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Pabu
Pabu
Photo: Michaelmina.net

14 Stellar Dining Destinations Within 2 Hours of D.C.

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Pabu
| Photo: Michaelmina.net

Late summer/early fall is arguably the best time for weekend road trips in the D.C. area. The weather is cooling off, the leaves are changing and there are plenty of restaurant options within a two hour radius. So Eater decided it was time to create an updated version of last year's guide to stellar dining destinations just outside of the D.C. area. These restaurants are all worth pairing with a leisurely drive.
—Jamie Liu and Missy Frederick


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Ashby Inn & Restaurant (1 Hour)

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692 Federal Street
Paris, VA 20130
(540) 592-3900
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Located near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ashby Inn gives you a chance to enjoy a special meal with a view of the mountains from the patio. Former chef Tarver King was known for blending modern techniques (read: molecular gastronomy) with local foods. Now, diners will see what new chef David Dunlap has in store for the restaurant — he starts in the gig this month. One thing that will remain the same: a stellar wine list featuring Virginia wineries.

2. Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue (2 Hours)

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1119 N Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23230
(804) 355-6055
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Buz Grossberg traveled around learning how to cook barbecue in some of the country's best known barbecue cities — Lexington, NC; Memphis, TN; and Houston and Dallas, TX. Eventually he settled in Richmond, serving up barbecue. Many prefer the smoky baby back ribs over the pulled pork. Be sure to get the sweet potato fries dusted with cinnamon sugar. The restaurant now has two locations.

3. Inn at Little Washington (1 Hour, 30 Min)

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Middle Street
Washington, VA 22747
(540) 675-3800
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Self-taught chef Patrick O'Connell started The Inn at Little Washington over 30 years ago, and became one of the local pioneers of the farm-to-table. This is the place for a blowout meal that can include signature dishes like black truffle pizza with fontina cheese and Virginia country ham. And if you are exhausted after one of the extensive tasting menus, you can opt to reserve a room at the Inn for an overnight stay and enjoy O'Connell's famous granola.

4. Jimmy Cantler's Riverside Inn (55 Minutes)

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458 Forest Beach Road
Annapolis, MD 21409
(410) 757-1311
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While DC has a few crab shacks where you can enjoy the bounty of the Chesapeake, none of them replicate the crab house experience you get along the Bay. The most popular of them is Cantler's in Annapolis, adjoining the water. Enjoy large crabs dusted with J.O. Spice - a more coarse-textured take on the Old Bay spice blend. And if your fingers get tired, enjoy pizza and barbecued ribs.

5. Lexington Market (1 Hour)

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400 West Lexington Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 685-6169
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It's a little run down, but the sum of eateries and market stands at Lexington Market make it worth the journey. Your first stop should be Faidley's for some of Baltimore's best crab cakes and lake trout sandwiches. If you're still hungry, try one of the fried chicken stands or a pile of Western fries. But make sure to save room for dessert at Debaufre Bakery, for fresh Berger cookies — soft vanilla cookies with an equal volume of fudge icing.

6. Peter Chang's China Cafe (1 Hour)

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1771 Carl D Silver Parkway, Fredericksburg, VA
Fredericksburg, VA
(540) 786-8988
Visit Website
Szechuan aficionados have long tracked the career of chef Peter Chang. His cooking and devotees ended up landing him a profile by Calvin Trillin in The New Yorker. Theformer Chinese Embassy chef had a loyal following during his stints in various northern Virginia kitchens. The chef now has restaurants in such places as Richmond, Williamsburg and Charlottsville, as well as this Fredericksburg location, the closest to D.C. Szechuan lovers can try favorites like scallion bubble pancakes, wontons, cumin beef, and pork ribs.

7. Volt (1 Hour)

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228 North Market Street
Frederick, MD 21701
(301) 696-8658
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Volt's biggest claim to fame is for Chef Bryan Voltaggio's stint on Top Chef. The avante garde restaurant has been charming Frederick diners for years, whether by its ambitious, exquisite tasting menus or its more relaxed brunch offerings.

8. Woodberry Kitchen (1 Hour)

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2010 Clipper Park Road
Baltimore, MD 21211
(410) 464-8000
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Dedication to local foods is just one aspect of Chef Spike Gjerde's Woodberry Kitchen that makes it so appealing. He's so intent on keeping it local that you will find the walls are lined with numerous jars of his latest pickles and preserves to help stretch summer's flavors year round. But be sure to start with a selection of Chesapeake oysters and a few of the small snacks.

