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A tall square of lasagna in a bowl with a rich meat and tomato sauce and a shower of Parmesan cheese.
L’Ardente’s 40-layer lasagana with short rib sugo is a signature dish.
Rey Lopez/For L’Ardente

The 15 Hottest New Restaurants Around D.C., October 2021

Where to try 40-layer lasagna, hummus with crab falafel, and heirloom corn veggie tostadas

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L’Ardente’s 40-layer lasagana with short rib sugo is a signature dish.
| Rey Lopez/For L’Ardente

Eater writers and editors always get the same question. Friends, family, acquaintances, and randos all want to know, “Where should I eat right now?” That’s where the Eater Heatmap enters the conversation, pointing diners toward the most intriguing or otherwise buzzworthy new restaurants in the D.C. area. This list considers restaurants that have been open for six months or less, dating back to April 2021. For our map of the D.C. area’s 38 essential restaurants, go here.

New to the map this month: Cracked Eggery, for far-out egg sandwiches in Cleveland Park; Ilili, a Lebanese restaurant designed to the nines at the Wharf; L’Ardente, accomplished D.C. chef David Deshaies’s vision of “glam Italian” on Massachusetts Avenue NW; Maiz64, a rare Mexican fine dining venue on 14th Street NW; and Immigrant Food + in the Planet Word museum, the latest fusion-heavy project from chef Enrique Limardo.

Leaving the list: La Bise, La Collina, Mae’s Market and Cafe, Mattie and Eddie’s, and the Point

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Angry Jerk

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8223 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 328-0788
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This Caribbean carryout in Silver Spring sells tacos and bowls that show off charcoal roasted jerk chicken, jerk shrimp, and shredded oxtails. Owner Jason Miskiri enlists his Guyanese mother to make roti for curry chicken, and snapper is available jerked or fried. Sauces come in flavors like jerk mumbo, pepper, and “hot angry.”

2. Spanish Diner

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7271 Woodmont Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 913-9137
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An outpost of the home-style Spanish restaurant that José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup introduced inside its New York food hall replaced the Jaleo on Bethesda Row in May. Huevos rotos — runny fried eggs served over fried potatoes and jamón, blood sausage, or skinny chistorra sausage — can please a crowd. Customers who seek a deeper understanding of the foods that make Andrés nostalgic will want to try fabada Asturiana, a meaty white bean stew, or arroz a la Cubana, a plate of rice, lacy fried eggs, and ibérico pork sausage served with sweet tomato sauce. Start meals off with three types of sangria, kalimotxo, or a gin and tonic. Finish them with with a “burnt” Basque cheesecake.

Glass-topped foosball tables at Spanish Diner are a holdover
Glass-topped foosball tables at Spanish Diner are a holdover from Jaleo
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

3. Cracked Eggery

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3420 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 351-6168
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Cracked Eggery returns to Cleveland Park victorious, having successfully made the leap from a farmer’s market stall in the same neighborhood to a food truck to a counter-service shop with a neon sign on the ceiling that reads “#BigEggEnergy.” The driver for all that growth is a long list of egg sandwiches full of indulgent flourishes like pastrami, pork belly, half-smokes, and pimento cheese. Bowls built on tots or roasted squash cater to the bun-averse at this all-day operation (7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday with a 3 p.m. closing on Saturday and Sunday). A 24-7 offshoot is under construction in Shaw, too.

A close-up of the Southern Charm from Cracked Eggery, a BLT with a fried green tomato, pimento cheese, arugula, and lemon aioli on a challah bun.
The Southern Charm from Cracked Eggery.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

4. No Goodbyes

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1770 Euclid St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 864-4180
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No Goodbyes gives the Line hotel a central, all-day restaurant that places a premium on Mid-Atlantic sourcing. The wood-burning hearth that used to fuel Spoken English is now responsible for roasting pickled beets in a surprising summer salad that includes humongous berries, candied walnuts, and a green goddess dressing that folds in smoked honey and lots of basil. Chef Opie Crooks, who led kitchens at A Rake’s Progress and Woodberry Kitchen for Spike Gjerde’s restaurant group, is running his own show for the first time. He’s serving fried green tomatoes with a spicy cheese dip, sorghum-glazed bacon steaks, and braised short ribs in a tangy French hunter sauce made from demiglace and lots of mushrooms.

