Food

100 Best Restaurants 2012: Four Sisters

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

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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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