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Food Writers Dish on The Best Meal They Had This Year

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Sushi Taro
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As per tradition, Eater asked a group of journalists, bloggers and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Here are their top meals of the year.

Tom Sietsema, food critic, The Washington Post: “Bad Saint reminds me why I have the world’s best job. Aside from the line, and maybe the cramped quarters, there’s nothing I don’t admire about the place.”

Nevin Martell, freelance food critic and cookbook author: “I won't ever forget my dinner at Tail Up Goat, especially the breads, including a sourdough with mascarpone and stewed burnt strawberries and another slice with Greek yogurt, blood orange marmalade, roasted carrots and hazelnuts. My meals at Metiér were meticulously prepared from start to finish, though it's the haddock on creamy coconut rice with curry mousse and uni butter that lingers with me. And I am still thinking about my experience at Pineapple & Pearls, which filled me with a rare childish delight.”

Svetlana Legetic, founder, Brightest Young Things: “Rose's Luxury. The madness has died down, the staff is still as strong as ever, and you can really relax and eat the food these days, and the food is AMAZING. Followed by anything I ever put in my mouth at Rasika West End and Le Diplomate, which is always perfect so I can't single out a single meal.”

Ann Limpert, food critic and editor, Washingtonian: “Pineapple and Pearls is as close to a perfect dining experience as I’ve had in DC—from food (beautiful, brilliant, delicious) to service to tableware to drinks to decor to even those employee hand-washing signs in the bathrooms. “

Cori Sue Morris, co-founder, Bitches Who Brunch: “Kinship and the Dabney”

Steph Covello, DC Co-Editor, Bitches Who Brunch: “Masseria”

Jessica Strelitz, freelance food writer: “Indique. The service. The vibrancy of the plates. The stories behind the menu. Superb cocktail options. I learn something every time I go there. I think it's the best Indian in the city, by far.”

I sometimes spoil myself during business travel -- not on an expense account, I pay for my own indulgence. Two highlights were handmade soba noodles and an all cherry blossom themed menu at an 10-table restaurant in the middle of a secret garden in Tokyo, and first-of-the-season, sweet stone crabs in January at Daniel Boulud Bistro in Miami.

Laura Hayes, food editor, Washington City Paper: “Sushi Taro's omakase. Getting to spend two hours in front of Chef Nobu Yamazaki and his trays of fish flown in from Japan is pretty magical and you can keep asking for sashimi or nigiri until you tap out. The bamboo garden backdrop and small, private setting takes you to Japan without the plane ticket.”

Dan Silverman, PoPville (i.e. the Prince of Petworth): I did a stomach busting delicious tasting menu at Iron Gate that still makes me smile.

Jessica Sidman, food editor, Washingtonian: I've long been a fan of Sushi Taro, but the omakase counter really wowed me this year. The meal starts with a series of small dishes, but the best part is when they bring out all these boxes filled with fresh seafood, including many rare cuts of fish and hyper-seasonal specialties that aren't on the regular menu. You pick what you want and the chef prepares them as sushi or sashimi.

Stefanie Gans, food editor and critic, Northern Virginia Magazine: Whatever, I don't care, it was Pineapple and Pearls and it was fucking lovely.

Jody Fellows, Burger Days/Falls Church News-Press: A Valentine's Day dinner from Will Artley at the eclectic Nonna's Kitchen was the best meal I had this year. It was the perfect mix of great food, ambiance and company.

Tim Carman, The $20 Diner Columnist, The Washington Post: I've eaten Neapolitan pizza in DC and other U.S. cities for nearly a decade now. Many of them certified VPN pies. But until this year, I had never eaten one in Naples. Eating Neapolitan pizza in its birthplace alters your perspective. The traditions and techniques are not just tools to market your pizza to the masses: They are deeply held beliefs. You can taste the difference.

Maura Judkis, The Washington Post: I finally made it to Woodberry Kitchen this year — not even for work, it was for my mother-in-law's birthday — and wow, that place is really special. Not only was our meal perfect (I recall a particularly fantastic crab dip) but I got such a feeling of warmth there, and I was charmed by the gorgeous setting, in an old foundry. The servers treated my in-laws like royalty. They really won my heart.

Eun Yang, NBC: I had a fantastic meal at Bad Saint. My friends and I got in line early and snagged a booth. The delicious food, warm service and killer playlist made for a memorable experience all around.

Rebecca Cooper, reporter and columnist, The Washington Business Journal: It's a toss-up. One one hand, I finally went to Komi, and it made for one hell of a birthday. On the other, Masseria on a random Tuesday in July was a truly transportive experience, and one I will definitely revisit.

Becky Krystal, reporter, The Washington Post: Tough. I think I’m going to have to go with Pineapple and Pearls. It was a splurge, but it truly was a memorable meal that was unlike any I’ve ever had.

Anna Spiegel, food editor, Washingtonian: My best restaurant meal was when my mom took me out for a birthday lunch at The Riggsby. I’d just gotten married a few days before. We sat at a great window table in the bar and had martinis, fresh-shucked oysters, a big bowl of spaghetti amatriciana for me, and something more sensible like grilled fish for her. I’ve been fortunate to dine at many of DC’s top restaurants this year for work, but that meal was particularly joyful.

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