100 Best Restaurants 2008: Foti’s

No. 71: Foti's

Cuisine: Contemporary American cooking with upscale flourishes—the chef, Frank Maragos, is an Inn at Little Washington alum—but an absence of experimentation and a fierce determination to stay rooted in place: The produce and meats are mostly from around Culpeper.

Mood: Wrought-iron chandeliers adorn an airy, brick-lined room that feels like an enclosed courtyard—just one of the charms of making the trek out to this Federal-era town ringed by Civil War battlefields.

Best for: A relaxing dinner after visiting Virginia wine country, Luray Caverns, or the Brandy Station battlefield. It’s one of the few respites from the chain restaurants along Route 29.

Best dishes: “Ham-and-egg sandwich,” an appetizer of grilled garlic-scented ciabatta with a fried egg, Calhoun’s country ham (a local treasure), and baby arugula; a tower of roasted beets and goat cheese with pickled mushrooms and fried walnuts; citrussy salmon given an Asian twist with pickled ginger and jasmine rice; hazelnut and chocolate pots de crème that will make Nutella fans swoon.

Insider tips: Foti’s abounds in Southern hospitality: Running late from your winery visit? No problem. Bringing your kids? There’s no children’s menu, but Maragos can improvise a simple chicken dish that might make parents envious. One disappointment: The wine list doesn’t reflect the restaurant’s local roots, and the markups are high.

Service: ••½

Don’t Miss Another New Restaurant—Get Our Food Newsletter

The latest in Washington’s food and drink scene.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.