Overview: Every day, food critic Tom Sietsema is asked what his favorite restaurant in Washington is. Not surprisingly, he can't settle on just one.
Tom's Top 40

2012 Fall Dining Guide

I can't tell you how many times I've been asked: "So, what's your favorite restaurant?" There's no one-size-fits all restaurant for me. I'm a fan of dozens of dining rooms. The process of winnowing more than 100 potential loves down to a highly personal Top 40 takes months. The next time someone asks me, I'll point him in one of 40 directions.

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$$$$ ($35 and up)
Bourbon Steak Georgetown (DC) 3 stars American, Steakhouse
CityZen SW Washington (DC) 4 stars American
Fiola Downtown (DC) 3 stars Italian
Inn at Little Washington Virginia (VA) 4 stars American
Komi Dupont Circle (DC) 4 stars Greek
L'Auberge Chez Francois Fairfax County (VA) 2 stars French
Obelisk Dupont Circle (DC) 3 stars Italian
Rogue 24 NW Washington (DC) 3 stars Nouveau American
$$$ ($25-$34)
Blue Duck Tavern Foggy Bottom (DC) 3 stars American
Cashion's Eat Place Adams Morgan (DC) 2½ stars American
Central Michel Richard Downtown (DC) 3 stars French
Mintwood Place Adams Morgan (DC) 3 stars Nouveau American
Oval Room Downtown (DC) 3 stars American
Rasika Penn Quarter Penn Quarter (DC) 4 stars Indian
Rasika West End Foggy Bottom (DC) 3 stars Indian
Tabard Inn Dupont Circle (DC) 1 star American
The Source Chinatown (DC) 3 stars Asian
Vermilion Old Town Alexandria (VA) 2½ stars American, Nouveau American
Vidalia Dupont Circle (DC) 3 stars Southern/Soul
Woodberry Kitchen Baltimore (MD) 3 stars American
$$ ($15-$24)
Bombay Club Downtown (DC) 3 stars Indian
Chez Billy NW Washington (DC) 2 stars French
Et Voila! Palisades (DC) 2½ stars Belgian, French
Ethiopic NE Washington (DC) 2½ stars Ethiopian
Family Meal Frederick County (MD) 2 stars American
Jaleo Chinatown (DC) 3 stars Spanish
La Limena Rockville (MD) 2 stars Latin American
Liberty Tavern Clarendon (VA) 2 stars American
Little Serow Dupont Circle (DC) 3½ stars Thai
Mio Downtown (DC) 2½ stars Latin American
Zaytinya Chinatown (DC) 3 stars Mediterranean
$ ($14 and under)
A&J Restaurant Rockville (MD) 2 stars Chinese
C.F. Folks Dupont Circle (DC) 2 stars American
Elephant Jumps Falls Church (VA) 2 stars Thai
Gamasot Franconia/Springfield (VA) 2 stars Korean
Izakaya Seki U Street/Cardozo (DC) 2½ stars Japanese
LacoMelza Ethio Cafe Silver Spring (MD) 2 stars Ethiopian
Red Truck Bakery and Market Fauquier County (VA) 2 stars Bakery
Toki Underground NE Washington (DC) 2½ stars Asian
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