A beets and berries salad from No Goodbyes
The beets and berries salad at No Goodbyes
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

5. Shabu Plus

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2321 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 450-2151
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The final piece of chef Darren Norris’s three-part Japanese complex in Adams Morgan debuted in July with a focus on shabu shabu and kaiseki small plates that call back to his days running acclaimed izakaya Kushi. The middle floor, lined with large sake barrels and dragon artwork from local muralist Chris Pyre, invites seated customers to cook an assortment of top-notch meats like A7 Australian wagyu, local poultry, and sustainable seafoods in a bubbling dashi broth of choice (Norris suggests the duck bone collagen). The personalized experience kicks off at the start, when sake fans pick their own decorative cup out of a woven basket presented tableside.

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 from Shabu Plus
Havar Espedal/Shabu Plus

6. Lupo Pizzeria

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1908 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 506-6137
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Restaurateur Med Lahlou has doubled down on the 14th Street NW corridor by placing a colorful new pizzeria next to sibling osteria Lupo Verde. Southern Italian street snacks steal the show at the bustling newcomer decked out in hand painted tiles and Italian flags. The open kitchen is well equipped to handle a full house. An early favorite is the $20 carbonara pizza topped with pecorino cream, pork cheek, black pepper, and an egg yolk for every slice. Chef Juan Olivera trained in Italy to perfect his panuozzo sandwiches stuffed into bread made from pizza dough. To start, go with a generous burrata dollop that’s plated next to bright, bruleed melon chunks topped with a ribbon of 24-month prosciutto.

A blistered slice of pizza gets cooked in a 700-degree oven at Lupo Pizzeria
A blistered slice of pizza from Lupo Pizzeria
Rey Lopez/For Lupo Pizzeria

7. Quattro Osteria

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600 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

This stylish new Italian restaurant in Shaw sells pasta made on-site from a chef who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in Tuscany. Indecisive diners can opt to go the prix fixe route, with options for three courses ($50) or five $75. Co-owner Louie Hankins, who also runs jungle-themed rooftop bar, El Techo, and taco joint Rito Loco next-door, teamed up with brothers and Naples natives Giovanni and Salvio Ippolito on the project. Seating sections include a patio, breezy bar, and romantic dining room dotted with crystal glassware, candlesticks, soft blue seating, and shimmering gold accents.

Tortelli stuffed with beef ragu and dressed with rapini puree and foamy smoked mozzarella from Quattro Osteria
Tortelli stuffed with beef ragu and dressed with rapini puree and foamy smoked mozzarella from Quattro Osteria
Kimberly Kong for Quattro Osteria

8. Qui Qui DC

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1539 7th St NW 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 642-3179
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A Puerto Rican food truck moved into the floor on top of Shaw cocktail bar the Passenger this spring, offering island favorites like mofongo, lechón, pernil (roasted pork shoulder), and Don Q rums in a pastel-hued setting reminiscent of Old San Juan. Qui Qui DC, named after owner Ismael Mendez’s nickname as a kid, recently locked down a deal to secure the 40-seat space for up to a year.

9. Maïz64

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1324 14th St NW #64
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 450-4962
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This sleek, modern Mexican newcomer in Logan Circle is the first attempt for Oaxaca-born, Mexico City-based chef Alam Méndez Florián to make a splash in D.C. Méndez Florián, who opened Urbano 116 in Alexandria before it pivoted to Tex-Mex, developed a Maïz64 menu that’s full of vegetable dishes (sweet corn tamales with charred tomatillo salsa and goat cheese sauce; yellow corn tostadas smeared with pumpkin seed and tomato sikil pak) and inventive entrees like a charcoal-roasted octopus al pastor with grilled pineapple relish and eggplant ash puree. Suckling pig terrine tacos arrive on freshly prepared tortillas made out of heirloom blue corn from the state of Tlaxcala. Seasonal sorbets and cocktails — such as a Oaxacan punch full of mezcal joven, warming spices, and tropical fruit — match the fine dining approach.

A rectangular slice of suckling pig terrine sits on top of a blue corn tortilla studded with dots of lime-green avocado puree and tomatillo salsa at Maiz64.
A suckling pig terrine taco from Maïz64.

