Washingtonian’s 100 Best Restaurants 2012: Winners and Losers

26 Dec

The Washingtonian is out with its annual review of top 100 restaurants in Washington, arguably one of, if not the, most important dining reviews in the area.  The list is in the January print edition and will be online soon.  This year, the format of the review continues to change.  In the past the Washingtonian ranked restaurants 1-100; however, over the past few years, the magazine has listed fewer restaurants numerically and instead grouped the majority of restaurants in one alphabetical list.

This year’s list only ranks the top ten restaurants numerically.  The magazine then lists ten restaurants that are “on the rise,” ten that are new and exciting, ten that are “tried and true” establishments, and then the remaining restaurants alphabetically (in the “More Great Dining” category).  This format clearly hurts the restaurants that do not make it into any of the top categories and instead fall into the last category of the remaining restaurants in alphabetical order (some of which were in the top ten last year).  This new format may in fact disadvantage some of the best restaurants in D.C. as it implies that they are not as good as they used to be, even though they may simply have been victims of the new format.

Here’s our quick take on some of the winners and losers in this year’s list (we encourage you to read the entire list in either the magazine or online, it’s well worth the read):


Ashok Bajaj Named restauranteur of the year by Washingtonian, his restaurants did very well on this year’s list with Rasika placing in the top ten, Bibiana and Ardeo & Bardeo landing in the “on the rise” list, and Oval Room and 701 also appearing on the list.

Johnny Monis Chef Monis’s Komi again is named the top restaurant in D.C. and his Little Serow receives three stars and is on the new list of exciting restaurants.

The H Street Corridor Two different H Street restaurants make the list this year: Ethiopic makes the “on the rise” list and The Atlas Room makes the list of new and exciting restaurants.

Rockville Pike Two of the new additions this year are on Rockville Pike, better known for its endless strip malls than its cuisine.  Sichuan Pavilion (technically on Hungerford Drive) makes it on the new and exciting list and La Limena also makes the list.

Graffiato One of the most talked about new restaurants of the year makes it on the list and makes the list of new and exciting restaurants at the beginning of the list.


Restaurant Eve Last year Restaurant Eve was listed as the 12th best restaurant in D.C.  This year because of the new format, it lands unranked in the list of remaining restaurants on the list even though it has three stars.

Wolfgang Puck Last year, Chef Puck’s The Source was ranked the 3rd best restaurant in D.C.  This year, The Source is unranked and in the list of remaining restaurants on the list.  The Source also only receives two and a half stars this year.

Michel Richard Yes, Chef Richard’s Citronelle again makes the top ten list.  But Central (the 10th best on last year’s list) and Michel are both unranked and on the list of remaining restaurants in alphabetical order at the back of the list.

Todd Gray Chef Gray was named “Chef of the Year” by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington this year, but his Equinox only makes the list as part of the unranked alphabetical list in the back and his new Watershed in NoMa does not make the list at all.

Rogue 24 Again one of the most hyped new restaurants this year (and yes it made the list). However, unlike Graffiato, it does not make the new list at the beginning and instead is relegated to the unranked remaining restaurants at the back of the list.

Good and Bad

Jose Andres This year’s list is mixed news for Chef Andres.  His Minibar remains in the top ten and his Jaleo and Zaytinya are on the “tried and true” list.  However, his new America Eats Tavern did not make the list at all (this may be because it is only a temporary popup restaurant but we believe that this omission is a big mistake).

Jeff Black It was also a mixed year for Chef Black on the list.  His Pearl Dive Oyster Palace makes the new and exciting list and BlackSalt and Black Market Bistro make the list, but Addie’s and Black’s Bar and Kitchen fell out of the top 100.


One Response to “Washingtonian’s 100 Best Restaurants 2012: Winners and Losers”

  1. gastrononimous February 15, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    Interesting breakdown of the results. I’ve just started on a quest to eat at the full list by the end of 2012 and am blogging my efforts at eatingthetop100.com.

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