100 Best Restaurants 2008: Minh’s

No. 66: Minh's

Cuisine: Oversize crepes, caramel hot pots, and vermicelli bun issue daily and nightly from this crowd-pleasing Vietnamese restaurant—which, despite a menu of more than 100 dishes, eschews such exotica as pig’s blood and fermented fish in favor of refinement and balance.

Mood: The sprawling dining room occupies the first floor of an office building but—with white tablecloths, bud vases, decorative lanterns, and soft music—exudes an air of casual elegance.

Best for: Big groups (the round tables seat up to ten), including adventurous chow hounds and timid diners alike.

Best dishes: Green-papaya salad; flaky spring rolls with pork; shrimp-and-sweet-potato cakes; shredded-chicken salad; sweet-sour tamarind soup with shrimp and pineapple; a floppy rice-flour crepe with shrimp and pork; bun with grilled shrimp; Northern-style bun with pork; caramelized pork; young-coconut juice; sparkling lemonade.

Insider tips: The more people, the merrier—and the better you’ll eat: Portions are family-style, and you’ll want to share a bunch of plates to get the full array of flavors. If you’re in the mood for pho, head elsewhere.

Service: •••

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 Petworth.