Thip Khao and Padaek

Washingtonian 100 Very Best Restaurants 2024

Photograph by Andrew Noh.
Arlington, + 2 more
Columbia HeightsFalls Church
It’s been about 14 years since chef Seng Luangrath introduced Washingtonians to the spicy, pungent flavors of her native Laos in a suburban strip mall. Today, she has three restaurants devoted to the cuisine: Columbia Heights’ Thip Khao, the original Padaek in Falls Church, and a sleek new Padaek in Arlington Ridge. (A fourth, Baan Mae, is set to replace the Shaw bar Hanumanh this year.) All of them serve Luangrath’s famous naem khao—a crispy-rice salad with herbs, peanuts, and sour pork sausage—plus banana-leaf-steamed fish, spicy curries, and noodle dishes. Thip Khao is worth a special visit for its “jungle menu,” with crispy pig’s ears and chicken-heart skewers.
3462 14th St NW Washington, DC 20010
6395 Seven Corners Ctr Falls Church, VA 22044
2931 S Glebe Rd Arlington, VA 22206