100 Very Best Restaurants 2017

Oyster shucker Pablo Alcoser at Whaley's, #12 on the list. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Washington’s dining scene is better than ever. We should know—we visited 300-plus restaurants for this section, from a luxurious tasting room on Capitol Hill to a locavore’s dream restaurant in Loudoun County. We ranked the top 100 of them, but here’s the truth: we’d be thrilled to eat anywhere on this list.

    1
  • Pineapple and Pearls
    715 Eighth St., SE Washington, DC | Website
    You’ll walk out feeling as if the $250 price—which includes tax, tip, and drink pairings—is a pretty sweet deal.
  • 2
  • Minibar
    855 E St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    No one in the city—or country—is doing food like this.
  • 3
  • Komi
    1509 17th St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Few chefs can maintain this caliber of prix fixe for more than a decade.
  • 4
  • Kinship
    1015 Seventh St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Eric Ziebold is obsessed with perfecting the tiniest details.
  • 5
  • Fiola Mare
    3050 K St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Chef Fabio Trabocchi’s vision is rooted in his native Le Marche, a seafood-happy region of Italy that hugs the Adriatic shoreline.
  • 6
  • Tail Up Goat
    1827 Adams Mill Rd., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Chef Jon Sybert's menu is a whimsical delight.
  • 7
  • The Dabney
    122 Blagden Alley, NW Washington, DC | Website
    There aren’t many cozier places in DC than this restaurant.
  • 8
  • Bad Saint
    3226 11th St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Is any meal really worth waiting outdoors for hours? For Bad Saint, yes.
  • 9
  • The Inn at Little Washington
    309 Middle St. Washington, VA | Website
    Many tasting rooms bill themselves as culinary “journeys,” but the experience is a literal one at this country destination.
  • 10
  • Sushi Taro
    1503 17th St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    No other restaurant offers personalized service like Sushi Taro’s six-seat "omakase" counter.
  • 11
  • Rasika/Rasika West End
    633 D St., NW Washington, DC 1190 New Hampshire Ave., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Rasika has long been cherished by Washington food lovers as our treasure.
  • 12
  • Whaley's
    301 Water St., SE Washington, DC | Website
    Don't miss its seafood towers of local oysters and sweet clams, barely grilled squid, uni, and poached mussels.
  • 13
  • Little Serow
    1511 17th St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    This subterranean Thai joint hasn’t changed much since it started attracting lines in 2011—and that’s a feat.
  • 14
  • Métier
    1015 Seventh St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Playful dishes such as buttery potatoes, caviar, and crème fraîche make for a delightful special occasion.
  • 15
  • All-Purpose
    1250 Ninth St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    The crew from the Red Hen gets us excited about pizza again.
  • 16
  • Maketto
    1351 H St., NE Washington, DC | Website
    Don’t let the minimalist space fool you: There’s a lot going on at Maketto.
  • 17
  • Le Diplomate
    1601 14th St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    The hottest restaurant of 2013 is still a tough table to get.
  • 18
  • The Source
    575 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC | Website
    We love Scott Drewno’s luxe—and smart—upgrades to favorites from the Chinese-American canon.
  • 19
  • Garrison
    524 Eighth St., SE Washington, DC | Website
    Chef/owner Rob Weland spoils guests with hyper-seasonal, soul-warming fare that combines local ingredients in marvelous ways.
  • 20
  • Central Michel Richard
    1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Central classics such as decadent burgers and steak frites still hit all the right spots, though it’s worth welcoming newcomers.
  • 21
  • Rose's Luxury
    717 Eighth St., SE Washington, DC | Website
    Our advice: Order every pasta on the menu and don’t skip dessert.
  • 22
  • Convivial
    801 O St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Cedric Maupillier was born in France, but few chefs revel in lowbrow American cuisine as joyfully as he does.
  • 23
  • Marcel's
    2401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW | Website
    Guests pick dishes from eight menu sections, all of which reveal the charms of haute cuisine.
  • 24
  • Estadio
    1520 14th St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Though most dishes are billed as tapas, they actually range from tiny snacks to entrée-size meats with sides.
  • 25
  • Plume
    1200 16th St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    The most sumptuously formal setting in Washington is this glittering-gray dining room in the Jefferson hotel.
  • 26
  • Bindaas
    3309 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC | Website
    The lineup at this Indian street-food place is so tightly tuned that you can order with abandon.
