Food & Restaurants

Best Bethesda Restaurant


Bento Box at Raku. Photo by Stephen Cherry

With its top-notch sushi, signature noodle soups, innovative Asian fusion dishes and consistent preparations, Raku is a perennial winner. Year after year it remains a Bethesda Magazine reader favorite: In 2012 and 2010 it won for Best Sushi; and this year and in 2011, for Best Bethesda Restaurant.

Masaru Homma, chef and co-owner since 1998, attributes the restaurant’s popularity in part to its scope. Unlike other Japanese restaurants, Raku offers a full line of cooked dishes, many of which marry Western and Asian ingredients and techniques.

With 10 line cooks and sushi chefs, the small restaurant serves nearly 400 diners on a busy night (including outdoor seating), turning over every table three or four times. And the kitchen goes through at least 200 pounds each of fresh tuna and salmon per week.

In Japanese, one of the meanings of “raku” is “happy,” according to Homma. After a meal at Raku, that’s certainly apt.

7240 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda, 301-718-8680,  

Other top vote-getters:

Mon Ami Gabi, Black’s Bar & Kitchen, Woodmont Grill, Jaleo, Redwood, Persimmon, Grapeseed, Olazzo, Mussel Bar, Assaggi Mozzarella Bar, Uncle Julio’s Rio Grande Café, Le Vieux Logis, Newton’s Table, Food Wine & Co.


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