100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 5 Rasika

Rasika's chili-batteered, fried cauliflower. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

In May, Rasika’s Vikram Sunderam won the James Beard Award for best chef in the Mid-Atlantic.

It was richly deserved then, and there’s been no laurel-resting since—this duo of mod-Indian dining rooms is better than ever.

The menus—whether at the jewel-toned Penn Quarter original or the ice-blue-accented West End location—are made for grazing. There are terrific barbecue meats and chaats (who knew avocado and bananas made such a great pair?) and curries with intricately layered spices that seem made for the soft naan and roti.

Plenty of dishes will feel familiar—chicken tikka masala, lamb korma—and while the kitchen’s renditions are excellent, this is a place where you’ll be rewarded for trying something new.

If there’s a weak spot, it’s the overly sweet and sculptural desserts.

Don’t miss:

  • Fried-cauliflower bezule
  • Palak chaat (crispy spinach)
  • Lobster with mango and malt vinegar
  • Duck breast with candied orange
  • Tandoori lamb chops
  • Eggplant with peanuts and jalapeños
  • Goat-cheese kulcha (a wheat bread)

Try Rasika’s Chef Recipes

Rasika’s Kerala Fish Curry

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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.