Causa Is Washingtonian’s #1 Restaurant in 2024—Watch Us Surprise the Team

The full 100 Very Best Restaurants list hits newsstands on January 25.

From left to right: Glendon Hartley, Carlos Delgado, and Chad Spangler.

Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants issue is almost here(!), and, as in years past, we’ve ranked the top tier of DC area dining spots. Number one for 2024? It’s Causa, the cool, creative Peruvian tasting-menu place in Shaw’s Blagden Alley (it happens to be neighbors with last year’s number one pick, The Dabney).

What makes a number one restaurant? Thrillingly delicious food, for sure. A room you want to spend time in—or better yet, don’t want to leave. Service that is intuitive and caring, even friend-like. Causa has all of those things. But even more, the nearly two-year-old restaurant is pushing our city’s food scene in new directions.

Each night, chef/co-owner Carlos Delgado, who grew up in Lima, puts forth a six-course menu that leads on a tour through his native country. He transforms street food staples like choripan and anticuchos into elegant compositions; one night’s ceviche turned out to be stunning kombu-cured scallops with leche de tigre “snow.” But before you even get to your table (lucky you, there are only 26 seats), check out the display of whole fish on a bed of ice. Delgado sources catches from Japan and beyond that you don’t often see on menus here, such as bonnetmouth and sea robin, and dry-ages many of them. Opt to add one onto your dinner menu, and the kitchen will prepare it both raw and grilled in the wood-fired oven.

There’s just as much energy and skill behind the bar, thanks to co-owners Glendon Hartley and Chad Spangler (also behind Service Bar). They maintain a massive Pisco collection—both here and at the bigger, more casual upstairs bar Amazonia—and shake up stunning cocktails, including the best Pisco sours in town.

The issue, with the full list of reviews and top 25 rankings, hits newsstands on January 25. But first, we stopped by Causa to surprise the owners with the big news—watch it here:

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.