100 Best Restaurants 2012: New Heights

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


It’s a measure of the enduring consistency of this Woodley Park restaurant that it hasn’t stumbled or slowed since hiring chef Ron Tanaka a few months ago. A disciple of Michel Richard, Eric Ziebold, and Frank Ruta, Tanaka was one of the secrets behind the success of Cork, for years now the area’s best wine bar. Afforded greater creative latitude in his new role, the chef has crafted a contemporary American menu that abounds in clear, focused presentations–from a gorgeous bowl of mussels spiced with cubes of local coppa to a satisfyingly simple Amish roast chicken.

The Babinga Bar–named for the West African rosewood it’s made of–remains one of the best places to experience DC’s craft-cocktail culture, particularly concoctions built from the bar’s gin collection.

What to get: Roast cod in saffron broth; seared Moulard duck breast with black lentils; ricotta gnocchi in blue-cheese broth, with English peas and pancetta.

Open daily for dinner. Expensive.

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.