9. Rappahannock Restaurant (1 Hour, 45 Minutes)

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320 East Grace Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 986-2854
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D.C. audiences have already gotten a taste of what the Rappahanock River Oysters team can do at their raw bar within Union Market. For more of an elaborate experience, drive to Richmond and visit Rappahanock, a farm-to-table restaurant with craft cocktails and plenty of oysters.

10. The BBQ Joint (1 Hour, 20 Minutes)

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216 East Dover Street
Easton, MD 21601
(410) 690-3641
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The talented Andres Evans gets the opportunity to showcase serious barbecue in a casual setting at The BBQ Joint. The restaurant prides itself on the quality of its meat, which is antibiotic-free.

11. The Wine Kitchen (45 Minutes)

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7 South King Street
Leesburg, VA 20175
(703) 777-9463
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Naturally, wine is a focus at this cozy bar in downtown Leesburg. But the restaurant also serves up sophisticated fare such as soft shell crabs and charcuterie to go with the sips. The restaurant has added locations in Frederick and Purcellville as well (the latter is called WK Hearth).

12. The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm (1 Hour, 15 Minutes)

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42461 Lovettsville Road
Lovettsville, VA 20180
(540) 822-9017
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The Restaurant at Pawtomack Farm has always been known for its seasonal bent and picturesque setting. They now have another coup — the addition of Ashby Inn chef Tarver King to their roster this month.

13. Family Meal (1 Hour)

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880 North East Street
Frederick, MD 21701
(301) 378-2895
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Bryan Voltaggio fans can enjoy his food in a more casual setting at Family Meal, the converted-car-dealership-turned diner. Family Meal is great for kids, and offers festive diner fare, including killer onion rings, one of the area's most praised fried chicken dishes and pimento cheese.

14. Pabu (1 Hour)

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725 Aliceanna Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 576-5800
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One of two acclaimed restaurants within Baltimore's Four Seasons hotel (Michael Mina's Wit & Wisdom is also excellent), Pabu shines at Japanese food, including some of the region's best sushi. Robata grilled items and traditional dishes like savory egg custard round out the menu.

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1. The Ashby Inn & Restaurant (1 Hour)

692 Federal Street, Paris, VA 20130
Located near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ashby Inn gives you a chance to enjoy a special meal with a view of the mountains from the patio. Former chef Tarver King was known for blending modern techniques (read: molecular gastronomy) with local foods. Now, diners will see what new chef David Dunlap has in store for the restaurant — he starts in the gig this month. One thing that will remain the same: a stellar wine list featuring Virginia wineries.
692 Federal Street
Paris, VA 20130

2. Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue (2 Hours)

1119 N Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23230
Buz Grossberg traveled around learning how to cook barbecue in some of the country's best known barbecue cities — Lexington, NC; Memphis, TN; and Houston and Dallas, TX. Eventually he settled in Richmond, serving up barbecue. Many prefer the smoky baby back ribs over the pulled pork. Be sure to get the sweet potato fries dusted with cinnamon sugar. The restaurant now has two locations.
1119 N Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23230

3. Inn at Little Washington (1 Hour, 30 Min)

Middle Street, Washington, VA 22747
Self-taught chef Patrick O'Connell started The Inn at Little Washington over 30 years ago, and became one of the local pioneers of the farm-to-table. This is the place for a blowout meal that can include signature dishes like black truffle pizza with fontina cheese and Virginia country ham. And if you are exhausted after one of the extensive tasting menus, you can opt to reserve a room at the Inn for an overnight stay and enjoy O'Connell's famous granola.
Middle Street
Washington, VA 22747

4. Jimmy Cantler's Riverside Inn (55 Minutes)

458 Forest Beach Road, Annapolis, MD 21409
While DC has a few crab shacks where you can enjoy the bounty of the Chesapeake, none of them replicate the crab house experience you get along the Bay. The most popular of them is Cantler's in Annapolis, adjoining the water. Enjoy large crabs dusted with J.O. Spice - a more coarse-textured take on the Old Bay spice blend. And if your fingers get tired, enjoy pizza and barbecued ribs.
458 Forest Beach Road
Annapolis, MD 21409

