar—named for the West African rosewood it’s made of—remains one of the best places to experience DC’s craft-cocktail culture, particularly concoctions built from the bar’s gin collection.
New American Restaurant · Connecticut Avenue - K Street · 800 Connecticut Ave NW (at H St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Dishes at Ashok Bajaj’s dining room are always elegant, but there’s also a playful side to chef Tony Conte’s food. Take the butternut-squash soup with olives and banana? In Conte’s hands, it works.
Seafood Restaurant · 11960 Democracy Dr (in Reston Town Center), Reston, VA
Washingtonian Magazine: The best restaurant in Reston Town Center is also one of Washington’s best seafood palaces. The kitchen does well with raw-bar towers, sushi rolls, and an atlas’s worth of appetizers and entrées.
Hotel · Connecticut Avenue - K Street · 1200 16th St NW (at M St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Ornate crown molding and glossy black wood-herringbone floors add luxe notes—there are even velvet footstools for your handbag, while the firelit rear chamber feels like a cocoon of privacy.
Vietnamese Restaurant · Jefferson · 6678 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church, VA
Washingtonian Magazine: Few family-run ethnic restaurants possess this degree of style. With lacquered tables, ceramic floors, and a tinkling fish pond, it’s ideal for a special occasion or a night of catching up w/ friends.
New American Restaurant · Chinatown · 777 I St NW (at 8th St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Peter Smith has packed his restaurant with personality. On the plate, there are such whimsies as a deconstructed cheesesteak. The walk-in lounge offers terrific bar food, such as bánh mì.
Washingtonian Magazine: Steaks are of very good quality, from the $19.99 hanger to the $35.99 rib eye called a cowboy cut. They no longer come with free sides, but in steakhouse land, $5 for mashed potatoes is a steal.
New American Restaurant · Old Town · 110 S Pitt St (King St), Alexandria, VA
Washingtonian Magazine: Chef/owner Cathal Armstrong likes to keep things fresh, so this tasting room/bistro/lounge is a constantly evolving mash-up of his Dublin upbringing, French technique, and New World sensibility.
American Restaurant · West End · 2275 L St NW, Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: You can count on good burgers and soups but the standout dish is the most out-there: a salt-rimmed margarita glass filled with lime-marinated bay scallops, tequila ice, and sour cream.
Molecular Gastronomy Restaurant · Logan Circle - Shaw · 922 N St NW, REAR, Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Chef R.J. Cooper’s all-tasting-menu venture—parceled out in 16 or 24 quick-bite dishes—is a wild ride of a night, especially if you don’t burden it w/ too many expectations of what dinner should be.
American Restaurant · Penn Quarter · 701 Pennsylvania Ave NW (at 7th St NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: The bar, which stirs a mean dried-fruit Manhattan, attracts a crowd of off-the-clock thirtysomethings, Verizon Center–goers, and tourists. Chef Ed Witt's pastas and well-prepared meats are big draws.
Sushi Restaurant · Northwest Washington · 1503 17th St NW (P st NW), Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian Magazine: Sitting at the sushi bar and watching the chefs do their deft blade work on hulking slabs of fish, making edible art with Zen-like calm, provides some insight into what makes Sushi Taro special.
American Restaurant · Lyon Park · 2761 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA
Washingtonian Magazine: An open kitchen and a stone waterfall are the focal points of the room; terra-cotta walls and dim lighting lend a cozy feel. Service has been spot-on—attentive and friendly but not hovering.