The February 2017 issue of Washingtonian named La Limena, a Peruvian/Cuban restaurant in Rockville, among the “100 very best” in the DC region. This listing includes it among such Michelin-starred restaurants as Pineapple & Pearls, Minibar, Fiola, Rose’s Luxury, and the Inn at Little Washington, but it’s far less expensive. If you’ve already eaten there, you know it’s popular and packed nearly every hour. Thankfully, they’re opening a second restaurant later this year in the Talbott Shopping Center just north of the Woodmont Country Club on the Rockville Pike.
La Limena is located at 765 Rockville Pike (northwest corner at Wooton Parkway/First Street) but it can be hard to find because it’s deep in the corner of a strange two-part shopping center (how did the Planning Commission allow this?). The shopping center contains a CVS, PNC Bank, and IHOP, and you’ll want to park close to the furthest back corner of the northern shopping center (you won’t be able to see the sign from the street).
Alas, no other restaurants in Rockville are included in this year’s “100 very best” but close by are:
- Black Market Bistro, 4600 Waverly Avenue, Garrett Park
- Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, 12207 Darnestown Road, Darnestown (no reservations)
- Jaleo, 7271 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda
- Kapnos Kouzina, 4900 Hampden Lane, Bethesda
The February 2016 issue of Washingtonian magazine features their ever-popular list of the 100 very best restaurants in the region, which is led by Fiola Mare, Komi, and Little Serow. The full list—which is ranked from 1 to 100 and includes reviews, favorite dishes of the year, and more—is on newsstands now. It also includes several restaurants in or near Rockville, all moderately priced:
#97. Black Market Bistro, 4600 Waverly Avenue in Garrett Park. American. “Jeff and Barbara Black’s bistro isn’t far from Bethesda, but it has an out-in-the-country vibe. And though it’s a neighborhood gathering spot, it’s also a destination for those seeking a tete-a-tete rather than a scene, along with easy-to-like food. Crackly-crust pizzas (the mushroom-pecorino is terrific) share space with Modern American plates such as a chew-in-a-good-way hanger steak with chimichurri. Cake lovers will find their happy place—especially if the blackout cake is on the menu. Even though it’s mated with Chantilly cream and chocolate sauce, we amp it up with ice cream.” If you miss Addie’s, here’s the next closest restaurant owned by the same family.
#44. Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, 12207 Darnestown Road in Gaithersburg. Italian. “What’s a three-star chef doing running a pizza joint in a Gaithersburg shopping plaza? Having a blast. Tony Conte may have abandoned Continue reading →
The June 2015 issue of Washingtonian lists the top 100 places to “eat great cheap,” where all meals are under $25. Nearly a dozen are in or near Rockville:
- A&J Restaurant, 1319 Rockville Pike (Chinese, Taiwanese dim sum)
- Bob’s Shanghai 66, 305 N. Washington Street (Chinese, Taiwanese) [note the street address because there’s a Bob’s Noodle 66 nearby and it’s a different restaurant]
- Bonchon, 107 Gibbs Street (Korean fried chicken)
- China Bistro, 755 Hungerford Drive (Chinese)
- China Jade, 1608 Crabbs Branch Way (Chinese)
- Honey Pig, Germantown (Korean)
- La Limeña, 765 Rockville Pike (Peruvian)
- Moa, 12300 Wilkins Avenue (Korean)
- Peter Chang, 20-A Maryland Avenue (Chinese)
- Tortacos, 9629 Lost Knife Road, Gaithersburg (Mexican)
Notice a pattern? Yup, it’s dominated by Asian restaurants. Along with specialized grocery stores, Rockville is becoming the place for Asian food in greater DC. The best Thai and Vietnamese restaurants seem to be in Wheaton and Falls Church, so perhaps ours will make the cut next year.
A couple restaurants merited special mention by the Washingtonian:
Favorite across-the-board Chinese: Bob’s Shanghai 66: “Though slow to find its form, the high-volume, cash-only kitchen has been impressive of late, rendering its long list of Chinese and Taiwanese standards with a clarity and depth that most of its competitors can’t touch. The saucing is, almost without exception, clean and tight, making even a simple stir-fry—bean curd and pork, for instance, with long, thin bands of curd that have the slipperiness and chew of egg noodles, or tiny shrimp in a surprisingly balanced sweet-and-sour chili sauce—a memorable order.”
