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Jul 9, 2008 11:23 AM

A DC Native's Top Personal Picks

Best Seafood:
Crisfield's (Silver Spring, MD)

Best Pizza:
Ledo's (Adelphi , MD)

Best Economical Italian:
Vicino's (Silver Spring, MD)

Best Chinese:
Foong Lin (Bethesda, MD)

Best Frozen Custard:
Dickey's Frozen Custard (Washington, DC on Connecticut. Ave and I St. NW)

Best Spanish and Portuguese Cuisine:
Tavira (Chevy Chase, MD)

Best Kosher Deli
Loeb's (Washington, DC on 15th and H St. NW)

Best Organic Cusine
Nora's (Washington, DC)

Best Authentic French Cuisine
La Bergerie (Alexandria, VA)

Pretty Good Hickory Smoked Pit BBQ:
Dixie Bones (Woodbridge, VA)

Best Brunch/Best Grits
Omni Shoreham Hotel (Washington, DC - $16.95)

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  1. The only Ledo Pizza I tried was the one in Leesburg and it was horrible! Crust the consistency of pie crust (I'm talking like an apple pie crust) and sickeningly sweet sauce. That said, I've heard they're not all the same. each his own.

    Haven't been to Loeb's but must admit from reading what others have written, it gets mixed reviews. For Kosher Deli, I go to Chutzpah. Obviously, you can get far better in NYC, though.

    I've been wanting to get to Dixie Bones for years. One of these days...

    22 Replies
    1. re: MizYellowRose

      Ledo-style pizza is actually a big thing in the DC area. It's not just Ledo, but a lot of the pubs in suburban MD serve the same kind of thing. Obviously the original Ledo in Adelphi does it best, but the Stained Glass pub in on Layhill and Corner Pub in 4 Corners serve a similar-style pizza.

      My wife is from outside the area and can't stand it, but I personally like it a lot. A lot of out-of-towners don't seem to like it.

      It's something that is unique to this area: square pizza, sweet sauce, provolone cheese, flaky and buttery crust. MD-style pizza should get more recognition.

      1. re: kinglearz

        Italian Inn in Landover Hills also does Ledo's style pizza. Not as good as the original Ledo's in Langly Park but LEAGUES better than the Ledo's chain stores. Those are just nasty.

        Marios in Alexandria does a similar style pie as well.

        1. re: monkeyrotica

          I'm surprised that Italian Inn never gets mentioned here.

          1. re: Mister Big

            I think Italian Inn and other red-check-tablecloth Italian-American places have really fallen out of favor, which is a shame because these places and this food needs to be rediscovered. Just not "sophisticated" enough for an audience that expects Bebo and 2Amys instead of lasagna and chicken cacciatore and rectangular pizza served on cafeteria trays. For all their faults, AV and Gusti's and Luigi's serve(d) decent, unassuming food at reasonable prices, which should never go out of style.

            Italian Inn
            6221 Annapolis Rd, Hyattsville, MD 20784

            1. re: monkeyrotica

              I agree with you in principal, but not in practice. For example, when I've gone to other communities which have a substantial Italian-American population, the Italian-American working class places are SO MUCH better than AV's or Gusti's or Luigi's or Anna Maria's ever were. Even just saying the names of those old places gives me the creeps.

              Places like Pio's in Erie, PA or Pepperoncini near Philly or any number of places in Jersey that bake their own pepperoni rolls and make their own Italian Wedding Soup are the real thing, not places like Ruffino's in Arlington, which is foul stuff indeed.

              The places in DC were lousy when I moved here in 1976 and they still don't hold up.

              1. re: Steve

                Well, the key element is that DC doesn't HAVE any Italian-American working class anymore, hence the dearth of decent options. Instead we have working class Ethiopian, Eritrean, Salvadorean, Korean, and in those cuisines, DC has some excellent options. But you still have a handful of decent affordable Italian-American options; the aformentioned Italian Inn, Mike's Italian on Route 1 (which has been there since the 1930s), Hector's Place near Del Ray, Pema's.

