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Cobia crudo with puffed black rice at Chloe.
Cobia crudo with puffed black rice at Chloe.
Photo by Scott Suchman for Chloe

The 16 Hottest Restaurants in D.C., February 2018

Where to eat right now around the DMV

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Cobia crudo with puffed black rice at Chloe.
| Photo by Scott Suchman for Chloe

More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends and family of Eater have one question: "Where should I eat right now?" Restaurant obsessives want to know what's new, what's hot, which favorite chef just launched a new project, where to sip the cocktail of the moment. And while the Eater 38 is a crucial resource covering trusted standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the 'it' places of the moment. Enter the Eater Heatmap, which will change often to continually highlight where discerning diners are flocking to right now.

The new year has brought a wave of restaurant closings all across the area. But there have also been some bright spots. The Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown refreshed things by opening a game-filled bar on its lower level. James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde finally fired up the wood-burning hearth at his debut D.C. restaurant, A Rake's Progress. And some local restaurateurs banded together to give Mt. Pleasant a new bakery/all-day cafe stocked with seasoned hospitality professionals. So, bid farewell to Salt Line, and head over to McLean's massive new dining hall or Navy Yard to see what all the excitement is about.

Find an archive of previous Heatmap restaurants here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Addie's

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“It’s got a little bit of spice to it, but everything on our menu does,” a server says when probed about one of the dishes at this new addition to Potomac, Maryland. It seems like restaurateur Jeff Black has injected zest into everything about the iconic eatery he recently resurrected. The kitchen lavishes attention on fresh seafood (mussels swim in baths of butter, wine, and herbs; shellfish shine in ice-packed towers), local brews flow from the taps, and neighbors crowd onto the patio to revel in the revival of an old favorite.

The raw bar at Addie’s. Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

Isabella Eatery

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Brand builder Mike Isabella’s eponymous food hall is now complete. Home to 10 dining options — including modified versions of existing local restaurants Graffiato, Arroz, Yona, Requin, and others, as well as new additions Retro Creamery and Nonfiction Coffee — Isabella Eatery serves everything from all-day mimosas and egg sandwiches to raw oysters and a farmhouse ale brewed exclusively for the Top Chef alum.

Customers crowded around Octagon bar at Isabella Eatery. Photo: Isabella Eatery

Brothers and Sisters

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Restaurateur Erik Bruner-Yang’s new restaurant and bar boasts a who’s who of talented professionals, including Brabo alum Harper McClure, Maketto pastry chef Pichet Ong, and drinks guru/aspiring rum distillery founder Todd Thrasher. Their combined efforts have produced adventurous dishes ranging from fancy arrangements of sea urchin to roast octopus “hot dogs.”

An octopus hot dog from Brothers and Sisters in Adams Morgan A roast octopus “hot dog” at Brothers and Sisters. Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

It’s obvious why everyone is fired up about eating at Middle Eastern-inspired Maydan. The sparks-spewing grill that stares customers right in the face as soon as they walk in the front door is not just functional, it’s delightful. Watching the kitchen crew char citrus-spritzed sardines, tamarind-spiked whole chickens, and smoky eggplant is dinner and a show, all wrapped into one.

Maydan DC hearth Meats, seafood, and vegetables are all prepared over blazing coals at Maydan. Photo by Michael C. / Yelp

Lucky Buns

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Chef Alex McCoy is living his dream of sharing globally inspired burgers and pub grub with the masses at come-as-you-are eatery Lucky Buns. The Duke’s Grocery alum now spins out handheld feasts with international flair, producing burgers sporting fried eggs, bacon-XO jam, and pickled beetroot, while chicken offerings arrive bathed in yogurt slaw, tonkatsu sauce, or Chinese mustard.

Lucky Buns DC chicken A tandoori chicken sandwich at Lucky Buns. Photo: Lucky Buns

Award-winning chef Ryan Ratino is showing everyone just what he can do at 14th Street newcomer Bresca, and it’s quite a show. The menu caroms from haute interpretations of childhood sensations (think: foie gras decorated with preserved cherries and crushed nuts for a pb-and-j effect) to seasonally inspired pasta dishes accented with tender rabbit, pickled mustard seeds, and pureed chestnuts. Bright colors are splashed throughout, staff are wonderfully attentive, and the bar team serves intoxicating works of art in one-of-a-kind containers.

