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Editors’ Picks

Looking for quick recommendations? Check out Editors’ Picks, Washington Post writers' lists of the area's best in dozens of categories.

 

2012 Fall Dining Guide

  • By Tom Sietsema
  • |
  • Updated 04/30/2014

Every day, food critic Tom Sietsema is asked what his favorite restaurant in Washington is. Not surprisingly, he can't settle on just one. See his highly personal list of the Top 40 restaurants.

 

Best afternoon tea

  • By Becky Krystal | The Washington Post
  • |
  • Updated 11/29/2012

Partake of this civilized tradition with variations that range from orange pekoe to green to oolong.

 

Best banh mi

  • By Catherine Zuckerman
  • |
  • Updated 11/23/2011

Savory cold cuts, meatballs and pates are layered with crisp veggies and served on baguettes.

 

Best bites near the Howard Theatre

  • By Lavanya Ramanathan
  • |
  • Updated 04/18/2012

A renaissance already has begun in the Shaw, LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale neighborhoods,which surround the Howard. Walk a few blocks in any direction and you'll find several restaurants and bars, many of them opened in the past few years.

 

Best brunches

  • By Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 09/30/2013

There's nothing like a warm and hearty brunch. Here are some of our favorites.

 

Best bubble tea

  • By Winyan Soo Hoo
  • |
  • Updated 09/21/2011

Chewy tapioca bubbles enhance these sweet tea-infused drinks, which originated in Taiwan.

 

Best burgers

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 05/16/2014

Five Guys started a burger boom. Here are some top spots that aren't on every corner. Yet.

 

Best cheap eats

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 06/29/2013

Dining dollars go further at these local restaurants.

 

Best cheese plates

  • By Julia Beizer and Stephanie Merry | Washington Post Staff Writers
  • |
  • Updated 06/04/2014

Cheese plates are common, but a few restaurants deliver standouts, offering sweet/nutty/biting flavors that go well with a good wine.

 

Best chocolate shops

  • By Julia Beizer | The Washington Post
  • |
  • Updated 05/03/2010

Step away from the Whitman's Sampler. Our area is awash in boutique chocolate shops that will let you select your own assortment for a sweetheart.

 

Best crab cakes

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 04/17/2013

Food section staffers visited 25 reputable seafood establishments in search of Washington's best crab cake. Here are their top selections. (Read the full results of our taste test here).

 

Best crab soup

  • By Catherine Zuckerman
  • |
  • Updated 09/22/2011

Maryland-style crab soup, a tomato-based, veggie-rich Chesapeake Bay specialty, is worth a trip.

 

Best crepes

  • By Catherine Zuckerman
  • |
  • Updated 03/04/2011

The traditional French treat has become trendy in Washington. Some formidable choices:

 

Best cupcakes

  • By Julia Beizer | The Washington Post
  • |
  • Updated 02/23/2012

These indulgent treats are now ubiquitous in our area, at a not-insignificant $3 or so apiece. You'll find mini-cakes that merit the dough at these heavenly-smelling shops.

 

Best desserts

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 02/09/2012

The most crave-worthy sweets in Washington are refined closers to memorable meals and whimsical revivals of childhood treats. And sometimes, they're simpler pleasures, the kind that arrive in paper cups.

 

Best dim sum

  • By Winyan Soo Hoo
  • |
  • Updated 09/20/2011

Translating as 'heart's delight,' these appetizer-size Chinese dishes traditionally are delivered via carts.

 

Best escargot

  • By Timothy R. Smith
  • |
  • Updated 05/04/2011

Where to find snails in the traditional French preparation of garlic, butter and parsley -- and tasty variations.

 

Best Ethiopian

  • By Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 03/01/2012

Our large Ethiopian community makes a richly spiced, and caffeinated, contribution to the local dining culture.

 

Best fine dining lunch deals

  • By Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 05/16/2014

If you need to entertain a client or just want to give yourself a treat, here are 11 fine dining restaurants offering weekday fixed-price specials. Lunch hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

 

Best food trucks

  • By Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 06/23/2012

It's getting hard to keep track of D.C.'s fleet of mobile food purveyors, which seems to get larger every month. Here are a few of our favorite curb-side kitchens:

 

Best for groups

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 10/01/2014

Birthdays, going-away parties, engagement parties, you name it: If you're planning a large gathering over dinner, look to these restaurants first.

