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The 38 Essential Washington Restaurants, October 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, the 38 bids farewell to Zaytinya, Sushiko, Montmartre and Tabard Inn not because they're not great, but simply because time moves on. And with chef Tony Chittum's impending move, it's time to remove Vermilion for now. So that's the bad news. The good news is that Pizzeria Paradiso, Blue Duck Tavern and Fishnet make their debuts on the list, while the post-renovation judgement period has ended for Jaleo and Bar Pilar. Meanwhile, we've swapped out Cava Rockville for Cava Capitol Hill. 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?

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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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1520 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

3. Rasika

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633 D St NW
Washington, DC 20004
202-637-1222

4. Birch & Barley

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1337 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

5. Kushi Izakaya & Sushi

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465 K St NW
Washington, DC 20001

6. Toki Underground

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1234 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

7. Ray's The Steaks

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

8. Proof

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775 G St NW
Washington, DC 20001

9. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

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1612 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

10. Hill Country

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410 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

11. Ben's Chili Bowl

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1213 U St NW
Washington, DC 20009

12. The Majestic

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911 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314

13. Hank's Oyster Bar

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1624 Q St NW
Washington, DC 20009

14. Room 11

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3234 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20010

15. Cashion's Eat Place

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1819 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009

16. Bibiana

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1100 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005

17. Brasserie Beck

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1101 K St NW
Washington, DC 20005

18. 2Amys

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3715 Macomb St NW
Washington, DC 20016

19. Dukem

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1114 U St NW
Washington, DC 20009

20. Vidalia

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1990 M St NW
Washington, DC 20036

21. Graffiato

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707 6th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

22. Fiola

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601 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004

23. Equinox

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818 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006

24. Central Michel Richard

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1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004

25. The Source

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575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

26. Cava Mezze Restaurant

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527 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

27. Bistrot Du Coin

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1738 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009

28. Pho 75

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1721 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209
703-525-7355

29. Ripple

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3417 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

30. District Commons

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2200 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037

31. Lyon Hall

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3100 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

32. Newton's Table

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4917 Elm St
Bethesda, MD 20814

33. BlackSalt

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4883 MacArthur Blvd NW
Washington, DC 20007

34. Jaleo

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480 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

35. Bar Pilar

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1833 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

36. Pizzeria Paradiso

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3282 M St NW
Washington, DC 20007

37. Blue Duck Tavern

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1201 24th St NW
Washington, DC 20037

38. Fishnet

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5010 Berwyn Rd
College Park, MD 20740

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1. Palena

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

2. Estadio

1520 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
1520 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

3. Rasika

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

4. Birch & Barley

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

5. Kushi Izakaya & Sushi

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

6. Toki Underground

1234 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002
1234 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

7. Ray's The Steaks

2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201
2300 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

8. Proof

775 G St NW, Washington, DC 20001
775 G St NW
Washington, DC 20001

9. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

1612 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
1612 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

10. Hill Country

410 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004
410 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

11. Ben's Chili Bowl

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