2016 Fall Dining Guide

The scene is bigger and better than ever, and so is Tom Sietsema’s annual take.

Michelin and Bon Appetit decided this year that Washington is a food city worth paying attention to, but some of us have long appreciated the vibrant dining scene here. Among the area’s monumental assets: one-of-a-kind Indian, Spanish and modern American establishments and headliners including chefs José Andrés and a relative newcomer, Aaron Silverman. It’s true, though, that growth has recently exploded, with about 90 restaurant debuts this summer alone and the promise of many more good things to come. That’s why this year’s dining guide is the most expansive since I became food critic in 2000. My colleagues Tim Carman and Fritz Hahn weigh in with their takes on the area’s best cheap eats and go-to bars, respectively. And I give you 52 reviews of freshly visited establishments from all around the DMV — a restaurant for every week of the year.

You’ll find creative and wonderful Italian American dishes — plus killer desserts.
Here’s where polish and fun go hand in hand.
Incredibly, the hottest Filipino restaurant in the country keeps getting better.
Here’s where diners go when they want style and serenity with their foie gras.
Chef Cedric Maupillier turns the routine into something wonderful, makes us laugh, or both.
It’s a beguiling show, led by a masterful ringleader and his fellow performers.
Four decades later, Patrick O’Connell’s destination restaurant is more magical than ever.
If you love the heat and the funk of real Thai food, line up at this Dupont Circle hideaway.
The four-star gem in Penn Quarter lives up to its acclaim.
Led by chef Johnny Monis, one of the best of his generation, Komi continues to dazzle.
Sure, it’s tight. But thanks to gracious service, enticing food — and now drinks — you won’t notice.
Michael Schlow’s pizza-and-pasta place tastes great, especially for the price.
The Falls Church carryout bakes its own crisp baguettes for these satisfying Vietnamese sandwiches.
The sister restaurant to Daikaya focuses on ramen, with poultry in the broth, but also serves a killer fried bird.
From the team behind Rasika, this street food specialist has become a Cleveland Park favorite.
By making loaves, sandwiches and sweets to die for, Mark Furstenberg proves he deserves his accolades.
Amy Brandwein’s skillful cooking extends to the pastas for sale in the market.
It takes a lot of skill to present food this polished yet accessible. Chefs Jonathan Krinn and Jason Maddens have done it.
Owner Rose Previte makes it all happen at this cozy upstairs retreat off 14th Street. For even more of an escape — and a feast — book the private Bedouin tent.
This hushed, almost-hidden dining room is accessible through Alta Strada. Once you’re through the velvet curtain, prepare to indulge.
Chef Jeremiah Langhorne's facility with the enormous hearth at the center of this handsome dining room results in delicious plates with a local focus.
You’ll feel the burn and taste the char at Victor Albisu’s steakhouse, where meat isn’t the only draw.
The seafood at this Shaw newcomer is fresh and simple, but the kitchen also has a way with side dishes.
Relocated to Barracks Row, it’s a carnivore’s paradise thanks to meat master Nate Anda. But vegetarians are welcome, too.
At the bustling Spanish tapas place on the busy 14th Street corridor, the best seat is at the counter.
This cozy rural restaurant honors local producers.
The eldest of the three Italian restaurants created by chef Fabio Trabocchi has low-calorie options and indulgent possibilties.
On the Georgetown waterfront, it glorifies the ocean’s bounty.
The Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s current star showcases Rob Rubba’s way with international accents.
Thanks to the sons of the chef and co-owner, this Cleveland Park stalwart is pulsing with new energy.
Jose Andres’s oldest restaurant remains a model of liveliness.
In Bethesda, the newest arrival in the Mike Isabella family of Kapnos restaurants is outpacing its siblings.
Tim Ma’s menu is small, but there’s not a boring dish on the list.
The menu changes frequently, but you’ll always find something to appreciate at one of Charm City’s best restaurants.
This take on a French brasserie has what you want — if you don’t mind the noise.
The Cambodian and Taiwanese food created by Erik Bruner-Yang seduces all the senses.
Chef Nicholas Stefanelli's Italian retreat in Union Market is one of the most alluring restaurants in the city.
In this hushed hideaway, Eric Ziebold’s sublime cooking shines.
In Penn Quarter, executive chef Matt Kuhn cooks dishes with familiar ingredients in ways that don’t taste like everyone else’s.
The restaurants in Rockville and Arlington are firing on all cylinders with their enticing Sichuan cuisine.
Chef Austin Fausett and general manager Brent Kroll have infused the wine-focused restaurant in Chinatown with their own charms.
Less formal than its older sibling, it serves a must-try brunch.
Bryan Noyes’s shop is a food destination in tiny Marshall, Va., especially for its cakes and pies.
Sure, there's more competition for Aaron Silverman's Barracks Row eatery these days, but continues to cast a spell on its customers.
Weekday lunch is the best time to sample the cooking of chef Scott Drewno.
The best way to experience Nobu Yamazaki’s food is at his six-seat omakase counter.
The restaurant in the National Museum of African American History and Culture offers pleasing takes on dishes from four different regions of the country.
It’s a carb lover’s paradise in Adams Morgan.
Bryan Voltaggio’s flagship restaurant in Frederick is still well worth the trip.
Spike Gjerde’s fetching barn of a restaurant in Baltimore is one that sweats the small stuff.
If you can’t find something to enjoy in this soaring José Andrés property, you’re too darn picky.
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