Daytrip Dining: 9 Top Restaurants Outside Washington, D.C. Worth the Drive #savortheroad

We didn’t tackle every delicious corner of the country in our 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide, so we are pleased to highlight top restaurants outside Washington, D.C., that are perfect for daytrip dining — or worthy of a stop on your mid-Atlantic road trip. 

Sometimes you need to get out of the city for a little while to leave the noise and haste behind. What better reason to escape than a memorable meal? Luckily for DCists, the countryside surrounding the nation’s capital is home to a bounty of road-trip-worthy restaurants. Whether you’re in the mood for a white tablecloth treat or more casual fare, there are plenty of options. We’ve picked our nine favorite reasons to drive outside Washington, D.C., for dinner.

Smokehouse Live, Leesburg, Virginia
A 16,000 square-foot sprawl encompasses three concepts: a dining room/marketplace (Smoke), a bar (House), and a concert venue (Live). Pitmaster Jim Foss, a veteran of Hill Country Barbecue Market and Old Glory, both in D.C., oversees a pair of Ole Hickory smokers. You’d best arrive hungry. Choices include brisket, beef short ribs, pulled pork, buttermilk-brined turkey breast, chicken, Shiner Bock brats, and jalapeno-cheddar sausage, as well as sides such as succotash, deviled eggs, and mac ‘n’ cheese.

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The Ashby Inn, Paris, Virginia
You’ll find a slice of Norman Rockwell America nestled in Fauquier County. The Blue Ridge Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for this 19th-century house-turned-hotel. Expect big things from freshly appointed executive chef Patrick Robinson, an alum of the well-loved Table and Michel Richard’s now shuttered gastro palace Citronelle.

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Volt, Frederick, Maryland
One of the quintessential destination restaurants outside D.C., this bastion of modern-minded New American is the brainchild of Top Chef favorite Bryan Voltaggio. Under the watchful eye of chef de cuisine Scott Muns, who returned to the restaurant after a year at Rose’s Luxury, the restaurant continues to flourish. Dishes are equal parts innovation and tradition with plenty of flair, so expect to overpost on Instagram during dinner.

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Mokomandy, Sterling, Virginia
Cajun and Korean traditions live side-by-side, so starters might include gator croquettes and jambalaya alongside dumplings and kimchi pancakes. These contrasting culinary customs are well served by executive chef Daniel Wilcox Stevens, who has mastered both. Equal attention is given to handcrafted cocktails forged with housemade components and plenty of fresh fruits and herbs.

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Maple Ave., Vienna, Virginia
The charismatic Fairfax County outpost brings together a panoply of global influences to create singularly enticing results. Shrimp and grits get an assist from blueberry venison sausage, seared scallops come with basil ice cream and coconut risotto, and wings are doused in a mixture of crème fraîche, gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), and oyster sauce.

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2015 RAMMY Award Nominees: Join Us on June 7th in Washington, D.C.

The 2015 RAMMY Award nominees are out – and we’ll be in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, June 7 to cheer on this year’s honorees. The so-called Oscars of the D.C. dining scene, the 33rd Annual RAMMY Awards recognize hospitality excellence in multiple categories. We’ll be there when the winners are announced at the awards ceremony at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Buy tickets today to root for your favorites and to sample amazing eats and craft cocktails.

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Congratulations to all the finalists for the 2015 RAMMY Awards, including:

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year:
Bar Pilar
Cashion’s Eat Place
Evening Star Café

Upscale Casual Brunch:
Birch & Barley
Kapnos – DC
Le Diplomate
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
Seasons at The Four Seasons

Everyday Casual Brunch:
The Daily Dish
DGS Delicatessen
The Liberty Tavern

Favorite Fast Bites:
G by Mike Isabella

Cocktail Program of the Year:
barmini by José Andrés
Bourbon Steak
Iron Gate
Trummer’s on Main

Beer Program of the Year:
The Arsenal at Bluejacket
Brasserie Beck
Granville Moore’s
Mad Fox Brewing Company

Wine Program of the Year:
Charlie Palmer Steak
Fiola
Iron Gate
Proof

Employee of the Year:
Aurelio Diaz – RIS
Adnane Kebaier – Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier
Evan Labb – Evening Star Café
LaGina Lewis – Farmers Fishers Bakers
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All Hail Washington DC Restaurant Week!

Chorizo con salsa de romero is also on the DC Restaurant Week menu at Jaleo.
Chorizo con salsa de romero is also on the DC Restaurant Week menu at Jaleo.

Wintertime in Washington, D.C. is even more fabulous than spring and cherry blossoms. You know why? Because of Winter RAMW Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week! From January 13-19, you can enjoy $20.14 lunches and $35.14 dinners at the Capital’s best restaurants. The menus will fill your belly (and then some), while also keeping the contents of your wallet relatively in tact.

For example, at Acadiana, sandwiched between your choice of a selection of appetizers (Turtle soup! Gumbo!) and desserts (Lemon bars! Pumpkin bread pudding!), diners can order any entree (with a modest $9 additional charge for the jumbo lump crabcakes and the ribeye steak entrees).

At Chef Geoff’s-Downtown, the entire menu is up for grabs. Create your own restaurant week three-course meal, which can include anything from Gouda-stuffed risotto balls to slow and low beef short ribs — plus dessert.

Jaleo DC is offering up a whopping five courses, including dessert, for their $35.14 dinners. Choices include bacon-wrapped dates, savory carrot soup, pork loin with roasted onion and ‘Valdeón’ blue cheese sauce, and pan con chocolate, among many others.

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Tweet of the Week: Once a VIP, Always a VIP

During a recent outing with her parents for her father’s 91st birthday, OpenTable diner Teri Galvez tweeted about the very impressive number of Dining Rewards points she’s racked up. Not one to want folks to miss out on enjoying free meals, I reminded Teri to redeem her points for  a Dining Cheque (or FOUR!). However, Teri was concerned that if she did so, she would lose her VIP status, which has afforded her some lovely VIP treatment when dining out. I reassured her that on OpenTable, once you’ve achieved VIP status, it remains that way, regardless of how many Dining Rewards points you have. So, keep reserving — and start redeeming, Ms. VIP! PS: Happy Birthday to your papa.

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