100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 87 Republic

Whole grilled fish at Republic. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Jeff and Barbara Black, the restaurateurs behind such hits as Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and BlackSalt, have a knack for creating restaurants with a strong sense of place. In left-leaning Takoma Park, they’ve fashioned a bar and dining room from odd bits (vintage Victorian sofas, jet-engine parts), peppered the menu with vegan options, booked blues bands, and kept the place open late (till 1:30 am Friday and Saturday).

The result is an easy-to-like spot with clever cocktails (the Fascist Killer, a potent mix of rye, Chartreuse, and amaro) and food that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Will it be oysters on the half shell from the raw bar or wood-grilled ones (a Pearl Dive specialty) from the kitchen, helmed by chef/owner Danny Wells? Both are good bets, and the grill yields other pleasures such as nicely charred sardines and crisp-skinned chicken under a brick. Even non-vegans will appreciate Wells’s ancient-grain salad with shallots, pomegranate seeds, and a trifecta of farro, quinoa, and wild rice.

Don’t miss:

  • Addie’s mussels
  • Rockfish with Parmesan polenta
  • Burger with mustard-ale cheddar
  • Carrot-parsnip cake

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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.