100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 28 Obelisk


Obelisk pairs bigoli—thick whole-wheat pasta—with duck-gizzard ragu, its traditional accompaniment. Photograph by Scott Suchman

About Obelisk



Peter Pastan’s 28-year-old temple of regional Italian cuisine is still very much a player on the local dining scene.

There’s a certain asceticism to his vision—no music, no outlandish trends, not even a sign out front. Just beautifully sourced ingredients served by a Mensa-level waitstaff inside a rowhouse dining room.

Antipasti and pastas are the stars of the $75 five-course menu ($85 on weekends)—the only dining option. Perfectly fried arancini and the creamiest burrata are testimony to the kitchen’s purist tendencies, and gnocchi with pesto is a reminder of how many lesser versions of this dish are out there.

The wine list hews toward Italian bottles, and the three cocktails fit in nicely with the Mediterranean vibe (we like the Negroni Sbagliato, with Campari, red vermouth, and Prosecco).

Don’t miss:

  • Pinenut-studded meatballs
  • Suckling-pig agnolotti with sage
  • Amaretti-stuffed pear

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 Petworth.

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.