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A plate of pasta from Maialino Mare, coming soon to the Thompson hotel in Navy Yard
A plate of pasta from Maialino Mare, coming soon to the Thompson hotel in Navy Yard
Molly Tavoletti/Maialino Mare

The 16 Most Anticipated Restaurants in D.C., Winter 2019

Incoming options for seafood-centric pasta, wood-burning Middle Eastern food, and regional Greek

While restaurants across the D.C. area gear up for the holiday rush, some groups are simultaneously working to get a new crop of exciting projects over the finish line. In the next few months, that means the city will welcome incoming options for seafood-centric pasta from a New York restaurant magnate, regional Greek dishes from a big-name Washington chef, a mysterious Japanese project from a company known for ramen, and wood-fired Middle Eastern food from an established star.

Two huge projects to watch, both food halls, are not included on this list. All-Latin American market La Cosecha has already opened near Union Market, but the majority of the vendors are still constructing their spaces and either awaiting the go-ahead or operating in pop-up mode. The Roost, Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s first go at a multi-vendor complex, is shooting for a late winter or early spring opening in Capitol Hill.

Here’s a look at the most anticipated restaurants expected to arrive over the winter, including some biggies held over from the fall:

Chef Jon Sybert will have a wood-burning grill to play with at Reveler’s Hour
Chef Jon Sybert will have a wood-burning grill to play with at Reveler’s Hour
Dixie D. Vereen/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Reveler’s Hour

What: The ownership group behind Mediterranean hit Tail Up Goat, a 2016 pick for Eater D.C. Restaurant of the Year, is opening a sibling spot in Adams Morgan that will differentiate itself with lower prices, a pasta-heavy menu, a wood-burning grill, and a deep list of wines by the glass.

Where: 1777 Columbia Road NW

When: Early winter

*Previous Reveler’s Hour coverage

Chef Frank Ruta is making a comeback at Annabelle
Chef Frank Ruta is making a comeback at Annabelle
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images


What: After a series of revamps, longtime D.C. restaurateur Ashok Bajaj is taking on a heavy-duty renovation at a recently purchased property, the historic Restaurant Nora space in Dupont. Frank Ruta, the former White House chef who famously ran Palena, is aboard to oversee a modern American menu. Ruta’s involvement in the project brought on a non-compete lawsuit from Hakan Ilhan, his former boss at Mirabelle.

Where: 2132 Florida Avenue NW

When: Early winter

*Previous Annabelle coverage

Chef Ryan Ratino is opening Jônt above Bresca
Chef Ryan Ratino is opening Jônt above Bresca
Rey Lopez/Bresca


What: Bresca chef Ryan Ratino is opening an experimental kitchen that will churn out eight- to 11-course tasting dinners on the second floor above his modern bistro on 14th Street NW. The Michelin-starred chef recently took a research trip to Japan to further his fermentation studies. He expects house vinegars, shoyu, and miso paste to aid a lineup of cured products like dry-aged dairy cow. An attached bar will offer a la carte dishes like a fancy hot dog and beef tendon chicharrones topped with caviar.

Where: 1906 14th Street NW

When: Early winter

*Previous Jônt coverage

Chicken nasi lemak from Makan with chef’s sambal, peanuts, fried anchovies, cucumbers, and soft eggs.
Chicken nasi lemak with chef’s sambal, peanuts, fried anchovies, cucumbers, and soft eggs.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.


What: Maketto alum James Wozniuk will delve into his obsession with Malaysian cuisine, making dishes (curry laksa, nasi goreng, tempoyak) he’s developed from years of travel, cookbook research, and YouTube deep dives. Partner Kendrick Wu oversees a line-up of complementary cocktails that will integrate Southeast Asian ingredients. Makan takes up the top floor of the former Meridian Pint space in Columbia Heights. Wozniuk and Wu are already running the Thirsty Crow bar downstairs, where customers can order cheeseburgers or sambal-smothered confit chicken served over coconut pandan rice.

