100 Very Best Restaurants: #32 – Obelisk


Burrata Cheese. Photo by Scott Suchman

About Obelisk


2029 P St NW
Washington, DC 20036

Burrata gets dressed up with everything from truffles to pig ears, so what makes this Italian dining room’s simple version special? A perfectionist attention to detail—the cheese stands at room temperature for lushness—and an emphasis on careful sourcing (Ligurian olive oil, fleur de sel). The dish, a constant on the handwritten menu, is emblematic of the experience. Chef/owner Esther Lee, who cooked here for 17 years before taking the helm last year, hasn’t changed much. But there’s more consistency among the five generous courses; now the plethora of antipasti and pastas are just as lovely as mains such as whole roasted squab. At a time when tasting menus have ballooned in courses and price, this relaxed $78 sojourn ($88 on Friday and Saturday) feels like a steal. Expensive.
Also great: Gnocchi with hazelnuts; sea bass with artichokes; chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream.

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 Petworth.

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.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.