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Restaurant Experts Name 2017’s Key Newcomers

These were the most thrilling additions to the area

Barracks Row newcomer, Chiko, put its stamp on Chinese and Korean cooking.
Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC.

As per tradition, Eater asked a group of restaurant critics, journalists, bloggers, and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. First up, dining experts share their favorite restaurant newcomers of 2017.

Tim Carman, Washington Post food writer: “Some friends and I dined recently at Requin at the Wharf. It was like three weeks after the place opened. Mike Isabella was there and recognized us. He was giving us shit about walking into one of the busiest restaurants in Washington without a reservation. We deserved that. Despite the packed room and the swamped kitchen, the place knocked us out. There were a couple of clunkers during the night, but the miss rate was only about 10 percent, an amazingly low rate given the pace at which the team was working. The kitchen really knows how to use espelette as a complementary flavor.

Other newcomers that I liked this year: Akira Ramen and Izakaya in Rockville, Maryland; Lucky Buns in Adams Morgan; Arroz in Mount Vernon Square; Royal Nepal in Alexandria, Virginia; Farmbird on H Street NE; Lina’s Diner and Bar in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Mirabelle downtown.”

Stefanie Gans, Northern Virginia Magazine restaurant critic and dining editor: “The Block; technically the Asian food hall opened in last days of 2016, but it was Virginia’s breakout dining destination this year. And outside the DMV: Hearthside in Collingswood, N.J.”

Nevin Martell, DC Modern Luxury dining editor: “A wealth of newbies wowed me this year, including Bresca (chef Ryan Ratino is putting out some of the best dishes in D.C. right now), Arroz (their foie gras pate with ras el hanout doughnuts just may be my favorite dish of 2017), Chiko (I could eat the brisket with furikake butter and pickled long peppers every week and never get bored of it), Colada Shop (all the baked goods, all the time), and Rasa (expect big things from those guys, because this is just the start of their story).”

Laura Hayes, Washington City Paper food editor: “Bresca, Arroz, Maxwell [Park], Maydan, ChiKo, Rasa, Tiger Fork, Primrose.”

Tom Sietsema, Washington Post restaurant critic: “Arroz, ChiKo, Del Mar, Mason Dixie [Biscuit Co. Drive-Thru], Maydan, Salt Line; an embarrassment of riches, really.”

Lori Gardner, Been There, Eaten That: “Bresca, Del Mar, ChiKo, Arroz, Kith and Kin, Maydan, Rasa. (I could keep going. What a year!)”

David Hagedorn, Arlington Magazine/Bethesda Magazine dining columnist: “Del Mar, Maydan, Arroz, ChiKo, Bresca, Mirabelle.”

Rina Rapuano, Zagat DC/freelance food writer: “Arroz, ChiKo, Mezcalero, Del Mar, Bresca.”

Don Rockwell, DC Dining: “Probably Mirabelle, but this is the first year since 2003 that I don't feel qualified to answer this question.”

Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian food editor: “Arroz, Maydan, Chiko.”


1906 14th Street Northwest, , DC 20009 Visit Website

Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. Drive-Thru

2301 Bladensburg Road NE, Washington, DC 20018 Visit Website


901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001 (202) 869-3300 Visit Website

Mezcalero Cocina Mexicano

3714 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20010 202-803-2114 Visit Website

Maxwell Park

1336 9th Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 792-9522 Visit Website

Kith and Kin

801 Wharf Street Southwest, , DC 20024 (202) 878-8566 Visit Website


1346 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009 Visit Website


625 H Street Northeast, , DC 20002 (202) 506-6778 Visit Website

Lucky Buns

2000 18th Street Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 506-1713 Visit Website

Colada Shop

7993 Tuckerman Lane, , MD 20854 (240) 332-8870 Visit Website


900 16th Street Northwest, , DC 20006 (202) 506-3833 Visit Website

Tiger Fork

Blagden Alley Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 733-1152 Visit Website

The Salt Line

79 Potomac Avenue Southeast, , DC 20003 (202) 506-2368 Visit Website


100 District Square SW, , DC 20024 (202) 827-8380 Visit Website


7280 Woodmont Avenue, , MD 20814 (301) 968-0053 Visit Website

Del Mar

2125 Lombard Street, , CA 94123 (415) 345-8663 Visit Website