100 Best Restaurants 2012: Volt

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


Top Chef runner-up Bryan Voltaggio isn’t afraid to play with his food, which often means good things for diners at his 1890s manse-turned-restaurant. On the current menu are plates both lusty and cerebral, references to his Charlie Palmer Steak past (he spent nine years running the kitchen at the DC outpost), and the José Andrés-style “molecular” cuisine he’s been dabbling in since opening Volt.

The elegance of the white-on-white dining room contrasts with the often edgy art–sometimes the effect is more gallery than restaurant. In the chef’s dining room, with a prix fixe menu, the mood is warmer. The ultimate indulgence is Table 21 in the kitchen, where Voltaggio crafts a 21-course meal as up to eight diners watch.

What to get: Yellowfin-tuna tartare with whitefish roe and soy “air”; lamb (including a melt-in-the-mouth confit) with red Malabar spinach; lobster with “forbidden rice”; carrot cake with roasted carrots and mascarpone ice cream; pear with toasted meringue, pear sorbet, and walnut oil.

Open Tuesday through Friday for dinner, Saturday and Sunday for lunch and dinner. Table 21 open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner. Very 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 Logan Circle.