Best Hidden Gems in DC

Peking Gourmet Inn – No one would ever imagine that one of the best Chinese restaurants in Washington, DC (some say in the country) would be buried in a nondescript plaza in Falls Church.  Their duck is absolutely incredible.

Palena – Even though there are certainly a good set of restaurants and bars in Cleveland Park, it still has a very neighborhood feel to it.  Palena has more laid-back packaging but may have the most talented chef in DC and offer one of the best culinary products in our nation’s capitol.

Han Sung Oak – Everyone who enjoys Korean food has heard of Ye Chon but my pick for the top Korean restaurant in DC is Han Sung Oak, again located in Falls Church (are you starting to pick-up a trend here).  The service may not be the best in DC but the kalbi certainly is.

BlackSalt Fish Market and Restaurant – Not only are the Blacks one of the most friendly couples in DC, they also have created one of the best seafood places in the city.  Like Palena, it is buried in the very neighborhoody Palisades area and not easily easily accessible.

Shamshiry – Shamshiry looks like a converted office buried in a Leesburg commercial building and I’m not entirely sure that this isn’t a 100% accurate description of the space.  Despite its odd location and spartan design aesthetic, Shamshiry has kabobs that are mouth watering and worth the trip.

Houng Viet – As Proof’s Mark Kuller told me, to get great Vietnamese food you have to go out of DC.   He couldn’t be more right.  It does make sense that the best Vietnamese food in the DC area would be smack-dab in the middle of Eden Center (DC’s version of Little Saigon).

One Response to “Best Hidden Gems in DC”

  1. Jamie March 9, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    I never thought of Palena as having humble packaging! It’s not ostentatious but the dining room is very formal, as are all the staff. The cafe is of course more casual but still quite upscale.

    But either way I agree with your sentiment on the chef and the food. It’s as good as it gets – Frank Ruta is the real deal and Palena consistently delivers amazing quality and variety on their ever-changing menu. My favorite restaurant in DC for many years.

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