Bresca DC duck Lacquered duck breast at Bresca. Photo by Rey Lopez

Bar Elena

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Budding restaurateur Adam Stein returns to his beloved H Street NE, this time not just as a chef, but as a scene-setter with fun-filled Bar Elena. The neighborhood restaurant has already won over Boundary Road (RIP) regulars with its locally inspired drinks, fancy bar food (clam chowder poutine, anyone?) and old-school games.

Bar Elena DC food Moules frites at Bar Elena. Photo: Bar Elena

Fried Rice Collective co-founders Scott Drewno, Drew Kim, and Danny Lee are reinterpreting Asian cooking at this Chinese-Korean mash-up. Dishes range from squid ink fried rice harboring chunks of savory smoked catfish to bulgogi-style ribeye tossed with chewy rice cake noodles to a signature sorbet (think: Seville oranges) developed in conjunction with local treat maker, Dolcezza. Order a la carte or try a little bit of everything via the tasting menus served at the chef’s counter.

Chiko DC noodles Chilled acorn noodles with kimchi at Chiko. Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

Little Pearl

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He’s already running two Michelin-starred restaurants in D.C. Why not add a coffee shop/wine bar into mix? Renowned tastemaker Aaron Silverman has done just that with dual-natured Little Pearl, the Pineapple and Pearls spin-off now serving next-level sweets and gourmet java by day, along with boutique wines and okonomiyaki spring rolls once the sun goes down.

The Japanese-style fried chicken sandwich at Little Pearl. Photo by Warren Rojas / Eater DC

The fancy French restaurant empire builder Mike Isabella always dreamed of is finally here. Whereas he’s switched the original Requin in Northern Virginia into a brasserie, the new waterfront outpost celebrates all things Gallic via bubbling Comte-capped onion soups, confit duck accompanied by lentils, and meaty steak flanked by crispy frites. Based on all the bubbly floating around, bargoers appear to be enjoying the abundance of sparkling wines gathered together by general manager Jennifer Knowles.

Requin Assorted dishes at Requin at the Wharf. Photo by Susie D. / Yelp

Kith and Kin

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The service at Kwame Onwuachi’s hotel-based restaurant remains very much a work in progress, with chaos seeming to reign more often than not. But that hasn’t stopped curious diners from crowding into the Top Chef alum’s comeback bid post-Shaw Bijou implosion for a taste of Caribbean-style fare including mini patties filled with seasoned beef, as well as fork-tender goat bolstered by crispy potatoes, earthy spices, and warm bread.

Kith and Kin DC food Assorted dishes at Kith and Kin. Photo by Rey Lopez for Kith and Kin

Del Mar

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Award-winning restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi has pivoted from the native Italian cooking featured at his other local restaurants to Spanish cuisine at his new Wharf spot without missing a beat. Seafood lovers can indulge in raw oysters, imported caviar, and shellfish-studded rice dishes, while meat eaters are rewarded with velvety foie gras, savory Iberian pork, and spice-crusted rack of lamb.

Del Mar DC paella Seafood paella at Del Mar. Photo: Del Mar

Hank's Oyster Bar (Multiple locations)

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Hank’s fans are flooding into the local chain’s first waterfront location to take advantage of glistening seafood platters stocked with briny oysters, zesty mussels, and succulent lobster, as well as boozy fish bowls (the more, the merrier), shareable flasks filled with classic cocktails, and seasonally inspired beertails.

A platter of chilled seafood at Hank’s at the Wharf. Photo by Bernadette C. / Yelp

First-time restaurateurs Rahul Vinod and Sahil Rahman are putting their stamp on Indian cuisine with Rasa, the self-styled Navy Yard eatery focused on quick-service with some flair. The now-ubiquitous, build-your-own-meal format gets a shot in the arm via alluring decorations and eye-catching beverages (think: fresh young coconuts).

A blue bowl filled with chicken, yogurt sauce, radishes, and other garnishes A custom rice bowl at Rasa. Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

Haidar Karoum, the chef who helped put homegrown restaurants Proof, Estadio, and Doi Moi on local diners’ to-do lists, is now cooking food that reflects his life story at self-styled Chloe. The new addition to Navy Yard serves dishes weaving together classic French techniques, regional ingredients, and culinary inspiration from around the world.

