These Are Washingtonian Readers’ Favorite Restaurants in 2021

Winner Menu. Washingtonian readers named the Shaw vegetarian spot Oyster Oyster 2021’s best new restaurant. Photograph by Deborah Rubba.

For the 44th year, Washingtonian asked readers what they’ve loved most about our food scene. From new restaurants to cocktail spots, fine-dining destinations to pizza shops, here’s where you most loved to eat this year.

New Restaurant

1. Oyster Oyster, Shaw

Never been wowed by a dish centered around toasted barley? Then we’re guessing you haven’t tried Rob Rubba’s plant-based tasting menu.

2. Ruthie’s All Day, Arlington

This mod-Southern spot serves pimiento-cheese-slathered egg sandwiches by morning and meat-and-three plates at night.

3. Spanish Diner, Bethesda

José Andrés has transformed his former Jaleo space into a morning-to-night shrine to potatoes, eggs, and chorizo.


The open kitchen at Maydan. Photograph of Maydan by Scott Suchman

Best in DC

1. Maydan, 14th Street corridor

The multi-course tawle menu is the

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My favorite new carryout: Oak Park’s Pink Garlic

While it’s been wonderful to be back safely eating inside restaurants this year as indoor dining returns to “normal,” carryout is still a huge part of enjoying local flavors and neighborhood favorites. 

Once you’re sick of Thanksgiving leftovers, I have to suggest a meal from Oak Park’s Pink Garlic, a very new carryout-only restaurant at 11 Mile and Coolidge. There are more than 100 items on the menu to try, but I keep returning to the generous serving of creamy butter chicken over lightly seasoned basmati rice. 

There’s a reason that the phone is always ringing when I come in, and a pick up during weekday dinner time can take 40 minutes to an hour. Don’t wait until you’re hungry to call in your order. Because Pink Garlic makes everything fresh to order and because it’s a popular new place with quality food and friendly service, there is often a

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Our Favorite Stories from California Foodways

Listen to this and more in-depth storytelling by subscribing to The California Report Magazine podcast.

This week, we’re bringing you some of our favorite stories from the award-winning series California Foodways. Since 2014, Lisa Morehouse has reported about the unexpected ways food plays a role in our lives, and in the history of California.  

We’re headed to the Imperial Valley, on both sides of the US/Mexico border. If you ask people in the city of Mexicali, Mexico about their most notable regional cuisine, they won’t say street tacos or mole, They’ll say Chinese food.  Above the border, the population’s mostly Latino, but Chinese restaurants are super popular, too. And that’s where you’ll eat some dishes you won’t find anywhere else.

What do E-40,  Saweetie and Kenny Rogers have in common?  They’ve all parlayed their fame to sell food, in restaurants and chains.  Now, how many celebrity restaurateurs can actually cook?

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My Five Favorite Meals with Chef Jordan Trent Harris

Jordan Trent Harris is a Michelin Man.

As executive sous chef at Sushi Ginza Onodera in Tokyo and New York, working alongside legendary master sushi chef Masaki Saito, he was a key part of the team that earned two Michelin stars. He also got a star as the chef de cuisine for New York’s acclaimed Aldea, the venerable Portuguese restaurant that closed at the beginning of the pandemic.

Born in Kentucky, which is a long way physically and psychically from Tokyo where he learned the magic arts of sushi and Japanese cuisine, Jordan has come full circle from his Southern upbringing to wind up back in the South. He will be the executive chef at Mujō, an upscale traditional Japanese restaurant in Atlanta, which opens this fall. Mujō means “impermanence” in Japanese and is a core tenet in Buddhist thinking, that whereas life appears to be a continuous flow, in

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