Best Asian Restaurant
“Delicious, fresh, authentic Thai food in inviting atmosphere.” Also won this category in 2015.
3162 Mount Pleasant St., N.W.
1550 7th St., N.W., Unit A (Shaw)
Best Boozy Brunch
Brunch is served a la carte each Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
1639 R St., N.W.
Runner-up: Freddie’s Beach Bar
Best Local Brewery/Distillery
“Popular craft brewery offering free tours and tastings.” Also won this category in 2015.
3178-B Bladensburg Rd. NE
Runner-up: Right Proper Brewing Company
Runner-up: Tasty Burger
Let there be no mistake, despite the ever-changing menu at Duke’s Grocery, the Proper Burger reigns supreme. Whether you eat it to stop a hangover before it starts or indulge in it when said hangover has taken hold, it’s an artery-clogging melange of Creekstone Farms Angus beef (now that we’re on a Michelin kick in D.C., it’s the same beef you’ll often find in Michelin-starred restaurants) topped with smoky gouda and both a garlicky aioli and a Thai sweet chili sauce. Add a duck egg and housemade chicken liver paté when those two beef patties are just not enough protein, or pile on extra pickles and rocket if you’ve got your mom’s voice in your ear reminding you that you really need to eat more veggies. And some of us can’t resist adding a side of the truffle mac ’n’ cheese. Just sayin.’ (Kristen Hartke)
1513 17th St. NW
Old Blue BBQ
“Full-service catering company specializing in regional flavors, southern specialties and homemade favorites.” Also won this category in 2015.
4580 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria, Va.
Runner-up: Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.
Best Cheap Eats
1215 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
1250 U St., N.W.
1400 K St., N.W.
Runner-up: Amsterdam Falafel
Runner-up: Alex Levin, Osteria Morini
The last meal that caterer and chef Tyonne Johns served was salmon and jerk chicken, macaroni and cheese and rice pilaf, at the wedding reception for a close friend on Aug. 6. An openly gay chef, her life was senselessly ended that night when an employee of the Chantilly, Va., park where the wedding was held argued with Johns over some folding chairs and stabbed her to death. It’s a tragic footnote on the life of a woman whose brother was murdered 10 years earlier; she is particularly remembered by her friends for her commitment to supporting LGBT events, programs and entrepreneurs, and using her business as a way to provide new opportunities for aspiring chefs. (Kristen Hartke)
Best Coffee Shop
OK, so, yeah, Compass makes good coffee. The nitro cold brew, a process by which the grounds are steeped in cold water and then infused with nitrogen, results in a creamy, rich brew that almost mimics the texture of a protein shake, so we can fool ourselves into thinking that it makes a good liquid breakfast after spin class. But we’re kind of into the tea, too, which Compass co-owners Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez decided to custom blend in-house when they couldn’t find a tea that complemented their coffee program. Look for the Raspberry Rose Petal, a floral caffeine-free blend, or the bergamot-tinged Lavender Earl Grey. For chai lovers, don’t miss out on the housemade masala chai, a spicy blend of black tea with ginger, black pepper, cardamom, allspice, anise and licorice. (Kristen Hartke)
1335 7th St., N.W.
Best Date Restaurant
“Intimate, white-tableclothed bistro offering lasagna and other Italian classics with weekly specials.”
1602 17th St., N.W.
Runner-up: Busboys and Poets
Baked & Wired
“Family-owned coffee shop and bakery in Georgetown with baked goods made in small batches with the finest ingredients.”
1052 Thomas Jefferson St., N.W.
Runner-up: Grassroots Gourmet
Best Ethiopian Restaurant
Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant
Whenever people ask me for a restaurant recommendation in D.C., I invariably send them to Dukem, and here’s why: it’s authentic, it’s cheap and it tells a real story about our city. With the largest Ethiopian community outside of Ethiopia, eating Ethiopian food in D.C. is akin to eating pizza in New York. It’s also a communal meal, where everyone at the table shares in the dishes, eating literally off the same plate, and omnivores and vegetarians can all walk away perfectly satisfied. For meat eaters, the signature doro wat, a dish of slow-cooked chicken and hard-boiled eggs spiced with berbere, a blend of several spices including chili pepper, ginger, basil, nigella and fenugreek, is tender and saucy, while the vegetarian combination platters are piled with spicy lentils, savory braised cabbage and collards, and shiro, a peppery stew of powdered legumes like chick peas or broad beans. Utensils won’t be on hand, so order extra injera, the spongy sour bread used to scoop up the food. Dukem also won this category in 2015. (Kristen Hartke)
1114-1118 U St., N.W.
