100 Best Restaurants 2012: Ruan Thai

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


Lots of Thai restaurants are lively, colorful, and transporting, but no other place pulls off the three-fer of this Wheaton cafe–the dishes explode with flavor, the kitchen is remarkably consistent, and the setting is comfortable and calming. Chef/owner Krisana Suchotinunt renovated the 13-year-old restaurant last summer, doubling the space and brightening it. The jade-colored room is now a worthy stage for the pungent cast of curries, salads, stir-fries, and soups that troop across it, causing heads to turn and senses to perk up.

What to get: “Yum watercress,” a nest of fried greens, shrimp, squid, onion and cashews; sautéed mussels with black-bean sauce; crab-and-pork-stuffed chicken wings; boneless pan-fried duck tossed with chilies and basil; deep-fried whole flounder in red curry; moo ping, skewers of grilled pork served with a fiery barbecue sauce.

Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner. Inexpensive.

Get Our “Brunches This Weekend” Newsletter

The best breakfasts and brunches to try every weekend, plus our most popular food stories of the week.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
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.