2017 Fall Dining Guide

There's never been a better time to be a diner in D.C.; Tom Sietsema's top 10 and 43 other favorites

Yellowtail with fish sauce inaigrette, thai chili, orange and tobiko is one of many stunning sights to behold at Himitsu. (Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)
Yellowtail with fish sauce inaigrette, thai chili, orange and tobiko is one of many stunning sights to behold at Himitsu. (Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

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.

“Worth a special journey”? Thanks to Patrick O’Connell, of course it is.
There’s technique behind the fun at Aaron Silverman’s tasting-menu room.
The Petworth jewel becomes a little easier to experience, with a Monday night supper club that takes reservations.
José Andrés’s team will delight and amaze you — for a price.
His underground space beckons with exceptional flourishes and extraordinary flavors.
The tiny Filipino spot in Columbia Heights serves tastes and hospitality you'll savor.
At this dimly lit spot in Shaw’s Blagden Alley, inspired cocktails lead to sensational food.
The chefs behind Chiko on Barracks Row add breathing room and lunch to their second location.
Next to Nationals Park and on the Anacostia River, it serves sparkling seafood.
Fabio Trabocchi’s most approachable option is popping up in more neighborhoods.
It answers a host of questions with its quiet, gentility and good cooking.
Sure, it’s tight. But thanks to gracious service, enticing food — and now drinks — you won’t notice.
Two locations continue to put out top-notch pies and so much more.
Alta Strada’s better, often lighter, Parmesans and pastas are a soothing tonic.
Kebabs and other small plates delight, and so does the old-world setting.
Empire-builder Mike Isabella’s latest restaurant is also his best.
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.
When you don’t want pretense with your dinner, book a table here.
The modern bistro maintains the spirit of fun and accessibility established by its late founder.
Amy Brandwein’s CityCenter restaurant nails its pastas, wood-grilled seafood and more.
Come to this Georgetown spot for the cozy charm, and stay for the food.
Cedric Maupillier is never one to let his guard down at his friendly French-American spot.
Jeremiah Langhorne’s ode to the region showcases prime ingredients.
The menu is streamlined, and the flavors are super-charged.
This cozy rural restaurant honors local producers.
At Fabio Trabocchi’s flagship, the seats are plush and the food is luscious.
Everything is deliciously refined at Fabio Trabocchi’s waterfront restaurant in Georgetown.
At Frederik De Pue’s Annapolis bungalow, creativity is the main course.
José Andrés’s tapas pioneer revels in consistent small plates and a buoyant vibe.
Ann Cashion’s deft touch with Southern-minded cooking is a joy to experience.
All the ingredients are here to accommodate an Iberian attitude.
Eric Ziebold’s dinner party as a restaurant will make anyone feel right at home.
This eight-seat counter inside Sushiko showcases the delightful creations of talented brothers.
With Johnny Monis at the helm, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Tim Ma’s menu is small, but there’s not a boring dish on the list.
The perennial favorite plates textbook examples of some of the cuisine’s trademark dishes.
Johnny Monis’s second restaurant rewards the adventurous with funky flavors and VIP treatment.
The vibrant Taiwanese-Cambodian restaurant on H Street NE also includes a top-notch cafe and retail shop.
The Southern charmer draws seemingly everyone to its Northeast drive-through.
This dream of a restaurant near Union Market showcases Nick Stefanelli’s cooking.
The Spring Valley spot channels Cape Cod.
The downtown gem is still gorgeous, and often delicious.
The tiny Alexandria spot assures personal attention from the chef.
This family-run restaurant in Great Falls, Va., offers stellar hospitality.
Don’t be afraid to follow the guidance of the staff for some of the best Chinese food in the area.
Traditional or not, old or new, Vikram Sunderam’s food delights.
The sibling of the original across town is more than an offshoot.
The H Street NE spot features Swiss food and wine. Bring on the fondue!
The Adams Morgan favorite makes guests feel special.
Delightful pies, empanadas and cocktails draw diners to this little Petworth storefront.
Pasta dishes cooked to simple perfection are just one draw at this downtown beauty.
The Bethesda branch of an Arizona-based chain promises tasty nutrition, and delivers.
These places are still solid. We just had to stop somewhere.
Experience the D.C. food scene through imagery. (Deb Lindsey / For The Washington Post)
Experience the D.C. food scene through imagery.
  • Oct 12, 2017
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