97. Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza ★★
1400 Irving St., NW; 202-332-7383
Cuisine: The best pizza in DC. The New Haven–style pies sport wonderfully thin crusts—crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside—and spare, well-chosen toppings. Quality comes at a price: Whole pizzas are all one size—18 inches—and start at $19. Given how good the pies are, it’s easy to forget there are other options here, too, with pasta (spaghetti and meatballs), panini (a riff on an Italian sub), and seasonal antipasti (recently, sweet potatoes with cranberries).
Mood: Though slicker than most order-at-the-counter pizza shops—there are beautiful photographs of Italian street life, and food comes on ceramic plates—the space is refreshingly unpretentious and welcoming. Peak dinner hours bring a crush of families, shoppers, and hipsters in search of good pizza.
Best for: A post-shopping slice; dinner with a group.
Best dishes: Glorious, calzone-like Sorbillo’s, a turnover of soft dough stuffed with salty ricotta and cubed salumi; garlicky white-clam pie; a salt lover’s pie with anchovies, olives, and capers; a changing selection of antipasti, which has included black lentils with pickled celery root and bacon, fingerling-potato confit with anchovy dressing, and roasted beets with walnuts and Gorgonzola.
Insider tips: There’s now delivery in a limited zone that includes neighborhoods north of Dupont Circle to Brightwood, and pizza arrives in tip-top shape. For added crispness, you can reheat slices in a hot, non-oiled sauté pan for a minute or two. At happy hour, Monday through Friday 4 to 6:30, a pint of Moretti beer and a slice of cheese pizza are $5.
Open daily for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.
96. Acadiana ★★
901 New York Ave., NW; 202-408-8848
Cuisine: The buttery biscuits that land on the table at the start of every meal amount to a declaration: This is no place for calorie counters. And it only gets better—or worse—from there. Jeff Tunks has fashioned a rich excursion into down-home “Looziana” cooking, from New Orleans–style barbecue shrimp to classic seafood gumbo to oyster po’ boys. If the menu says something is served with warm French bread, chances are there’s a buttery sauce to be mopped up with it.
Mood: For all the decadence, the dining room is almost matronly—with tall, tapestried booths, oversize chandeliers, and decorative urns. But that hasn’t kept it from becoming a power spot.
Best for: Louisiana expats and anyone who craves Mardi Gras–like decadence and traditional Louisiana cocktails—with all the customary kick.
Best dishes: Trio of deviled eggs with toppings such as ham, crab, and shrimp; seafood gumbo; roast duck over smoky greens; barbecue shrimp; shrimp and oyster po’ boys (lunch only); chocolate doberge cake; Pimm’s Cup cocktail.
Insider tips: Deals here include a $29 three-course pre-theater menu from 5:30 to 6:30 daily, half-price wines on Sunday, and bar specials on drinks and nibbles during happy hours and Sunday football games.
Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner. Expensive.
95. Equinox ★★
818 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-331-8118
Cuisine: Local-eating pioneer Todd Gray crafts carefully chosen ingredients into dishes that honor Italy and France and sometimes the Chesapeake. When the kitchen is on, it can be very good, but basic mistakes (gritty scallops, cold entrées) can get in the way of Gray’s vision. Former Maestro pastry chef Tom Wellings recently joined the kitchen, and his desserts are a highlight.
Mood: There are plenty of big-spending regulars schmoozing away—often with Gray, who makes the dining-room rounds—at this serene power haunt near the White House. (The Obamas dined there just before the inauguration.) The front dining room is a see-and-be-seen fishbowl; the taupe-painted back room is more date-friendly and low-key.
Best for: Lunchtime dealmaking; expense-account dinners.
Best dishes: A potted spread of rich foie gras slicked with quince gelée; cobia, a meaty white fish, with creamy grits and spinach; grilled beef strip loin in sweet Cabernet jus with a day-braised short rib; a cast-iron pot of truffled mac and cheese; ultra-light ricotta fritters; a layered panna cotta with foamed cider and sautéed apples.
Insider tips: Gray was trained at DC’s Galileo, and he excels at dishes bearing an Italian bent. He’s also skilled at regional classics—nobody does summer soft-shells as well as he does.
Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for dinner. Very expensive.