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Tiki TNT opened on the Southwest Waterfront in December.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

The 14 Hottest Restaurants in D.C., January 2019

Where to eat right now around the DMV

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Tiki TNT opened on the Southwest Waterfront in December.
| Photo by Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Readers, friends and family often come to Eater editors with one question: “Where should I eat right now?” Restaurant obsessives want to know what’s new, what’s exciting, which favorite chef just opened a new place. And while the Eater 38 is a crucial resource covering standbys and essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the ‘it’ places of the moment. Enter the Eater Heatmap, which will change monthly to highlight where discerning diners are flocking to right now.

Now leaving the hot list: Valor Brew Pub, Little Beast, the Meatball Shop, Officina, and Pisco y Nazca

New to the hot list: The Berliner, High Street Cafe, Julii, Philly Wing Fry, and Tiki TNT

Find an archive of previous Heatmap restaurants here.

For all the latest Washington D.C. dining intel, subscribe to Eater DC’s newsletter.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Julii

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11915 Grand Park Ave
North Bethesda, MD 20852
(301) 517-9090
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The Levantine-influenced French bistro from the founders of Cava Grill added to the dining scene at the Pike & Rose development in December, brining an elegant ambiance accented in gold to go with impeccably presented dishes from bubbly chef Sasha Felikson (formerly of Doi Moi). Early hits inside the jewel box include the crispy trout entree, pistachio and fennel salt dinner rolls with whipped labneh butter, roasted bone marrow, and warm salmon nicoise salad. The packed bar area has quickly become a popular meeting ground for Basil Hayden Old Fashioneds and a refreshing mezcal cocktail called the Conquistador.

2. El Sapo Restaurant Cuban Social Club

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8455-1 Fenton St
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 326-1063
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El Sapo has injected an energetic dose of Cuban culture into Silver Spring, adding mojitos, branded coconuts, and live music to the Maryland suburb. Chef Raynold Mendizábal, who runs Urban Butcher a short Vespa ride away, is drawing nightly packed crowds for takes on his native country’s classic ropa vieja. Diners are encouraged to stay and sip hard-to-find rums plucked from a roving wicker box (his favorite is the Santa Teresa 1796). The venture is a family affair: Mendizábal’s sister, who’s also a manager, makes cross-shaped art adorned with puka shells and coins that add extra flair to the electric green space. One of the signature cocktails, an espresso martini with Tito’s Vodka, is designed to keep caffeinated customers dancing.

El Sapo’s ceviche lineup includes a Scottish salmon variety with pineapple and smoked cachucha.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

3. I’m Eddie Cano

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5014 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 890-4995
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Chevy Chase newcomer I’m Eddie Cano delivered the once-sleepy neighborhood a mod spot to sample Italy’s greatest pasta hits and down Vespers in front of a mural that features Italian film stars like Sophia Loren. The first-time venture from James Gee and Massimo Papetti (Assaggi Osteria, Cafe Milano), who met while working at East Hampton’s celebrity-packed Cittanuova restaurant in the mid-2000s, encourages diners to say its name three times fast to reveal the phonetic meaning behind the American-meets-Italian respite: Americano. Italian-born Papetti is now leading “language and linguini” classes inside the throwback 60-seat restaurant.

I’m Eddie Cano chef James Gee’s eggplant parmesan is a certified hit.
I’m Eddie Cano/Facebook

4. Call Your Mother

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3301 Georgia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20010

The self-described “Jew-ish” bagel shop and deli in Park View has generated a tremendous following in a hurry. The shop from the Timber Pizza team of Andrew Dana and chef Daniela Moreira was so packed on it’s opening weekend in October that it had to shut down for two days the following to reconfigure the menu and temporarily pausing latke production. The za’atar covered bagels and the sandwiches stuffed with wild combinations — like peach jam, cream cheese, bacon, jalapeños, and potato chips — keep bringing the crowds back.

Rey Lopez

5. Bombay Street Food

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1413 Park Rd NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 758-2415
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Opened on the last day of November, Bombay Street Food represents accomplished Northern Virginia restaurateur Asad Sheikh’s first crack at the D.C. market. A four-page menu is full of spicy dishes that Sheikh promises will test even the must durable customers’ tolerance for spice. A monsoon season section features comforting favorites from the owner’s hometown of Mumbai. Indo-Chinese items promise a combo of Asian cultures not frequently seen in the District.

