Cheap Eats 2008: Bar Pilar

Why go: Vintage maps and photos of Hemingway—the place is named for a character in For Whom the Bell Tolls—give the place charm, but it also has substance: The cleverly conceived small plates are of the moment—and wonderful.

What to get: The menu changes daily, but recent winners have been delicate pea shoots with fennel and a tangerine vinaigrette; a Spanish tortilla with goat cheese; an earthy stew of chicken braised with bacon and garlic; seared scallops with maple/balsamic-glazed beets and Meyer lemon; grilled banana bread with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of toffee.

Best for: Diners as culinarily adventurous as they are fiscally cautious.

Insider tip: Every Tuesday, general manager Adam Bernbach holds “cocktail sessions” during which he creates five offbeat cocktails.

See all Cheap Eats 2008 restaurants

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.