Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.
Van Ness isn’t a part of DC known for tasty dining, but the down-to-earth cooking of Liliana Dumas has given the neighborhood a wonderfully versatile place to eat. Best known for her way with desserts and dishes influenced by her native Liguria, a region in Italy, Dumas sometimes pokes her head into the dining room to ask if diners enjoyed their meals.
Outstanding shareable plates include al dente Swiss chard with pine nuts, a nicely seasoned fennel-and-artichoke salad, and spicy house-made lamb sausage with chickpeas in tomato sauce. Main courses of seafood stew with a rich tomato broth and farfalle pasta with crab sauce are house specials. And layers of mousse and cake inspired by the seasons—you’ll find chestnut and orange versions when the temperature drops—are big enough to share but light enough to devour on your own.
Also good: Minted fava-bean purée on toast; whipped salt cod; pasta with pesto, new potatoes, and green beans; pistachio-mousse cake; fruit smoothies at lunch, such as a raspberry-banana-and-ginger version.
Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Moderate to expensive.