Earlier this month the editorial team at Eater DC awarded the stunning Succotash in Penn Quarter best new design of 2017 (readers chose to honor Navy Yard’s District Winery), but there are so many jaw-dropping new restaurants that joined the local scene this year.
Here's a tour of the most striking additions to the area.
D.C.’s inaugural winery won’t be the only player in town for long — fellow chain City Winery is putting down roots across town in Ivy City — but it’s already earned a place in locals’ hearts thanks to its view of the Anacostia River and versatile design. The multifaceted complex, which houses a working winery, tasting room, restaurant, rooftop deck, fire pit-studded patio, and semi-private event spaces, is all about industrial chic, bringing together elements including stainless steel machinery, glass-wrapped wine cellars, and eco-friendly greenery under one roof.
Chef turned first-time restaurateur Hamilton Johnson didn’t just put his stamp on the Nordic-style cuisine now served at the restaurant that’s emerged from the shell of Southern-themed Vidalia, he’s enveloped diners in a cocoon of his defining experiences. The walls are covered in tributes to iconic musicians, while the ceiling features a patchwork of tattoos that adorn the ink-covered maestro in the kitchen.
For a while now, the trend in D.C. has been to open a kinda-sorta secret eatery inside a gas station around town. Georgetown Events founder Bo Blair went the other way with Millie’s in Spring Valley, planting a spacious, New England-esque family restaurant atop a drab slab of concrete that used to house a filling station. Modeled after the flagship property in Nantucket, Massachusetts, the D.C. version of Millie’s features mile markers touting well-known destinations around the world — which seems fitting given that dining there seems like a mini-vacation from the daily grind.
Hospitality vet Hakan Ilhan spared no expense in his bid to woo downtown diners. The seasoned restaurateur hired James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Frank Ruta to oversee the kitchen, handed pastry chef Aggie Chin a gold-plated cart upon which to showcase her eye-catching desserts, and went light and bright in this classically French restaurant.
Rare Steak and Seafood
This Midwestern import is actually two restaurants: the casual, all-day, fried cheese curd-serving tavern, and the fine dining-themed steakhouse up above. Each has its respective charms, including an alluring raw bar (downstairs), nattily dressed dining captains (upstairs), as well as access to exceptional drinks and spirits (both). Dress up or down, depending on the occasion; but don’t miss out on this worthwhile experience.
While waiting for everything to fall into place at the long-delayed Line hotel, James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde decided to open a temporary beach bar. No ordinary pop-up, Baltimore’s seasonal Sandlot brings shore living to the Inner Harbor with waterfront vistas, sandy lounging areas, and locally sourced snacks the likes of which have probably never before sizzled atop a portable grill.
Serving as the anchor for the boutique Darcy hotel requires a certain amount of panache, and restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier has delivered that with crowd-pleaser Siren. A separate, street-side entrance helps the tony seafood-centric eatery set it itself apart from standard “hotel lobby restaurants.” A sea of overlapping blue-green tones, mermaid-themed fixtures, and shellfish-packed display cases complete the illusion of a satisfying journey beneath the waves.
This trip to Hong Kong via Blagden Alley has transported D.C. diners around the world with its dragon-covered walls, ornamental China, and vibrant colors. Oriental art and writing are splashed all about, while long communal tables invite everyone to pull up a seat and be thankful for time spent slurping noodles with loved ones.