Food

These Are Washingtonian Readers’ Favorite Restaurants in 2022

And now, the results of our 45th Readers’ Favorite Restaurants survey

New Restaurant

Daru serves mod-Indian dishes like these lamb chops. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

1. Daru, H Street corridor

The destination for forward-­thinking Indian food and spice-accented cocktails has drawn national attention.

2. L’Ardente, Judiciary Square

David DeShaies’s chic Italian dining room wows with beautiful vegetable dishes and pastas.

3. Honeymoon Chicken, Petworth and Bethesda

Get your honeyed fried chicken in a bucket or a bánh mì.

 


Service

Panko-crusted piquillo peppers are on the unlimited dinner menu at Ambar. Photograph of Ambar by Goran Kosanovic.

1. Rose’s Luxury, Capitol Hill

Servers at this longtime hit can be so personable, you might just ask them to sit down for dinner.

2. Le Diplomate, Logan Circle

The often-packed bistro is fast-paced, but you’ll rarely feel rushed.

3. Ambar, Capitol Hill, Shaw, and Clarendon

Servers skillfully juggle the all-you-can-eat menus at these Balkan spots.

 


Special Occasion

Le Diplomate. Photograph by Nicholas Karlin.

1. Le Diplomate, Logan Circle

Shellfish plateau, bottle of bubbles, done.

2. Albi, Navy Yard

Splurge on shares such as barbecue-­lamb kebabs.

3. The Inn at Little Washington, Washington, Va.

Tasting menus are as extravagant as the decor.

 


Best in DC

Maydan. Photograph by Jennifer Chase.

1. Albi, Navy Yard

Share a mix of Levantine small plates or spring for the Sofra tasting menu.

2. Le Diplomate, Logan Circle

Next year, Stephen Starr’s French hangout will be ten years old—and it’s still buzzy.

3. Maydan, 14th Street corridor

Kebabs, dips, and fire-licked vegetable plates are the draw.

 


Best in Maryland

Torched and press sushi at Planta. Photograph courtesy of restaurant.

1. Bob’s Shanghai 66, Rockville

This fan favorite—it’s won this award for the fifth year in a row—is our top spot for soup dumplings.

2. Planta, Bethesda

There are branches of this chic vegan restaurant in Miami and Toronto, too.

3. Duck Duck Goose, Bethesda and Dupont Circle

French classics served with a cheffy twist.

 


Best in Virginia

Donuts at Ruthie’s All Day. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

1. Ruthie’s All Day, Arlington

You can get brisket for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at this upscale barbecue spot.

2. Ambar, Capitol Hill, Shaw, and Clarendon

Try all the Balkan mezze, flatbreads, and charcuterie you want for a set lunch, brunch, or dinner price.

3. Mama Chang, Fairfax

Peter Chang pays tribute to the women in his family at this Szechuan/Hubei-­style restaurant, which showcases family recipes.

 


Coolest Decor

Residents Cafe. Photograph by Hawkeye Johnson.

1. Residents Cafe, Dupont

The indoor/outdoor cocktail destination changes its look with the seasons.

2. Maydan, 14th Street corridor

A flame-spewing hearth sits in the middle of this dark, soaring dining room.

3. Ilili, the Wharf

This Manhattan import nabbed the Wharf’s glassy centerpiece-restaurant space, formerly home to Requin.

 


Seafood

Halibut crudo at the Salt Line Ballston. Photograph by Jennifer Chase.

1. The Salt Line, Navy Yard and Ballston

New England fry-ups along with inventive pastas and crudos.

2. Fiola Mare, Georgetown

The riverfront room is your spot for Mediterranean catches and caviar.

3. Hank’s Oyster Bar, Dupont, the Wharf, and Alexandria

Home of DC’s best lobster roll.

 


Compliments Only. Photograph by Mariah Miranda.

Sandwiches

1. Compliments Only, Dupont

We’re fans of the meatball sub with vodka sauce.

