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Best DC area restaurant

I'm going to Chicago in July. Lima, Peru in September. In each place, I think the locals have a definitive best restaurant. Alinea in Chicago. Astrid Y Gaston in Lima. I will of course judge for myself but is there a consensus best restaurant for DC, so that an out of towner with unlimited budget should definitely try?

The top 3 according to Washingtonian are Citronelle, CityZen and Komi. Is one clearly the best?

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  1. are you trying to stir up a $#% storm?

    kidding, but yet...

    1. I'm not sure you'd get 100% agreement about Alinea in Chicago, and I know you will not get 100% agreement about the "best" in DC. A city the size of DC, with a thriving restaurant scene (like San Francisco, NYC, Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, Toronto, etc.) has enough real winners that arguing about #1 is a pleasant diversion more than a search for a definitive answer. Each restaurant is quite different and different people prefer various aspects of each. I thought my experiences at Komi have been trancendent - but I've never tried Citronelle or CityZen. My SO went to CityZen shortly after a visit to Komi and said that Komi was "worlds" better...

      5 Replies
      1. re: dcandohio

        Certainly not 100% agreement but most foodie's will acknowledge that Alinea is the one place to try in Chicago. So is there one restaurant in DC that someone from out of town with unlimited budget should definitely try? To be fair, one should only compare each restaurant's tasting menus. I will form my personal opinion in the next two months.

        1. re: Ericandblueboy

          I think most would list the following restaurants in their "Best Of" list, but there's no way to put them in order:

          -- Komi
          --Restaurant Eve
          --Citronelle
          --CityZen
          --Palena

          1. re: jaydreb

            There can be no definitive list in order. Jaydreb certainly listed five of the very best. One could also make a 10 best but at some point it becomes personal preference.

            1. re: Dakota Guy

              Agreed, like I would say Marcel's is better than Palena, and maybe even Restaurant Eve, but I have only been to the bistro, it is all personal preference. I like M R's style of cooking at Citronelle and Central, but that is because my personal preference tends to lean more towards French food.

              Not that I don't like Palena it is really good too, I don't think you can ever really come up with 1 best.

            2. re: jaydreb

              I would add Le Paradou and 2941.

        2. Everyone has come up with some good choices. I like Citronelle and Palena, and Marcel's is also a good choice. I'd also add Corduroy to the list.

          3 Replies
            1. re: cleveland park

              I think Citronelle is what you are looking for. It is a DC institution and Michel Richard is world renowned. Dont get me wrong, the others are wonderful as well, but if we are picking just one, i dont know how you could pick against Citronelle.

              1. re: elegantelliot

                Agreed. Right now M.R.'s Citronelle is the DC institution. Inn at Little Washington is another institution, but saying its in the DC area is a stretch.

          1. All good points -- especially "are you trying to stir up a $#% storm?" !!!.

            But I agree with elegantelliott -- in terms of a standout culinary experience that not only is (at least) a cut above most others in DC, but rivals many in major US cities -- Citronelle is a top choice.

            While Michel Richard isn't in the kitchen daily, his impeccable standards, creativity and flair for fun are reflected in the meals that his talented executive staff and team prepare with precision. And, the sommelier, Mark, is unmatched in DC -- his selections round out the whole experience beautifully (especially on an unlimited budget).

            If you're not with a large enough party for the chef's table in Citronelle's beautiful and beautifully run kitchen, definitely ask for a table with a view of it.

            Let us know where you end up going and what you thought of the meal...

            2 Replies
            1. re: Night Owl

              I live in Tysons corner so I plan on doing the tasting menu at Citronelle, CityZen, Komi and Restaurant Eve in the next two months. Already made reservation for Citronelle and Cityzen. I'll have to call Komi and Eve (why aren't they on Open Table?).

              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                Komi is one of the you-have-to-call-one-month-to-the-day-in-advance places, like minibar.

              1. re: bylinemjf

                I was gonna go to the Minibar eventually but it'll be sooner rather than later after watching the WETA fine dining show. I'm very excited to try Washingtonian's top 5.