A thali platter for two at Bombay Street Food.
Emma McAlary/Courtesy of Bombay Street Food

6. Philly Wing Fry

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1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

The second location of Kith and Kin chef Kwame Onwuachi’s gourmet cheesesteak counter arrived in Union Market in mid-December. Rich ribbons of dry-aged ribeye mingle with smoked provolone cheese, caramelized onions, garlic aioli, and bread toasted in beef fat to drive up wait times at the small stall in the bustling food hall.

Philly Wing Fry/Official

7. St. Anselm

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1250 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 864-2199
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The flashy Northeast restaurant, a joint effort between founder Joe Carroll and James Beard Foundation Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr (perennially packed Le Diplomate), opened for daily dinner service in September with a 120-seat dining room, 13-seat chef’s counter, a 19-seat U-shaped bar, and an 18-seat patio. In the kitchen, Marjorie Meek-Bradley was just named Eater D.C.’s 2018 Chef of the Year for her takes on steak, salmon collar, and sides worthy of starring roles.

8. High Street Cafe

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1303 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 333-0256
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Restaurateur Manuel Iguina’s latest venture — an ode to Wisconsin Avenue’s former name — slid into the space most recently occupied by Paolo’s Ristorante this fall. American classics get a Hispanic bent at High Street, like a five-cheese pizza with manchego cream, fontina, taleggio, mozzarella, and parmesan, or rotating specials made with goat meat. Iguina just kicked off live music nights inside the space.

Pizzas are cooked out of High Street’s original white wood-burning oven.
Jessica van Dop DeJesus/High Street Cafe

9. The Berliner

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3401 Water St NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 621-7000
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Situated way down Water Street, the Berliner is in the boonies of Georgetown. But once people find it, they’re greeted with a deep draft list curated by chef Mike O’Brien that includes American craft beers alongside rare German finds such as Mahrs Brau Ungespundet. O’Brien — whose early gigs in cooking included time at the Liberty Tavern, Blue Duck Tavern, and Birch and Barley — directs a sausage-making operation that churns out six varieties to go with house-made mustards and relishes.

10. Reverie

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3201 Cherry Hill Ln
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 808-2952
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The modern American restaurant arrived last month in the heart of historic Georgetown, which is going through a full-blown dining renaissance as of late. Executive chef Johnny Spero’s 64-seat restaurant, two years in the making, features a minimalist design with globally-inspired dishes that draw from his diverse resume (Minibar and Komi in D.C., as well as Copenhagen’s Noma and Spain’s Mugaritz). Despite its high-end feel, dishes ($12 to $30) won’t break the bank.

Reverie opened last month in Georgetown.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

11. American Son at Eaton Hotel

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1201 K St NW
Washington, DC 20005

American Son​ delivers diners an all-day option for inventive dishes from D.C. chef Tim Ma. The scene-y newcomer, an ode to Ma’s experiences growing up as a second-generation Asian American in Arkansas, sits on the lobby level of the months-old Eaton DC hotel. Early hits include the beef cheek with charred peach, a grilled romaine salad, and the potato croquette — a savory spin on a funnel cake. The hotel kitchen’s late-night menu features Taiwanese fried chicken and tater tot poutine. Weekend brunch service features avocado toast, pork belly hash, and a salmon pastrami BLT.

A steak and cheese sandwich from American Son.
Kait Ebinger for Eaton DC

12. Nama Sushi Bar & Restaurant

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465 K St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 414-7066
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The 32-seat sushi restaurant owned by James Beard Foundation award winner Michael Schlow packs some fun elements into its tiny dining room. Heritage pork gyoza in a soy truffle broth highlight the selection of small plates. Vegetarians will be pleased with a selection of fish-free nigiri: mushroom, eggplant, cucumber, beets).

Vegetarian nigiri from Nama features royal trumpet mushrooms, left, and spicy beet tartare.
Nama DC/Official site

13. Scotts Restaurant

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927 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 628-7000
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The first stateside venture from British hospitality vet Simon Lowe brought the bustling Penn Quarter neighborhood a quaint and colorful getaway for across-the-pond comfort foods and craft cocktails last month. The opening also marks the comeback of D.C. chef Will Artley, who cooked at the White House, the now-shuttered Nonna’s Kitchen, and Grist Mill Restaurant. He’s serving his famed “BLT” gnocchi at Scotts. Some other menu items, like sour and scotch-based cocktails and meats served daily from a rolling vintage trolly, double as wall art.