Best Farmer’s Market
Runner-up: Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market
Oh, Eastern Market. Sometimes it’s exciting to visit other farmer’s markets in search of new freshly baked gluten-free cookies or odd varieties of winter squash, but Eastern Market, which also won this category last year, never disappoints — solid, reliable, always there when you need it. While it’s true that the same vendors have been there for decades, it’s also true that Eastern Market serves a real function to the community, because people actually shop there for their groceries, not just for novelty items. Inside the market, which is open every day except Monday, you’ll find most of the items on your list, from freshly butchered meats to loaves of cinnamon raisin bread to vegan kimchi. If there is a cheese you’re looking for, Bowers Dairy has nearly everything on hand, no special ordering required, and D.C.’s very own condiment, mumbo sauce, is available in both regular and spicy flavors at Market Poultry. If you’ve always wanted to eat at Market Lunch, take a tip from the locals and head over there for breakfast or lunch during the week so you don’t have to wait in line. (Kristen Hartke)
225 7th St., S.E.
Best Food Truck
Red Hook Lobster Pound
Brings freshest Maine lobsters to D.C. Also won this category in 2015.
Find out where the truck is on Twitter: @LobstertruckDC
Runner-up: Captain Cookie & the Milk Man
Best French Restaurant
“Bustling brasserie serves classic French fare and drinks.” Also won this category in 2015.
1601 14th St., N.W.
Runner-up: Bistrot Du Coin
Best Indian Restaurant
Modern Indian food; famous for its crispy spinach. Also won this category in 2015.
633 D St., N.W.
1190 New Hampshire Ave., N.W.
Best Italian Restaurant
“Italian-influenced American restaurant located in historic Bloomingdale with wood-fired fare set in an airy, rustic-industrial space with open kitchen and bar.”
1822 1st St., N.W.
“Brick-oven pizza and contemporary dining.”
713 H St., N.W.
521 8th St., S.E.
1901 14th St., N.W.
Runner-up: Pizzeria Paradiso
Restaurant You’d Wait in Line For
“Eclectic New American tapas with menu crafted in cozy, converted townhouse with an upstairs lounge.”
717 8th St., S.E.
Runner-up: Little Serow
Best Rehoboth Restaurant
“Spacious Mexican restaurant with vast menu including seafood, stone grills and margaritas.” Also won this category in 2015.
208 Rehoboth Ave.
Rehoboth Beach, Del.
Runner-up: Blue Moon
“Hip joint with a patio serving cured and carved meat sandwiches, craft beers and innovative cocktails.”
300 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Runner-up: Taylor Gourmet
Best Seafood Restaurant
Hank’s Oyster Bar
Perennial lesbian-owned favorite. Also won this category in 2015.
1624 Q St., N.W.
1026 King St., Alexandria, Va.
633 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E.
Runner-up: Black Salt
Best Steak Restaurant
“Chic, high-gloss steakhouse supplements its beef offerings with Latin-style dishes and sides.”
1501 K St., N.W.
Runner-up: Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse
“High-end sushi spot with chef’s choice dinners, bento-box lunch specials, sake and sho-chu.”
1503 17th St., N.W.
Runner-up: The Hamilton
Best Wine Bar
Shareable tapas and inspired wine and cocktail list. Also won this category in 2015.
1622 14th St., N.W.
3310 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Runner-up: Dito’s Bar at Floriana
Best Virginia Winery
Runner-up: Fox Meadow Winery
With an impressive array of awards, Breaux Vineyards is typically at the top of the list of Virginia wineries worth checking out, and it’s just 45 minutes from D.C. in Loudoun County, making it a great destination for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Of course, you’ll also find it well-represented in stores and restaurants across the city, from Glen’s Garden Market to Jack Rose Dining Saloon. Look for the Cabernet Franc, a peppery palate-pleaser with long notes of blackberry on the finish. (Kristen Hartke)
36888 Breaux Vineyards Lane, Purcellville, Va.
To see winners in other categories in the Washington Blade’s Best of Gay D.C. 2016 Awards, click here.