  • 27
  • Fiola
    601 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Just say yes to creamy Belon oysters and caviar, lobster ravioli garnished with a half tail and a claw, and pine-smoked duck with seared foie gras.
  • 28
  • Blue Duck Tavern
    1201 24th St., NW | Website
    This glass-walled dining room in the Park Hyatt sports a woodsy-chic, West Coast vibe.
  • 29
  • Preserve
    164 Main St. Annapolis, VA | Website
    As its name suggests, this casual Annapolis joint specializes in all things fermented and jarred.
  • 30
  • Kapnos, Kapnos Taverna, Kapnos Kouzina
    2201 14th St., NW Washington, DC 4000 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 4900 Hampden La. Bethesda, MD | Website
    Mike Isabella’s affinity for Greek cooking is beautifully expressed at this trio of restaurants.
  • 31
  • Izakaya Seki
    1117 V St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    The father/daughter team deliver an unfussy yet memorable dining experience at their Japanese gastropub.
  • 32
  • The Riggsby
    1731 New Hampshire Ave., NW Washington, DC | Website
    It’s barely two years old, but somehow the Riggsby fills us with nostalgia.
  • 33
  • Obelisk
    2029 P St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    High-quality ingredients simply prepared never go out of style.
  • 34
  • Sushi Ogawa
    2100 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC | Website
    You won’t find California rolls at this tranquil, bamboo-toned restaurant in Kalorama.
  • 35
  • Casa Luca
    1099 New York Ave., NW Washington, DC | Website
    This is hearty, family-style fare you’ll want to tear into.
  • 36
  • Etto
    1541 14th St., NW Washington, | Website
    The craftsmanlike Italian spot specializes in procuring top-quality ingredients and serving them with minimal fuss
  • 37
  • The Red Hen
    1822 First St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Chef Michael Friedman’s ever-inventive fare tags trends without getting precious.
  • 38
  • The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
    42461 Lovettsville Rd. Lovettsville, VA | Website
    The greenhouse turned dining room is a destination for food lovers/naturalists.
  • 39
  • 2 Amys
    3715 Macomb St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Imagine a nightly party starring all your favorite Italian salumi, fried little bites, pizzas, and wines.
  • 40
  • Conosci
    465 K St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    If the ambience doesn’t make you swoon, the crab risotto will.
  • 41
  • Chez Billy Sud
    1039 31st St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    It’s hard to imagine a more fitting bistro for Georgetown.
  • 42
  • Osteria Morini
    301 Water St., SE Washington, DC | Website
    Every neighborhood should have an Italian joint like Morini.
  • 43
  • Johnny's Half Shell
    1819 Columbia Rd., NW Washington, DC | Website
    We’re wild about the Cajun-spiced hard-shell crab with lemony butter and some of the best, olive taramasalata we’ve ever tasted.
  • 44
  • Jaleo
    480 Seventh St., NW Washington, DC 7271 Woodmont Ave. Bethesda, MD 2250 Crystal Dr. Arlington, VA | Website
    José Andrés’s flagship Spanish spot since 1993 still holds its own.
  • 45
  • Ananda
    7421 Maple Lawn Blvd. Fulton, MD | Website
    The fireplace-accented dining room and garden veranda of this palatial Indian restaurant are pleasant reminders that grandeur isn’t dead.
  • 46
  • EatBar
    415 Eighth St., SE Washington, DC | Website
    Think of EatBar as a gastro-dive: a come-hungry joint with a jukebox where wings, fries, and patty melts.
  • 47
  • Clarity
    442 Maple Ave. E. Vienna, VA | Website
    Few places are both so elegant and so inviting.
  • 48
  • Masseria
    1340 Fourth St., NE Washington, DC | Website
    Home in on the meat section of the menu for its petite but flavor-rich cuts, and sample hedonistically from pastas.
  • 49
  • Lapis
    1847 Columbia Rd., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Kabul-born chef Shamim Popal and her family are all about breaking stereotypes at their modern-Afghan restaurant.
  • 50
  • China Chilcano
    418 Seventh St., NW Washington, DC 20004 | Website
    José Andrés mines the cuisine of Peru, one of South America’s richest culinary plains, at this loud, flashbulb-bright dining room strewn with colorful pillows.
  • 51
  • Centrolina
    974 Palmer Alley, NW Washington, DC | Website
    The restaurant/market concept means you can dine near the butchery’s hanging salumi or by the open kitchen’s wood-burning hearth.
