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A plate of seasoned kabobs at Leila.
Koobideh kabobs (seasoned chuck, hanger and brisket ground beef blend, saffron) at Tysons Corner’s new Leila.
John Robinson/Leila

The 16 Hottest New Restaurants Around D.C., November 2021

Where to try za’atar-topped flatbreads, modern meze, Louisiana crawfish-studded linguini, and more

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Koobideh kabobs (seasoned chuck, hanger and brisket ground beef blend, saffron) at Tysons Corner’s new Leila.
| John Robinson/Leila

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:

Michele’s, a Michelin-starred chef’s downtown ode to French and Gulf Coast cuisines; Leila, a flashy, Middle Eastern restaurant and lounge in Tysons Corner; Wren, another win for Tysons Corner starring delicate small plates from a Japanese chef; Bistro du Jour, a chic Parisian cafe on the Wharf; Z&Z – Manoushe Bakery, the first home for a Palestinian-American family’s beloved Arab flatbreads in Rockville; Los Compañeros, an Adams Morgan place for taqueria and fonda fare; and Santé, The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City’s revamped restaurant with modern meze and small pours of glamorous Napa wines.

Leaving the list: Spanish Diner, Qui Qui DC, Lupo Pizzeria, The Angry Jerk, Crazy Aunt Helen’s, and Maxwell Park

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. Z&Z – Manoushe Bakery

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1111 Nelson St
Rockville, MD 20850
(301) 296-4178
Visit Website

The Palestinian-American family that supplies its Z&Z za’atar to trendy D.C. restaurants and boutique grocers plans opened a standalone restaurant in Rockville, Maryland, to showcase their manoushe, the Arab flatbreads they’ve sold at farmers’ markets for the past five years. Brothers Danny and Johnny Dubbaneh also bring on board their popular meat pies alongside sides like tabbouleh, hummus, labneh, and za’atar-dusted french fries. For dessert, Z&Z has knafeh, a crunchy, stretchy pastry of phyllo dough, cheese, and simple syrup often flavored with flowers. To drink, there’s mint tea, cardamom coffee, and Bonjus, a Lebanese fruit juice.

A manoushe topped with za’atar and vegetables from Z&Z
A manoushe topped with za’atar and vegetables from Z&Z.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

2. Cracked Eggery

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3420 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 351-6168
Visit Website

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.

3. Wren Tysons

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1825 Capital One Dr S
Tysons, VA 22102
(703) 707-0478
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A scenic Japanese-American restaurant starring delicate small plates landed atop the lavish new Watermark Hotel next to Capital One’s global headquarters in Tysons, Virginia. Wren executive chef and Japanese native Yo Matsuzak, best known in D.C. for transforming former Thomas Circle hot spot Zentan into a respected izakaya, sends out freshly shucked local oysters, sashimi, a baby beet salad with a yuzu pistachio vinaigrette, miso-marinated sea bass, and a wagyu burger. Cocktails from beverage director and Omni alum Luis Mantilla include a trio of gin and tonics, a white negroni, and hard cider punch for two.

A bowl of bright hamachi.
Hamachi tartare with yellowtail sashimi, olive tapenade, white truffle vinaigrette, and house made potato chips.
Wren/official photo

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. Los Compañeros

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1819 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 238-1819
Visit Website

The business partners behind Johnny’s Half Shell, a D.C. favorite for 21 years across multiple locations, reinvented the Adams Morgan restaurant they shut down last fall. Chef Ann Cashion and John Fulchino replace the space with a full-service Mexican restaurant serving tequila-driven drinks to complement their Taqueria Nacional brand nearby. Taqueria and fonda fare includes Gulf shrimp enchiladas, Yucatan-style grilled chicken, a Veracruz crab cake, and throwback queso from Cashion’s Austin Grill days. Aside from quesadillas, fish tacos, tres leches cake, and churros, the whole menu is gluten-free. 

A crab cake at Los Compañeros.
A Veracruz crab cake at Los Compañeros.
John Fulchino/Los Compañeros

6. 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 new $35 prix fixe lunch from Fridays to Sundays captures the strip’s weekend crowd.

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

7. Leila

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7943b Tysons Corner Center
Tysons, VA 22102
(571) 730-7910
Visit Website

A cluster of D.C. nightlife vets and notable Indian chef bring Tysons Corner Center a sprawling new spot to sample flame-grilled kabobs, fluffy naan, baba ghannoush, and flaky baklava across a stylish, 5,000-square-foot space that caters to a lunch, happy hour, dinner, late-night, and Sunday brunch crowd. Jassi Bindra (Punjab Grill) consults on a menu filled with flavors from Northern India, the Persian Gulf, and Middle East, centered around breads and meats cooked in an imported tandoor oven and mains like chicken fesenjoon (pomegranate and walnut stew, saffron basmati rice). The 210-seat restaurant and hookah lounge is the brainchild of DJ Bikram Keith, who tapped Versus’s Vinoda Basnayake (Casta’s Rum Bar, Morris American Bar and Heist) to helm the nightlife experience. DJs spin until 2 a.m. from Thursday to Sunday.

