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Restaurant Experts Pick D.C.’s Best Dining Neighborhood

Waterfronts were hot this year

Recreation Pier at the newly renovated southwest waterfront.
Photo: the Wharf

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 geographic areas that caught their attention.

David Hagedorn, Arlington Magazine/Bethesda Magazine dining columnist: “My neighborhood, Adams Morgan, is in the middle of a tremendous resurgence. We have Lapis, Johnny’s Half-Shell, Mintwood Place, Perry’s, Pitango Gelato + Café, and Tail up Goat in just about one stretch, plus Federalist Pig, Donburi, Jack Rose and Dram and Grain. And the Line hotel on the verge of fully opening.”

Rina Rapuano, Zagat DC/freelance food writer:U Street, the Wharf, Shaw, Penn Quarter.”

Don Rockwell, DC Dining: “Shaw and environs (I'll be surprised if this isn't unanimous).”

Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian food editor: “Shaw.”

Tim Carman, Washington Post food writer: “Shaw, without question. If one place is packed for the night, there are so many other options, each a destination of its own way: All-Purpose. The Dabney (my recent meal there was my best yet). Smoked & Stacked. Espita [Mezcaleria]. The Columbia Room. Tiger Fork. Convivial. I would also include such Ethiopian gems as CherCher and Queen of Sheba.”

Stefanie Gans, Northern Virginia Magazine restaurant critic and dining editor: “Barracks Row.”

Nevin Martell, DC Modern Luxury dining editor: “Anywhere but Silver Spring, where I live. Talk about a dining desert! Though I do have to give credit to Urban Butcher for being one of the few bright spots. Restaurateurs: please open some new spots out there. It's a well-educated, well-heeled community that's dying for new options.”

Laura Hayes, Washington City Paper food editor: “Shaw, 14th Street, Navy Yard.”

Tom Sietsema, Washington Post restaurant critic: “Mouthwatering Shaw has a potential rival in the Wharf.”

Lori Gardner, Been There, Eaten That: “The Wharf took D.C. by storm.”

Johnny's Half Shell

1819 Columbia Road Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 506-5257 Visit Website


2438 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009 (202) 629-1047

Tail Up Goat

1827 Adams Mill Road Northwest, , DC 20009 Visit Website

Columbia Room

124 Blagden Alley Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 316-9396 Visit Website

The Dabney

122 Blagden Alley Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 240-2660 Visit Website

Federalist Pig

1654 Columbia Road Northwest, , DC 20009 Visit Website

Lapis Bistro

1847 Columbia Road Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 299-9630 Visit Website


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


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

Tiger Fork

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

Mintwood Place

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

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

2007 18th Street Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 588-7388 Visit Website

Urban Butcher

8226 Georgia Avenue, , MD 20910 (301) 585-5800 Visit Website

Espita Mezcaleria

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