The Best Restaurants In Bethesda, Maryland

Maryland, on the Atlantic coast, is famous across the US for its crab cakes
Maryland, on the Atlantic coast, is famous across the US for its crab cakes | © Dawna Moore / Alamy
Oliver Griffin

According to Forbes magazine, Bethesda is one of the most affluent and well educated cities in the USA. It’s also the premier city in Maryland for wining and dining, boasting a preeminent selection of places to eat out in, from family friendly venues to innovative restaurants. There’s no need to head to nearby Washington DC for excellent cuisine, when you’ve got these top 10 Bethesda restaurants to tuck into right now.

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Raku Asian Dining

Raku Asian Dining celebrates three things: Asian style dining, sushi and sake. As well as serving wok-fried dishes, Raku specialises in raw fish delicacies with warm sake. Bento boxes are by far the best value for money, with a selection of teriyaki marinated meats with either rice or noodles. After that, the options are almost limitless, with a la carte sushi available and made freshly to order. While sake is actually Japanese for alcohol, the variants here follow traditional interpretations with both warm and cool rice wine available to try; be careful though, the stuff can pack a serious punch.

Restaurant, Seafood, Steakhouse, American, Gluten-free, $$$
An elegant but unfussy dining room is the best way to describe Morton’s Steakhouse in Bethesda. This restaurant is the place to go if diners want their meat with a side of comfort. Bone in fillet, served with blue cheese butter and caramelised onions, is just one example of an indulgent and delicious main. There are also copious choices in the form of seafood and chicken if steak isn’t for everyone. Desserts include a fantastically gooey chocolate cake that is sure to appease chocoholics everywhere and also a selection of high quality ice creams and gateaux.

Woodmont Grill

Restaurant, American, $$
Despite being part of the Hillstone Restaurant Group, Woodmont Grill remains an independent and unique restaurant in Bethesda. The Woodmont Grill is celebrated not only for its great cuisine, but also for its fresh daily baked goods and live jazz in the evenings. Signature dishes include spit-roasted chicken with apricot glaze and tabbouleh, as well as jumbo crab cakes, or even pan-seared salmon. While the desserts section is limited, the Woodmont Grill perfectly executes both a hot fudge sundae and a key lime pie; American classics if ever there were any.

Le Vieux Logis

Restaurant, French, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, $

Le Vieux Logis, Bethesda

A charming French restaurant in downtown Bethesda, Le Vieux Logis translates as The Old Lodge and serves up great food with old world charm. The restaurant has previously been awarded the Bethesda beauty spot award for bringing the fantastic elements of nature to the heart of Bethesda’s urban setting. Specialty dishes include duck ‘orange you delicious?’ – the restaurant’s own interpretation of the classically French duck a l’orange – as well as slowly roasted beef short ribs. Vegetarians can opt for the ‘vegetarian extravaganza’ – essentially a culinary rainbow of seasonable grains and vegetables – or the portobello burger, where a plump mushroom is roasted to perfection, with all the trimmings.

Praline Bakery & Bistro

Bakery, Bistro, Pastry Shop, Patisserie, French, Vegetarian, $
Specialising in both great cooking and sumptuous patisserie goods, the Praline Bakery & Bistro has something for everyone. The bistro menu features a great selection of quick French dishes, including duck confit, scallops risotto and even lamb roasted in Dijon mustard. The bakery, however, is world class and simply cannot be missed. Parisian style macaroons, glazed fruit tarts and delicate pastries adorn the counter, glinting jewel-like with additions of honey and sugar. The best thing about this venue is that guests can easily choose between making a flying visit, or choosing to make a lengthy afternoon of food and wine.

Bethesda Crab House

Restaurant, Seafood, American, $

Bethesda Crab House, Bethesda

The Bethesda Crab House is an institution and, having been opened in 1961, is one of Bethesda’s oldest eating establishments. A family run restaurant, the Crab House is one of the most passionate seafood places around. Platters of crab cakes kick off proceedings, served with corn, tartar sauce and a sweet and spicy cocktail sauce. Specialties include snow crabs, king crab legs and a platter of soft-shell crabs. For the exceptionally hungry, all-you-can eat crab feasts are on offer, with 65 to 110 crabs available for chowing down on. A classic key lime pie is available for dessert, although perhaps not easily manageable after eating 110 crabs.

Chef Tony’s

Restaurant, Seafood, Mediterranean, $
Chef Tony’s is a seafood and tapas restaurant at the heart of Bethesda. Working with local and artisanal producers, Chef Tony’s produces some of the very best in rustic Spanish and Italian food. Recognising that in season ingredients are undoubtedly better and tastier, the kitchen team make the very most of what is locally and readily available. The restaurant also exhibits a fantastic six course tasting menu, which allows guests to savour the very best in Mediterranean fare across an enjoyable and protracted dining session – perfect for catching up with family and friends. However, if the only time available allows for a speedy lunch, then that is easy to find at Chef Tony’s too.

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