Um that's kind of a loaded question. I'm sure you'll get a million different answers depending on your definition of "best".
Agree it's kind of an impossible question and that most haven't tried all the top restaurants and that it's subjective. There are a bunch of "Top" lists already on the board. I'd have to put into categories to get to my own subjective "best" so, in the spirit of being at least a bit willing to play along (without doing one of those loong lists):
"best" japanese: Makoto
"best" really special occasion: Inn at Little Washington
"best" higher end food/value priced: Palena Cafe
"best" of Old Town: Restaurant Eve
"best" fish and chips in the region: Eammon's (two for Cathal Armstrong)
That's all for me!
Chez Francois has a wonderful atmosphere, so if that is what you are looking for I would try it. However, the food is only mediocre. These restaurants have excellent food:
Restaurant Eve is definitely the best in Old Town, and is actually my favorite restaurant in the DC metropolitan area.
The best french IMO is Marcel's.
Other "best" restaurants I would look into are Palena, Komi, Citronelle.
For very good restaurants at a slightly lower price range, I recommend Central, Blue Duck Tavern, Brassiere Beck, and PS7s.
I'm sure I'm forgetting quite a few but other Hounds should be able to include them.
Komi-Johnny Monis nominated for national Beard Rising Star chef of the year award in '08.
Citronelle-Richard won the national Beard chef of the year in '07.
CityZen-Beard Mid Atlantic restaurant of the year in '08.
Central-Beard national new restaurant of the year in '08.
MiniBar-most difficult reservation in the United States.
To me, yes. Even though both use Manger's halfsmokes from Bmore, I prefer Weenie Beenie's version. They actually split their down the middle, giving it a nice grilled char. Although there's much to be said for Ben's (love the snap/burn of the hot grease after a long grill session), I find myself craving Weenie Beenie's halfsmoke and fried egg sandwich, their burgers, their breakfast sandwiches (particularly the scrapple). There's also one off Kenilworth Avenue that I have yet to try because it's always closed on the weekend.
Out of towner here and I have not been to half the restaurants on the list. But Palena! 3 visits to cafe
Roast Chicken- OMG. I dream of the brown skin and the crackly flavors. So moist. Sounds like I am writing porn!!!
Salads - I have picked greens from a garden that were not as fresh. Where do they get such ripe tomatoes?
Charcutreie - Best pates I have ever had
Pasta - I would have to write more porn to do it justice. Creamy mushroomy thing one time, gnocchi another. OMG.
I will try Komi soon!