10. Immigrant Food+

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925 13th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 888-0760
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The latest restaurant from nationally acclaimed chef Enrique Limardo (Seven ReasonsImperfecto) transforms a corner of D.C.’s new, literary-themed Planet Word museum into a swanky spot for artsy global plates, dim sum mash-ups, and continent-hopping cocktails from a Minibar alum. The extension of fast-casual “gastroadvocacy” restaurant Immigrant Food by the White House serves its familiar fusion bowls by day and fancier, dramatically plated dishes after exhibits close. Opening hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

An orange-painted dining room with a draped cloth ceiling.
A wood-burning furnace that used to heat the school behind a preserved iron door is now framed with a bedouin tent design.
Elizabeth Sanjuan Photography/Immigrant Food +

11. Daru

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1451 Maryland Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

On opening night, August 3, Daru fielded a line down the block of customers eager to sample the “Indian-ish” cooking and thoughtful cocktails from chef Suresh Sundas and bar expert Dante Datta. The co-owners, who met nearly a decade ago while working together at Rasika West End, had been steadily building anticipation for Daru for the past two years with a series of pop-ups and events. Try Sundas’s reshmi kebabs, featuring an undercurrent of blue cheese in the marinade and a sour cherry sauce on the side, and sip a hari daiquiri with clarified kefir and herb syrup that tastes like green chutney.

Striped seabass with tomato and Sichuan pepper chutney from Daru, opening soon near the H Street NE corridor
Striped seabass with tomato and Sichuan pepper chutney from Daru
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

12. L'Ardente

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200 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 448-0450
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Chef David Deshaies, the Frenchman who runs Unconventional Diner and Central Michel Richard, breaks in the Capital Crossing development with an ambitious Italian kitchen that boasts all the bells and whistles to match a soaring space covered in golden-glossed chandeliers, terrazzo tile floors, and black marble countertops. A 40-layer lasagna stuffed with beef sugo, truffle mornay, and truffle-infused Sottocenere cheese sets a decadent tone. The wood-burning grill and charcoal oven come from Barcelona producer Mibrasa, and a pizza oven bakes naturally leavened pies topped with hot salami and sausage.

A charred, split chicken cooks on a wood-fired grill at L’Ardente.
A spatchcocked barbecue chicken with agrodolce glaze and salsa verde from L’Ardente.
Rey Lopez/For L’Ardente

13. Crazy Aunt Helen's

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713 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 750-8140
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With a massive space to fill on Barracks Row, this two-story restaurant packs in a treasure trove of kitsch from vintage store owner “Miss Pixie” Windsor along with menus for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch (breakfast will come on after Labor Day). Chef Mykie Moll mixes in funky burgers — like a “Mack Zaddy” laden with special sauce or a Pass the Bourbon, with fried onions, mumbo sauce, and bacon bourbon jam — with rib-sticking Jewish brisket and vegan alternatives to steak or crab cakes.

Crazy Aunt Helen’s owner Shane Mayson and chef Mykie Moll pose for a picture while seated at a dining room table that adjoins a bright green bench.
Crazy Aunt Helen’s owner Shane Mayson and chef Mykie Moll
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

14. Ilili

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100 District Square SW
Washington, DC 20024

The high-end Lebanese restaurant based in NYC’s Flatiron District slides into the jewel box-styled space on the Southwest Waterfront that formerly housed Mike Isabella’s Requin. Chef and principal owner Philippe Massoud has D.C. ties; he helped open bygone Mediterranean hit Neyla in Georgetown. At Ilili, a varied menu showcases a compilation of Eastern Mediterranean meze and sharable mains like a decadent lamb shank or a whole organic chicken with kabis (pickled turnips), sumac, and garlic whip. The show-stopping look, inspired by courtyard gardens of Beirut homes, features custom daisy tile floors, hand-painted wallpaper, and natural elements like reclaimed wood from a Massachusetts tobacco barn.

