100 Best Restaurants 2009: The Majestic

No. 49: The Majestic

Cuisine: Gussied-up American comfort fare courtesy of Restaurant Eve chef Cathal Armstrong makes this Old Town bistro the ultimate neighborhood restaurant. Pasta, bread, chips, and pickles are crafted in-house, with chef Shannon Overmiller executing Armstrong’s vision. As at Restaurant Eve, Todd Thrasher’s cocktails and wines are as much fun as the food.

Mood: This intimate space—where contemporary meets art deco—has a conversational hum that turns loud when the room is hopping.

Best for: Dinner out with friends or family; spiffy cocktails at the bar; a speedy yet far from run-of-the-mill lunch.

Best dishes: Sardines with caramelized onions and capers; mussels with bacon and cream; whole branzino with fennel, olives, and oranges; lamb shank with roasted tomato grits; surprisingly light meatloaf with mashed potatoes; pineapple upside-down cake with caramel sauce.

Insider tips: The Royal Pick bar-lunch special gets you an entrée—we like the bratwurst with warm potato salad—and a soda or iced tea for $12. Nana’s Family Dinner for 4 on Sundays is ideal for kids; menus change monthly, but the family meal has included fried chicken, roast lamb, pot roast, and chicken pot pie. The staff also will pack up the leftovers to go.

Service: ••½

Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday 1 to 9 for dinner. Moderate to expensive.

See all of 2009's 100 Best 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.