- Helen Armitage
From the Maryland dining scene in Bethesda to the vibrant small city of Rockville, Montgomery County boasts some of the best restaurants in the state. Featuring gourmet craft sandwiches and artisanal American cuisine to authentic Greek eats and fine French fare, the dining establishments here have it all. Here’s our list of the top 10 in the area.
Opened in late 2013, Republic – a casual, classy neighborhood bistro in Takoma Park – is the latest addition to Washington DC chef-restaurateurs Jeff and Barbara Black’s successful independent restaurant collective, Black Restaurant Group. Republic’s seasonally-driven menu features tempting plates like Maryland rockfish with squash, spring onions, dill, basil, parmesan polenta and a fried caper-parsley salad, while brunch is an equally mouthwatering affair with dishes like Republic’s signature po’boy and fried green tomatoes with scallion goat cheese, golden raisins, walnuts and pickled red onion. In keeping with Takoma Park’s rich music culture, Republic also hosts regular live music and open mic nights.
Republic, 6939 Laurel Avenue, Takoma Park, MD, USA, +1 301 270 3000
Full On Craft Eats & Drinks
A rather recent addition to Montgomery County’s dining scene, Full On Craft Eats & Drinks opened its doors in Rockville in 2015 with the mission of serving quality handcrafted fare alongside mid-Atlantic beers and domestic wines. Gourmet craft sandwiches made from house-roasted meats and scratch-made sauces – think slow-roasted beef with cheddar, slaw and chipotle mayo on challah bread – are the focus at Full On though there are a number of salads too. Team with an ale from Flying Dog Brewery in neighboring Frederick or a crisp California wine for the ultimate craft cuisine experience.
Positano Ristorante Italiano
A long-standing Bethesda favorite, Positano Ristorante Italiano has been family-run since first opening its doors in 1977 and serves some of the best Italian fare in the county. A cozy, rustic dining room sets the scene for Italian dining on colder evenings while Positano’s beautiful, tree-shaded courtyard is perfect for a romantic meal on balmy summer evenings. Try a classic dish of veal parmigiana or lasagna Bolognese or opt for a house special like the ciopino del pescatore – jumbo shrimp, sea scallops, mussels, clams and calamari sautéed with olive oil, garlic and white wine – followed by an indulgent traditional dessert like tiramisu or cannoli.
8407 Kitchen Bar
Listed among Washingtonian magazine’s 100 Very Best Restaurants of 2012, 8407 Kitchen Bar is a casual yet sophisticated neighborhood restaurant and bar located in the heart of downtown Silver Spring. Focusing on artisanal American cuisine crafted from seasonal and local produce, executive chef Oscar Jimenez’s menu features tempting dishes like the crispy pork belly confit with pickled green apple, watermelon and radish and the Maryland crab cakes entree with three potato hash, green beans, corn and bacon vinaigrette. Pair your meal with one of 8407’s quality wines, craft beers or a signature cocktail created by resident mixologist Tammy Vodinh.
8407 Kitchen Bar, 8407 Ramsey Avenue, Silver Spring, MD, USA, +1 301 587 8407
One of the best-loved Greek restaurants in Montgomery County, Mykonos Grill has been bringing the tastes of Aegean cuisine to Maryland since opening in Rockville 17 years ago and recently had the pleasure of cooking its delicious food for President Obama at the White House’s annual Greek Independence Day celebrations. With its whitewashed walls, rustic stone floors and splashes of bright blue, Mykonos Grill’s beautiful interior will whisk diners away to island shores of the Aegean Sea while dining on tempting, traditional dishes. Try the dolmades, spanakopita and garides Mykonos – sautéed shrimp with feta cheese, pine nuts, onions, raisins, tomato, herbs and white wine – accompanied by a glass or two of authentic Greek wine.
Mykonos Grill, 121 Congressional Lane, Rockville, MD, USA,+1 301 770 5999
Le Vieux Logis
Often hailed as one of the best restaurants in Bethesda’s vibrant dining scene, Le Vieux Logis brings a healthy dose of French country charm to Montgomery County with its fine French cuisine and cozy space. Long-standing Le Vieux Logis originally opened in 1980 though new owners, chef Christian Gautrois and his wife Christa, are maintaining the restaurant’s popularity and charm with a reimagined menu full of French county classics. Featured on the menu are dishes like duck leg confit with orange sauce, roasted fingerling potatoes, braised red cabbage and apple and the croustillant de saumon – a crispy crêpe of salmon pesto with ratatouille nicoise and piquillo sauce.
Le Vieux Logis, 7925 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD, USA, +1 301 652 6816
Frequently ranked among Washingtonian magazine’s best cheap eats and bargain restaurants, Samantha’s Restaurant in Silver Spring is one of the best places to head in Montgomery County for authentic Latin American fare that won’t break the bank. Team dishes like the popular carne asada, a ten ounce mesquite-grilled skirt steak topped with jalapeno and green pepper, and masitas de Puerco – pork cooked Cuban-style with a criollo sauce and bitter orange marinade topped with raw Spanish onions – with mojitos, margaritas and sangria. Finish with a traditional, homemade dessert of tres leches.
Black Market Bistro
Another restaurant from chefs Jeff and Barbara Black, the Black Market Bistro boasts a beautiful location – a gorgeous former Victorian post office in the charming neighborhood of Garrett Park – and a menu brimming with classic American bistro fare given a creative, contemporary twist. Nestle in its homey dining room and dine on dishes like hardwood-grilled hanger steak served with whipped potatoes, haricots verts, chimichurri and crispy onions or the New Orleans-style barbeque shrimp with creamy sweet corn and scallion grits, wilted Swiss chard and toasted baguette, accompanied by a selection from Black Market Bistro’s impressive wine list.
Black Market Bistro, 4600 Waverly Avenue, Garrett Park, MD, USA, +1 301 933 3000
Vasilis Mediterranean Grill
Another of Montgomery County’s much-loved restaurants, Vasilis Mediterranean Grill is a family owned and operated establishment located in Gaithersburg’s beautiful Kentlands neighborhood serving a mix of classic and contemporary Mediterranean fare, with a focus on Greek cuisine. A lovely little patio overlooking the sidewalk is a perfect spot for a light lunch of authentic dishes like hot and cold meze, house-made soups and fresh salads while a cozy dining room awaits guests on chillier evenings. Try a classic moussaka – seasoned ground beef layered with eggplant and potato and topped with béchamel sauce – or for a regional recipe with a Mediterranean twist try one of Vasilis’ local favorites like the pan-seared sea scallops with sautéed spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts.
Founded by owner and chef Alain Roussel, La Ferme is a landmark Montgomery County restaurant serving elegant and contemporary French cuisine since first opening 30 years ago. Located in a lovely property in the heart of Chevy Chase, La Ferme boasts a rustic, two-level dining room with high beams and intimate balcony seating alongside a beautiful wraparound porch – no wonder it was awarded Most Romantic Restaurant in the 2014 Best of Bethesda awards. Dinner entrees include short-smoked and grilled Norwegian salmon served with spiced vegetable couscous and Dijon mustard sauce. Brunch here is given a French twist with dishes like warm crêpes filled with a milk chocolate and hazelnut ganache and caramel sauce.
La Ferme, 7101 Brookville Road, Chevy Chase, MD, USA, +1 301 986 5255