Where: 11th and Park Road NW

When: Early winter

*Previous Makan/Thirsty Crow coverage

The former Graffiato space is the site of a mysterious new project from Daikaya Group
The former Graffiato space is the site of a mysterious new project from Daikaya Group

Untitled Daikaya Group Project No. 5

What: D.C. powerhouse Daikaya Group (Daikaya/Izakaya, Haikan, Bantam King, Hatoba) is putting its fifth restaurant inside the Chinatown building that used to house Mike Isabella’s Graffiato. Details for the new place — including the name — are scarce for now, but a representative for the group says it will not serve ramen but will instead focus on preparations of Japanese cuisine that the city has never seen before.

Where: 707 Sixth Street NW

When: Early winter

A pepperoni and jalapeno pizza from Emmy Squared
A pepperoni and jalapeno pizza from Emmy Squared
Emmy Squared [official]

Emmy Squared

What: The super popular Detroit-style pizza shop that has expanded from Brooklyn to Nashville and Philadelphia now has its eye on D.C. The brand will open two shops in the District this year, with the first expected to land early in the new year in the former Kyirisan space in Shaw.

Where: 1924 Eighth Street NW

When: Early winter

*Previous Emmy Squared coverage

Sample dishes from Maialino Mare
Sample dishes from Maialino Mare
Molly Tavoletti/Maialino Mare

Maialino Mare

What: NYC hitmaker Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group will plant a a seafood-heavy offshoot of NYC Italian darling Maialino at the base of the 225-room Thompson Hotel rising in Navy Yard. Meyer’s first full-service restaurant in D.C., billed as an all-day Roman trattoria that’s big on pastas and grilled whole fish, is helmed by USHG vet Rose Noel. At the pinnacle of the project is a playful 12th story rooftop bar, dubbed Anchovy Social, that will serve snacks (anchovies, of course), seafood towers, spritzes, and modern twists on Italian antipasti.

Where: Corner of Tingey and Third Streets SE

When: Early winter

*Previous Maialino Mare coverage

A shabu shabu spread of Miyazaki strip loin, duck bone dashi, konbu dashi, seasonal mushrooms, daikon greens, napa, and soft tofu from Shabu Plus
A shabu shabu spread of Miyazaki strip loin, duck bone dashi, konbu dashi, seasonal mushrooms, daikon greens, napa, and soft tofu.
Havar Espedal/Shabu Plus

Shabu Plus/Shibuya Eatery/Death Punch

What: Chef Darren Norris, founder of D.C.’s pioneering izakaya Kushi, is back on the scene with a three-level Japanese eating and drinking complex inside the former Bourbon space. The main/middle floor will focus on Japanese hot pot and kaiseki small plates at Shabu Plus. In the basement, Shibuya Eatery will sling bowls full of buckwheat soba or udon noodles typically sold by street vendors in Japan. On the top level, Death Punch Bar which will offer yakitori skewers and bear a resemblance to Norris’s bar on 14th Street NW, Black Whiskey.

Where: 2321 18th Street NW

When: Mid-January

*Previous Shabu coverage

Oysters with pickled gooseberries, nasturtiums, and walnut oil.
Oyster Oyster/official photo

Oyster Oyster

What: The sustainability-focused, mollusk and mushroom restaurant from former Hazel chef Rob Rubba, Estadio owner Max Kuller, and bar manager Adam Bernbach plans to feature a four-course, multiple-choice tasting menu for $49. Expect 12 new dishes to swap in every two months. The plant-filled eatery, tucked inside Shaw’s City Market at O building, will only have 35 seats — an intentionally intimate setup that encourages kitchen staff to interact with guests.

Where: 1440 Eighth Street NW

When: January

*Previous Oyster Oyster coverage

Rendering of Café Riggs
A rendering of Café Riggs
Lore Group/official photo

Café Riggs/Silver Lyan

What: Penn Quarter is getting a posh, European-style brasserie situated inside a historic bank that’s now the Riggs Washington DC hotel. Along with an all-day restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Cafe Riggs’s bar will serve pastries, juices, smoothies, and chia and acai bowls by day and flip into a “dynamic wine bar” at night. Eater Young Gun (‘16) Patrick Curran, a Momofuku CCDC and Espita alum, is leading the kitchen. Silver Lyan, a highly anticipated bar below, comes from Ryan Chetiyawardana — the London-based cocktail maven who presided over Dandelyan, the No. 1 ranked venue on the the World’s 50 Best Bars list from 2018. His first permanent cocktail bar in the U.S. promises “bespoke” cocktails and shareable snacks.

