Food

100 Best Restaurants 2009: Surfside

No. 97: Surfside

Cuisine: Fajitas, quesadillas, and some of the best tacos in town are done with freshness and flair. Limes and pineapples sizzle on the grill, the guacamole is made with extra-virgin olive oil, and the ginger beer is imported from Bermuda. David Scribner, who presides behind the “open line” in a spotless chef’s coat, prepares much of the fare himself. Check the specials board for his more ambitious dishes.

Mood: A come-as-you-are hangout crammed with prepsters downing margaritas. Whirring ceiling fans and a beachy mural make it feel like summer year-round. When the weather does warm up, the upstairs deck is a nice hideaway.

Best for: Fast, healthy dinners (the craft-your-own salad selection is excellent); fast, indulgent dinners (the lime sour cream is deliriously good); takeout.

Best dishes: Guacamole; tacos overstuffed with shrimp and pineapple or grilled fish and corn salsa; vegetable quesadilla filled with mushrooms and spinach; steak quesadilla to be dunked in lime sour cream; salads with green-goddess or honey-peanut dressing; grilled fish of the day with gingery green curry; scallops with cider brown-butter, a Scribner signature that occasionally shows up as a special.

Insider tips: Burritos are skippable—they’re more starchy than spicy. The cheap fare makes for great takeout, and the restaurant now offers curbside pickup service.

Service: ••

Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner. Inexpensive.

>> See all 100 Best Restaurants

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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.