Anju, a Korean restaurant in D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, ranked first on Washingtonian’s 2020 list of 100 Very Best Restaurants.
Opened only five months ago by the owners of Chiko, Danny Lee, Scott Drewno, and Drew Kim, the restaurant is praised for serving affordable contemporary Korean cuisine.
Anju’s location at 1805 18th Street, NW was originally occupied by the Mandu restaurant and destroyed by a fire in 2017.
“The restaurant represents something of a break with tradition—it has a moderate price point and an informal vibe. By contrast, since the magazine began ranking the top 100 restaurants in Washington in 2007, the majority of the winners have been tasting-menu restaurants; all were categorized as ‘very expensive,'” Washingtonian said.
Make your way to Anju for dinner & let's set you up with some of our favorite dishes! 🍚🍳 #myanju #KoreanFood #buzzfeedfood #huffposttaste #spoonfeed #dmvfoodiecrew #liketheteaEATS #FoodPorn #WashingtonDC #eeeeeats #food52grams #foodgasm #infatuationdc #forkyeah pic.twitter.com/mI0G4kiAFl
— Anju (@anjufrc) January 18, 2020
Anju’s executive chef Angel Barreto is a protege of Mandu chef-owner Lee and Fried Rice Collective partner Drewno. Barreto was already part of the Chiko team before his new position. In his hearlier years, he attended L’Academie De Cuisine where he gained a foundation in French food.
Speaking to Eater D.C. ahead of Anju’s opening last year, Barreto said that his parents lived in Korea for three years, while he was very little, and he grew up eating Korean dishes. He won a cooking contest organized by the South Korean embassy in 2018, being awarded a trip to the country for over a week.
“A contemporary Korean restaurant and pub bringing old traditions and new concepts to the D.C. metropolitan area,” the restaurant owners describe their business on their website.
Washingtonian previously gave the top spot to places such as Komi, Minibar, and Metier on its annual ranking of the area’s restaurants.