2. Grazie Grazie, the Wharf

Subs and cheesesteaks from the founder of Taylor Gourmet.

3. A. Litteri, Union Market

The deli is crammed with Italian imports—and folks waiting for their cold-cut subs.

 


Outdoor Dining

The Salt Line. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

1. Iron Gate, Dupont

The patio is dripping with string lights and wisteria.

2. Le Diplomate, Logan Circle

Book a private dining “chateau.”

3. The Salt Line, Navy Yard and Ballston

The DC location has a sprawling patio facing Nats Park.

 


Fancy Carryout

Chiko. Photograph by Scott Suchman

1. Rose’s at Home, RosesAtHome.com

The catering arm of the Capitol Hill spot Rose’s Luxury delivers date-night-worthy meals for two or more.

2. Rasika, Penn Quarter and West End

The curries, including a sumptuous Bengali-style lobster, travel beautifully.

3. Chiko, Dupont, Capitol Hill, Bethesda, and Shirlington

Each dish at this Korean/Chinese fast-­casual—overseen by Anju’s Danny Lee and Scott Drewno—was designed with portability in mind.

 


Food Hall

The all-day European cafe Leni located in The Roost. Photograph by Stacey Windsor.

1. Union Market, Northeast DC

This OG chef-driven food hall has transformed its entire neighborhood into one of the city’s hottest dining zones.

2. The Roost, Capitol Hill

The swank, brass-accented emporium offers square pizza, creative sushi, and a beer garden that’s a destination in itself.

3. The Block, downtown DC, Annandale, and Rockville

The pioneering Annandale original is the biggest of these Asian-inspired food halls.

 


Date Spot

Photograph courtesy of Iron Gate.

1. Iron Gate, Dupont

The dining room’s three-course menu is designed for sharing.

2. Reveler’s Hour, Adams Morgan

Explore the massive, esoteric wine list and try something new together.

3. Barcelona, Cathedral Heights, Logan Circle, and Reston

The firelit patio at the Logan location is crowded but cozy.

 


Cocktails

The Green Zone. Photograph by Farrah Skeiky.

1. The Green Zone, Adams Morgan

Middle Eastern liqueurs and drinks get the spotlight at this quirky-cool hangout.

2. Jane Jane, Logan Circle

The snug spot pairs a wide-ranging drink menu with throwback cocktail-party snacks.

3. Silver Lyan, Penn Quarter

The Riggs hotel’s sleek basement bar is your place for super-­fancy Jell-O shots and half-smoke-inspired rickeys.

 


Neighborhood for Eating

14th Street Corridor. Photograph by Evy Mages

DC: 14th Street corridor.

Maryland: Bethesda.

Virginia: Old Town.

 


Soul Food

Oohh’s & Aahh’s. Photograph by Deb Lindsey.

1. Oohh’s & Aahh’s, Brightwood and U Street corridor

Longtime destinations for vinegary collards and baked turkey wings.

2. NuVegan, Park View, Howard University, and College Park

Fried steak and omelets sans animal products.

3. Hitching Post, Petworth

The 55-year-old dining room slings some of DC’s best fried chicken.

 


Ted’s Bulletin. Photograph by Joy Asico.

Breakfast

1. Call Your Mother, seven DC and Maryland locations

The smash-hit bagel shop will soon have a Denver sibling.

2. Ted’s Bulletin, six area locations

Kids scramble for pop-tarts, while hung-over adults go for the giant breakfast sandwich.

3. Unconventional Diner, Shaw

Brunch is served until 4 daily.

 


Dish of the Year

Rose’s Luxury. Photograph by Anna Meyer.

1. Lychee salad at Rose’s Luxury, Capitol Hill

A bright, tangy appetizer that can be had with pork or tempeh.

2. 40-layer lasagna at L’Ardente, Judiciary Square

The rich pasta tastes as good as it Instagrams.

3. Butter chicken at Pappe, Logan Circle

Spice fans should head here for a fiery version of the popular curry.

This article appears in the December 2022 issue of Washingtonian.