Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.
The new incarnation of one of the area’s most beloved Vietnamese restaurants—the Lai siblings have taken over from their parents—is one of the region’s best values. For the cost of an entrée at Citronelle or CityZen, you can sit down to a lively dinner for two in a pretty setting, attended to by a staff that takes service—but not itself—seriously.
The long menu reflects the family’s heritage, comprising Chinese as well as Vietnamese dishes. Concentrate on the latter. The biggest rewards are in the various wraps, such as torn crepes folded into fronds of fresh lettuce or grilled, beef-stuffed grape leaves to be tucked into thin rice-noodle crepes.
Chef Hoa Lai and his 13-member brigade are justly proud of their marinated skewers of charcoal-grilled pork: Among the best items on the menu are grilled pork over vermicelli and bun of grilled pork and shrimp—and they’re compelling reasons for DC and Maryland residents to cross the river.
Also good: Shrimp toast; lotus-root salad with shrimp and pork; hash of baby clams and pork with sesame crackers; roast quail with lime dip; short ribs in caramel sauce; Vietnamese coffee.
Open daily for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.