Chloe DC oysters Broiled oysters at Chloe. Photo by Scott Suchman for Chloe

District Winery

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Ana, the modern American restaurant tucked inside D.C.’s inaugural winery, is a welcome addition to the Navy Yard dining scene. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide striking views of the Southeast waterfront, while a fire pit-studded patio ensures that drink-toting revelers won’t have to hibernate during winter. The dinner crowd tends to gravitate towards wine-friendly dishes including savory tartines (try the duck sausage) and seafood dishes (crab beignets, spiced monkfish). Early risers can now do the same at weekend brunch (think: bacon-laced scones, and pancakes coupled with salmon mousse and crisp potatoes).

The art-filled main dining room at District Winery. Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC.

Addie's

The raw bar at Addie’s. Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

“It’s got a little bit of spice to it, but everything on our menu does,” a server says when probed about one of the dishes at this new addition to Potomac, Maryland. It seems like restaurateur Jeff Black has injected zest into everything about the iconic eatery he recently resurrected. The kitchen lavishes attention on fresh seafood (mussels swim in baths of butter, wine, and herbs; shellfish shine in ice-packed towers), local brews flow from the taps, and neighbors crowd onto the patio to revel in the revival of an old favorite.

The raw bar at Addie’s. Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

Isabella Eatery

Customers crowded around Octagon bar at Isabella Eatery. Photo: Isabella Eatery

Brand builder Mike Isabella’s eponymous food hall is now complete. Home to 10 dining options — including modified versions of existing local restaurants Graffiato, Arroz, Yona, Requin, and others, as well as new additions Retro Creamery and Nonfiction Coffee — Isabella Eatery serves everything from all-day mimosas and egg sandwiches to raw oysters and a farmhouse ale brewed exclusively for the Top Chef alum.

Customers crowded around Octagon bar at Isabella Eatery. Photo: Isabella Eatery

Brothers and Sisters

An octopus hot dog from Brothers and Sisters in Adams Morgan A roast octopus “hot dog” at Brothers and Sisters. Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

Restaurateur Erik Bruner-Yang’s new restaurant and bar boasts a who’s who of talented professionals, including Brabo alum Harper McClure, Maketto pastry chef Pichet Ong, and drinks guru/aspiring rum distillery founder Todd Thrasher. Their combined efforts have produced adventurous dishes ranging from fancy arrangements of sea urchin to roast octopus “hot dogs.”

An octopus hot dog from Brothers and Sisters in Adams Morgan A roast octopus “hot dog” at Brothers and Sisters. Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

Maydan

Maydan DC hearth Meats, seafood, and vegetables are all prepared over blazing coals at Maydan. Photo by Michael C. / Yelp

It’s obvious why everyone is fired up about eating at Middle Eastern-inspired Maydan. The sparks-spewing grill that stares customers right in the face as soon as they walk in the front door is not just functional, it’s delightful. Watching the kitchen crew char citrus-spritzed sardines, tamarind-spiked whole chickens, and smoky eggplant is dinner and a show, all wrapped into one.

Maydan DC hearth Meats, seafood, and vegetables are all prepared over blazing coals at Maydan. Photo by Michael C. / Yelp

Lucky Buns

Lucky Buns DC chicken A tandoori chicken sandwich at Lucky Buns. Photo: Lucky Buns

Chef Alex McCoy is living his dream of sharing globally inspired burgers and pub grub with the masses at come-as-you-are eatery Lucky Buns. The Duke’s Grocery alum now spins out handheld feasts with international flair, producing burgers sporting fried eggs, bacon-XO jam, and pickled beetroot, while chicken offerings arrive bathed in yogurt slaw, tonkatsu sauce, or Chinese mustard.

Lucky Buns DC chicken A tandoori chicken sandwich at Lucky Buns. Photo: Lucky Buns

Bresca

Bresca DC duck Lacquered duck breast at Bresca. Photo by Rey Lopez

Award-winning chef Ryan Ratino is showing everyone just what he can do at 14th Street newcomer Bresca, and it’s quite a show. The menu caroms from haute interpretations of childhood sensations (think: foie gras decorated with preserved cherries and crushed nuts for a pb-and-j effect) to seasonally inspired pasta dishes accented with tender rabbit, pickled mustard seeds, and pureed chestnuts. Bright colors are splashed throughout, staff are wonderfully attentive, and the bar team serves intoxicating works of art in one-of-a-kind containers.

Bresca DC duck Lacquered duck breast at Bresca. Photo by Rey Lopez

Bar Elena

Bar Elena DC food Moules frites at Bar Elena. Photo: Bar Elena

Budding restaurateur Adam Stein returns to his beloved H Street NE, this time not just as a chef, but as a scene-setter with fun-filled Bar Elena. The neighborhood restaurant has already won over Boundary Road (RIP) regulars with its locally inspired drinks, fancy bar food (clam chowder poutine, anyone?) and old-school games.

