A lot has changed since we last published Washingtonian’s annual list of the area’s 100 Very Best Restaurants, back in the early days of 2020.
We’ve said goodbye to beloved dining spots such as Bad Saint and Kith/Kin and Union Market’s Rappahannock Oyster Bar. Restaurants have faced seismic challenges. And it’s a pretty tough time to be a diner, too. Reservation cancellation fees are frequent and steep. Cocktail prices, menu prices—heck, even sad-desk-salad prices—have shot up, along with gratuity expectations. And some dining rooms remain short-staffed.
Our idea of what a “best” restaurant means has also shifted. While we previously considered only sit-down places, we now put carryouts, pop-ups, and food trucks in the mix, too.
At the same time, in the shadow of the past three years, special occasions feel as significant as ever. Among our favorite ways to celebrate: the new tasting menu at the Dabney (our pick for Washington’s number-one restaurant this year), a round of caviar dumplings with a side of bejeweled handcuffs at Pineapple & Pearls, and a take-home plate of fantasy-inducing mozzarella sticks from Gemini (formerly Happy Gyro), the Dupont carryout run by former Komi proprietor Johnny Monis.
Whatever the occasion, consider this your road map to the Washington food scene. Here are the 100 places—the top 25 of them ranked—that we’re most excited to dine at right now.