100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Nava Thai

The dining room at Nava Thai in Wheaton, Maryland. Photograph by Chris Campbell.

Many Thai restaurants flag their spiciest dishes on the menu
with one or more chili-pepper symbols. Heat is such a foundational element
at this tavern-like dining room that pointing it out would be like asking
a burger joint to tell you it uses meat. Most dishes wouldn’t exist
without it, such as the Floating Market Noodle Soup, a sweet and tangy
broth that lashes the tongue. An innocuous-looking salad of country-style
pork with cilantro and pulverized rice ignites a series of small fires in
the mouth. But heat isn’t the kitchen’s sole preoccupation. In the best
dishes, spice, fragrance, and texture are braided into an often thrilling
Don’t miss: Larb gai, ground chicken with
lime, onion, and chili; crispy mussels; pad Thai; drunken noodles; red
curry with pork. Open: Daily for lunch and dinner.

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013

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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.