Where Tom went:
What began as a pop-up recently morphed into a no-reservations (again?) Filipino restaurant, a cocoon of a dining room in Columbia Heights where the go-to dishes include a spiky tangle of sweet potatoes and freshwater shrimp.
3226 11th St. NW
Barmini by José Andrés
Had Willy Wonka been a mixologist, this neighbor to Minibar would have been his liquid laboratory. While embracing the classics, the drinks list revels in surprises: blue elixirs that turn purple, coupes animated by liquid nitrogen, and an aquavit-propelled Ticket to Phuket, garnished in part with a pipette filled with Thai chili tincture, for upping the heat. A flight of the latest fashions, spread over two hours in a futuristic lounge, costs $60.
855 E St. NW
If you're looking for the city's best baguette, muffuletta or loaf made with ancient grains, you'll find it near the Van Ness Metro stop, at longtime baker Mark Furstenberg's tidy, yeast-perfumed storefront, also the source of meals to go and designer pantry staples.
4434 Connecticut Ave. NW
Broad Branch Market
A general store as painted by Norman Rockwell, Broad Branch Market stocks necessities (beer on tap); niceties (blackened catfish, sushi rice); and candy and ice cream dispensed in a room of their own. Picnic tables out front let you enjoy your purchases before you leave.
5608 Broad Branch Rd. NW
One of the most-anticipated arrivals of the year, the Dabney returns Charlottesville native Jeremiah Langhorne to the Mid-Atlantic, where the former chef de cuisine of McCrady’s in Charleston hopes to call fresh attention to the region. Bring on the Surryano ham, and break out the RdV wine!
122 Blagden Alley NW
Chef Victor Albisu’s lusty salvo to his Cuban dad and Peruvian mom, Del Campo uses smoke and char to lend intrigue to much of the meaty menu — cocktails included. You don’t have to like meat to eat well, however, as evinced by Lima-worthy seviches and roasted pumpkin risotto set off with sage and goat cheese.
777 I St. NW
Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market (Sundays)
A favorite of local cooks, this year-round outdoor attraction brings together more than 40 farmers in peak months. A recent shopping spree found heirloom cauliflower, nitrate-free bacon, quark, superlative juices, hen eggs “from happy chickens” (or so a sign said) and a side of live jazz.
20th Street NW between Massachusetts Avenue and Hillyer Place
The longest line inside the city’s oldest continually operating fresh-food public market is inevitably for Market Lunch, known for its blueberry-buckwheat pancakes. On weekends, outside stalls offer seasonal farm produce and crafts by artisans, including a tablemaker.
225 Seventh St. SE
The Amharic name translates to “mother,” an apt description for the homey Ethiopian cooking offered in this 30-seat restaurant, where the top seller is the beefy kitfo drenched in clarified spiced butter. Devotees of the dish know to ask for it uncooked, or “tirre.”
4709 N. Chambliss St., Alexandria
Capitol Hill has a winner in chef Rob Weland, whose American cooking captures the season along with his knack for interesting combinations, foremost with vegetables. Picture a fall salad composed with radishes, heirloom apples, sage and tangerine “lace”; or mushrooms made sublime with avocado, thyme and jalapeño.
524 Eighth St. SE
Hana Japanese Market
The Inn at Little Washington
Not all of Washington’s monuments are in the city proper. Take Patrick O’Connell’s dream of an inn near the Blue Ridge Mountains, unparalleled in this country for its witty cooking, entertaining service and over-the-top decoration. The staff takes its fun seriously: The cheese cart is a cow on wheels, and it moos.
309 Middle St., Washington, Va.
The East Coast’s best source for northeastern Thai is a green basement that doesn’t take reservations or tailor its nutty-spicy-meaty set menu to individual tastes. Brace yourself for a trip to Chiang Mai and back, hold the jet lag.
1511 17th St. NW
The Mediterranean Way
A one-stop shop for when your list includes Italian torrone, French hot chocolate, Turkish coffee, Tunisian cooking utensils made from olive wood and Greek yogurt -- the real deal, and divine. Here’s the place to sample olive oil in such diverse flavors as blood orange and rosemary, or a balsamic vinegar fruity with huckleberry.