A lengthy bone marrow order comes topped with steak tartare.
Ilili serves steak tartare and bone marrow topped with pomegranate seeds and pickles
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

15. Maxwell Park (Multiple locations)

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1346 4th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 792-9522
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Rising pop-up chef Masako Morishita took over the the kitchen at one of D.C.’s favorite wine bars this summer, installing a Japanese comfort food menu that loops in lots of memories from her native Japan. Items in Navy Yard and Shaw include a McDonald’s-inspired wagyu teriyaki burger, savory cabbage pancakes, and the same doctored sardines recipe her mom makes overseas. The bar from award-winning sommelier Brent Kroll previously served small snacks and rotating menus to go along with cheeky themed wine menus, but Morishita marks its first executive chef hire.

Dishes by Masako Morishita surrounded by Maxwell Park’s wines
Chef Masako Morishita brings her brand of Japanese bar food to Maxwell Park
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

1. The Angry Jerk

8223 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910

This Caribbean carryout in Silver Spring sells tacos and bowls that show off charcoal roasted jerk chicken, jerk shrimp, and shredded oxtails. Owner Jason Miskiri enlists his Guyanese mother to make roti for curry chicken, and snapper is available jerked or fried. Sauces come in flavors like jerk mumbo, pepper, and “hot angry.”

8223 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20910

2. Spanish Diner

7271 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814
Glass-topped foosball tables at Spanish Diner are a holdover
Glass-topped foosball tables at Spanish Diner are a holdover from Jaleo
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

An outpost of the home-style Spanish restaurant that José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup introduced inside its New York food hall replaced the Jaleo on Bethesda Row in May. Huevos rotos — runny fried eggs served over fried potatoes and jamón, blood sausage, or skinny chistorra sausage — can please a crowd. Customers who seek a deeper understanding of the foods that make Andrés nostalgic will want to try fabada Asturiana, a meaty white bean stew, or arroz a la Cubana, a plate of rice, lacy fried eggs, and ibérico pork sausage served with sweet tomato sauce. Start meals off with three types of sangria, kalimotxo, or a gin and tonic. Finish them with with a “burnt” Basque cheesecake.

7271 Woodmont Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814

3. Cracked Eggery

3420 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
A close-up of the Southern Charm from Cracked Eggery, a BLT with a fried green tomato, pimento cheese, arugula, and lemon aioli on a challah bun.
The Southern Charm from Cracked Eggery.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Cracked Eggery returns to Cleveland Park victorious, having successfully made the leap from a farmer’s market stall in the same neighborhood to a food truck to a counter-service shop with a neon sign on the ceiling that reads “#BigEggEnergy.” The driver for all that growth is a long list of egg sandwiches full of indulgent flourishes like pastrami, pork belly, half-smokes, and pimento cheese. Bowls built on tots or roasted squash cater to the bun-averse at this all-day operation (7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday with a 3 p.m. closing on Saturday and Sunday). A 24-7 offshoot is under construction in Shaw, too.

3420 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

4. No Goodbyes

1770 Euclid St NW, Washington, DC 20009
A beets and berries salad from No Goodbyes
The beets and berries salad at No Goodbyes
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

No Goodbyes gives the Line hotel a central, all-day restaurant that places a premium on Mid-Atlantic sourcing. The wood-burning hearth that used to fuel Spoken English is now responsible for roasting pickled beets in a surprising summer salad that includes humongous berries, candied walnuts, and a green goddess dressing that folds in smoked honey and lots of basil. Chef Opie Crooks, who led kitchens at A Rake’s Progress and Woodberry Kitchen for Spike Gjerde’s restaurant group, is running his own show for the first time. He’s serving fried green tomatoes with a spicy cheese dip, sorghum-glazed bacon steaks, and braised short ribs in a tangy French hunter sauce made from demiglace and lots of mushrooms.

1770 Euclid St NW
Washington, DC 20009

5. Shabu Plus

2321 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
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 from Shabu Plus
Havar Espedal/Shabu Plus

The final piece of chef Darren Norris’s three-part Japanese complex in Adams Morgan debuted in July with a focus on shabu shabu and kaiseki small plates that call back to his days running acclaimed izakaya Kushi. The middle floor, lined with large sake barrels and dragon artwork from local muralist Chris Pyre, invites seated customers to cook an assortment of top-notch meats like A7 Australian wagyu, local poultry, and sustainable seafoods in a bubbling dashi broth of choice (Norris suggests the duck bone collagen). The personalized experience kicks off at the start, when sake fans pick their own decorative cup out of a woven basket presented tableside.