  • 52
  • Hazel
    808 V St., NW Washington, DC | Website
  • 53
  • Sally's Middle Name
    1320 H St., NE Washington, DC | Website
    The drink selection is short but smart and the laid-back vibe as awesome on a frigid winter’s weeknight as on a summer Saturday under the stars.
  • 54
  • G by Mike Isabella
    2201 14th St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    He also added a snug bar and pine booths to the industrial space, now more fit for lingering.
  • 55
  • Iron Gate
    1734 N St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    It’s undeniably romantic to dine under the stars on the patio of this Greek-Italian eatery, covered by wisteria in summer, warmed by fire pits in winter.
  • 56
  • Ghibellina
    1610 14th St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Shareable rounds are sliced with scissors at the table and judiciously topped with things like shaved fennel, salami, and tomato confit.
  • 57
  • Ser
    1110 N. Glebe Rd. Arlington, VA | Website
  • 58
  • Himitsu
    828 Upshur St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Petworth’s hip new 23-seat Japanese destination is much more fun than your typical sushi spot.
  • 59
  • Green Pig Bistro
    1025 N. Fillmore St. Arlington, VA | Website
    Green Pig Bistro delivers comfort foods you crave and others you never realized you were missing.
  • 60
  • Kyirisan
    1924 Eighth St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Ma isn’t always successful, but his cooking is thought-provoking and often delicious.
  • 61
  • Proof
    775 G St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Servers in Proof are as handy as ever with a solid recommendation from the impressive wine list or, on one occasion, a very good Julia Child impression.
  • 62
  • Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana
    12207 Darnestown Rd. Darnestown, MD | Website
    “It’s not like Domino’s,” our 18-year-old server explains earnestly.
  • 63
  • Mintwood Place
    1813 Columbia Rd., NW Washington, DC | Website
    No matter how little room you have left, indulge in nostalgic sweets such as baked Alaska ignited at the table.
  • 64
  • Bistro Bis
    15 E St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    This is a plush, warm-toned respite for elegant, canonical French cooking.
  • 65
  • The Partisan
    709 D St., NW Washington, DC | Website
  • 66
  • Field & Main
    8369 W. Main St. Marshall, VA | Website
    Our newest country obsession is this Federal-era restaurant in Fauquier County, beautifully restored by Ashby Inn vets Neal and Star Wavra.
  • 67
  • Rappahannock Oyster Bar
    1309 Fifth St., NE Washington, DC | Website
  • 68
  • Sushi Sono
    10215 Wincopin Cir. Columbia, MD | Website
  • 69
  • Bibiana
    1100 New York Ave., NW Washington, DC | Website
    The kitchen recently added a two-pasta tasting, which would also make a tasty primi as well for the best of all worlds.
  • 70
  • Sushiko
    5455 Wisconsin Ave. Chevy Chase, MD | Website
    Vegetarian nigiri will also make you rethink a standard order, especially the wild-mushroom and pickled-radish varieties.
  • 71
  • Zaytinya
    701 Ninth St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Shrimp in a buttery, lemony bath with dill and mustard seeds has long been a highlight.
  • 72
  • 1789
    1226 36th St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    The Georgetown institution maintains the old-school elegance of its antique-filled dining rooms, though the menu is anything but retro.
  • 73
  • Bangkok Golden/Thip Khao
    6395 Seven Corners Center Falls Church, VA | Website
    Both menus contain a lot of delicious overlap, including noodle soups, lime-and-herb-dressed larbsalads, and a can’t-miss crispy-rice dish with sour pork.
  • 74
  • Daikaya
    705 Sixth St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    We’re addicted to the sausage-stuffed shishito poppers with hot mustard and to morsels of fried Maryland catfish dunked in pickled-ginger tartar sauce.
  • 75
  • Compass Rose
    1346 T St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Credit a carefully curated menu, served in intimate rowhouse rooms filled with string lights, colorful pillows, and fresh flowers.
  • 76
  • Restaurant Eve
    10 S. Pitt St. Alexandria, VA | Website
    The desserts have always been whimsical, though it’s worth exploring cheeses from County Cork, considered the culinary hub of Cathal’s native Ireland.
  • 77
  • Baan Thai
    1326 14th St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    The menu still advertises sushi, but the best dishes pay homage to the chef’s heritage.
  • 78
  • Del Campo
    777 I St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Smoke touches nearly every part of the experience at chef Victor Albisu’s South American steakhouse.
