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Where to Go for. . .

Sunday Brunch
Afternoon Tea
Restaurants with Fireplaces
Dancing/Live Entertainment
Great Views
Late-Night Meals
A Great Chef
Private Dining Rooms
Pre-Theater Bargains


The Washington Post Dining Guide

November 1996

Phyllis C. Richman, The Washington Post's restaurant critic for twenty years, has been cited as one of the 100 most powerful figures in the nation's capital. The Washington Post Dining Guide is her fifth book, and includes 224 new and updated reviews. All of the book's reviews are available in the searchable online Restaurant Guide, along with Richman's weekly newspaper reviews and Eve Zibart's weekly "Courses" column.

The book is available for $11.95 at local bookstores.

All restaurants in the Guide are assessed on a variety of factors, including price, quality of food, and atmosphere. At the bottom of each online review, you'll see the four following symbols where appropriate:

GREAT CHEFS GREAT CHEFS: These are the restaurants where you'll currently find Washington's most outstanding chefs, those who would be counted among the best anywhere.

Phyllis' Picks PICKS: These restaurants are especially recommended as being the tops among their type, from the best of the pizza parlors or cafeterias to standouts among the grand kitchens.

Beauties BEAUTIES: These restaurants have beautiful or dramatic dining rooms or a delightful view.

Value GOOD VALUES: Whether these restaurants are expensive or cheap, they offer particularly good value for the money.

Why no scores or 1-to-5-star rating system? Phyllis Richman explains:

"I don't think you can compare an Asian noodle parlor to a full-dress, classic French restaurant. And if a French cafe serves stunning soufflés but nothing else of note, should it get a higher or lower score than the full-dress restaurant that makes almost everything superbly save its dreadful soufflés? What about restaurants that are better for lunch than dinner? Or serve terrific appetizers but dreary entrees? Or fall flat on Tuesdays when it's the regular chef's night off? Washington restaurants serve more than 50 different cuisines, as do those in most American cities. The variety, complexity and inconsistency of restaurants make rating systems irrelevant."

Richman visited all the restaurant in this book without advance warning, and anonymously where possible. All the same, she wants readers to know the following:

"Even though I pay for my meals in cash or by credit card with a pseudonym and make reservations under another name, I am frequently recognized in restaurants nowadays. That's inevitable after 20 years of reviewing restaurants for The Washington Post, so I work at noting what is going on throughout the restaurant and ordering a wide variety of dishes, some of which must be prepared ahead. I also get plenty of feedback from other diners, so I can often compare others' experiences with my own."

According to Richman, "What changes most when I am recognized as a critic is not the quality of the food, but the service and sometimes the portion size."

On behalf of Phyllis Richman, the Washington Post, and WashingtonPost.com, good appetite.

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