Bar Elena DC food Moules frites at Bar Elena. Photo: Bar Elena

Chiko

Chiko DC noodles Chilled acorn noodles with kimchi at Chiko. Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

Fried Rice Collective co-founders Scott Drewno, Drew Kim, and Danny Lee are reinterpreting Asian cooking at this Chinese-Korean mash-up. Dishes range from squid ink fried rice harboring chunks of savory smoked catfish to bulgogi-style ribeye tossed with chewy rice cake noodles to a signature sorbet (think: Seville oranges) developed in conjunction with local treat maker, Dolcezza. Order a la carte or try a little bit of everything via the tasting menus served at the chef’s counter.

Chiko DC noodles Chilled acorn noodles with kimchi at Chiko. Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

Little Pearl

The Japanese-style fried chicken sandwich at Little Pearl. Photo by Warren Rojas / Eater DC

He’s already running two Michelin-starred restaurants in D.C. Why not add a coffee shop/wine bar into mix? Renowned tastemaker Aaron Silverman has done just that with dual-natured Little Pearl, the Pineapple and Pearls spin-off now serving next-level sweets and gourmet java by day, along with boutique wines and okonomiyaki spring rolls once the sun goes down.

The Japanese-style fried chicken sandwich at Little Pearl. Photo by Warren Rojas / Eater DC

Requin

Requin Assorted dishes at Requin at the Wharf. Photo by Susie D. / Yelp

The fancy French restaurant empire builder Mike Isabella always dreamed of is finally here. Whereas he’s switched the original Requin in Northern Virginia into a brasserie, the new waterfront outpost celebrates all things Gallic via bubbling Comte-capped onion soups, confit duck accompanied by lentils, and meaty steak flanked by crispy frites. Based on all the bubbly floating around, bargoers appear to be enjoying the abundance of sparkling wines gathered together by general manager Jennifer Knowles.

Requin Assorted dishes at Requin at the Wharf. Photo by Susie D. / Yelp

Kith and Kin

Kith and Kin DC food Assorted dishes at Kith and Kin. Photo by Rey Lopez for Kith and Kin

The service at Kwame Onwuachi’s hotel-based restaurant remains very much a work in progress, with chaos seeming to reign more often than not. But that hasn’t stopped curious diners from crowding into the Top Chef alum’s comeback bid post-Shaw Bijou implosion for a taste of Caribbean-style fare including mini patties filled with seasoned beef, as well as fork-tender goat bolstered by crispy potatoes, earthy spices, and warm bread.

Kith and Kin DC food Assorted dishes at Kith and Kin. Photo by Rey Lopez for Kith and Kin

Del Mar

Del Mar DC paella Seafood paella at Del Mar. Photo: Del Mar

Award-winning restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi has pivoted from the native Italian cooking featured at his other local restaurants to Spanish cuisine at his new Wharf spot without missing a beat. Seafood lovers can indulge in raw oysters, imported caviar, and shellfish-studded rice dishes, while meat eaters are rewarded with velvety foie gras, savory Iberian pork, and spice-crusted rack of lamb.

Del Mar DC paella Seafood paella at Del Mar. Photo: Del Mar

Hank's Oyster Bar (Multiple locations)

A platter of chilled seafood at Hank’s at the Wharf. Photo by Bernadette C. / Yelp

Hank’s fans are flooding into the local chain’s first waterfront location to take advantage of glistening seafood platters stocked with briny oysters, zesty mussels, and succulent lobster, as well as boozy fish bowls (the more, the merrier), shareable flasks filled with classic cocktails, and seasonally inspired beertails.

A platter of chilled seafood at Hank’s at the Wharf. Photo by Bernadette C. / Yelp

Rasa

A blue bowl filled with chicken, yogurt sauce, radishes, and other garnishes A custom rice bowl at Rasa. Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

First-time restaurateurs Rahul Vinod and Sahil Rahman are putting their stamp on Indian cuisine with Rasa, the self-styled Navy Yard eatery focused on quick-service with some flair. The now-ubiquitous, build-your-own-meal format gets a shot in the arm via alluring decorations and eye-catching beverages (think: fresh young coconuts).

A blue bowl filled with chicken, yogurt sauce, radishes, and other garnishes A custom rice bowl at Rasa. Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

Chloe