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The 38 Essential Washington Restaurants, January 2012

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It's time to update the Eater 38, your answer and ours to any question that begins, “Can you recommend a restaurant?” This highly elite group covers the entire city, spans myriad cuisines, and collectively satisfies all of your restaurant needs, save for those occasions when you absolutely must spend half a paycheck. Every couple of months, we'll be adding pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (restaurants must be open at least six months), or have stepped up their game.

This time around we're making a few changes — and, in two cases, our hand has been forced. We're going to give Evening Star Café's recent revamp a little more time to settle before reconsidering it for the list and, meanwhile, Bar Pilar is still closed for its renovations. Fortunately, newly eligible Graffiato and Fiola are taking their places.

And the 38 bids farewell to Belga Cafe and The Passenger in order to show Bethesda a little more love with the addition of Newton's Table. And Et Voila just keeps getting better, meriting it a spot. All of these changes are reflected in totally random order here.

And, just in case, rather than a stage-4 meltdown over our having excluded your favorite restaurant from the list, wouldn't it be more productive to just nominate it for inclusion?

For more Eater 38 guides updated today across the Eater Universe, head over to Eater National.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Palena

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3529 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

2. Estadio

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1540 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
202-319-1404

3. Birch & Barley

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1337 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
202-567-2576

4. Kushi Izakaya & Sushi

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465 K St NW
Washington, DC 20001
202-682-3123

5. Ray's The Steaks

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2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington
VA 22201, United States
703-841-7297

6. Ben's Chili Bowl

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1213 U St NW
Washington, DC 20009
202-667-0909

7. Zaytinya

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701 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

8. Rasika

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633 D St NW
Washington, DC 20004

9. Montmartre

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327 7th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

10. Graffiato

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11. Fiola

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12. Et Voila!

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13. Newton's Table

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14. Equinox Restaurant

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818 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006

15. Central Michel Richard

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1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004

16. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004

17. Sushiko

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2309 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007

18. Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca

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1100 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005

19. Cava

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9713 Traville Gateway Dr
Rockville, MD 20850

20. Hank's Oyster Bar

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1624 Q St NW
Washington, DC 20009

21. Room 11

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3234 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20010

22. Cashion's Eat Place

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1819 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009

23. Ethiopic Restaurant

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401 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

24. Tabard Inn

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1739 N St NW
Washington, DC 20036

25. Proof

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775 G St NW
Washington, DC 20001
202-737-7663

26. Hill Country

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410 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
202-556-2050

27. Toki Underground

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1234 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
202-469-1177

28. Brasserie Beck

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1101 K St NW
Washington, DC 20005

29. EatBar

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2761 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

30. Ardeo + Bardeo

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3311 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

31. Pho 75

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1721 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209

32. BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant

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4883 MacArthur Blvd NW
Washington, DC 20007
202-342-9101

33. Ripple

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3417 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
202-244-7995

34. Vermilion Restaurant

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1120 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314

35. The Majestic

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911 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314

36. Atlas Room

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1015 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

37. Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant

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1114 U St NW
Washington, DC 20001

38. Two Amys

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3715 Macomb St NW
Washington, DC 20016
202-885-5700

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1. Palena

3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
3529 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

2. Estadio

1540 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
1540 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

3. Birch & Barley

1337 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
1337 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

4. Kushi Izakaya & Sushi

465 K St NW, Washington, DC 20001
465 K St NW
Washington, DC 20001

5. Ray's The Steaks

2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201, United States
2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington
VA 22201, United States

6. Ben's Chili Bowl

1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009
1213 U St NW
Washington, DC 20009

7. Zaytinya

701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
701 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

8. Rasika

633 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004
633 D St NW
Washington, DC 20004

9. Montmartre

327 7th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
327 7th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

10. Graffiato

11. Fiola