In anticipation of holiday guests, I bequeath unto you version 6.0. Note, this is not in order of rating or preference.
Baji’s Top Eateries Around Town:
- Best Brunch in SS: Parkway Deli which has overthrown Eggspectation which earlier usurped the throne from Le Madeline which has met its demise. Excellent waffles, matzoh ball soup, and turkey and brie sammies. Don’t let the cranky old people dissuade you from standing in a sluggish line to get seated elbow-to-elbow with them. Visit the pickle bar for a variety of sours.
- Best 24-hour in SS: Tastee Diner. It’s actually terrible. But it is open all the time. Nowhere near as amazing as DC’s The Diner or Open City but it is around the corner from us and the milk shakes are amazing, especially when coupled with hot, crispy fries. Plus, they don’t mind you using their free wi-fi and a/c or heat when the power goes out which, as we found, is about once a season. Also very kid-friendly.
- Best Burger in SS: BurgerFi. You’d think I’d say Urban Butcher but I actually prefer their ahi tuna and ginger ceviche than I did their unhinge-your-jaw, hope-you-like-it-raw burger. Best burger in DC: Le Diplomate. Perhaps all the fame has died down and you can get a seat here but hedge your bets and go for lunch instead of putting all your money on a weekend night.
- Best Steak in SS: The Classics (formerly known as Ray’s The Classics). Downside: only open for dinner and kind of kid-unfriendly. Best steak in Bethesda: Mon Ami Gabi – our go-to date/anniversary/splurge spot for exquisite steaks, mouth-watering seafood, and artery-clogging fries and dessert.
- Best Greek in SS: Big Greek Cafe.
- Best Sushi in SS: Sushi Jin which is close by and consistently good. Alas, it’s no Kotobuki. DC: Kotobuki. Bite-sized morsels that melt in your mouth and at a great price. Refresh your Beatles’ lyrics memories and enjoy stellar sushi at rock bottom prices.
- Best Ethiopian: SS: Abol. Although I suspect they stole my credit card info and now only use cash, I still go here because the food is good and the lunch special is a deal. If in DC,
Meskerem– NO! RIP. Dukem only because it’s the only other one I’ve been to and it’s still in business!
- Best Indian in SS: Toss up between Ghar-E-Kebab and Jewel of India. Both are close by although Ghar is closer to our ghar than Jewel is. Don’t listen to tp who always insists that the tandoori chicken is the way to go. Get the butter chicken and thank me later (i.e. while I’m helping you eat it off your plate). DC: Rasika. Seriously amazing stuff including their famous Palak Chaat (crispy spinach).
- Best South Indian: SS(ish):
Udupi Palace.Woodlands. No longer a hike to get there and the all-you-can eat brunch with free dosas makes it worth it. Discovered that the non-buffet sit-down-and-eat-properly fare is even better. The grocery stores kitty corner from here are nicely stocked as well. And if you want meat dishes, visit Jewel of India (see above).
- Best Spanish tapas in SS: La Malinche. Great food for high prices. Maybe just go there for lunch. DC: Goodbye Jaleo and your stupid new tricks [food in a shoe, indeed]. We’ll choose DC’s Oyamel for now with its absolutely lovely waitstaff and wonderful table-side guacamole show.
- Best Vietnamese in SS: Lotus Cafe. Appropriately run down and reminds us very much of St. Louis. Runner up: the new but too trendy (and acc’ to tp, the pho doesn’t have enough subtle layers of flavor) Pho Hiep Hoa. DC: Nam Viet. Haven’t had a bad meal there yet.
- Best Thai: SS(ish)
Nava ThaiRuan Thai. Beware, this place is wildly popular on the weekends. One larb-gai-craving evening, we called to place an order to pick up and we were told there was over a two-hour wait. TO PICK UP! Worth it.
- Best Middle Eastern: Lebanese Taverna. Another crowd-pleaser that we often visit when money-bags parents are in town. There is a cafe version in DTSS which offers tasty falafel and hummus but nothing beats the newly-renovated DTDC one. DC: Rosemary’s Thyme. Pide is divine. Go on the weekend and they’ll throw an egg or two on it for you!
- Best Pizza in SS:
Pete’s Pizza. Pete’s offers New Haven-type pizza and delivers AND a opened just around the corner from us! DC: Two Amys offers Neapolitan style pizza and requires driving and I haven’t been there in years but have fond memories of it. MD and DC: Vace. Salty goodness.
