100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 23 Estadio

Mini Pork Belly Sandwiches at Estadio. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Pork belly has been maligned and mishandled over the last decade—how many bites of pure fat can a person take?

At this Spanish-inflected Logan Circle hot spot, Haidar Karoum not only redeems it; he turns it into one of our favorite sandwiches in the region—caramelizing the edges, giving it a slathering of aïoli, and cutting the unctuousness with pickled shishito peppers.

Karoum’s skill is not in turning the familiar on its head but in giving the usual tapas-house dishes tiny tweaks that key up their flavors in big ways. Soft béchamel croquetas are threaded with meaty mushrooms, plancha-grilled squid gets amped up with a major hit of lemon, and tender grilled chicken is fragrant with sambal.

The cocktail list—with its orange-and-thyme gin-and-tonics and seasonal slushies—is one of the city’s best.

Don’t miss:

  • Cheese and charcuterie boards
  • Open-faced sandwich with heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese
  • Chorizo and roasted-lamb-shoulder bocadillos (mini-sandwiches)
  • Ham croquetas
  • Hanger steak with mojo verde
  • Roasted corn with aïoli
  • Manchego cheesecake

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Questions or comments? You can reach us on Twitter, via e-mail, or by contacting the author directly:
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.