100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Nopa Kitchen & Bar

Nopa Kitchen & Bar. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Restaurant hitmaker Ashok Bajaj’s American-style brasserie—which took over the Zola space in Penn Quarter—got off to an uncharacteristically shaky start when it opened in 2013. The menu seemed scatterbrained, its execution uneven. Happily, Greg McCarty’s kitchen has steadied itself, and the hallmarks of a Bajaj operation are in place—crisp service, a relaxed but not overly casual vibe, and an approachable menu full of little surprises. Who knew that wasabi caramel, which sounds like a ’90s experiment gone bad, complemented sweet Chilean sea bass so beautifully? Salads are particularly lovely, whether a bright toss of pineapple, radish, and feta or an array of beets with mandarin oranges. When it comes to dessert, it’s all about the fruit hand pies.

Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner.

Don’t Miss: Twice-fried chicken; crispy Brussels sprouts with sesame; carrots with sunflower seeds and yogurt; hamachi tartare with ginger vinaigrette; bacon-cheddar burger.

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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.