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Where D.C. Food Writers Loved to Eat in 2018

Dining experts share their restaurant standbys

Fried oysters at Himitsu.
Several D.C. dining experts said Himitsu, where these fried oysters were made, was one of their restaurant standbys this year.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Following an Eater tradition, we asked a group of restaurant critics, journalists, bloggers, and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Their answers to the annual “Year in Eater” survey will be revealed in several posts this week. First up, the dining experts share their restaurant standbys from 2018.

Laura Hayes, Washington City Paper food editor: You can always find me at Sushi Taro, ANXO, District Fishwife, Rakuya, Bandit Taco, Centrolina, Unconventional Diner, The Salt Line, Iron Gate, Himitsu, Izakaya Seki, and RASA.

Tom Sietsema, Washington Post food critic: I found myself returning again and again to the improved Momofuku CCDC, the dreamy Centrolina, the always-reliable Johnny’s Half Shell, and Del Mar. Its paella is insane.

Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian food editor: My job doesn’t allow me to be much of a regular anywhere, but I wish I could be a regular at Rappahannock Oyster Bar. Every time I go to Union Market, I think I should try something new, but I always end up just eating oysters and “lambs and clams” or one of their (underrated) salads.

Tim Carman, Washington Post food writer: I lost an old friend this year when the Classics closed in Silver Spring. I still feel an ache in my chest every time I walk by the empty shell where the Classics once stood, where owners Elliott Rattley and Nick Lopata created one of the best neighborhood haunts. I raise a shot of Grand Marnier in their honor. Since the Classics went kaput, I’ve become a semi-regular at Menomale in Brookland, where the Neapolitan pizzas remain among my favorites anywhere. And while it’s not a standby for me yet, Charcoal Town Shawarma will soon become one. The chicken shawarma, cooked over charcoal, is smoky, garlicky, and addictive.

Lori Gardner, Been There, Eaten That blogger: I can’t get enough of Himitsu, Bresca, Maydan, and All-Purpose. I just made it back to Convivial, and so glad that I did. Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana: I‘m going there tonight and it’s the second time in the last four weeks!

Nevin Martell, food writer and co-author of Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: As a food writer, it’s my job to stay on top of what’s new, so I don’t get many opportunities to return to the restaurants I end up loving. However, there were a few places whose siren song was so strong I couldn’t resist visiting them multiple times. When I’m in the mood for creative comfort food of the highest order, I always head to Unconventional Diner, where chef David Deshaies puts out pretty plates rich with whimsy and bold flavors. In my book, every day of the week should be Taco Tuesday, and there’s nowhere I’d rather celebrate than chef Victor Albisu’s Taco Bamba. My faves are the cheeseburger-riffing “Royale With Cheese” and the “Boricua,” packed with crispy shreds of Puerto Rican spiced pork, pickled habaneros, and plantain crema to sooth the pepper’s burn. When my wife and I have a night to ourselves, we almost always choose to go to Himitsu. Between Carlie Steiner’s clever cocktails and Kevin Tien’s memorable fare, we always leave beaming and buzzing. And a hat tip to Takoma Beverage Co., which made my favorite cappuccino of the year, and always delivers a perfectly pulled espresso.

More from the Year in Eater:

Iron Gate

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

Convivial

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

Anxo Cidery & Tasting Room

711 Kennedy Street Northwest, , DC 20011 (202) 722-2696 Visit Website

BRESCA

1906 14th Street Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 518-7926 Visit Website

Johnny's Half Shell

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

Momofuku CCDC

1090 I Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 602-1832 Visit Website

Maydan

1346 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009 Visit Website

RASA

12033 Rockville Pike, , MD 20852 (240) 669-8661 Visit Website

Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana

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

Charcoal Town Shawarma

2019 11th Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 232-2330 Visit Website

Unconventional Diner

1207 9th Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 847-0122 Visit Website

Izakaya Seki

1117 V Street Northwest, , DC 20009 Visit Website

All-Purpose - Shaw

1250 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001 202-849-6174 Visit Website

Menomale

2711 12th Street Northeast, , DC 20018 (202) 248-3946

Centrolina

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

Taco Bamba

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

The Salt Line

79 Potomac Avenue Southeast, , DC 20003 (202) 506-2368 Visit Website

Himitsu

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

Del Mar

2125 Lombard Street, , CA 94123 (415) 345-8663 Visit Website