Washingtonian Magazine’s Best 100 Restuarants 2008

Washingtonian magazine’s January issue contains its annual
roundup of the Best 100 restuarants in the metropolitan DC area. Having
joined the magazine as its freelance wine columnist last summer, I had
the pleasure of participating in this in-depth survey of capital dining,
along with the magazine’s full-time restaurant critics, Todd Kliman,
Ann Limpert and Cynthia Hacinli. I also contributed a column about
positive trends in wine service at area restaurants.
There may not be a whole lot of surprises to this year’s list (Michel Richard Citronelle remains #1 for the second year),
but there is definitely some movement. Twenty new restaurants made the
list, including several that just opened their doors in 2007. This was
the year of the bistro in DC, with top chefs such as Michel Richard and
Robert Weidmaier opening second restaurants themed as bistros or
brasseries to give diners a chance to taste their creations without
going totally luxe. Central Michel Richard debuts at #10 on the list, while Weidmaier’s Brasserie Beck comes it at #36.
What’s fun is to see who changes from one year to the next. Ristorante Tosca
surged dramatically under its new chef, Massimo Fabbri, from #85 in
2007 to #20 this year, going from 2 stars to 3. (Four stars is the
highest rating, given this year only to Citronelle, CityZen and Komi.) Oval Room ascended from #49 to #13, adding half a star to climb to 3 stars.
Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong were named Restaurateurs
of the Year for their expanding empire that has made Old Town Alexandria
a dining destination. The husband-and-wife team operate Restaurant Eve (#4, 3.5 stars), and their latest venture, The Majestic, debuts at #42 with 2.5 stars. They also own Eammon’s A Dublin Chipper and the speakeasy PX.
One notable newcomer: Cynthia’s in Severna Park, Md.,
which should be a mecca for foie gras lovers. And chocolate soufflé
lovers … It opened at #25, with 3 stars.
To read the entire list and the reviews, you’ll need to get a copy of
the January issue of Washingtonian, now on newstands. The magazine’s Web site, Washingtonian.com, is counting down the top 25 restaurants and will post the entire list at the end of the month.

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