New & Hot Places

Hottest Restaurants in DC

Since we can barely keep up with the breakneck pace of DC's restaurant openings, we figure you could use a little help tracking the hottest new arrivals. This crop of newcomers pulls from across the globe — think Cuban comfort foods, BBQ, pasta and Japanese dishes with Southern twists. And after the recent restaurant explosion in Shaw, it's nice to see some other neighborhoods heating up again. Here are the 10 most exciting openings worth checking out.


NewWhite House/World Bank
Chef/owner Hamilton Johnson takes over his alma mater, the recently shuttered, long-beloved Vidalia, showcasing his modern, sometimes Nordic take on Southern cuisine, evident in dishes like hamachi crudo with sea buckthorn and and poached oysters with chicken cracklins. The funky ceiling murals draw inspiration from the toque’s tattoos, while colorful private dining areas pay tribute to some of his favorite musicians, with images of David Bowie, Lou Reed and Miles Davis on the walls.

Must-order: Veal sweetbreads; slow-roasted Icelandic cod; dry-aged rib-eye with buttered Maryland crab
Insider tip: Be on the lookout for the upcoming four-person chef’s table that will sit in the middle of the dining area, as well as the upcoming lunch and brunch.

Colada Shop

NewCafe14th Street Corridor
Cuba’s spirit energizes this casual 14th Street NW Corridor cafe from Juan Coronado (ex Barmini) and partner Daniella Senior, which echoes the Sterling original with its offerings of classic coffee drinks, sandwiches, sweets and cocktails. It’s all served in a sociable atmosphere dominated by a wall-sized mural of an iconic Old Havana woman.

Must-order: Veggie Cuban sandwich; mushroom croquetas; medianoches sandwich
Insider tip: Ask for the off-menu cafe bonito, which is espresso with condensed milk, evaporated milk and sugar.

Joselito Casa de Comidas

NewSpanishCapitol Hill
SER Restaurant partner Javier Candon pays homage to his late father and his Spanish roots at this Capital Hill haunt, serving tapas, entrees and family style plates based on traditional family recipes, along with sherries, cocktails and wines. Taking style cues from turn-of-the-century Spanish restaurants, the decor features walls lined with old family photos, black-and-white tiling and old-fashioned bistro chairs.

Must-order: Chicken liver terrine; tuna carpaccio; roasted sardines
Insider tip: Owner Javier Candon is an accomplished mixologist, so try his cocktails and especially his wonderful housemade patxaran — Spanish brandy infused with huckleberries, cinnamon, coffee beans and star anise traditionally served as a digestif.

Red Apron Burger Bar

BurgerDupont Circle
Local is the calling card at this Dupont Circle counter serve from the Red Apron Butcher and Neighborhood Restaurant group talents, where old-school griddled patties made with beef from Virginia steers lead the menu, paired with area-sourced hop-forward beers. Options also include pork-sausage, chorizo and lamb burgers, all served in a narrow, rustic space, formerly home to GBD.

Must-order: The Standard; Piggyback pork burger; chili cheese fries
Insider tip: For a fun experiment, order one Angus beef burger and one featuring the Ancient White Park — a rare breed of heritage cattle — and conduct your own taste test. (Spoiler alert: both types of aged Virginia beef are winners.)


Since its name means 'secret' in Japanese, it’s fitting that this Petworth hangout offers off-the-menu drinks and bites along with sushi, sashimi, inventive Asian-meets-Southern dishes like buttermilk-fried chicken with Korean gochujang sauce and artful cocktails by Carlie Steiner (ex Barmini). The cool white, gray and blue space has an intimate, boutique-y feel, accented with upholstered bench cushions and macramé above the bar.

Must-order: Fried chicken with gochujang glaze; hamachi with Thai chile fish sauce vinaigrette; the Mixed Bag cocktail, a blend of Fernet, amaro, lime and ginger
Insider tip: Nobody gets bumped to the head of the wait list (not even the owners’ parents), so be prepared to put your name down and have a drink across the street at Petworth Citizen or Hank’s Cocktail Bar. Show up at the right time on a weeknight, though, and you might not have to wait at all.


NewItalianVan Ness
Pasta artisans (sfoglina in Italian) roll their dough in the window of chef Fabio Trabocchi’s sophisticated Italian trattoria in Van Ness, whetting appetites for the toque’s seasonal noodle dishes, served with creative antipasti and hearty mains. The Italian villa setting makes for a warm welcome, with sofalike seating, patterned china, chandeliers and a dining bar facing the open kitchen.

Must-order: Rigatoni amatriciana; seafood mafalde pasta; burrata with olive salt
Insider tip: A roster of grab-and-go pastries is available during brunch, and the restaurant plans to offer savory takeaway items like sandwiches down the line.

Federalist Pig

NewBarbecueAdams Morgan
Pitmaster Rob Sonderman (ex DCity Smokehouse) fires up a slew of meats at this Adams Morgan BBQ central, offering wood-smoked, dry-rubbed pork, brisket, turkey and wings in sandwiches and platters, plus veggie sides. The rustic-industrial digs are outfitted with corrugated metal, repurposed church pews (with a stash of logs below) and a wall mural of a pig rendered by a local artist.

Must-order: Chopped pork shoulder sandwich; brisket sandwich with crispy onions; crispy Brussels sprouts
Insider tip: Items often sell out by 7 PM on weekends, so get there early for the best selection and check Facebook for updates on what’s left.


NewAmericanOxon Hill
Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s cosmopolitan culinary heritage infuses American comfort classics to yield dishes like Ethiopian-spiced fried chicken, Scandinavian-inspired meatballs and pot pie with doro wat at this polished all-day bistro in National Harbor’s MGM complex. Dynamic African tapestries, found objects and memorabilia add drama to the airy, brasserie-style space, with an inviting bar and a ‘sidewalk cafe’ in the Atrium that evoke Paris.

Must-order: Chicken and waffles; blackened catfish with Brussels sprouts; red velvet cake ‘n’ shake
Insider tip: It’s the only one of the three chef-driven options (including Voltaggio Brothers Steakhouse and Fish by José Andrés) at MGM to also offer breakfast, lunch and brunch.

Voltaggio Brothers Steakhouse

NewSteakhouseNational Harbor
Set in National Harbor’s MGM Resorts International complex, this modern steakhouse from "Top Chef" alums and Maryland natives, Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, offers both classics and contemporary riffs, from hearth-fired cuts with sea bean chimichurri sauce to uni fried rice. The plush setting has the feel of a family home, complete with a book-lined library bar, personal photos and a country kitchen setting where diners can watch the toques at work.

Must-order: New York strip; Wagyu strip; upside-down lemon tart
Insider tip: Take a closer look at the photos on the walls — you just might spot younger versions of the headliner chef/brothers among the books and artwork from their family home.

FISH by Jose Andres

NewSeafoodOxon Hill
Chef/restaurateur José Andrés offers inspired takes on American seafood such as lobster jambalaya and oyster shooters with gin and tonic at this National Harbor eatery, one of the restaurant headliners at the MGM Resorts International complex. Live fish tanks supply raw-bar fare, while large format undersea photos, a huge fish sculpture suspended over tables and marine cavelike seating add drama to the nautical-themed space, which opens onto a fountain plaza.

Must-order: Gin and tonic oysters; lobster jambalaya; tuna tartare
Insider tip: Book a seat at Maryland Fry Bar, a five-seat bar that offers two tasting-menu options of amazingly fresh seafood that's fried in an ultra-light batter. (À la carte ordering is also available, but the tasting menu is a great deal.)

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