Favorite dumplings by the dozen: China Bistro: “The best reason to come is the speciality of the house—fresh-made dough hand-rolled and stuffed with any of 16 filings (we’re partial to the combinations, such as shrimp-and-chive or beef-and-celery) and steamed till they’re plump and juicy. Make dumplings the centerpiece of your meal (they come 12 to an order), and augment them with small plates—garlicky cucumbers, for instance, and a bowl of cold sesame noodles with its numbing chili sauce.”
The February 2013 issue of Washingtonian magazine is devoted to the 100 very best restaurants in the DC region and three Rockville restaurants are included! Here’s what the critics had to say about them:
- Cava Mezze: “Casual-rustic digs, clever takes on Greek mezze, and gentle prices make these eateries among the buzziest around [the two other Cava Mezzes are in DC and Arlington]. Sometimes the ktichen takes liberties with tradition–gyros, for example, are fashioned into sliders–but it’s usually to the good, and chef Dimitri Moshovitis understands that a bit of innovation goes a long way. And though it might seem there’s little reason to stray from small plates, a whole branzino crisscrossed with char marks convinced us otherwise.” 9713 Traville Gateway Drive (west of #270, just west of Shady Grove near a Giant grocery store). Warning: Traville Gateway Drive is a large loop that intersects twice with Shady Grove Road and nearby there’s a separate but similarly named Travilah Road–don’t the police and fire departments find these loose street-naming conventions a safety hazard? And technically, this restaurant is outside of the City of Rockville (which ends at Shady Grove Road).
- La Limeña: “You can eat Peruvian chicken anywhere these days. You come here to explore the multifaceted cuisine beyond pollo a la brasa–from tiradito (lime-marinated tilapia atop yellow-pepper sauce) to grilled beef hearts (imagine a hanger steak with slightly more chew) to rich aji de gallina (chicken in a sauce of egg, white wine, and garlic). And don’t allow the steam of a sizzling steak trailing through the room divert you from the fish, particularly the ceviches and the whole fried trout blitzed with shaved almonds.” 765-B Rockville Pike (in the far corner of the Continue reading →
The September 2011 issue of Washingtonian features “cheap eats,” those places where “some of the area’s most exciting eating can still be had for $25 or less, tax and tip included.” Of the one hundred restaurants listed, Rockville features eight of them:
- A&J Restaurant, 1319-C Rockville Pike (in the funky colorful industrial strip mall just south of Woodmont Country Club). Specializes in dim sum from northern China, and while this restaurant is incredibly popular (the parking lot always seems packed), I’ve always preferred the dim sum from the south (give me a Hong Kong dim sum palace any time!).
- Carbon, 100-F Gibbs Street (Rockville Town Square). Haven’t eaten here yet, but it serves Peruvian-style charcoal-grilled chicken and is owned by the same family as La Canela just down the street.
- China Bistro, 755 Hungerford Drive (just north of the Giant). Haven’t eaten here because I’m still working my way through all the Chinese restaurants on my end of town, but I hear this is supposed to be the best place in MoCo for dumplings (and who doesn’t like Chinese dumplings!).
- La Limena, 765-B Rockville Pike (just north of Wooton Parkway, near the IHOP). I can’t believe there’s a Cuban place in town I haven’t tried, but here it is.
- Pho 75, 771 Hungerford Drive (just north of the Giant). One of the five Pho 75 restaurants in the DMV specializing in the satisfying Vietnamese soup.
- Sichuan Pavilion, 410 Hungerford Drive (just north of the fire station). And again, another Chinese restaurant to visit once I finish south of Beall Avenue.
- Spice Crossing, 100-B Gibbs Street (Rockville Town Center). One of my favorites.
- Viet Goel Tofu (aka Lighthouse Tofu), 12710 Twinbrook Parkway (between the Rockville Pike and Viers Mill Road). I recently overcame the odd name and ventured inside this Korean restaurant to enjoy an endless assortment of appetizers followed by a delicious silken tofu soup served in a sizzling stone bowl. Nothing like a meal with a show!
Nearby in Gaithersburg or NOSG (North of Shady Grove Road, which is not in Rockville)
- Batik, 200 Main Street Continue reading →