 

Best for soup

  • By Going Out Guide staff
  • |
  • Updated 12/15/2011

Enjoy a hearty bowl of winter's perfect comfort food.

 

Best French fries

  • By Catherine Barker
  • |
  • Updated 05/16/2014

Fries vary wildly in flavor, texture and temperature. Here are delicious spuds worth every crispy calorie.

 

Best grilled cheese

  • By Going Out Guide staff
  • |
  • Updated 04/23/2012

Let's just get this out of the way at the beginning: Grilled cheese isn't the kind of delicacy that requires the sure hand of a trained chef. But should you choose to indulge outside the home, we'll steer you toward these great examples of the childhood favorite.

 

Best gumbo

  • By Julia Beizer | Washington Post Staff Writer
  • |
  • Updated 09/20/2011

Our area isn't known for standout N'awlins fare, but we found great examples of this thick, Southern classic.

 

Best ice cream

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 07/18/2012

We find it hard to turn down ice cream in any form, whether it's an old-fashioned double scoop or curly swirl of frozen yogurt.

 

Best Italian

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 06/04/2014

Find primi and secondi that excels at these Italian establishments.

 

Best juice bars

  • By Lavanya Ramanathan
  • |
  • Updated 07/26/2012

Juice bars are sprouting up across the region, and we stopped at several to sample the trend: Nearly all press their juices fresh, eschew added sugar and pasteurization, and recommend customers drink up within a day or two. Many also offer a pretty pie-in-the-sky accounting of the health benefits of carrots, wheatgrass and coconut water. We're not sold on the life-altering claims, but we can get behind any way to consume more veggies.

 

Best late-night eats

  • By Lavanya Ramanathan, Fritz Hahn and Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 04/18/2012

Grabbing a post-drink meal or midnight snack once meant heading to a diner or big-slice joint. Today, a growing number of Washington-area eateries are keeping the fires burning till the wee hours; suddenly, midnight is prime time for crepes, Korean fried chicken, kimchi hotdogs, Philly-style hoagies and good-old fashioned pie.

 

Best mac and cheese

  • By Becky Krystal and Going Out Guide staff
  • |
  • Updated 01/16/2013

Our picks of the classic to contemporary takes on the familiar dish in and around Washington.

 

Best milkshakes

  • By Becky Krystal
  • |
  • Updated 02/16/2012

Straw? Spoon? No matter how you eat them, these cool options are worth the calorie splurge.

 

Best novel kids' menus

  • By Julia Beizer | Washington Post Staff Writer
  • |
  • Updated 09/22/2011

Is your non-picky eater tired of chicken fingers? At these places, kids can order items such as pint-size meze platters or starter sushi rolls.

 

Best pancakes

  • By Washington Post staff
  • |
  • Updated 09/24/2013

Brunch options are getting more elaborate -- chicken schnitzel, anyone? -- but sometimes you just want to tuck into a pile of flapjacks.

 

Best pie

  • By Kathleen Hom
  • |
  • Updated 09/20/2011

Satisfy a sweet tooth with a slice of perfection from one of these local bakeries

 

Best pizza

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 04/17/2013

Although we don't have a homegrown style, we do have a stable of great chefs and pizzaiolos riffing on classic styles in restaurants and bars that fit any mood. Whether you're looking for pizza and a great beer, pizza with the game or just a place for pizza with the family, there's something in the area that's just right for you.

 

Best places to fuel up near the Convention Center

  • By Lavanya Ramanathan
  • |
  • Updated 07/24/2012

In town for the International Aids Conference? A hotel continental breakfast won't cut it for a long day at the Convention Center. Here are some cool places to find coffee and a hearty breakfast, or get in a working lunch during the day.

 

Best places to host a book club

  • By Kathleen Hom
  • |
  • Updated 09/20/2011

Plan your next meeting at one of these cozy eateries, where you are welcome to get lost in conversation.

