100 Best Restaurants 2012: Liberty Tavern
From soulful bistros to high-gloss steakhouses, there's lots of good eating in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Cynthia Hacinli, Ann Limpert, Rina Rapuano
Comments () | Published January 23, 2012
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Liberty Tavern
Address: 3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: 703-465-9360
Neighborhood: Arlington, Arlington, Clarendon/Courthouse
Cuisines: Modern, Pizza, American
Opening Hours: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Clarendon
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Arctic char, smoked in-house and folded over johnnycakes; apple-and-endive salad; fiery fra diavolo macaroni with fresh lobster; autumnal gnocchi with celery root and blue cheese; Vermont pizza with white cheddar and apples; skirt steak; schnitzel-style s


It seems as if every restaurant today is cranking out its own charcuterie, rolling pastas by hand, doing its own pickling. Here that attention to detail extends even further. There's not just a pastry chef on staff but also a bread baker. Order tea and it comes in a tiny iron pot with loose leaves.

Some of chef Liam LaCivita's dishes reflect his years of training, while others update what Grandma made--or in the case of the chocolate cake, a recipe on the back of a mayo jar from the '30s. The menu might seem all over the map (obvious influences are Italian, Portuguese, and Pennsylvania Dutch), but the common denominator is LaCivita's emphasis on the rustic. Even his most artful plates bear hefty portions.

What to get: Smoked salmon atop warm potato blinis; Vermont pizza with Cabot cheddar, prosciutto, and Granny Smith apples; fazzoletti (thin, folded squares of pasta with fried quail and black-truffle froth); Portuguese-style swordfish in clam-and-saffron broth with sausage, escarole, and white beans; grilled branzino with squid-ink-soaked fregola nera, a tiny pasta; roast Amish chicken with buttermilk mashed potatoes and gravy; chocolate cake.

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/23/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews