As 2017 draws to a close, we have been doing a lot of reflection on the past year, and most of the highlights seem to revolve around food! With the number of fantastic dining options in this city increasing daily, choosing where to spend your hard-earned dollars can be a tough choice.
So, as our year-end gift to you dear readers, consider the restaurants mentioned below (all recommended by our expert team of food writers) must visits for your foodie bucket list. Happy eating, friends!
"I've had plenty of memorable meals this year, but one that stands out above the rest is Kobo, the Japanese tasting menu experience at a special chef's counter inside Sushiko. Luxurious ingredients like wagyu and uni grace most dishes, and they become even more magical in the hands of brother co-chefs Piter and Handry Tjan. I'm dying to go back and try the vegan tasting menu — I've heard such great things. Other standouts this year include Arroz, ChiKo and Himitsu." -- Rina Rapuano
"My most memorable meal from 2017 was a weekend lunch feast at Northwest Chinese Food in College Park. The restaurant is minimal in its design and menu, but it packs a lot of flavor for anyone who likes the tang and bite of vinegar-based dishes and chewy, fresh-cut noodles. Don't be turned off by the cold skin noodle appetizer, with peanuts, black vinegar, and bites of sponge-like gluten that soak up all the goodness. A big bowl of mushroom and minced pork noodle soup, as well as sour soup dumplings and a plate of spicy shredded potatoes rounded out the mid-afternoon meal. I'm hooked on this unique take on Chinese cooking (you won't find any fried orange chicken here), and it's well worth the trip out. Best of all, it's very affordable and portions are perfect for sharing." -- Travis Mitchell
"I had so many great meals in 2017, but one that really stands out was a a fabulous dinner with a good friend last spring at Fish by Jose Andres. It was our first time at MGM National Harbor (we were doing a little relaxing staycation), and it was also one of the first sunny, warm spring days. We started with Jose's Gin & Tonic (of course) served with Spanish-style garnishes and some amazingly fresh appetizers: tuna tartare presented with accouterments typically found on a steak version (shallots, egg yolk, chives)and mixed tableside; sweet chilled shrimp with zesty grapefruit segments, mustard seeds and vinaigrette; and Kusshi oysters on the half shell with gin, tonic and citrus espuma. Then it all continued with grilled Maine lobster, chilled Stone Crab claws and more, perfectly matched with Sancerre and some of my all-time favorite crisp whites. This seafood-loving girl was in her dream element." --Kelly Magyarics
"My favorite meal of this year was at Komi, where we enjoyed a parade of fresh seafood from the Mediterranean, whimsical small plates, housemade pastas, a crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside goat shoulder and beautiful desserts. Every course was sheer perfection, as was the service, the ambiance and, of course, the company — my fiancé and I were celebrating our 7th anniversary." -- Lani Furbank
"The best meal I had in 2017 was the Maryland Blue Crab Spaghettini at DBGB Kitchen & Bar -- I have been craving it ever since I tried it! The flavors all just went so well together and it felt light, unlike normal spaghetti." --Tina Irizarry
"My wife and I don't get a chance go out on date nights very often, so I try to make them special events when we can slip them into our crowded calendar. We managed to pull off a spur-of-the-moment dinner at Himitsu, which was flawless from start to finish – amazing cocktails, warm service, and top notch fare. We are still talking about the gochujang glazed, sesame seed speckled karaage chicken that was intensely crunchy and yet so very juicy." -- Nevin Martell
"For me, a great meal is half about the food and half the company I'm dining with. Anytime I can get my whole family together under one roof for a meal, I'm truly a happy camper. For my birthday dinner this year, I was dying to try Fabio Trabocchi's Sfoglina, and it absolutely did not disappoint! We are a family of carb lovers so the pasta trio was right up our alley -- I still have dreams about that black truffle pappardelle. But don't skip out on the appetizers either, as the soft polenta cacio e pepe is worth every calorie and the spicy calamari is the best I've had in D.C. Plus, the ambiance is absolutely darling." --Laura Wainman
"In D.C., I have to hand it to Arroz. They handled our large group of 12 with ease, and the food was amazing. I still dream of the crispy patatas bravas -- the best version I’ve had! The pistachio donuts and bone marrow were delicious too, and the bomba rice is perfect to share. I especially loved that the dishes are familiar, but with an interesting twist!" -- Aparna Krishnamoorthy
Be sure to click through the gallery above for a sneak peek at a few of these mouth-wateringly good meals we were fortunate to enjoy!