Scotts is a two-part venue, featuring a restaurant and a members-only drinking club.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

14. Tiki TNT

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1130 Maine Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 900-4786
Visit Website

The palatial tiki bar overlooking the Washington Channel opened in December, giving visitors at the Wharf development a laid-back venue to drink frozen Coca-Cola spiked with rum and a host of other cocktails created by Todd Thrasher. The owner and renowned mixologist asked several of his chef buddies — Erik Bruner-Yang, Bryan Voltaggio, and David Guas — to contribute to a menu that includes rotisserie chickens, pulled pork platters, and a whipped, non-fermented poi dip.

1. Julii

11915 Grand Park Ave, North Bethesda, MD 20852

The Levantine-influenced French bistro from the founders of Cava Grill added to the dining scene at the Pike & Rose development in December, brining an elegant ambiance accented in gold to go with impeccably presented dishes from bubbly chef Sasha Felikson (formerly of Doi Moi). Early hits inside the jewel box include the crispy trout entree, pistachio and fennel salt dinner rolls with whipped labneh butter, roasted bone marrow, and warm salmon nicoise salad. The packed bar area has quickly become a popular meeting ground for Basil Hayden Old Fashioneds and a refreshing mezcal cocktail called the Conquistador.

11915 Grand Park Ave
North Bethesda, MD 20852

2. El Sapo Restaurant Cuban Social Club

8455-1 Fenton St, Silver Spring, MD 20910
El Sapo’s ceviche lineup includes a Scottish salmon variety with pineapple and smoked cachucha.
Tierney Plumb/Eater DC

El Sapo has injected an energetic dose of Cuban culture into Silver Spring, adding mojitos, branded coconuts, and live music to the Maryland suburb. Chef Raynold Mendizábal, who runs Urban Butcher a short Vespa ride away, is drawing nightly packed crowds for takes on his native country’s classic ropa vieja. Diners are encouraged to stay and sip hard-to-find rums plucked from a roving wicker box (his favorite is the Santa Teresa 1796). The venture is a family affair: Mendizábal’s sister, who’s also a manager, makes cross-shaped art adorned with puka shells and coins that add extra flair to the electric green space. One of the signature cocktails, an espresso martini with Tito’s Vodka, is designed to keep caffeinated customers dancing.

8455-1 Fenton St
Silver Spring, MD 20910

3. I’m Eddie Cano

5014 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
I’m Eddie Cano chef James Gee’s eggplant parmesan is a certified hit.
I’m Eddie Cano/Facebook

Chevy Chase newcomer I’m Eddie Cano delivered the once-sleepy neighborhood a mod spot to sample Italy’s greatest pasta hits and down Vespers in front of a mural that features Italian film stars like Sophia Loren. The first-time venture from James Gee and Massimo Papetti (Assaggi Osteria, Cafe Milano), who met while working at East Hampton’s celebrity-packed Cittanuova restaurant in the mid-2000s, encourages diners to say its name three times fast to reveal the phonetic meaning behind the American-meets-Italian respite: Americano. Italian-born Papetti is now leading “language and linguini” classes inside the throwback 60-seat restaurant.

5014 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

4. Call Your Mother

3301 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20010
Rey Lopez

The self-described “Jew-ish” bagel shop and deli in Park View has generated a tremendous following in a hurry. The shop from the Timber Pizza team of Andrew Dana and chef Daniela Moreira was so packed on it’s opening weekend in October that it had to shut down for two days the following to reconfigure the menu and temporarily pausing latke production. The za’atar covered bagels and the sandwiches stuffed with wild combinations — like peach jam, cream cheese, bacon, jalapeños, and potato chips — keep bringing the crowds back.

3301 Georgia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20010

5. Bombay Street Food

1413 Park Rd NW, Washington, DC 20010
A thali platter for two at Bombay Street Food.
Emma McAlary/Courtesy of Bombay Street Food

Opened on the last day of November, Bombay Street Food represents accomplished Northern Virginia restaurateur Asad Sheikh’s first crack at the D.C. market. A four-page menu is full of spicy dishes that Sheikh promises will test even the must durable customers’ tolerance for spice. A monsoon season section features comforting favorites from the owner’s hometown of Mumbai. Indo-Chinese items promise a combo of Asian cultures not frequently seen in the District.

1413 Park Rd NW
Washington, DC 20010

6. Philly Wing Fry

1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Philly Wing Fry/Official

The second location of Kith and Kin chef Kwame Onwuachi’s gourmet cheesesteak counter arrived in Union Market in mid-December. Rich ribbons of dry-aged ribeye mingle with smoked provolone cheese, caramelized onions, garlic aioli, and bread toasted in beef fat to drive up wait times at the small stall in the bustling food hall.