Where: 900 F Street NW

When: February

*Previous Café Riggs coverage

Hank & Mitzi’s

What: Hank’s Pasta Bar, which closed for renovations this fall in Old Town Alexandria, will get a second life as an Italian kitchen named after restaurateur Jamie Leeds’s parents. Hank & Mitzi’s marks two firsts for the Hank’s group: the introduction of pizza and the hiring of a chef from outside her restaurant company. Will Artley, an alum of Evening Star Café and Pizzeria Orso who was most recently cooking at short-lived English restaurant Scotts, comes on as executive chef. Artley, who has competed on Chopped, also has D.C. dining experience cooking at the White House and Grist Mill Restaurant. Look for a new 80-seat rooftop patio to debut in the spring.

Where: 600 Montgomery Street

When: February

*Previous Hank & Mitzi’s coverage

Pennyroyal Station

What: The team that used to run 14th Street NW mainstay Bar Pilar has shifted its attention to an all-day comfort food spot just across the Maryland border, in sleepy Mount Rainier. Executive chef Jesse Miller’s menu will be big on crab and hearty dishes like fried chicken biscuits or manicotti. The refurbished 1920s-era property, which seats 73 inside, is a combination of two old buildings, including a historic bank. There are 60 seats on a patio facing where a trolley station used to be.

Where: 3310 Rhode Island Avenue, Mount Rainier, Maryland

When: February

*Previous Pennyroyal Station coverage


What: Chef Pepe Moncayo will combine his backgrounds in Japanese and Spanish cooking at a new restaurant and sake lounge sliding into the former Ruth’s Chris space in Penn Quarter. The 11,000-square-foot restaurant, which showcases “Spanish Kaiseki” small plates, will feature a bar, a raised dining area, an open kitchen, and a private dining room for 25. Daikaya alum and newly named beverage director Monica Lee plans to build up one of the East Coast’s most impressive sake lists . Moncayo, a Spaniard, comes to D.C. following a 10-year stint in Singapore, where he opened his first omakase-style restaurant, Bam!

Where: 724 Ninth Street NW

When: Late winter

*Previous Cranes coverage

A wrap advertising Philotimo outside the Midtown Center downtown
A wrap advertising Philotimo outside the Midtown Center downtown
Gabe Hiatt/Eater D.C.


What: Nicholas Stefanelli, the chef behind the essential Italian tasting menu at Masseria and massive Officina at the Wharf, is opening a restaurant that nods to the Greek side of his family while experimenting with regional dishes from different cultures in the mountains and the islands.

Where: 1100 15th Street NW

When: Late winter

*Previous Philotimo coverage

Albi chef Michael Rafidi
Albi chef Michael Rafidi
Albi [official]


What: Michael Rafidi, who was Eater D.C.’s 2017 Chef of the Year when he was at Arroz and Requin, is opening a Middle Eastern restaurant in Navy Yard with a wood-burning hearth that will churn out his riffs on family classics taken from Levantine countries such as Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. Rafidi is partnering with Maxwell Park owner Brent Kroll on the project and on an outpost of the wine bar that will go next-door.

Where: 1346 Fourth Street SE

When: Late winter

*Previous Albi coverage

Blue crab claw
Scott Suchman/Dauphine’s


What: The massive Louisiana-style restaurant is a collaboration between the group owns essential Navy Yard seafood house the Salt Line and the owner of the James Beard award-winning Cure cocktail bar in New Orleans. Salt Line chef Kyle Bailey plans to feature Cajun and Creole classics across the menu — think fried boudin balls and gumbo. Neal Bodenheimer, who owns Cure, will oversee the cocktails. Located in the new Midtown Center development, the marble-filled interior will have room for 145 seats, and an adjoining patio with an outdoor bar, fountain, and fire pit will fit another 150.

Where: The old Washington Post building on 15th and L Streets NW

When: Late winter

*Previous Dauphine’s coverage

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