2321 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

6. Lupo Pizzeria

1908 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
A blistered slice of pizza gets cooked in a 700-degree oven at Lupo Pizzeria
A blistered slice of pizza from Lupo Pizzeria
Rey Lopez/For Lupo Pizzeria

Restaurateur Med Lahlou has doubled down on the 14th Street NW corridor by placing a colorful new pizzeria next to sibling osteria Lupo Verde. Southern Italian street snacks steal the show at the bustling newcomer decked out in hand painted tiles and Italian flags. The open kitchen is well equipped to handle a full house. An early favorite is the $20 carbonara pizza topped with pecorino cream, pork cheek, black pepper, and an egg yolk for every slice. Chef Juan Olivera trained in Italy to perfect his panuozzo sandwiches stuffed into bread made from pizza dough. To start, go with a generous burrata dollop that’s plated next to bright, bruleed melon chunks topped with a ribbon of 24-month prosciutto.

1908 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

7. Quattro Osteria

600 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
Tortelli stuffed with beef ragu and dressed with rapini puree and foamy smoked mozzarella from Quattro Osteria
Tortelli stuffed with beef ragu and dressed with rapini puree and foamy smoked mozzarella from Quattro Osteria
Kimberly Kong for Quattro Osteria

This stylish new Italian restaurant in Shaw sells pasta made on-site from a chef who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in Tuscany. Indecisive diners can opt to go the prix fixe route, with options for three courses ($50) or five $75. Co-owner Louie Hankins, who also runs jungle-themed rooftop bar, El Techo, and taco joint Rito Loco next-door, teamed up with brothers and Naples natives Giovanni and Salvio Ippolito on the project. Seating sections include a patio, breezy bar, and romantic dining room dotted with crystal glassware, candlesticks, soft blue seating, and shimmering gold accents.

600 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

8. Qui Qui DC

1539 7th St NW 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20001

A Puerto Rican food truck moved into the floor on top of Shaw cocktail bar the Passenger this spring, offering island favorites like mofongo, lechón, pernil (roasted pork shoulder), and Don Q rums in a pastel-hued setting reminiscent of Old San Juan. Qui Qui DC, named after owner Ismael Mendez’s nickname as a kid, recently locked down a deal to secure the 40-seat space for up to a year.

1539 7th St NW 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20001

9. Maïz64

1324 14th St NW #64, Washington, DC 20005
A rectangular slice of suckling pig terrine sits on top of a blue corn tortilla studded with dots of lime-green avocado puree and tomatillo salsa at Maiz64.
A suckling pig terrine taco from Maïz64.

This sleek, modern Mexican newcomer in Logan Circle is the first attempt for Oaxaca-born, Mexico City-based chef Alam Méndez Florián to make a splash in D.C. Méndez Florián, who opened Urbano 116 in Alexandria before it pivoted to Tex-Mex, developed a Maïz64 menu that’s full of vegetable dishes (sweet corn tamales with charred tomatillo salsa and goat cheese sauce; yellow corn tostadas smeared with pumpkin seed and tomato sikil pak) and inventive entrees like a charcoal-roasted octopus al pastor with grilled pineapple relish and eggplant ash puree. Suckling pig terrine tacos arrive on freshly prepared tortillas made out of heirloom blue corn from the state of Tlaxcala. Seasonal sorbets and cocktails — such as a Oaxacan punch full of mezcal joven, warming spices, and tropical fruit — match the fine dining approach.

1324 14th St NW #64
Washington, DC 20005

10. Immigrant Food+

925 13th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
An orange-painted dining room with a draped cloth ceiling.
A wood-burning furnace that used to heat the school behind a preserved iron door is now framed with a bedouin tent design.
Elizabeth Sanjuan Photography/Immigrant Food +

The latest restaurant from nationally acclaimed chef Enrique Limardo (Seven ReasonsImperfecto) transforms a corner of D.C.’s new, literary-themed Planet Word museum into a swanky spot for artsy global plates, dim sum mash-ups, and continent-hopping cocktails from a Minibar alum. The extension of fast-casual “gastroadvocacy” restaurant Immigrant Food by the White House serves its familiar fusion bowls by day and fancier, dramatically plated dishes after exhibits close. Opening hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

