When we look back on 2017, anyone who dines out with any frequency is likely to remember this as an especially Riesling-rich, white-chocolate-robed, crudo-crazed, girl-powered, tier-trayed, “everything-spiced” (or soft-served) moment in Washington. That’s a good thing, for the most part, and the uni lover in me is not the least bit concerned about sea urchin dethroning pork belly as the “it” ingredient. To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart’s character in “Casablanca,” “We’ll always have pork chops.”
Is this the best time in memory to be eating in Washington? Having just surveyed more than 100 restaurants to bring you my 50-plus favorites, I’m thrilled to include more new names, neighborhood restaurants and standard-bearers that raise the bar not just for themselves, but for the country. Now is a heady time for Asian restaurants of all stripes, and I’m convinced there’s no more entertaining place for fine dining than in Washington. Indeed, four of my top five favorites are serious splurges.
Bigger than ever, this year’s collection includes thoughts from my colleagues Tim Carman and Fritz Hahn, who weigh in with their favorite cheap eats and bars, respectively. As the food scene has matured —and the choices are about to swell — the competition has gotten fierce. It’s a diner’s market these days. Enjoy it while it lasts.