100 Very Best Restaurant 2016: The Inn at Little Washington

The Inn at Little Washington. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Turning the big 4-0? Celebrating an anniversary? There are few more over-the-top occasion markers in the country than Patrick O’Connell’s baroque Rappahannock County getaway. The grande-dame decor, with its mauve silk lampshades and tapestries, isn’t for every taste, but the place somehow doesn’t feel stuffy. Credit O’Connell’s seamless fusion of folksy and fancy. Each of the three five-course menus—one seasonal, one vegetarian, one comprising the kitchen’s classics (you can mix them up)—kick off with an array of perfect amuse-bouches, including a shot of red-pepper soup, one of the best bisques we’ve tasted, and a tiny potato chip stuffed with pimiento cheese. (One thing we’d avoid: having them with the bill-jacking cocktails, which include an unfortunate $25 mix of Champagne and root-beer-flavored liqueur.) What’s that mooing sound? That would be Faira, a cow/cheese cart that makes the whole place break out in laughs every time she rolls in.

Don’t miss: Foie gras torchon; macaroni and cheese; veal tongue with horseradish ice cream; lamb carpaccio with Caesar-salad ice cream; sea bass with tiny dumplings; butter-pecan ice-cream sandwich.

See what other restaurants made our 100 Very Best Restaurants list. This article appears in our February 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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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.