A colorful mix of spreads in bowls at Leila.
An array of colorful spreads and starters at Leila.
John Robinson/Leila

8. 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

9. Maïz64

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1324 14th St NW #64
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 450-4962
Visit Website

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. Michele’s at Eaton DC

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1201 K St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 289-7600
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Matt Baker, the prominent D.C. chef behind Ivy City’s Michelin-starred Gravitas, expands his local portfolio with a new French-American restaurant in the lobby-level Eaton hotel space on K Street NW. At Michele’s, Baker incorporates lots influences from New Orleans and Houston with dishes like Louisiana crawfish-studded linguini, a hamachi crudo that takes tips from Texas’s beloved tacos al pastor, and a banh mi en croute that showcases Vietnamese flavors and French technique. Pastry chef Aisha Momaney, who works with Baker at cafe and market Baker’s Daughter, brings sour cream cheesecake and a bananas Foster ice cream sundae to the table. The 124-seat restaurant dressed in cobalt blue and neon pink takes the place of chef Tim Ma’s American Son, which arrived shortly after the hotel’s debut in the fall of 2018.

Crawfish linguini from Michele’s in D.C.
Crawfish linguini from Michele’s in D.C.
Leading DC

11. Immigrant Food+

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925 13th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 888-0760
Visit Website

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 +

12. 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.

13. L'Ardente

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200 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 448-0450
Visit Website

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

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. Bistro du Jour

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99 District Square SW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 984-7400
Visit Website

A Parisian cafe that segues from croissants and La Colombe coffee drinks during the day to fizzy French cocktails and coq au vin by night reactivates a high-profile corner space that formerly housed a location of gelato shop Dolcezza, marking D.C. restaurant group Knead Hospitality + Design’s third waterfront venue in Southwest. The chic cafe opens daily at 7:30 a.m. with brioche donuts and pastries supplied by partner bakery Mah-Ze-Dahr and bechamel-blanketed eggs over sourdough. As the day progresses, traditional French fare like French onion soup, duck confit, and steak frites join the mix. For drinks, there’s a nice bubbly section, fresh-squeezed juices, and a short list of spirits (think: one gin, one vodka, one rum).

Daily dinner at Bistro du Jour brings confit de canard to the table (duck leg, parsley breadcrumbs, green lentils, and red wine-shallots).
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

16. Santé at The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City

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1250 S Hayes St
Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 415-5000
Visit Website

The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Pentagon City revamped its restaurant as a Mediterranean place that serves modern meze, small pours of glamorous Napa wines, and an espresso martini built with a brand of chocolate rum owned by Bruno Mars. Longtime Ritz-Carlton executive chef Phil Skerman’s is in charge of Santé, which translates to “health” in French, alongside chef de cuisine Kevin Marshall-Broderick. Starter highlights include thick chickpea fries served with a Greek yogurt dip, grilled Virginia oysters with citrus and harissa butter, and a pan-seared shrimp saganaki with black garlic and tomato fondue. Middle Eastern influences show up in a lamb kofta appetizer, a fattoush salad, and cf charred Atlantic salmon with dukkah vinaigrette.

1. Z&Z – Manoushe Bakery

1111 Nelson St, Rockville, MD 20850
A manoushe topped with za’atar and vegetables from Z&Z
A manoushe topped with za’atar and vegetables from Z&Z.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

The Palestinian-American family that supplies its Z&Z za’atar to trendy D.C. restaurants and boutique grocers plans opened a standalone restaurant in Rockville, Maryland, to showcase their manoushe, the Arab flatbreads they’ve sold at farmers’ markets for the past five years. Brothers Danny and Johnny Dubbaneh also bring on board their popular meat pies alongside sides like tabbouleh, hummus, labneh, and za’atar-dusted french fries. For dessert, Z&Z has knafeh, a crunchy, stretchy pastry of phyllo dough, cheese, and simple syrup often flavored with flowers. To drink, there’s mint tea, cardamom coffee, and Bonjus, a Lebanese fruit juice.

1111 Nelson St
Rockville, MD 20850

2. 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

3. Wren Tysons

1825 Capital One Dr S, Tysons, VA 22102
A bowl of bright hamachi.
Hamachi tartare with yellowtail sashimi, olive tapenade, white truffle vinaigrette, and house made potato chips.
Wren/official photo

A scenic Japanese-American restaurant starring delicate small plates landed atop the lavish new Watermark Hotel next to Capital One’s global headquarters in Tysons, Virginia. Wren executive chef and Japanese native Yo Matsuzak, best known in D.C. for transforming former Thomas Circle hot spot Zentan into a respected izakaya, sends out freshly shucked local oysters, sashimi, a baby beet salad with a yuzu pistachio vinaigrette, miso-marinated sea bass, and a wagyu burger. Cocktails from beverage director and Omni alum Luis Mantilla include a trio of gin and tonics, a white negroni, and hard cider punch for two.

