100 Very Best Restaurant 2016: Hank’s Oyster Bar

When you tire of restaurant “concepts” and of servers who need to “explain” the menu to you, keep in mind Jamie Leeds’s convivial oyster houses—your antidote to trendy pretense. But why think only oppositionally? Hank’s is also pretty great for a light meal after a movie, or when you happen to have brought together a group of varying tastes and needs and find yourself desperate. The selection of oysters changes daily, the clam chowder rings true, the po’ boys overflow with beautifully fried shrimp and oysters, and the crabcakes (at a time, unfortunately, of diminishing returns on the scene) are reliably light and sweet. The best approach is to cobble together a meal from parts rather than order an entrée—big plates are iffier bets—and to drink with gusto (the bartenders know their stuff, and the beer list is stocked with goodies).

Don’t miss: Raw oysters; oyster shooters; Hog Island–style oysters; fried oysters; peel-and-eat shrimp; ceviche; shrimp cocktail.

See what other restaurants made our 100 Very Best Restaurants list. This article appears in our February 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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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 Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.