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Tom Sietsema's Dining Guide

The Post's food critic reveals his 50 favorite restaurants.

Tom Sietsema's 2009 Fall Dining Guide: Ratings Code

For his 10th annual Dining Guide, Tom Sietsema looks at the best in Washington-area restaurants. Feast your eyes on photos from this year's selections.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ratings are based primarily on food quality but take into account service and ambiance. Restaurants that earn no stars are rated poor.

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* Satisfactory

Restaurants that are useful to know about if you are nearby; they may have only a few dishes or a single quality, such as a view or atmosphere, to distinguish them.

** Good

Restaurants with generally appealing cooking, service and settings; they tend to be worth driving across town for.

* * * Excellent

Rewarding destinations, no matter where you're coming from; they typically blend high-quality cooking with the environs.

* * * * Superlative

An unsurpassed dining experience; these restaurants do what they do extraordinarily well.

Decibels Key

Quiet: Under 60 decibels.

Conversation is easy: 60-70 decibels.

Must speak with raised voice: 71-80 decibels.

Extremely loud: Over 80 decibels.


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