 

Best pre-theater dining

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 09/20/2011

Some restaurants offer great prix-fixe deals. Others are just reliable eateries to know about near performance spaces.

 

Best pre-theater dining near Studio Theatre

  • By Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 12/01/2011

In addition to its top-notch productions of cutting-edge contemporary theater, the Studio Theatre is in a great neighborhood for dining out. Here are some of our favorites in the area.

 

Best restaurants for a quiet meal

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 04/17/2013

Want to hear your dining partner(s)? Here are some restaurants conducive to intimate conversation.

 

Best restaurants for holiday dessert to go

  • By Nevin Martell
  • |
  • Updated 05/16/2014

Hosting for Thanksgiving is a balancing act. You have to get the house in order, make sure that everyone's special diet is accommodated, remain gracious and pull off a picture-perfect feast. Spare yourself the extra anxiety by picking up dessert from one of these Washington-area bakeries or restaurants, listed in alphabetical order. Consider them your sweet reward.

 

Best restaurants for vegetarians and vegans

  • By Lavanya Ramanathan and Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 01/24/2013

Whether you're in search of meat-free dining or trying to find that Holy Grail of dining -- an eatery that turns out innovative dishes for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike -- these restaurants deliver.

 

Best romantic restaurants

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 05/16/2014

Birthdays, anniversaries and other special dates are best celebrated over an intimate meal.

 

Best runner's chow

  • By Moira E. McLaughlin
  • |
  • Updated 10/24/2012

The night before you hit the streets for a big road race, you'll want a delicious meal.

 

Best sandwich shops

  • By Going Out Guide staff
  • |
  • Updated 09/21/2012

At these shops, the act of piling toppings and slathering condiments onto bread is elevated to an art form.

 

Best seafood

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 04/17/2013

Washington may not be on the coast, but the fish dishes at these restaurants whisk us to the seaside.

 

Best steakhouses

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 07/03/2012

Even in spite of more restrictive ethics rules, Washington will probably always be known for its clubby, lobbyist-friendly steakhouses.

 

Best sushi

  • The Washington Post Staff
  • |
  • Updated 07/25/2011

Salivate for the taste of fresh, raw fish? Here are our top picks for the Japanese staple.

 

Best veggie burgers

  • By Lavanya Ramanathan and Justin Rude
  • |
  • Updated 09/20/2011

If you're looking for superlative meat-free version of the classic juicy burger, look no further.

 

County fair food year round

  • By Justin Rude and Lavanya Ramanathan
  • |
  • Updated 08/16/2012

It's high season for county and state fairs, and while you have to be in the suburbs for the rides, demolition derbies and pig races, you can find the culinary traditions of the fairgrounds at city restaurants. Here are a few places to get your fix of corn dogs, cotton candy and fried candy bars. Or, explore a real county fair

 

Dining Guide Spring 2012

  • By Tom Sietsema
  • |
  • Updated 11/18/2014

Unlike the dozens of reviews in my fall collection, whose topic varies from year to year, this season's batch of subjects is smaller and connected by a single question: How do 15 previously reviewed restaurants stack up today?

 

The Washington area's best weekday breakfasts

  • By The Food and Weekend staff
  • |
  • Updated 08/23/2012

The old-fashioned, sit-down weekday breakfast may be hard to find, but it's not extinct. Writers for the Food and Weekend sections combed the region for fare so good, you'll want to put down your BlackBerry and savor the morning meal again.

In photos: Washington's best breakfasts

 

Washington's 30 essential vegetarian eats

  • By Lavanya Ramanathan
  • |
  • Updated 01/24/2013

We called on readers again to point us to their favorite dishes, this time with one major (dietary) restriction: We were going meat-free. An avalanche of vegan and vegetarian suggestions poured forth via e-mail, on Facebook and Twitter, and via the blog. It turns out, this is what we actually eat: Brownies. Thick, carb-loaded sandwiches. Pizza. Pho. Tacos. Deep-fried cheese. See these and dozens of other indulgences that drew readers' raves, below, and be sure to check out the photo gallery, with a photo of each dish. See our staff favorites here.

 
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