                Still, I've never found too many Italians eating at any of those places.

                1. re: Steve

                  Great reply, Steve! You said it so well! We're native Bostonians and always took the great Italian food we had up there for granted...that is until we moved here. The DC Metro area isn't known for having good Italian food...that's for sure! We've found a place in VA that comes very close to what you get further north but still something is missing...

                  1. re: MizYellowRose

                    i think what we DO have is upscale Obelisk, Tosca, even I Ricchi which i recently went to and despite less than stellar past dinners, this one was good. They aren't red sauce, checkered tablecloth places but they aren't meant to be either. I think the "Pines" chains try to fill that bill but haven't been to one in years. Anna Maria's in dupont is a pretty good rendition of down home red sauce italian and the prices are decent, especially since you get soup or salad w the entree.

                    1. re: DCDOLL

                      I have tried Anna Maria's---good, but not great. If I want truly great red sauce Italian food, I'll find it in South Philly or the North End of Boston. I can even find better Italian food in Baltimore---not to mention NYC. In other words, one has to go further north to find it.

                      1. re: MizYellowRose

                        Please don't even try to tell me that Little Italy or Glen Burnie have good Italian.

                        1. re: Joe H

                          You mean Little Italy in Baltimore? It's better than anything you get in the DC area but I'll take South Philly and the North End over it. As for Glen Burnie---don't know--never eaten there...

                          1. re: MizYellowRose

                            Respectfully, but I strongly disagree having made biannual visits to Little Italy since Maria's 300 was there in the early '70's. Overtime I've eaten in every restaurant there. I liked the Saloon in Philly and Vetri; I also sorely miss our Lab and Maestro which were both among America's best.

          2. re: kinglearz

            There used to be (or still is?) a place in Rockville called Gentleman Jim's that had that kind of pizza. Off 28 east of 355.

            1. re: Steve

              Gentleman Jim's was located in the Twinbrook shopping center that has the post office and Dairy Queen now. It was a hole in the wall rrestaurant that was known for their pizza however it wasn't based on Ledo' was based on an old-time DC Italian restaurant called Cavalier....not sure where the original was exactly located however when they opened the one on Veirs Mill Road(not 28) the restaurant was called parents and I used to go there for their pizzas and red-sauced Italian cuisine....this was back in the late 60s/early fact I can still picture and taste their eggplant parmaigana and their spaghetti with meatballs in my was one of our favorite places to go to along with Capri and Pop's Pizza in Wheaton.....hope that helps..

              1. re: lvanleer

                Pop's in Wheaton...thanks for reminding me.

            2. re: kinglearz

              The Pizza Oven in Riverdale (maybe the original Pizza Oven, before all of the franchises) has square, thin crust pizza. It's not really like Ledo pizza, but I like it.

              I still miss my hometown hangout The Irish Pizza Pub - for the pizza, the live music and the leprechauns.

              1. re: 4X4

                I've heard of the fabled Irish Pizza Pub. They were decades ahead in the fusion cuisine race.

                1. re: monkeyrotica

                  I used to go to the Irish Pizza pub once a week. I always had an Irish coffee and pizza. It was great, but I was a little afraid of the leprechaun.

                  1. re: Suemelk

                    A LITTLE afraid of the leprechaun? You're braver than me.

                    I heard Irish Pizza Pub burned down a few years ago and was replaced by some other kind of pub. I wonder if they still do pizza?

                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                      Not only did it burn down (I believe in 2003), but it was burned down by its owners who tried to get insurance money for it.

                      It's a sports bar now. I haven't been there, and I doubt there are any leprechauns in that place.

            3. re: MizYellowRose

              Ledo pizza is just a square pizza? Is there anything else that makes it unique? I have been in the area for two years and never heard of it before.

              1. re: sekelmaan

                Quick note is that for Ledo's you need to go to Adelphi. They "franchised" in the 70's I believe and didn't have strict instructions. Any other location will vary, much like what's happening now to 5 Guys.

