Join us January 24 at 11 AM to chat with Washingtonian food critic Ann Limpert. Want to know more about how our just-dropped 100 Very Best Restaurants list gets made? Have quibbles about the top 20? Or maybe you just need a dinner recommendation. Leave a question now, and Ann will get to as many as she can.
Ann: Good morning! It’s—in my world, at least—one of the most wonderful weeks of the year. Our 100 Very Best Restaurants list just dropped, and it’s easily our food team’s most sweeping, ambitious undertaking each year (find it on newsstands, or hey, subscribe). So many miles driven, so much money poured into it (earmuffs, bosses), and of course, so many meals—some great, a lot good, and many middling—or worse…still trying to exorcise the memory of a certain horror show of a ravioli plate.
In other words, Anna Spiegel, Jessica Sidman, Cynthia Hacinli, and I put a LOT of time and effort and resources into creating the list each year, in the hopes of conveying an accurate picture of the Washington dining scene as it looks this very moment. Who’s straight-up on fire? Who’s still great, but maybe not as much so as in the past? That’s some of what the ranking helps convey. (For more on the process, check out this Slack convo between me and Washingtonian editor Michael Schaffer).
Our top 20 is really exciting this year, I think. For the first time in ranking history (we’ve been doing it since 2007), a casual, affordable restaurant landed in our #1 spot—that’d be Anju, the thrilling Korean restaurant in Dupont Circle from the guys behind Chiko. And the rest of the top-tier list is a mix of newcomers (Cane, Green Almond Pantry), places who have been steadily improving over the last couple years (Kith and Kin, Bresca, Poca Madre), and luxe special occasion destinations (Minibar, Pineapple and Pearls, the Inn at Little Washington).
Each year, the list gets tighter and tighter—a nice problem to have—and that means we have to let go of some beloved places (for now). For me, I was particularly bummed that Fava Pot, Olivia, Q by Peter Chang, and China Chilcano didn’t quite make the cut this year. They are still really good! And of course, it was heartbreaking to lose closed places like Ray’s the Steaks and Sally’s Middle Name.
Got questions about the list—or anything else in the DC dining scene? Lay ‘em on me. Ask them in the form below, and the chat transcript shows up underneath.