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Best of Arlington 2014

Food & Drink

Best Restaurant (TIE)

Willow Restaurant

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Tracy O’Grady and Kate Jansen have been known to whip up tasty samplers, ranging from asparagus crepes with ricotta mousse to homemade doughnuts, at local street fairs and farmers markets. But to savor the full force of this culinary duo’s talents, it’s worth a visit to Willow, where O’Grady, who previously ran the kitchen at the erstwhile Kinkead’s in D.C., serves as executive chef; and Jansen, a co-founder of Firehook Bakery, is head pastry chef. Their European-styled, white-table-cloth dining room opened eight years ago and appeals to a varied clientele, from young couples on dates to the business expense-account crowd.

Two of the most-requested items on the “modern continental” dinner menu are O’Grady’s crisp, rice paper-wrapped crab cakes and Jansen’s “Almond Joy” chocolate layer cake. Beverage director Chris Cunningham pours 21 wines by the glass and changes the selections weekly. The bar area—which the owners have separately branded as Nosh—has its own extensive menu of sliders, flatbreads and artful small plates.

“I’m in love with the Nosh menu, getting as much or as little as I like, trying different things and sharing with my husband or gal pals,” says Susan Jung, a retired IT professional, who lives in Waverly Hills. “They are inexpensive and I’m on a budget,” she says. “That appeals to me.” –W.N.

4301 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, 703-465-8800, www.willowva.com

Other top vote-getters:

Green Pig Bistro
Lyon Hall