Inn at Little Washington retains top rating for 30th consecutive year
The Inn at Little Washington, the only AAA five-diamond restaurant in Virginia, earned the top rating again this year for the 30th consecutive time. It’s the longest tenured five-diamond restaurant in AAA’s history.
The distinction, announced by AAA on Wednesday, comes as a sweet reward during the Inn’s 40th-year celebration. It means that the Inn, located in the town of Washington in Rappahannock County, is once again in the top 0.2 percent of the more than 31,000 restaurants rated by AAA.
“Not only is the tenure of the Inn at Little Washington’s award impressive, but the fact that it is one of only 68 restaurants in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean which earned a AAA Five Diamond Rating for 2018 demonstrates that it is absolutely one of the best of the best in its class and a true culinary experience,” Martha Mitchell Meade, manager public and government relations for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a statement.
Patrick O'Connell, chef and proprietor for the inn, praised his staff upon receiving the honor. “Congratulations to our dedicated and hardworking team … We look forward to living up to and surpassing the expectations that this award brings and thank AAA for creating such a powerful incentive for excellence in the hospitality field.”
The Inn also was recognized on Tuesday by The Forbes Travel Guide for receiving two Five Star Awards, one for the restaurant and one for the hotel, for the 29th consecutive year. The Inn is one of only 199 hotels worldwide to receive this honor.
Meanwhile, AAA added eight restaurants to its 2018 Five Diamond list in America.
To qualify for its highest rating, AAA said a restaurant must “consistently provide leading-edge cuisine of the finest ingredients, uniquely prepared by an acclaimed chef and served by expert service staff in extraordinary surroundings.”
The automotive and travel organization noted that five-diamond restaurants have evolved to meet the changing expectations of diners. “Guests want to learn about cooking techniques, ingredient sourcing and the latest trends. They are looking for a wide-ranging dining experience that includes being educated and entertained. No longer does world-class necessarily mean formal attire and opulent surroundings,” Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings, said in a statement.
While some five diamond restaurants still have lavish surroundings, others offer counter seating or chef’s tables overlooking or surrounding the cooking area. The eight new restaurants added to the 2018 Five Diamond list this year are:
• Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare – New York City
• Manresa – Los Gatos, Calif.
• McCrady’s – Charleston, S.C.
• Pineapple and Pearls – Washington, D.C.
• TEMPO Contemporary Cuisine by Martin Berasategui – Cancun, Mexico.
• The Catbird Seat – Nashville, Tenn.
• Topper’s – Nantucket, Mass.
• Vetri – Philadelphia
Only 2.1 percent of AAA inspected restaurants, or 665, made the AAA Four Diamond list for 2018. In Virginia, the Williamsburg Inn’s Rockefeller Room restaurant was among 14 Virginia restaurants that earned the rating, with the award coming in the same year that the Inn achieved AAA’s five diamond status.
Virginia’s other AAA four-diamond restaurants include Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Fossett’s in Middleburg , LeMaire and Shagbark in Richmond and The Old Mill Room in Charlottesville, which is currently closed for renovations.