1717 Connecticut Ave. NW
For his inspired modern Indian cooking, Vikram Sunderam received the award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic from the prestigious James Beard Foundation last year. No kitchen issues flakier breads, better Indian desserts or more intriguing combinations. (Duck vindaloo, anyone?) Timed to coincide with its 10th anniversary, a recent renovation of the dining room, which has a younger sibling in the West End, only adds to Rasika’s allure.
633 D St. NW
A gem among the many Vietnamese restaurants in Eden Center, the pretty Rice Paper always seems to be packed, even at lunch on a Monday. Worth the wait: floppy-crisp rice-flour crepes, among the 100 or so possibilities in this corner of “Little Saigon.”
6775 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church
Hailed as the Best New Restaurant of 2014 by Bon Appétit, the no-reservations creation by Aaron Silverman continues to draw hordes eager to sample offbeat but brilliant flavor combinations (pork sausage, litchis and habaneros are a match made in heaven) and exemplary service at everyday prices.
717 Eighth St. SE
Salt & Sundry
On display, in two inviting locations: the superb taste of owner Amanda McClements. Looking for a host gift? Want to spruce up your kitchen? Salt & Sundry comes to the rescue with elegant place mats, salt cellars, food-related greeting cards, cocktail flasks, kid-size aprons and choice cookbooks.
Union Market, 1309 Fifth St. NE
A whimsical bakery/butcher shop/cafe/delicatessen from the owners of the nearby upscale Restaurant Eve, Society Fair peddles in deliciousness: duck fat caramels, coconut cake, terrific sandwiches made with house-baked breads, cocktail aids and support for the home cook (lard included).
277 S. Washington St., Alexandria
Local drinks maven Derek Brown calls this, one of his three themed bars in Shaw, “my heart.” Its focus? Whiskey — including a draft Vieux Carré — and Southern eats. Research shows a Sazerac makes a great companion to a grilled pimento cheese sandwich.
1841 Seventh St. NW
The most extravagent way to experience this Japanese model in Dupont Circle is to book the six-stool omakase counter in the rear of the second-floor dining room, where Nobu Yamazaki whips up edible poetry from the freshest fish, starting at $140 a person (and worth the splurge).
1503 17th St. NW
Hands down, this second-floor noodle shop dishes up the best ramen in Washington. Behind the bowls (and other amazing cheap snacks) is chef-owner Erik Bruner-Yang, whose artistic bent extends to the snug, 30-stool interior dressed with red paper lanterns and skateboards reincarnated as guardrails and foot rests.
1234 H St. NE
2 Birds 1 Stone
Bar director Adam Bernbach not only dreams up his five or so weekly-changing drinks, including a punch du jour, he also sketches them on the menu at 2 Birds 1 Stone, an underground watering hole whose Asian-style snacks — spicy cashews, shrimp-and-pork spring rolls — come from the adjoining restaurant, Doi Moi.
1800 14th St. NW
A source of cool for the city, the gleaming Union Market brings together knife sharpeners, butcher shops, barbecue makers, dosa specialists, oyster shuckers, fishmongers, flower arrangers, chocolate artisans, pop-up restaurants, even a couple of produce vendors.
1309 Fifth St. NE
For shrimp and grits, sweetbreads and waffles and lemon chess pie, the best representative of Southern cooking in Washington remains this inviting underground dining room downtown, whose chef-owner, Jeff Buben, received the 1999 award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. The sleeper of the lot is Vidalia’s vegetable-focused, daily-changing blue plate.
1990 M St. NW
Running low on dried ancho chili peppers, coconut milk or live lobsters? The neighborly Wagshal’s in Spring Valley comes to your rescue. But the shop is best known for its superb meats, cut the way you want them, hopefully by ace butcher Pam Ginsberg. Just a few doors away is a more expansive sibling showcasing a deli, wine and a freshly minted restaurant.
4845 Massachusetts Ave. NW