1. Komi, Dupont Circle. A parade of tiny masterpieces leads to a glorious feast of roast suckling pig, baby goat, or salt-baked branzino.
2. Dino, Cleveland Park. House-made pastas, imported charcuterie, and a formidable collection of Italian wines.
3. Ray’s the Steaks, Courthouse. Michael Landrum’s empire keeps expanding, but his original steakhouse remains as strong as ever.
BEST NEW RESTAURANT
1. Estadio, Logan Circle. Proof owner Mark Kuller’s Spanish-themed hangout, with its sherry-spiked “slushees” and bite-size pintxos, has been a hit since day one.
2. Kushi, Mount Vernon Square. With fish flown in from Tokyo and an izakaya-style grill, this throbbing hot spot is like nothing else in DC.
3. Lyon Hall, Clarendon. French bistro cooking, hearty German sausages, and an interesting beer-and-wine selection come together at this Liberty Tavern spinoff.
1. Komi, Dupont Circle. This rowhouse restaurant has a stable of servers who are young and smart but not pretentious.
2. Marcel’s, West End. The crisp, formal service harkens back to the Kennedy era.
3. Restaurant Eve, Old Town Alexandria. Want to know which farm the heirloom carrots come from? Servers here can tell you.
BEST FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS
1. Komi, Dupont Circle. Nothing about this minimalist dining room feels formal except the $125 price tag on the tasting menu. But it’s so full of culinary wonders that it topped The Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list this year.
2. Restaurant Eve, Old Town Alexandria. A colorful renovation has spiffed up the extravagant Tasting Room. The more low-key Bistro is special enough for a birthday or anniversary.
3. Citronelle, Georgetown. Is there a better way to celebrate than with one of Michel Richard’s caviar penguins?
1. Dino, Cleveland Park. This Italian spot has deals every night.
2. Ray’s the Steaks, Courthouse. Not many cuts of prime beef here top $20, and traditional sides of creamed spinach and mashed potatoes are included.
3. Zaytinya, Penn Quarter. At José Andrés’s Greek/Lebanese/Turkish mezzeteria, the dishes are remarkably well crafted and consistent for the price.
1. Ray’s the Steaks, Courthouse. Michael Landrum’s fast-paced, decoration-free flagship is the antithesis of the expense-account steakhouse.
2. J&G Steakhouse, downtown DC. Celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant in the W Hotel—his 25th—showcases his brightly flavored appetizers and seafood dishes more than it does the cuts of beef.
3. BLT Steak, downtown DC. Bulging popovers begin the supersized meal at this chain, where onion rings are presented in towers and double-cut bacon is served as a starter.
1. Ray’s Hell-Burger, Courthouse. Craft the burger of your dreams with an array of high-end toppings—from cave-aged cheddar to sherried mushrooms to bone marrow.
2. BGR the Burger Joint, Bethesda, Arlington, Old Town Alexandria, and Dupont Circle. Juicy patties come both the old-fashioned way and with a sense of humor—a recent burger of the month was inspired by Jersey Shore party girl Snooki.
3. Five Guys, multiple area locations. The Arlington-based chain’s diner-style burgers and fries have swept the nation—and still have plenty of fans at home.
BEST WINE BAR
1. Proof, Penn Quarter. Not up for shelling out $5,500 for a ’97 Screaming Eagles Cabernet? There are lots of affordable bottles and 38 wines by the glass.
2. Cork, Logan Circle. This tiny, brick-walled haunt is known for simple small plates and a mostly European wine list.
3. Dino, Cleveland Park. Nightly wine specials draw in fans of Italian bottles.
1. BlackSalt, Palisades. Jeff and Barbara Black’s eclectic restaurant makes good use of the fresh catches from its front market and fish counter.
2. Hank’s Oyster Bar, Dupont Circle and Old Town. The oysters—fresh, broiled, fried, or in a sake shot—are great, but we never pass up the lobster roll.
3. PassionFish, Reston. The best restaurant in Reston Town Center offers sushi, a raw bar, and greatest-hits dishes from Jeff Tunks’s DC restaurants, such as Ceiba and Acadiana.>> Next: The best of American, Italian, and more