  • 79
  • L’Auberge Chez François
    332 Springvale Rd. Great Falls, VA | Website
    The menu practice was common in the ’50s, when the late François Haeringer opened this French-Alsatian institution.
  • 80
  • DBGB Kitchen and Bar
    931 H St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    It’s the mains and specials where you’ll find the most seasonal creativity. Also, this is a place to save room for dessert.
  • 81
  • Anxo Cidery & Pintxos Bar
    300 Florida Ave., NW Washington, DC | Website
    DC’s first cidery bills itself as a pintxos bar, but the Spanish menu goes much deeper than toothpick-size snacks.
  • 82
  • Timber Pizza Co.
    809 Upshur St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Order at the counter, then settle in at one of the communal picnic tables, at barstools, or on the indoor porch swing for a lucky two.
  • 83
  • Vermilion
    1120 King St. Alexandria, VA | Website
    If you’ve never tried vintage port from the trendy Douro Valley in Portugal, this is the time.
  • 84
  • Vin 909 Winecafé
    909 Bay Ridge Ave. Annapolis, MD | Website
    Try as many as your appetite demands, but you’ll be truly sorry to miss the crab roll on brioche, served with a ramekin of shrimp bisque for dunking.
  • 85
  • Afghan Bistro
    8081 Alban Rd. Springfield, VA | Website
    The Kabul native’s recipes, passed down through three generations, are recreated here by his wife and, at times, one of his daughters.
  • 86
  • The Ashby Inn & Restaurant
    692 Federal St. Paris, VA | Website
    It’s possible to take a tour through Virginia wine country without leaving Ashby’s 19th-century rooms—or better yet, the garden veranda.
  • 87
  • Kogiya
    4220 Annandale Rd. Annandale, VA | Website
    Bring a big group to this Korean-barbecue standout in Annandale’s Koreatown, because it’s best enjoyed with a packed table and bottles of soju.
  • 88
  • La Limeña
    765 Rockville Pike Rockville, MD | Website
    Put yourself in a coastal state of mind at this Peruvian strip-mall joint, where the strongest dishes center on seafood.
  • 89
  • Ardeo & Bardeo
    3311 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Cleveland Park likes to think of Ardeo as its go-to neighborhood restaurant, but the comfortable, candlelit bistro is much more.
  • 90
  • Passage to India
    4931 Cordell Ave. Bethesda, MD | Website
    The menu touches on a variety of regional cuisines, though deliciousness crosses all borders.
  • 91
  • Hank's Pasta Bar
    600 Montgomery St. Alexandria, VA | Website
    It’s worth going all-in on the house-made pastas and sharing a fixed-price menu featuring three to five selections.
  • 92
  • RPM Italian
    650 K St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Glitzy owners—who include reality-TV personalities Giuliana and Bill Rancic—and a black-windowed Vegas vibe have a way of making discerning eaters nervous.
  • 93
  • Republic
    6939 Laurel Ave. Takoma Park, MD | Website
    The place exudes attitude in a great way, from the bordello-meets-saloon decor to Fascist Killer cocktails laced with bourbon and Chartreuse.
  • 94
  • Bantam King
    501 G St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    The Daikaya team set up shop in a tiny, Technicolor former Burger King in Chinatown, and it dishes up comforting chicken-noodle soups at their finest.
  • 95
  • BlackSalt
    4883 MacArthur Blvd., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Big spenders can splurge on caviar service to start, but save room for dessert—especially butterscotch pot de crème, on the menu since day one.
  • 96
  • Nostos
    8100 Boone Blvd. Vienna, VA | Website
    Baklava fans will find three styles—our pick is the baxevanis layered with apple, apricots, and ice cream.
  • 97
  • Graffiato
    707 Sixth St., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Mike Isabella’s flagship restaurant still draws boisterous crowds, especially on the neighboring Verizon Center’s busy nights.
  • 98
  • Bombay Club
    815 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC | Website
    Classic cocktails and attentive service are a given anytime.
  • 99
  • Black Market Bistro
    4600 Waverly Ave. Garrett Park, MD | Website
    The menu sways from pizzas with cracker-thin crusts to American bistro comforts.
  • 100
  • Mokomandy
    20789 Great Falls Plaza Sterling, VA | Website
    The chefs here like to play with their food. They toss cracklings into jambalaya, stuff dumplings with foie gras, and stir morsels of pig’s head into gumbo.

More from Food