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:
- D.C. Food Writers Predict Headline News for 2019
- D.C. Food Writers Share the Best Meals They Had in 2018
- The Most Annoying D.C. Food Trends of 2018, According to the Experts
- What Surprised D.C. Food Writers the Most in 2018
- D.C.’s Best Dining Neighborhood of 2018, According to the Experts
- The One Word That Defines the Restaurant World in 2018
- D.C.’s Best New Restaurants of 2018, According to the Experts