100 Very Best Restaurants: #3 – L’Ardente

L’Ardente’s modernized tiramisu. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

About L’Ardente

200 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

Rarely does a restaurant swagger onto the scene like this wood-fired Italian hot spot from Unconventional Diner duo Eric Eden and David Deshaies. Murano-glass chandeliers hanging from Manhattan-­high ceilings are a glam backdrop to a dinner that feels like a party. Boisterous tables indulge in 40-layer short-rib-and-truffle lasagna and Maine lobster Thermidor. Friends nibble on creative snacks—we love the “duck hunt” foie gras ravioli—at the quartz bar. And couples make like the Obamas on date night with martinis and buttery linguine alle vongole. Deshaies—an acolyte of the late Michel Richard who also runs Central—shares his mentor’s flare for the deliciously dramatic. If you’re not having fun by dessert, the flaming tiramisu will do the trick. Expensive.