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!