- Best Bagels in SS: Goldberg’s New York Bagels. Goldberg’s is closed on Saturday for the shabbat so you KNOW they are good. DC: So’s Your Mom.
- Best Afghan in VA: Afghan Restaurant. What the name lacks in cleverness, the cuisine makes up for in taste. Way far away in Crystal City.
- Best Turkish in VA: Kazan. Our go-to place when we visited Grandpa in McLean which is lousy with conservatives but that’s the price you pay for visiting this lovely eatery.
- Best Kebabs in MD: Tie between our beloved and mild but tasty and juicy Moby Dick (Bethesda and also in DC) and Kabob N Karahi (spicy and quite a hike; worth it). VA:
Food Factory.Kabob Palace. Also way far away in Crystal City but since LB works right there, easy enough to place an order through her and have the kebabs and smoky goodness channa delivered. Through her. Tip well!
- Best Mexican: MD/DC:
Mi Cocina. only the good die young! I miss you, tacos de brisket! [tbd] DC: Mixtec.Super Tacos. Just click on the link and turn up the volume to get your first taste. Mi Rancho is much much closer but does not even compare. Pity Taqueria Distrito Federal didn’t stay in business. Why can’t Silver Spring keep its Mexican restaurants?
- Best Seafood in DC: Grillfish. Wide selection and since they specialize in fish, you can’t be steered too wrongly as, say, if you visited one of those mix of cuisine joints.
- Best Italian in SS: Santucci‘s. Mean subs: DC: La Tomate. The other dishes are great too but I love their ps’ghetti. VA: Italian Store. Does exactly what it says on the tin.
- Best Lasagna: SS: Olazzo. Veggie and meat.
- Best Gelato: DC:
Dolcezza. Pitango Gelato. *dies*.
- Best Ice Cream in SS: Tropical Ice Cream. Update: they closed. Update: they are open again but I’ve not been to the new rendition so will reserve judgment.
- Best Chinese in SS: Northwest Chinese Food. Strongly recommend the black vinegar peanuts.
- Best Tea in DC: Teaism. Lovely wares and calming atmosphere.
- Best Coffee in SS: Our house. Seriously, nothing much comes close to our Nespresso. MD: Kefa Cafe (either the old cafe or the new one in the library)
Kaldis. Ridiculously friendly staff at the original location and very tasty cups o’ joe from the local coffee roaster Nagadi Coffee. Second runner up: Bump ‘n Grind where the clientele is younger than expected but at least they can appreciate my Sleater Kinney t-shirt. DC: Illy or Compass Coffee or Peregrine or La Columbe or you know, just pick any place close to you on Yelp’s map and you’ll do fine.
- Best Bakery in SS: Kaldi’s now that Le Mad has closed. House-made buttery, flaky goodness. For cakes: Woodmoor. For doughnuts: Duck Donuts. DC: Le Caprice (will fess up to slight nepotism here as my friend’s family owns it).
- Best Cuban: Cubano’s. If all you want are arepas, then visit Arepas Pues. If you want all other Cuban dishes done right (and hot and in a timely fashion), go to Cubano’s. Viva ropa vieja!
- Best Cupcakes in DC: Baked & Wired. Who knows how long this ridiculous cupcake fad will last but while it does, this is the place to go.
- Best Fancy Nearby: GP: Black Market Bistro. SS: 8407 Kitchen Bar. Last time I was there, I got the “8407 Lamb Bolognaise with House Made Tagliatelle” and was well-pleased but ownership has changed hands since then so I’m not sure if I can vouch for them any more. I could have chosen Mrs. K’s Tollhouse but unless you are a 70 year old woman and/or just coming back from church on Sunday morning, you should stick with Kitchen Bar. DC: Komi. Haven’t had the pleasure or luxury of hitting up Rose’s luxury but they’d have a high bar to jump to beat Komi.
- Best Burmese in SS: Mandalay. Gives me tummy rumblin’s every time but I keep going back.
- Best Laotian: DC: Thip Khao. Not much competition but even if there were, this would win for the sticky mango rice alone.
- Best Jamaican: SS: Negril. Not much competition but even if there were, this would win for the patties alone.