925 13th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

11. Daru

1451 Maryland Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
Striped seabass with tomato and Sichuan pepper chutney from Daru, opening soon near the H Street NE corridor
Striped seabass with tomato and Sichuan pepper chutney from Daru
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

On opening night, August 3, Daru fielded a line down the block of customers eager to sample the “Indian-ish” cooking and thoughtful cocktails from chef Suresh Sundas and bar expert Dante Datta. The co-owners, who met nearly a decade ago while working together at Rasika West End, had been steadily building anticipation for Daru for the past two years with a series of pop-ups and events. Try Sundas’s reshmi kebabs, featuring an undercurrent of blue cheese in the marinade and a sour cherry sauce on the side, and sip a hari daiquiri with clarified kefir and herb syrup that tastes like green chutney.

1451 Maryland Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

12. L'Ardente

200 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
A charred, split chicken cooks on a wood-fired grill at L’Ardente.
A spatchcocked barbecue chicken with agrodolce glaze and salsa verde from L’Ardente.
Rey Lopez/For L’Ardente

Chef David Deshaies, the Frenchman who runs Unconventional Diner and Central Michel Richard, breaks in the Capital Crossing development with an ambitious Italian kitchen that boasts all the bells and whistles to match a soaring space covered in golden-glossed chandeliers, terrazzo tile floors, and black marble countertops. A 40-layer lasagna stuffed with beef sugo, truffle mornay, and truffle-infused Sottocenere cheese sets a decadent tone. The wood-burning grill and charcoal oven come from Barcelona producer Mibrasa, and a pizza oven bakes naturally leavened pies topped with hot salami and sausage.

200 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

13. Crazy Aunt Helen's

713 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
Crazy Aunt Helen’s owner Shane Mayson and chef Mykie Moll pose for a picture while seated at a dining room table that adjoins a bright green bench.
Crazy Aunt Helen’s owner Shane Mayson and chef Mykie Moll
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

With a massive space to fill on Barracks Row, this two-story restaurant packs in a treasure trove of kitsch from vintage store owner “Miss Pixie” Windsor along with menus for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch (breakfast will come on after Labor Day). Chef Mykie Moll mixes in funky burgers — like a “Mack Zaddy” laden with special sauce or a Pass the Bourbon, with fried onions, mumbo sauce, and bacon bourbon jam — with rib-sticking Jewish brisket and vegan alternatives to steak or crab cakes.

713 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

14. Ilili

100 District Square SW, Washington, DC 20024
A lengthy bone marrow order comes topped with steak tartare.
Ilili serves steak tartare and bone marrow topped with pomegranate seeds and pickles
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The high-end Lebanese restaurant based in NYC’s Flatiron District slides into the jewel box-styled space on the Southwest Waterfront that formerly housed Mike Isabella’s Requin. Chef and principal owner Philippe Massoud has D.C. ties; he helped open bygone Mediterranean hit Neyla in Georgetown. At Ilili, a varied menu showcases a compilation of Eastern Mediterranean meze and sharable mains like a decadent lamb shank or a whole organic chicken with kabis (pickled turnips), sumac, and garlic whip. The show-stopping look, inspired by courtyard gardens of Beirut homes, features custom daisy tile floors, hand-painted wallpaper, and natural elements like reclaimed wood from a Massachusetts tobacco barn.

100 District Square SW
Washington, DC 20024

15. Maxwell Park (Multiple locations)

1346 4th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
Dishes by Masako Morishita surrounded by Maxwell Park’s wines
Chef Masako Morishita brings her brand of Japanese bar food to Maxwell Park
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Rising pop-up chef Masako Morishita took over the the kitchen at one of D.C.’s favorite wine bars this summer, installing a Japanese comfort food menu that loops in lots of memories from her native Japan. Items in Navy Yard and Shaw include a McDonald’s-inspired wagyu teriyaki burger, savory cabbage pancakes, and the same doctored sardines recipe her mom makes overseas. The bar from award-winning sommelier Brent Kroll previously served small snacks and rotating menus to go along with cheeky themed wine menus, but Morishita marks its first executive chef hire.

1346 4th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

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