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Washington, D.C. is Bon Appetit's Restaurant City of the Year

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The publication is high on D.C.'s growing food scene

Bad Saint’s typically crowded dining room is empty for now
Bad Saint
R. Lopez

National publications are paying even more attention to the growth of D.C.'s restaurant scene. The latest: magazine Bon Appetit has named Washington its Restaurant City of the Year for 2016.

The designation isn't surprising, insofar that a whopping three restaurants were named by the magazine as top newcomers earlier this summer, including Adams Morgan pasta experts Tail Up Goat, hyper-local The Dabney, and Filipino pioneer Bad Saint. Time will tell whether any of those make the publication's top ten, which hasn't been released yet.

In its love letter to D.C., writer Andrew Knowlton talks about the energy the Obamas' frequent restaurant dining has brought to the city. There's a little bit of credulity there as well about what locals already know — that the city has moved beyond power spots and steakhouses:

Yes, D.C. has long been a city that could out power-lunch any place in the country, and great meals could be had at many of the big-box restaurants in the center of town. But now D.C. has more than that: It finally has a ton of great neighborhood restaurants. And they are sprouting up in areas that you would not have imagined ten years ago—neighborhoods like Shaw, Columbia Heights, Barracks Row, and Petworth.

But converted skepticism aside, the publication shows genuine enthusiasm for the city's growth, with the writer eager to return and sample everything from Maketto to Kinship. "What all these restaurants have in common is fearlessness. There are no consensus polls being taken on what diners might want or need. Instead, these are chefs and restaurateurs who are simply taking their passions and diverse backgrounds and turning those into the restaurants of their dreams," he writes.

Will the publicity lead to even more tourism for D.C.'s restaurants? It's not out of the question. Rose's Luxury lines spiked when Bon Appetit named it a top restaurant newcomer in 2014. National restaurant praise can mean big business for the D.C. industry.

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