Every fourth Thursday, Mark and Gail Barnett recap the best restaurants they've reviewed over the previous few months.

Yi Jo

9137 Baltimore Blvd. (in Days Inn)

College Park


An uncommonly spiffy restaurant with excellent Korean food at modest prices.

Steer toward mandoo, the all-purpose meat dumplings; the marvelously delicate clam soup; the first-rate tempura (the only Japanese item); the bul-gogi (deftly marinated grilled beef); the haemool-pajun (a tasty Korean seafood pancake); the meal-size soup called mandoo-guk; and bibim-bab, a meat-vegetable-crammed rice pilaf.


8727 Colesville Rd. (in Quality Inn)

Silver Spring


The new incarnation of the old Mama Regina -- same chef, same excellent Italian food, same moderate prices and good value, but now with a handsomely remodeled dining room.

Expect high-quality cooking and finesse across the board. Appetizers? Outstanding bruschetta, seafood stew, chickpea soup, sausage and beans, or antipasto caldo. An outstanding pasta: rollata della nonna, stuffed with meat, mushrooms and tomato.

Entrees? Lovely fish and veal (especially the one with spinach and pine nuts), and a dynamite combination of chicken and stuffed veal.

Enzo Trattoria

11222 Grandview Ave.



Authentic Italian food, some of it very good and some ordinary, at rock-bottom prices in plain-Jane surroundings. Start with the excellent fried zucchini, white pizza, or the bruschetta.

For a pasta, the spaghetti carbonara is a smoky-flavored, fluffy gem (but the lasagna and ravioli are ordinary). Good entree choices: the robust chicken cacciatore or sausage and green peppers. Shellfish has been iffy.

Saigon Gourmet

6 N. Summit Ave.



An immensely lovable little Vietnamese restaurant, with excellent food and very low prices. For starters, aim for the grilled, skewered meats or the cold shrimp and roast pork rolls.

Particularly good entrees are the grilled meats (particularly lemon-chicken), the ginger chicken, the stir-fried frog legs, the meal-in-a-bowl soups and the exceptionally tender beef dishes (beef rolls stuffed with bacon or Vietnamese steak).

Il Forno

8941 N. Westland St.


If you're pinning for real New-York style pizza, this may help to cheer you up. A real crust from a real, wood-burning oven and excellent toppings, including fresh minced garlic. Very good garlic bread and calzone, too, a nice salad and, for big appetites, a find fried dough dessert called "snowballs."

Chef Peking

5541 Nicholson Lane



An excellent Chinese restaurant whose shine hasn't dimmed over the years. Concentrate on the unusual dishes: the crisp fried squid, chicken with shredded bean sheet or smoked vegetable roll appetizers, and the marvelously crisp and tasty shing duck or ethereal lotus rice entrees.

A solid rib-sticker at a rock-bottom price: rice noodles Singapore style.

Papa John's Restaurant

765-C Rockville Pike



A little gem of a Persian restaurant, reasonably priced, where the kebabs are tops. For appetizers, go for the hearty soups, the tabuli, the hummus. Outstanding entrees are the sirloin kebab called kebab-e chenjeh and the exceptional souvlaki.

Excellent desserts too: top-notch baklava, homemade ice cream and an unusual shaved ice called phaloudeh.

Lotta Bull

891 Rockville Pike



Exceptionally good, low-priced sandwiches and platters in a big, plain-looking barn of a restaurant -- the house specialty is a big, beautiful roast beef sandwich. The steak sandwich on French bread is another winner, as is the chicken breast platter. For dessert, go for the home-made carrot cake.