Back in January, we had the crazy idea of taking the list of all of the bars and restaurants that were keeping extended hours for the President’s Inaugural weekend and putting them up on a Google Map. Visitors and locals alike could find the nearest place to grab nachos and a beer at 4 in the morning. It was a big hit, garnering mentions by the Washington Post, NBC4 and several other news outlets.
With the announcement of Tom Sietsema’s annual Fall Dining Guide in the Washington Post last month, we found ourselves comparing it to similar lists like Tim Carman’s 50 Best Restaurants list in the Washington City Paper and Washingtonian magazine’s annual 100 Best Restaurants list. We were eager to see which restaurants were universally celebrated and which ones were personal favorites for each critic. As we were looking at the lists side by side, inspiration struck.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if all of these lists were available in one place? We could check out everything that Tom, Tim and Todd (Kliman at Washingtonian) had to say about an establishment all at once.
And then we went to that nerdy map-loving place we frequently do. Wouldn’t it be interesting to put all of their favorites into one map, so people could find the critics’ favorites in their neighborhood?
So we put in some quality time and put together our “Best Restaurants in Washington” map. It features all of the restaurants covered in each of the three lists mentioned above, as well as the places that received the top 40 Food category scores in Zagat’s 2009/2010 DC guide.
If an establishment shows up on more than one list, it’s represented by a fork-and-knife symbol. If it’s unique to Carman’s list, it’ll have a blue tag. Washingtonian-only places get a red tag. Sietsema’s singular favorites are tagged in green. And Zagat outliers get a purple tag. Click on a restaurant’s tag to find all of the lists they appear on – complete with links to the specific reviews from each.
We thought about including the highest-rated restaurants on UrbanSpoon, but we rejected the idea when we saw that the list seemed a bit…skewed.
Take a look at the map – use it to find a favorite nearby or to see how the critics’ picks are distributed throughout the region.
And if you’ve got suggestions on other lists whose picks we might add to the map, please let us know. We intend to update the map when the lists are updated (ie, when Washingtonian’s Top 100 Restaurants of 2010 is released).
<<UPDATE 11/9/09 4:59 PM – A reader pointed out the absence of Northern Virginia Magazine’s Top 50 from this map. We will definitely be adding them, but we’re waiting until their list goes up on their website (it’s currently only available in the newest print edition). Rather than putting up their 2008 list, we figured we’d wait and compare apples to apples.>>