100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Johnny’s Half Shell
The bar at Johnny's Half Shell restaurant in Washington, DC. Photograph by Chris Campbell.
Comments () | Published January 27, 2014
100 Best Restaurants 2014 100 Best Restaurants 2013 100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants 2012 First Look 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Johnny's Half Shell
Address: 400 N. Capitol St., NW, Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-737-0400
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Cuisines: Seafood, Southern, Modern, American
Opening Hours: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Union Station
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Roasted-beet-and-cucumber salad with smoked sturgeon and a caviar parfait; charbroiled Chesapeake oysters; made-to-order oyster stew; gumbo; Maryland crabcakes; lobster with drawn butter and fresh shell beans; coconut cream pie.
Outdoor Seating
Happy Hour Details:
Monday through Friday, 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM; $5.50 drafts, $8 cocktails, discounts on select seafood items.
Happy Hour Days:
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays

Plunk Johnny’s down in New Orleans and it would be a beloved institution—one of those enduring restaurants by which the generations of a family mark time. In DC, the current preoccupation with fashion and buzz—a byproduct of a burgeoning scene—can mean obscurity for those restaurants where a menu changes about as often as an administration. The emphasis in this kitchen is on the cooking of the foodways from which chef and co-owner Ann Cashion hails (the Gulf) and where she’s made her home over the past three decades (the Chesapeake). That means an abundance of seafood, almost always treated simply and with reverence. There are sweet, crunchy soft-shells with a rich spoon bread, lightly bound crabcakes, and the best bowl of gumbo this side of the bayou, dark as night and loaded with shrimp and oysters. It’s a place to linger, with a strong drink to start and a sublime slice of lemon chess pie or apple cake to finish.

Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner.

Don’t Miss: Crab Louis salad; barbecue shrimp; grilled chicken wings with Green Goddess dressing; spicy broiled lobster. 

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