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.”