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The 2021 Restaurant Openings That D.C. Dining Experts Can’t Wait to Try

What food writers, bloggers, and industry pros are looking forward to eating next year

A plate of octopus from incoming 14th Street NW restaurant Maiz 64.
A plate of octopus from incoming 14th Street NW restaurant Maiz 64.
Maiz 64 [official]

Following an Eater tradition, we asked a group of restaurant critics, journalists, bloggers, and — as a new twist this year — a couple industry pros to weigh in on the year in food. Their answers to an annual “Year in Eater” survey will be revealed in several posts this week. Next up, the dining experts share what 2021 restaurant openings excite them the most.

Tom Sietsema, Washington Post food critic: I’m a big fan of Peruvian cooking, so I can’t wait to take a bite out of Chelita in Blagden Alley, where chef Carlos Delgado will be featuring ceviche and skewered meats, fish, and vegetables — the first of multiple ideas under one roof.

Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian food editor: It feels weird to be excited for a new restaurant, doesn’t it? But I’m very intrigued by Love, Makoto, the Japanese food hall coming to Capitol Crossing Development on Mass Ave. Maybe things will be semi-normal by the time it’s slated to open later next year?

Lenore Adkins, freelance food writer: Imperfecto, the latest from Venezuelan chef Enrique Limardo and co-owner Ezequiel Vázquez-Ger that’ll bring a Latin-Mediterranean mix to West End. They’re the same duo behind Immigrant Food and the wildly popular Seven Reasons and I honestly don’t know how they get any sleep!

Ann Limpert, Washingtonian food editor and critic: I’m excited to see what lawyer-turned-pizzaiolo Joey Barber does with the Capitol Hill brick and mortar space for Della Barba, which is currently carryout only. He’s getting into the bread game, too. And I can’t wait to see what the Dabney’s Jeremiah Langhorne has up his sleeve for later in the year.

Raman Santra, Barred in DC blogger: A tie between Daru (Indian food/cocktail spot) and Little Grand (long awaited pizza spot from All Souls folks).

Takera Gholson, Flights and Foods blogger: I am a chocolate lover so I‘m looking forward to Swiss chocolate chain Läderach coming to Union Station.

Simone Jacobson, co-owner of Thamee: St. Vincent Wine and De Rhum Spot on Georgia and Sherman Avenue NW, respectively, will bring a lot of great new energy to the neighborhood. I got a sneak peek at St. Vincent when construction was still being finished and I am fantasizing about very long afternoons in that humongous back garden and reading a book alone on the overlooking patio with lots and lots of great wine.

Anela Malik, Feed the Malik blogger: El Cielo. Though it’s already opened, I’m truly excited for a time in 2021 (hopefully) where I feel comfortable sitting inside to try the tasting experience.

Tim Carman, Washington Post food columnist: You know what? I just want the bars and restaurants that closed down temporarily to return next year. That would be gift enough.

Paola Velez, executive pastry chef for Maydan, Compass Rose, and La Bodega: I haven’t experienced most of the new 2020 restaurants yet. I’ll be trying to make my way through that list first.

Gabe Hiatt, Eater D.C. editor: Daru on H Street NE, with Dante Datta folding Indian flavors into cocktails and Suresh Sundas creating bar snacks like Desi guacamole papdi chaat or pickle-spiced achari chicken wings. The Peruvian multiplex coming to Blagden Alley from former China Chilcano chef Carlos Delgado and the Service Bar squad. Philotimo, Masseria chef-owner Nick Stefanelli’s long-delayed downtown restaurant that will take a high-end look at regional Greek cuisines. Maiz 64 on the 14th Street NW strip, because I’m interested to see how chef Alam Méndez Florian rebounds after leaving Urbano 116, which got a lot better after ironing out some kinks. José Andrés’s Spanish Diner in Bethesda. Federalist Pig chef Rob Sonderman’s fried chicken place, Honeymoon Chicken, coming to Petworth. Caruso’s Grocery, a red sauce joint attached to the Roost in Capitol Hill. It will be fun to see what chef Autumn Cline does with her new executive chef job at Evening Star Cafe in Del Ray.

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