This is one of the first posts from our Best of Washington feature, where we rank the very best people, places, and things to do in Washington. To read the whole list now, grab our July 2015 issue—available on newsstands or purchase the digital edition here—and come back to the website for more stories over the next few weeks.
Don’t take our word for what’s best. We asked readers to tell us their favorite spots for brunch, burgers, happy hours, day trips, clothing boutiques and more. Here’s what you all had to say.
Best Burger: BGR the Burger Joint
Best Fries: Five Guys
Yeah, we haven’t found any others this addictive, either. Also popular: BGR the Burger Joint.
Best Pizza: 2 Amys
Best Food Truck: Peruvian Brothers
A former Olympic rower is behind this South American truck, which specializes in strapping sandwiches and empanadas. Also popular: Pepe, Linda’s Luncheonette, TaKorean, Dolci Gelati, Red Hook Lobster Pound.
Best New Restaurant: Beefsteak
José Andrés wants you to eat your veggies at this fast-casual DC lunch spot in Foggy Bottom (and soon Dupont Circle), which offers customizable rice, bulgur, and quinoa bowls and a farmers market’s worth of toppings. Also popular: Ser, Mason Social, China Chilcano, Rose’s Luxury.
Best Brunch Spot: Le Diplomate
Stephen Starr’s Francophile bistro does a surprisingly great stack of all-American buttermilk pancakes. Also popular: Founding Farmers, America Eats Tavern, Medium Rare, Ping Pong Dim Sum, Ted’s Bulletin.
Best Bagel Shop: Bethesda Bagels
This Bethesda institution and its newer Dupont sibling boil and bake oversize rounds in flavors like Asiago and banana-nut. Also popular: Bullfrog Bagels, Einstein Bros., Brooklyn Bagel Bakery, Goldberg’s New York Bagels.
Best Barbecue: Rocklands
Best Steakhouse: Ruth’s Chris
Best Italian: Fiola
Best Mexican: California Tortilla
Best Chinese: Meiwah
Best Vietnamese: Pho 14
Best Mediterranean: Zaytinya
Best Sandwich: Taylor Gourmet
Best Cupcakes: Baked & Wired
Sure, the cupcake craze seems a bit stale, but we never tire of this Georgetown bakery’s confections. We’re particularly sweet on the strawberry cupcake. Also popular: Georgetown Cupcake, Sprinkles, Red Velvet.
Best Ice Cream: Dolcezza
Best Doughnuts: Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
Best Happy Hour: Ping Pong Dim Sum
Best Local Beer: DC Brau
Best Rooftop Bar: POV at the W Hotel
Best Winery: RdV
Best Wine Bar: Flight
Best New Bar: Mason Social
Best Coffee Shop: Starbucks
Love or hate this international chain, it’s become a popular meeting spot. And those Frappuccinos do go down smooth in the summer. Also popular: Northside Social, Baked & Wired, Filter Coffeehouse & Espresso Bar, Tryst.
Best Salon: Karma Beauty Lounge
Erwin Gomez’s West End salon offers a glam setting for facials, massages, waxing, makeup, and hair and nail services. Also popular: Bang, Immortal Beloved, David Rios Salon & Spa, Parlour Salon, PR at Partners.
Best Yoga Studio: CorePower
Heated rooms and an up-tempo soundtrack add an extra level of intensity to CorePower’s vinyasa and sculpt classes. In Georgetown, Glover Park, Falls Church, Merrifield, Clarendon, and Bethesda. Also popular: Yoga District, Down Dog Yoga.
Best Pilates Studio: Potomac Pilates
At its three locations—Potomac, the Palisades, and Chevy Chase—this studio offers long rosters of classes as well as challenging workouts. A studio in McLean is slated to open this summer. Also popular: Fuel Pilates, Barre3, Solidcore.
Best Cycling Studio: SoulCycle
With studios in the West End and Bethesda, this New York chain has won over spinning devotees with its inspirational slogans and an emphasis on empowerment. Also popular: Zengo Cycle, Flywheel, Biker Barre.
Best Gym: Balance Gym
Fans of this chain—it has five locations—like the CrossFit boxes, the friendly staff, and such amenities as a saltwater pool and classy locker room at the Foggy Bottom branch. Also popular: Vida Fitness, Equinox.
Best Place to Get Running Gear: Pacers Running
The knowledgeable staff at the shop watches you run, then chooses shoes to fit your footfall as well as your foot size. The “fun runs” also make this a runaway favorite. Also popular: City Sports, Fleet Feet, Lululemon.
Best Transportation App: Uber
Best Bus to New York City: Vamoose
Best Place for Men’s Clothes: Nordstrom
Hickey Freeman suits, Ferragamo shoes, and other apparel for guys who like classic fashion and attentive service. Also popular: Brooks Brothers, Trunk Club, Suitsupply, Sherman Pickey, Saks Fifth Avenue.
Best Place for Women’s Clothes: Julia Farr
In her Northwest DC storefront, attorney turned boutique owner Farr stocks polished pieces that hit the sophisticated-yet-simple aesthetic Washington women are so fond of. Also popular: Violet Boutique, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Zara.
Best Jewelers: Boone & Sons and Tiny Jewel Box
These two longtime family businesses—which tied for first place—dazzle Washingtonian readers with their top-notch service (including repairs) and their top-quality selections (particularly engagement rings). Also popular: Mervis Diamond Importers, Tiffany & Co., I. Gorman.
Best Place for Children’s Clothes: Little Birdies Boutique
This Georgetown shop stocks sweetly stylish kids’ clothes from high-end labels such as Fendi, Versace, and Cavalli, for newborns through size 8. Also popular: Nordstrom, Dawn Price Baby, Gap, Bloomingdale’s.
Best Consignment Shop: Mint Condition
Some 2,000 square feet in Old Town Alexandria with gently used clothing, shoes, and accessories, conveniently sorted by size, then color. Also popular: Ella-Rue, Current Boutique, Secondi, Buffalo Exchange.
Best Bookstore: Politics and Prose
Best Dog Park: Shirlington
Best Day Trip: Annapolis
Waterside restaurants, boat excursions, and interesting old shops make Maryland’s capital the place to while away a summer day. (See page 190 for a day’s itinerary.) Also popular: Virginia winetasting, Shenandoah National Park, Middleburg, Baltimore, Harpers Ferry, George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
Best Beach You Can Drive to: Rehoboth
BEST LOCAL PERSONALITIES
Best Local Athlete: Alex Ovechkin
The Caps may have blown a 3-1 playoff series lead (again) to the Rangers, but the Great 8 is still a fan favorite. Also popular: Wizards point guard John Wall, Nats outfielder Bryce Harper, Olympic gold-medal swimmer Katie Ledecky, the Nats’ Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman.
Best Local TV/Radio Personality: Jim Vance
The bad news: He recently retired from WRC’s 11 pm broadcast after more than 40 years in that slot. The good news: He’s still on at 6, and Washington loves him. Also popular: 94.7 FM’s Tommy McFly, Kane of The Kane Show on 99.5 FM, DC101 shock jock Elliot Segal, WRC-TV anchor Doreen Gentzler.
This article appears in our July 2015 issue of Washingtonian.