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Restaurant Experts’ Dining Standbys of the Year

The go-to spots dining pros appreciate

Cookie sandwiches at Buttercream Bakeshop.
Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

As per tradition, Eater asked a group of restaurant critics, journalists, bloggers, and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Here are the eateries they keep in their back pockets.

Tom Sietsema, Washington Post restaurant critic: “Places I’d go more often if I wasn’t chasing after the new, new, new: Himitsu, Tiger Fork, Espita Mezcaleria.”

Lori Gardner, Been There, Eaten That:Rose’s Luxury, Osteria Morini, Tail Up Goat, Hazel.”

David Hagedorn, Arlington Magazine/Bethesda Magazine dining columnist:Buck’s Fishing and Camping, Doi Moi, Mintwood Place, Convivial, Centrolina, All-Purpose.”

Rina Rapuano, Zagat DC/freelance food writer:Bantam King, Himitsu, Taqueria Habanero, Blue Duck Tavern, Buttercream Bakeshop.”

Don Rockwell, DC Dining: “The most important restaurant in Washington, D.C. history: 2 Amys.”

Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian food editor: “You know what's great that no one talks much about anymore? Ray's the Steaks. I am not much of a fan of steakhouses, but I dig this place because it's so unpretentious. You can get a full steak dinner for two AND a bottle of wine for less than $100, and it's just as good, if not better, than the expense account joints downtown. Oh, and the key lime pie.”

Tim Carman, Washington Post food writer: “You know, Taylor Gourmet has opened so many locations in recent years, it’s easy to think the sandwich chain has jumped the shark. But the company has a culinary director, Jacob Hunter, co-founder of Dirty South Deli, who produces a terrific seasonal menu. I try to eat my way through it every quarter.”

Stefanie Gans, Northern Virginia Magazine restaurant critic and dining editor: “I’d love to eat more regularly at B Side, Padaek, Peter Chang and Afghan Bistro.”

Nevin Martell, DC Modern Luxury dining editor: “The Dorjee Momo and Tortilladora pop-ups inside Shop Made in DC, Little Sesame, Inferno [Pizzeria Napoletana] (if you haven't been, you're missing out on the best Neapolitan pizza in the DMV), Bantam King, Smoked & Stacked, Buttercream Bakeshop, the Source (Russell Smith is KILLING it), Taco Bamba, and A&J dim sum in Rockville, Maryland.”

Laura Hayes, Washington City Paper food editor: “Centrolina, Sushi Taro, Iron Gate, Baan Thai, Izakaya Seki, Estadio.”

Iron Gate

1734 N St NW, Washington, D.C. 20036 (202) 737-1371 Visit Website


801 O Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 525-2870 Visit Website

Buttercream Bakeshop

1250 9th Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 735-0102 Visit Website

2 Amys

3715 Macomb Street Northwest, , DC 20016 (202) 885-5700 Visit Website

Little Sesame

1828 L Street Northwest, , DC 20036 (202) 975-1971 Visit Website

Osteria Morini

301 Water Street Southeast, , DC 20003 (202) 484-0660 Visit Website

Mintwood Place

1813 Columbia Road Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 234-6732 Visit Website


1239 9th Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 465-4822 Visit Website

Hazel, Ravines and Downtown

1 Peabody Street, , MI 48009 (248) 671-1714 Visit Website

Peter Chang

2503-E North Harrison Street, , VA 22207 (703) 538-6688 Visit Website

Espita Mezcaleria

1250 9th Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 621-9695 Visit Website

Bantam King

501 G St NW, Washington, DC 20003

Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana

12207 Darnestown Road, , MD 20878 (301) 963-0115 Visit Website

Izakaya Seki

1117 V Street Northwest, , DC 20009 Visit Website

Sushi Taro

1503 17th Street Northwest, , DC 20036 (202) 462-8999 Visit Website

Taylor Gourmet

2400 South Smith Boulevard, , VA 22202 (703) 417-2145

doi moi

1800 14th Street Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 733-5131 Visit Website

Ray's The Steaks

2300 Wilson Boulevard, , VA 22201 (703) 841-7297 Visit Website

Tail Up Goat

1827 Adams Mill Road Northwest, , DC 20009 Visit Website


974 Palmer Alley Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 898-2426 Visit Website

Taco Bamba

4000 Wilson Boulevard, , VA 22203 (571) 777-1477 Visit Website


122 Spring Street, , SC 29403 (843) 793-1029 Visit Website

Taqueria Habanero

670 Rhode Island Avenue Northeast, , DC 20002 Visit Website

Tiger Fork

Blagden Alley Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 733-1152 Visit Website

The Source by Wolfgang Puck

575 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, , DC 20565 (202) 637-6100 Visit Website


828 Upshur St NW, Washington, D.C. 20011 (202) 288-6864 Visit Website

Rose's Luxury

717 8th Street Southeast, , DC 20003 (202) 742-3570 Visit Website

Blue Duck Tavern

1201 24th Street Northwest, , DC 20037 (202) 419-6755 Visit Website