100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: CityZen (CLOSED)

No. 4 on this year's list
A carnival treat gets an haute makeover: CityZen’s candied-apple soufflé with Calvados ice cream. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

With the exception of a shiny wooden box of Parker House rolls—sublime little pillows of butter and salt served with each dinner—you never know what you’ll get at this soaring dining room in the Mandarin Oriental hotel. That’s because chef Eric Ziebold, who has been with the restaurant since it opened nine years ago, changes his à la carte and six-course tasting menus frequently and rarely resurrects an old dish.

Ziebold’s cooking has a quiet brilliance, and he can weave together a progression of seemingly disparate courses—say, a quail satay with persimmon followed by a riff on stroganoff with salt-baked beef, egg noodles, and crème fraîche—and make the transition feel seamless. Open: Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Don’t miss: Hits from a recent tasting menu included toro with Meyer-lemon chimichurri; merlu (also known as hake) with piquillo-pepper marmalade; and a pear Linzer torte.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.