100 Best Restaurants 2012: Four Sisters

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


With brightly colored art and flower arrangements that look like they’ve been lifted from the lobby of the St. Regis–one of the sisters is a florist–this is the most cheerfully pretty Vietnamese restaurant in the area. It also turns out some of the best renditions of the wide-ranging cuisine.

Salads, such as a platter of shredded green papaya, explode with limey tang and chili-fueled heat, while bowls of pho are eminently soothing. Nibbles from the fryer–crisp spring rolls; battered, shrimp-paste-slathered toast–make excellent shares. The more people at the table, the better: Portions are made for passing, and you’ll get a wider variety of flavors. If there’s a weak spot, it’s the dishes that read like Chinese-takeout offerings.

What to get: A sauté of clams and minced pork with sesame-studded crackers; cured-beef salad; a bowl of cool vermicelli bun topped with grilled pork and a spring roll; shaky beef with lime/black-pepper dip; fried shrimp with the same dip; caramelized short ribs or pork ribs in a clay pot; house-made lime soda.

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.

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