100 Best Restaurants 2008: Tabard Inn

No. 87: Tabard Inn

Cuisine: Like his predecessors in this long-running kitchen, chef Paul Pelt makes his own pastas, terrines, and charcuterie and smokes his own fish. Fresh accents such as fried green tomatoes and ponzu sauce push the mod-American menu in new directions, while veteran pastry chef Huw Griffiths’s cobblers and ice creams remain rewarding as always.

Mood: Deco-inspired and as dark as a bordello, this Dupont Circle inn looks like something out of a Wes Anderson flick. But during the day, sun streams into the dining room, and in warm weather the patio is the prettiest place of all.

Best for: Center-city dwellers looking for a mini-escape, rumpled hipsters and their parents.

Best dishes: House-made charcuterie; smoked sablefish with lemony vinaigrette; sea scallops atop squid-ink black tagliarini with chili flakes; braised pork cheek next to pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon; freshly fried doughnuts at brunch; blackberry crème brûlée; roasted-banana ice cream.

Insider tips: In winter, the firelit parlor is one of the city’s lovelier spots for a cocktail. Want the Tabard’s famous weekend brunch? Make a reservation: Walk-ins can wait up to two hours.

Service: ••

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.