            4. Now you've done it! We can argue with each one of them, but let me start with just a few obvious ones.

              Best Barbecue is Willard's in Chantilly.

              Best Spanish and Portuguese is Taberna del Alabardero.

              Best Brunch and Grits is Georgia Brown's

              Best Pizza is 2Amys

              Everyone else is welcome to pile on.....

              1. A few comments based on personal experience:

                "Best Chinese:
                Foong Lin (Bethesda, MD)" Best Chinese is not even a category anymore. Try Best Sichuan or Best Cantonese or even Best Chinese-American. We are an esoteric site on the internet; we can be specific.

                "Best Frozen Custard:
                Dickey's Frozen Custard (Washington, DC on Connecticut. Ave and I St. NW)"
                Methinks you live a sheltered life. Go live it up a little and try the specials at Dairy Godmother in Del Ray or, recently, the specials at Frozen Dairy Bar in Falls Church.

                "Best Kosher Deli
                Loeb's (Washington, DC on 15th and H St. NW)"
                Oy vey, I feel like a scene from The Dybbuk coming on. Please don't Kosherize Loeb's. For the love of God, get to City Deli for a combo pastrami/corned beef on rye. Before it's too late. We need a Tenth Man!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Steve

                  Technically, Deli City is "kosher style", not kosher. But their reuben beats anything I've had, kosher OR non-kosher. I'd give them the "Best Reuben in DC" easily.

                  I don't think DC has a "best kosher deli." Sure as hell ain't Krupins.

                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                    I'm a New Yorker (as the name implies) living in Baltimore. While the city doesn't have that much going for it, Attmans Deli is the equal of many of NY's best. Be warned however, mediocre neighborhood and a pretty run-down dining room. Most folks take-out.

                2. Well if everyone is going to argue then I am too!

                  Pizza- Yuck! I know Ledo's is a MD institution, but it isn't very good. I second Two Amy's as the best Pizza in the DC area on a good night, oh my it is just so good.

                  Best Brunch definitely goes to Bistro Bis, best brunch with grits is a whole separate category for me and would go to GB so far, but there are many yet to be tried and that one could definitely change.

                  Best Spanish has to go to Taberna. Portugese who knows. But coming back from Spain and going to Taberna... yeah, it's authentic.

                  I don't know if we are counting ice cream/gelatto or just "frozen custard" but I like Dicky's don't get me wrong, but Dolcezza wins for the frozen goodness category for me. And I am bee lining it to Dairy Godmother now.

                  And some others I am just not touching right now or don't know enough about where you recommended to make a good decision, like seafood, which I haven't been to where you recommend, but can't imagine it would top Balt/Annap/Eastern Shore places, for that type of seafood, or Hook or Blacksalt for more modern seafood.

                  Dixie Bones has good ribs. But you really can't have BBQ as a general category pulled pork, ribs and regional preferences just make that an apples oranges type of category. Haven't been to Willards yet, I like the pulled pork at Urban the best so far, but it is just too much to compare.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    And for me the best french in the area is Marcel's it does have some Belgium influence, but I still consider it very authentic to good French food.

                    1. re: ktmoomau

                      ktmoomau, my apologies. I misread your post. CH please delete this post of mine. Thanks.

                  2. I'm a native, and I love Ledo's, too. Newbies just don't get it, but instead prefer to complain that they can't find authentic NY or Chicago pizza.

                    When old friends return, they always want to visit Ledo's.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Mister Big

                      Being from Adelphi I grew up on Ledo's pizza and didn't realize the uniqueness of it until I was an adult. People from other places would say, "thats not real pizza "and I would argue with them. Now having eaten many pizzas all over the world, including Italy, I realize they are right. But I still love Ledo's pizza the best.

                      1. re: Suemelk

                        I stopped having "that's not real____" arguments years ago. If it's good, it's good, regardless of authenticity.

                        I just wish the chain Ledo's was more like the original in Langley, instead of terrible.