You can’t stay on top of the DC dining scene without knowing what’s new — which is why we offer this indispensable list of the most notable restaurant openings around town. We’ll update the guide every week, keeping the latest openings at the top of the page.
NewFast Food14th Street Corridor
Danny Meyer’s NYC-born hamburger chain offers “messy”, “damn delicious” patties paired with “underrated” fries and “addicting” frozen drinks; critics cite “minimal” decor, “always-crowded” conditions and too much “hype”, though the “helpful” service is fine as is.
NewAtlas District/H Street Corridor
This classy, horse-themed, H St NW gathering spot, from the DGS team, serves classic cocktails with clever twists and trendy snacks from local purveyors, in a restored, 100-year-old complex that once served as a stable.
The Olazzo team fires up pizza and small plates (including burgers) at this rustic spot that welcomes families in a cozy white-bricked space with a wood-burning oven and an ample patio.
BBQ smoke perfumes the air at this Silver Spring, family-friendly restaurant that offers regional sauces to customize the meats, along with Frito pies, burgers and other American classics in a large, Americana-themed bar and dining room, with an adjacent market.
Vibrant colors, hipster design and tattoo art, inspired by Hong Kong's fast-paced food scene, define this splashy Shaw Chinese where creative riffs on dim sum, Cantonese noodles, BBQ and seafood are matched by unusual cocktail ingredients drawn from Asian medicinal lore.
The Ambar talents transformed their Clarendon basement into a retro-chic hangout for Balkan-inspired comfort fare like oatmeal or vegetable bowls, sandwiches, coffees and pastries during the day, with cocktails featuring rakia, plus small plates served at night. Leather chairs outfitted with Wi-Fi, a black and white patterned tile floor, a working fireplace, and eclectic, decorative touches give the large space character.
Romantic lighting casts a glow over this Ashburn location of a high-end, contemporary, steak and seafood chain that offers an extensive wine list, a trendy lounge small plate menu and several private dining rooms.
Union Kitchen, a company providing commercial kitchen space for food startups, is behind this industrial mod Shaw location with a self-serve cafe offering all-day comfort fare and nitro coffee. The market is stocked with a variety of products from its parent operation, plus local produce and other staples.
Chão hounds satisfy their “meat cravings” via an “endless parade” of all-you-can-eat grilled items presented on skewers by “first-rate” servers at this Brazilian steakhouse chain; its jumbo dining room also boasts a “salad bar that’s a meal in itself”, ensuring that patrons “roll out the door” – no wonder it’s “rather expensive.”
Taking a page from its NYC siblings, this energetic American serves comfort classics like chicken pot pie, steaks, burgers and raw bar items, plus draft cocktails and local beers and wines. The brasserie-style space also has a familiar, welcoming feel, with checkerboard-patterned flooring, gleaming white subway tiles and pendant globe lighting, plus a patio for alfresco dining.
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.
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.
NewWhite House/World Bank
Fast food goes high-tech at these California imports, where credit card–only orders are placed online or at on-site automat machines, and health-oriented breakfast and lunch dishes appear in small glass stalls a few minutes later. Quinoa is the base for bowls, with customizable combos including Asian, American, Mediterranean and Mexican flavors.
Located next to sibling Dock FC, this Mexican hangout from chef/restaurateur Ari Gejdenson draws design inspiration from its setting in Ivy City’s historic Hecht Warehouse and traditional haciendas, juxtaposing industrial pipes and thick columns with colorful mismatched talavera tiles and bold graffiti-style murals. The menu spotlights tacos and authentic fare from Mexico’s various regions, including a grilled avocado guacamole, paired with creative mezcal and tequila cocktails.
This sleek, modern Downtown CityCenter Japanese pub pulsates with energy fueled by the sake and spirited drinks that accompany comfort fare ranging from sushi and ramen to grilled skewers and small plates.
This fast casual cafe offers visitors to the Torpedo Factory's artistic scene the likes of kimchee grilled cheese sandwiches, Asian fermented food platters, and other eclectic light fare along with beer and wine, plus occasional pop-up dinners, similar to those popularized at its Petworth sibling.
This big-windowed, Rossyln gathering spot features Irish whiskeys, along with European and American pub fare like fish and chips, savory waffles, mussels, burgers and beers in a lively, modern setting with plenty of flat screen TVs.
White House/World Bank
Former White House chef Frank Ruta’s sumptuous Downtown French-American offers power-brokers and food-lovers a luxurious, wood-paneled, leather-lined backdrop for his lunch-time onion soup burger, his inspired riffs on classics, pastry chef Aggie Chin’s irresistible desserts, and a well-stocked bar, with a separate menu.
Chef/owner Alfredo Solis (El Sol) offers upgraded takes on Mexican street food at his Columbia Heights hangout, drawing inspiration from his home turf of Mexico City for tacos on housemade tortillas, plus ceviches, tortas, regional stews and moles, and an exhaustive mezcal and tequila list. The brick-walled space has a festive feel, helped along by red bar shelves, colorful murals and a kitschy 6-ft.-tall rooster at the door.