Much of the food is good but not excellent. For the very best, I recommend two places in particular:
The Yellow Chilli: (TripAdvisor) All the dishes seem to be quite good, but arguably the jollof rice and the seafood okra are standouts. Simply coming here for each meal probably beats doing a lot of search that will fail to find equal quality.
Sappor Cuisine: That’s if you are looking for street food and eating on the run. It’s set in Freedom Park (worth visiting in any case), just get the weird Nigerian dishes you’ve never heard of before, plus some fish. I’ve had four dishes there, and with not the slightest rumble in my stomach, in case you were wondering. You might not think that steamed yam powder can be transcendently good, but it is. At night there are worthwhile concerts in the park, so you can eat from here while you sit and listen. The best suya I had was on the beach.
Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.
Kiroran, web site, 10728 Fairfax Blvd., Fairfax, VA (next to the H-Mart, please note the sign does not say “Kiroran,” rather right now in December 2016 it is “QTea Café”) 703-865-5033 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google+ | Ylp]
Uighur/Uyghur food in Fairfax! Hurray! And it’s very good. In terms of selection, it doesn’t go beyond the offerings at Queen Ammanisa, but it is more consistent and has an overall friendlier vibe. Get the Qurqur soup dumplings and also ask for Lahmacun noodles spicy. For all dishes, add the spicy sauce on your table. This is essential. Repeat after me: Uighur food in Fairfax!
Esencias Panameñas, web site, 3322 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 202-688-7250 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google+ | WaPo | TripAdvisor | Ylp | Gayot]
Quite a charming place, and as far as I know the only Panamanian restaurant around. And it is Panamanian. Plantains, arroz con pollo, tamales, ceviche, plus some more boring “continental-style dishes.” Some entrees can run over $20, but overall if you are looking for Panamanian food this will indeed deliver that to you. The service is extremely friendly, so I would go back if I were in the area again. Located where the formerly great Rita’s once was.
Haifa Grill, web site, 3541 Carlin Springs Rd, Falls Church, VA, 703-820-4243 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [zabihah | Ylp]
A fun mom and pop, Palestinian rather than Israeli, with most of the usual Middle East specialties. My advice here is to load up on all the vegetarian entrees and split them. In fact, it may be the best place around for that strategy. The red pepper dish is especially good. Besides, you eat too much meat anyway.
To Sok Jip, web site, 7211 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA, 703-333-2861 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [WaPo | TripAdvisor | Ylp]
(Previously reviewed in 2009 and 2006.)
This is now clearly the best Korean place around. The broiled fish and the bibim bap are better than in any of the competitors. Everything here just tastes better, the vegetables too. Mostly soups, stews, and noodles, no barbecue or porridge. Quite small, very mom and pop. The lines start early, and they don’t take reservations, nonetheless I would say that half of your Annandale visits should involve eating at this place.
Chercher Ethiopian Restaurant and Mart, web site, 1334 9th St NW, Washington, DC, 202-299-9703 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Zagat | WaPo | Washingtonian | TripAdvisor | Ylp]
Could this be DC’s best Ethiopian place right now? Possibly so, even if my very first choices are now in the suburbs. This place has two standout features above all others, however. First, you can order an especially large vegetarian sampler here. Second, they serve the very best Doro Wat I have ever sampled. The kitfo is average for this area (which is quite good), and the tibs seemed a bit subpar. Go here for the Doro Wat, you won’t regret it, and add on the vegetables. Nice, homey atmosphere too.
Posted in African, DC, Ethiopian, Logan Circle, U Street / Shaw
Tagged Chercher Ethiopian Restaurant and Mart, Doro Wat, Ethiopian, kitfo, Logan Circle, Shaw, vegetarian sampler
All-Purpose Pizzeria, web site, 1250 Ninth Street NW, Washington, DC, 202-849-6174, lots of lines but going early will work. (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [WaPo | Washingtonian | TripAdvisor | City Paper | Ylp | Gayot]
Washington Post loved this place and perhaps it raised my expectations too high, plus I very much like The Red Hen, which is run by the same people. Here I enjoyed the variety of dishes I tried, but I didn’t love the pizza. I liked it. Eggplant parmigiana had an excellent quality eggplant, but it led me to conclude that eggplant parmigiana just isn’t that good a dish. The Sicilian tuna mousse I thought was outstanding, one of the best appetizers I’ve had in town in a while. Overall it is a very good neighborhood Italian restaurant, not to be confused with a top DC restaurant but having its uses nonetheless.
I’ll be interviewing Mark soon, at a private venue, no public event, but for eventual release in the Conversations with Tyler series. Here is a short bio of Mark. He is credited as being the founder of modern Southwestern cuisine, and he was the driving force behind Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe and Red Sage in Washington, D.C. He has written numerous books on food, including the very best books on chilies. He is a supertaster, and more generally one of the world’s great food minds and a truly curious and generous soul. He also has a background in anthropology, cooked for Chez Panisse in its early days, and is one of the best-traveled people I know. Do you want to know what is/was special about chiles in Syria, or how many varieties of soy sauce you can find in one part of Hokkaido? Mark is the guy to ask.
So what should I ask him?
Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and ask questions.
A few places to eat in Manhattan:
Hatsuhana, very expensive sushi but outrageously good, (web site) 17 E. 48th Street. (TripAdvisor | NY Mag | NYT)
Then try LoLo’s Seafood Shack up in Harlem (web site), 303 W. 116th Street, I liked the ribs and the smelts best. (TripAdvisor | NY Mag | NYT)
Also very good is Le Colonial, (web site) 149 E. 57th Street, Vietnamese more or less, best caramelized chicken I’ve had. (TripAdvisor | NY Mag | NYT)
Afghan Bistro, web site, 8081-D Alban Road, Springfield, VA, 703-337-4722 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google+ | TripAdvisor | Ylp]
The best Afghan food I’ve had, get the Aushak, kadu, and eggplant.