5. Lexington Market (1 Hour)

400 West Lexington Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
It's a little run down, but the sum of eateries and market stands at Lexington Market make it worth the journey. Your first stop should be Faidley's for some of Baltimore's best crab cakes and lake trout sandwiches. If you're still hungry, try one of the fried chicken stands or a pile of Western fries. But make sure to save room for dessert at Debaufre Bakery, for fresh Berger cookies — soft vanilla cookies with an equal volume of fudge icing.
400 West Lexington Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

6. Peter Chang's China Cafe (1 Hour)

1771 Carl D Silver Parkway, Fredericksburg, VA, Fredericksburg, VA
Szechuan aficionados have long tracked the career of chef Peter Chang. His cooking and devotees ended up landing him a profile by Calvin Trillin in The New Yorker. Theformer Chinese Embassy chef had a loyal following during his stints in various northern Virginia kitchens. The chef now has restaurants in such places as Richmond, Williamsburg and Charlottsville, as well as this Fredericksburg location, the closest to D.C. Szechuan lovers can try favorites like scallion bubble pancakes, wontons, cumin beef, and pork ribs.
1771 Carl D Silver Parkway, Fredericksburg, VA
Fredericksburg, VA

7. Volt (1 Hour)

228 North Market Street, Frederick, MD 21701
Volt's biggest claim to fame is for Chef Bryan Voltaggio's stint on Top Chef. The avante garde restaurant has been charming Frederick diners for years, whether by its ambitious, exquisite tasting menus or its more relaxed brunch offerings.
228 North Market Street
Frederick, MD 21701

8. Woodberry Kitchen (1 Hour)

2010 Clipper Park Road, Baltimore, MD 21211
Dedication to local foods is just one aspect of Chef Spike Gjerde's Woodberry Kitchen that makes it so appealing. He's so intent on keeping it local that you will find the walls are lined with numerous jars of his latest pickles and preserves to help stretch summer's flavors year round. But be sure to start with a selection of Chesapeake oysters and a few of the small snacks.
2010 Clipper Park Road
Baltimore, MD 21211

9. Rappahannock Restaurant (1 Hour, 45 Minutes)

320 East Grace Street, Richmond, VA 23219
D.C. audiences have already gotten a taste of what the Rappahanock River Oysters team can do at their raw bar within Union Market. For more of an elaborate experience, drive to Richmond and visit Rappahanock, a farm-to-table restaurant with craft cocktails and plenty of oysters.
320 East Grace Street
Richmond, VA 23219

10. The BBQ Joint (1 Hour, 20 Minutes)

216 East Dover Street, Easton, MD 21601
The talented Andres Evans gets the opportunity to showcase serious barbecue in a casual setting at The BBQ Joint. The restaurant prides itself on the quality of its meat, which is antibiotic-free.
216 East Dover Street
Easton, MD 21601

11. The Wine Kitchen (45 Minutes)

7 South King Street, Leesburg, VA 20175
Naturally, wine is a focus at this cozy bar in downtown Leesburg. But the restaurant also serves up sophisticated fare such as soft shell crabs and charcuterie to go with the sips. The restaurant has added locations in Frederick and Purcellville as well (the latter is called WK Hearth).
7 South King Street
Leesburg, VA 20175

12. The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm (1 Hour, 15 Minutes)

42461 Lovettsville Road, Lovettsville, VA 20180
The Restaurant at Pawtomack Farm has always been known for its seasonal bent and picturesque setting. They now have another coup — the addition of Ashby Inn chef Tarver King to their roster this month.
42461 Lovettsville Road
Lovettsville, VA 20180

13. Family Meal (1 Hour)

880 North East Street, Frederick, MD 21701
Bryan Voltaggio fans can enjoy his food in a more casual setting at Family Meal, the converted-car-dealership-turned diner. Family Meal is great for kids, and offers festive diner fare, including killer onion rings, one of the area's most praised fried chicken dishes and pimento cheese.
880 North East Street
Frederick, MD 21701

14. Pabu (1 Hour)

725 Aliceanna Street, Baltimore, MD 21202
One of two acclaimed restaurants within Baltimore's Four Seasons hotel (Michael Mina's Wit & Wisdom is also excellent), Pabu shines at Japanese food, including some of the region's best sushi. Robata grilled items and traditional dishes like savory egg custard round out the menu.
725 Aliceanna Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

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