The Ten: Champion Chinese Restaurants

Photo courtesy of Nevin Martell

Photo of Mark’s Duck House courtesy of Nevin Martell

So many choices, so little time. The Ten is your guide to the best of the best that D.C. has to offer.

For some people, Christmas Day is all about unwrapping gifts and sinking into the couch while gorging on peppermint bark. For others, December 25th is a great excuse to take in a Hollywood blockbuster and enjoy a Chinese dinner. Get your chopsticks ready, because here are the 10 best Middle Kingdom restaurants worthy of your celebrations.

New Big Wong
This Chinatown standard bearer has long been a favorite late-night, post-shift haunt for chefs, including Mike Isabella and Bibiana’s Nick Stefanelli. No matter when you go, the pork fried noodles are always good.  

Tip top dim sum inspired by northern Chinese traditions. This means lots of pork, beef and chicken and minimal amounts of seafood, plus plenty of vegetarian options. 

The Source
Executive chef Scott Drewno never fails to impress or innovate. A recent dim sum brunch featured fat and sugar fritters accompanied by house-made barrel aged soy sauce and tea infused hot sauce. Oh, yeah, and there was a show-stopping bao Reuben. Bam! 

Mark’s Duck House
Perhaps the best Peking duck in the area awaits you at this Falls Church favorite. Crackly skin hides succulent meat underneath. During the Christmas season, the restaurant sells upwards of 500 of them a week. 

Mala Tang
The hot pot menu here is inspired by the cuisine of Chengdu, the capital city of the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan. No matter what you drop into the bubbling broth, you’re in for a treat.

Toki Underground
Without a doubt, the best ramen in DC. Chef-owner Eric Bruner-Yang turns out undeniably delicious bowls of brothy noodles that we like to amp up with house-made sriracha and a nitamago (egg).

Ping Pong Dim Sum
Perfect for groups and happy hour get-togethers, these lounge-y eateries pulse with loud music and the chatter of patrons well lubricated with strong cocktails. The servers are happy to talk the menu through with dim sum dilettantes, so don’t worry if you’ve never heard of har gau before.

Chinatown Express
Before you even go into this lo-fi hole-in-the-wall, take a minute to watch the chef hand pulling noodles in the window. Then sit down and order yourself a souped up bowl filled with a tangle of the wriggly strands and your choice of protein. 

Great Wall Szechuan House
Like spicy fare? Look for the dishes marked “ma la” and go crazy. Just make sure your water glass is topped off, because they aren’t kidding around.

Sichuan Pavilion
Featuring food that packs plenty of flavor and heaps of heat, this downtown eatery is worth checking out. We’re especially fond of the dry chicken with hot peppers.

Is your favorite missing? Disagree with one (or more) of my choices? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @nevinmartell.


  • Erik

    Thanks nevin!! Happy holidays