100 Best Restaurants 2012: Present

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


The ornate, banquet-style presentations appear to be a thing of the past here, but it was never the show that endeared this Vietnamese restaurant to us. It was the cooking, which remains a feast of textural contrasts and colors brimming with popping flavors.

Few family-run ethnic restaurants possess this degree of style. With lacquered tables, ceramic floors, and a tinkling fish pond, it’s ideal for a special occasion or a night of catching up with friends. The menu, which has a penchant for giving Vietnamese standards corny-sounding names, is several pages long. The staff is eager to provide guidance, but be forewarned: You’re likely to be talked out of something interesting and led to more familiar dishes.

What to get: Clam-and-beef hash with garlic and ginger in a giant sesame cracker; crispy autumn rolls stuffed with pork and prawns; a crepe brimming with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and mint; shaky beef with lightly sautéed onions and crunchy watercress; clay pot of sliced pork or caramelized short ribs; purple-yam soup with pork and shrimp; Hanoi-style fish with dill, peanuts, and mint.

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.

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 Logan Circle.