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Tom Sietsema Looks Beyond Filomena’s Kitschy Decor in Georgetown

What the critics are saying this week

Filomena Ristorante/Facebook

Filomena

Just in time for Filomena’s lavish Valentine’s Day decorations to come out, Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema visited the 36-year-old Georgetown spot — for the first time since the Reagan era. It’s still tough to get in without a reservation, and Sietsema says it’s not just because of Filomena’s kitschy decor.

“To its credit, the calamari, shrimp and mussels therein are cooked as you’d want them to be. My point: Filomena isn’t Olive Garden,” he writes of the dishes served here in absolutely gigantic servings. “The portions require me to come up with fresh ways to describe ‘big,’ Sietsema joked. Maybe that’s part of the charm of the place, where he says that Filomena’s hospitality creates “memories for several generations of diners to take away with their leftovers.”

Sietsema also shared where he’s heading right now on the nights he isn’t on assignment somewhere new. The nine spots on his current favorites list include the second location of veggie taco spot Chaia, “meat eater’s fantasy” St. Anselm, and Alexandria’s homey Evening Star, which is spearheaded by new chef Jonathan Till.

Minibar

Washingtonian’s 2019 Very Best Restaurants issue is out this week, and the wildly creative and wildly expensive Minibar claimed the top spot. The Dabney, The Inn at Little Washington, Sushi Nakazawa, and Tail Up Goat round out the top five: check out a list of the top 25 here.

The Berliner

It’s not just sausage at Georgetown’s new German beer hall the Berliner: the Washington Post’s Maura Judkis visited the modern replacement for Malmaison and found that “grain salad with red quinoa, rye berries, delicata squash and spinach was a surprise hit.” More traditional fare like soft pretzels also had her “scraping every last morsel of cheese out of the cup,” but she deemed salty soy-marinated eggs and dry currywurst a miss.

Brew Belly

The Washington Post critic Tim Carman traveled to the “man-caveish” Brew Belly in Olney, owned by Urban Bar-B-Que founder Dave Calkins. Asides from the restaurant’s Bigfoot-inspired decor, Carman liked the Maryland-intensive beer selection, the fries, and the classic cheesesteak topped with three kinds of cheese, including Velveeta.

A Rake’s Progress

The Bitches Who Brunch checked into the Line hotel for a weekend meal at A Rake’s Progress, starting with a silver tray stacked high with pastries (including a honey-pecan kouign amann). A crab cake Benedict and fancy hash brown sealed a “five champagne flute” rating for Spike Gjerde’s Adams Morgan restaurant.

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