Following an Eater tradition, we asked a group of restaurant critics, journalists, bloggers, and industry pros to weigh in on the year in food. Their answers to an annual “Year in Eater” survey will be revealed in several posts this month. After discussing their favorite spots (both new and old), the dining experts get specific on the best restaurant meals they enjoyed in 2022.
Tom Sietsema, Washington Post food critic: Roasted sweet potatoes stuffed in poblano peppers at Daru? Duck four ways at Chang Chang? Whole fried flounder marinated with garlic and lime juice at Mariscos 1133? Honestly, there were too many “best” moments to single out one.
Ann Limpert, Washingtonian executive food editor and critic: I hate to give it to a place where dinner for two costs $900, but my summer dinner at the revamped, Pineapple and Pearls was delicious and lavish and so, so fun. It really felt fresh and new. I still think about the amaretto they infused with all the truffles they had sitting around during lockdown.
Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian food editor: I can’t pick one! I’ve eaten A LOT of pizza this year, but I continue to be wowed by Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana in Darnestown, Maryland, where I had the best pizza with a butternut squash bolognese and lemon ricotta (also that soft-serve!). Elephant Jumps in Fall Church also doesn’t get enough attention for serving some of the best Thai food in the region. My last visit was hit after hit: banana blossom salad, fried papaya salad, duck “cow soy,” crispy pork belly with fried basil. Get whatever is on the chalkboard!
On the higher end, Sushi Taro’s six-seat omakase counter is a real treasure. It’s very expensive for sure, but where else in DC do you get your own dedicated chef for the evening? Where else are you presented with boxes and boxes of beautiful fish and seafood and given free reign to just pick? Where else can you try tempura shirako (cod milt) or sun-dried sea cucumber egg over a hairy crab dumpling?!
Rick Chessen, Rick Eats DC blogger: Imperfecto, because each dish was delicious and beautifully plated and someone else was paying. Also Queen’s English where eight of us literally ordered everything on the menu and some things twice (there may have been a third duck drunken noodle).
Lori Gardner, Been There, Eaten That blogger: My recent trip to Japan was quite the food adventure. My favorite meal was at Tsurutokame in Tokyo. The kitchen is led entirely by women, which is not something you see very often anywhere, much less in Japan. The kaiseki tasting menu is incredible, and there is an energy and spirit that goes far beyond the food.
Rebecca Cooper, arts and food editor, DCist/WAMU: A beautiful summer night on the Bar Amazonia roof terrace was probably my most memorable meal of 2022. A group of good friends that hadn’t seen each other much all summer landed a same-day reservation, and we stuffed ourselves with fish two ways, nearly every skewer we could get our hands on, and of course, the excellent cebiche. The cocktails there are some of the most exciting in the city right now, and each one seemed to top the last. Very excited to have them as part of the dining scene.
Anchyi Wei, Anchyi Adorned blogger: The incredibly beautiful cocktails, seafood tower and pasta at Fiola Mare really wowed me! I have dined here a few time before but this past experience was not just a showcase of their culinary expertise, but a visual one, too!
Angie Duran, Women of Wine co-founder, director of operations for Duo Group and at Bottles Wine Garden: I know I won’t be the only one to say this, Lutèce. There is so much charred Napa cabbage all over the country, theirs felt inspired. I have a gluten intolerance which makes me feel like a burden every time I dine out (I am sorry…again). Not only did they not blink at it but truly made me forget my intolerance existed, zero fomo. Also, the honey semifreddo…just raised the bar on all semifreddo in the city.
Nycci Nellis, TheListAreYouOnIt.com publisher: Any memories you have of the old (musty) Guards space should be immediately replaced with the luxe setting created by Fady Saba and Chef Gilles Epie at the new L’Avant-Garde in Georgetown. Highlights: a massive beignet oozing with foie gras, a slab of cured Scottish salmon, porcini risotto with a cascade of black truffle, an entire head of Salanova lettuce with a tangy Riviera dressing, and seared branzino adorned with duck foie gras (yes, more foie gras!).
Missy Frederick, Eater cities director: 2941’s epic 20th anniversary dinner, especially Bertrand Chemel’s courses. Other memorable highlights included the “Midnight Diner” Restaurant Week riff at Daikaya izakaya, a romantic leisurely lunch at Chez Francois, and burgers, frites, and excellent people watching at the bar at Bourbon Steak before a Kennedy Center show. I’ll also note that many of my favorite meals this year were in Richmond.