100 Best Restaurants 2012: Brabo Tasting Room

From soulful bistros to high-gloss steakhouses, there's lots of good eating in DC, Maryland, and Virginia


When your mood and checking account are in the doldrums, this casual sliver of an eatery with its blackboard of daily specials delivers affordable luxury. You can nibble on cheeses and house-made charcuterie or share mussels roasted and served in the pan–you’ll probably want extra slices of the crusty baguette to sop up the jus.

A glowing brick oven turns out savory rustic wood-fired tarts, and wines are poured by both the taste (three ounces) and the glass–the place is known for its sometimes odd but spot-on pairings. Regulars know to put their names on the waiting list during peak times, then head to another Robert Wiedmaier endeavor, the Butcher’s Block, a market/cafe in the rear of the hotel, for a glass of wine while they wait.

What to get: Salad of Bibb lettuce, beet, and pickled onion; duck-confit-and-roasted-mushroom tart; mussels with green curry; onion soup; cheeses and charcuterie; chicken pot pie, a frequent special; chocolate tart with coffee whipped cream.

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Moderate.

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 Petworth.