As per tradition, we've asked a group of journalists, bloggers and friends of Eater to weigh in on the year in food. First up, experts share their favorite restaurant newcomers during 2014.
Michael Birchenall, editor of Food Service Monthly: Fiola Mare and Tico ... two ends of the spectrum, but both keep me happy. Fiola Mare surprised me with its ability to be so many destinations in one: a place to take out-of-towners for that touristy thing going on at Washington Harbour, a formidable, excellent seafood restaurant, a private dining haven and for me my favorite seat at the end of the bar (all the way around closest to the restrooms). There I can enjoy a Negroni followed by pasta with a glass of red wine which is enough to make me feel casually classy, not a lonely socially inept food writer.
Tico is casual, loud and the food all tastes good. It is honest food with bold flavors and textures and the concept works for me from the creator Michael Schlow’s menu and design to the local team that makes it all happen.
Svetlana Legetic, Brightest Young Things founder: Compass Rose and Lupo Verde probably in my book.
Nevin Martell, freelance food writer: The Partisan/Red Apron and Fiola Mare.
Holley Simmons, Washington Post Express Dining Editor: Thip Khao serves some of the most interesting Asian food around, and chef Seng Luangrath is so hard working and humble.
Bread Furst is a stunner and fills a big void in the city for well-baked bread.
I love the French-meets-Japanese dishes going on at Crane and Turtle. Chef Hamamura is proving that "fusion" doesn't have to be a dirty word.
You have to give credit to Compass Rose for bringing such a unique concept to the city. I can't think of any other restaurant where there are so many different world cuisines under one roof. I can only imagine their grocery list ...
Fiola Mare is an all-around class act. Just try and go on someone else's dime.
Tom Sietsema, Washington Post food critic: I'm sure I wasn't the only food fan happy to see Tony Chittum return to Washington to helm Iron Gate in Dupont Circle; Fabio Trabocchi extend his brand with Fiola Mare in Georgetown; Brian Voltaggio travel to Italy (twice!) with Aggio in Washington and Baltimore; and R.J. Cooper venture into the suburbs with Gypsy Soul in Fairfax.
Stefanie Gans, food critic for Northern Virginia Magazine: I'm liking Mosaic District these days: RJ Cooper's Gypsy Soul and Neighborhood Restaurant Group's B Side, the latter of which is the first (non-chain) that I think really fits the let's-shop-then-snack-and-drink situation that this budding town center needs.
Michael Martinez, producer of The Kojo Nnamdi Show: DCity Smokehouse opened in late 2013, but I didn’t make it there until 2014 – and I love it. Good barbecue is a net win for everyone.
Bread Furst is a really nice addition to our neck of the woods up near the station. I would have loved to have made it there for a Bread Feast meal, but it didn't happen.
Kate Gibbs, Destination DC: Compass Rose; The Partisan; the refreshed Oval Room; and Dolcezza Factory because gelato can be a meal.
Maura Judkis, Going Out Guide: Fancy: Fiola Mare
Upscale casual: Partisan
Casual: Compass Rose
I haven't had a chance to go to these restaurants multiple times yet, but Gypsy Soul and Copycat Co. made a great first impression, too.
Jessica Sidman, food editor of Washington City Paper: The Partisan, Crane & Turtle, Ocopa, Thip Khao
Rina Rapuano, Zagat DC: Donburi, Crane & Turtle, The Partisan/Red Apron, Ocopa, DBGB
Carole Sugarman, food critic for Bethesda Magazine: Aggio, Macon Bistro & Larder, Frankly...Pizza!, Gringos & Mariachis
David Nellis, "Foodie & the Beast": Rose's Luxury, Iron Gate
Rebecca Cooper, hospitality reporter for The Washington Business Journal: It's hard not to get excited about Barry Koslow's return to full service restaurant cooking at Pinea. I finally got to try Compass Rose and it every bit lived up to the hype. Roofers Union is a great showcase of Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley's more casual food. I've also enjoyed Soi 38 and Bread Furst.
Tim Carman, Washington Post food writer and $20 Diner columnist: Taqueria Habanero, the Partisan, Fiola Mare.
Eun Yang, NBC4 anchor: I'm going with Fiola Mare for best new restaurant.