1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

7. St. Anselm

1250 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002

The flashy Northeast restaurant, a joint effort between founder Joe Carroll and James Beard Foundation Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr (perennially packed Le Diplomate), opened for daily dinner service in September with a 120-seat dining room, 13-seat chef’s counter, a 19-seat U-shaped bar, and an 18-seat patio. In the kitchen, Marjorie Meek-Bradley was just named Eater D.C.’s 2018 Chef of the Year for her takes on steak, salmon collar, and sides worthy of starring roles.

1250 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

8. High Street Cafe

1303 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007
Pizzas are cooked out of High Street’s original white wood-burning oven.
Jessica van Dop DeJesus/High Street Cafe

Restaurateur Manuel Iguina’s latest venture — an ode to Wisconsin Avenue’s former name — slid into the space most recently occupied by Paolo’s Ristorante this fall. American classics get a Hispanic bent at High Street, like a five-cheese pizza with manchego cream, fontina, taleggio, mozzarella, and parmesan, or rotating specials made with goat meat. Iguina just kicked off live music nights inside the space.

1303 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007

9. The Berliner

3401 Water St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Situated way down Water Street, the Berliner is in the boonies of Georgetown. But once people find it, they’re greeted with a deep draft list curated by chef Mike O’Brien that includes American craft beers alongside rare German finds such as Mahrs Brau Ungespundet. O’Brien — whose early gigs in cooking included time at the Liberty Tavern, Blue Duck Tavern, and Birch and Barley — directs a sausage-making operation that churns out six varieties to go with house-made mustards and relishes.

3401 Water St NW
Washington, DC 20007

10. Reverie

3201 Cherry Hill Ln, Washington, DC 20007
Reverie opened last month in Georgetown.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The modern American restaurant arrived last month in the heart of historic Georgetown, which is going through a full-blown dining renaissance as of late. Executive chef Johnny Spero’s 64-seat restaurant, two years in the making, features a minimalist design with globally-inspired dishes that draw from his diverse resume (Minibar and Komi in D.C., as well as Copenhagen’s Noma and Spain’s Mugaritz). Despite its high-end feel, dishes ($12 to $30) won’t break the bank.

3201 Cherry Hill Ln
Washington, DC 20007

11. American Son at Eaton Hotel

1201 K St NW, Washington, DC 20005
A steak and cheese sandwich from American Son.
Kait Ebinger for Eaton DC

American Son​ delivers diners an all-day option for inventive dishes from D.C. chef Tim Ma. The scene-y newcomer, an ode to Ma’s experiences growing up as a second-generation Asian American in Arkansas, sits on the lobby level of the months-old Eaton DC hotel. Early hits include the beef cheek with charred peach, a grilled romaine salad, and the potato croquette — a savory spin on a funnel cake. The hotel kitchen’s late-night menu features Taiwanese fried chicken and tater tot poutine. Weekend brunch service features avocado toast, pork belly hash, and a salmon pastrami BLT.

1201 K St NW
Washington, DC 20005

12. Nama Sushi Bar & Restaurant

465 K St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Vegetarian nigiri from Nama features royal trumpet mushrooms, left, and spicy beet tartare.
Nama DC/Official site

The 32-seat sushi restaurant owned by James Beard Foundation award winner Michael Schlow packs some fun elements into its tiny dining room. Heritage pork gyoza in a soy truffle broth highlight the selection of small plates. Vegetarians will be pleased with a selection of fish-free nigiri: mushroom, eggplant, cucumber, beets).

465 K St NW
Washington, DC 20001

13. Scotts Restaurant

927 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004
Scotts is a two-part venue, featuring a restaurant and a members-only drinking club.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The first stateside venture from British hospitality vet Simon Lowe brought the bustling Penn Quarter neighborhood a quaint and colorful getaway for across-the-pond comfort foods and craft cocktails last month. The opening also marks the comeback of D.C. chef Will Artley, who cooked at the White House, the now-shuttered Nonna’s Kitchen, and Grist Mill Restaurant. He’s serving his famed “BLT” gnocchi at Scotts. Some other menu items, like sour and scotch-based cocktails and meats served daily from a rolling vintage trolly, double as wall art.

927 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004

14. Tiki TNT

1130 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

The palatial tiki bar overlooking the Washington Channel opened in December, giving visitors at the Wharf development a laid-back venue to drink frozen Coca-Cola spiked with rum and a host of other cocktails created by Todd Thrasher. The owner and renowned mixologist asked several of his chef buddies — Erik Bruner-Yang, Bryan Voltaggio, and David Guas — to contribute to a menu that includes rotisserie chickens, pulled pork platters, and a whipped, non-fermented poi dip.

1130 Maine Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024

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