1825 Capital One Dr S
Tysons, VA 22102

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. Los Compañeros

1819 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009
A crab cake at Los Compañeros.
A Veracruz crab cake at Los Compañeros.
John Fulchino/Los Compañeros

The business partners behind Johnny’s Half Shell, a D.C. favorite for 21 years across multiple locations, reinvented the Adams Morgan restaurant they shut down last fall. Chef Ann Cashion and John Fulchino replace the space with a full-service Mexican restaurant serving tequila-driven drinks to complement their Taqueria Nacional brand nearby. Taqueria and fonda fare includes Gulf shrimp enchiladas, Yucatan-style grilled chicken, a Veracruz crab cake, and throwback queso from Cashion’s Austin Grill days. Aside from quesadillas, fish tacos, tres leches cake, and churros, the whole menu is gluten-free. 

1819 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009

6. 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. A new $35 prix fixe lunch from Fridays to Sundays captures the strip’s weekend crowd.

2321 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

7. Leila

7943b Tysons Corner Center, Tysons, VA 22102
A colorful mix of spreads in bowls at Leila.
An array of colorful spreads and starters at Leila.
John Robinson/Leila

A cluster of D.C. nightlife vets and notable Indian chef bring Tysons Corner Center a sprawling new spot to sample flame-grilled kabobs, fluffy naan, baba ghannoush, and flaky baklava across a stylish, 5,000-square-foot space that caters to a lunch, happy hour, dinner, late-night, and Sunday brunch crowd. Jassi Bindra (Punjab Grill) consults on a menu filled with flavors from Northern India, the Persian Gulf, and Middle East, centered around breads and meats cooked in an imported tandoor oven and mains like chicken fesenjoon (pomegranate and walnut stew, saffron basmati rice). The 210-seat restaurant and hookah lounge is the brainchild of DJ Bikram Keith, who tapped Versus’s Vinoda Basnayake (Casta’s Rum Bar, Morris American Bar and Heist) to helm the nightlife experience. DJs spin until 2 a.m. from Thursday to Sunday.

7943b Tysons Corner Center
Tysons, VA 22102

8. 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

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. Michele’s at Eaton DC

1201 K St NW, Washington, DC 20005
Crawfish linguini from Michele’s in D.C.
Crawfish linguini from Michele’s in D.C.
Leading DC

Matt Baker, the prominent D.C. chef behind Ivy City’s Michelin-starred Gravitas, expands his local portfolio with a new French-American restaurant in the lobby-level Eaton hotel space on K Street NW. At Michele’s, Baker incorporates lots influences from New Orleans and Houston with dishes like Louisiana crawfish-studded linguini, a hamachi crudo that takes tips from Texas’s beloved tacos al pastor, and a banh mi en croute that showcases Vietnamese flavors and French technique. Pastry chef Aisha Momaney, who works with Baker at cafe and market Baker’s Daughter, brings sour cream cheesecake and a bananas Foster ice cream sundae to the table. The 124-seat restaurant dressed in cobalt blue and neon pink takes the place of chef Tim Ma’s American Son, which arrived shortly after the hotel’s debut in the fall of 2018.

1201 K St NW
Washington, DC 20005

11. 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

12. 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

13. 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

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. Bistro du Jour

99 District Square SW, Washington, DC 20024
Daily dinner at Bistro du Jour brings confit de canard to the table (duck leg, parsley breadcrumbs, green lentils, and red wine-shallots).
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

A Parisian cafe that segues from croissants and La Colombe coffee drinks during the day to fizzy French cocktails and coq au vin by night reactivates a high-profile corner space that formerly housed a location of gelato shop Dolcezza, marking D.C. restaurant group Knead Hospitality + Design’s third waterfront venue in Southwest. The chic cafe opens daily at 7:30 a.m. with brioche donuts and pastries supplied by partner bakery Mah-Ze-Dahr and bechamel-blanketed eggs over sourdough. As the day progresses, traditional French fare like French onion soup, duck confit, and steak frites join the mix. For drinks, there’s a nice bubbly section, fresh-squeezed juices, and a short list of spirits (think: one gin, one vodka, one rum).

99 District Square SW
Washington, DC 20024

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16. Santé at The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City

1250 S Hayes St, Arlington, VA 22202

The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Pentagon City revamped its restaurant as a Mediterranean place that serves modern meze, small pours of glamorous Napa wines, and an espresso martini built with a brand of chocolate rum owned by Bruno Mars. Longtime Ritz-Carlton executive chef Phil Skerman’s is in charge of Santé, which translates to “health” in French, alongside chef de cuisine Kevin Marshall-Broderick. Starter highlights include thick chickpea fries served with a Greek yogurt dip, grilled Virginia oysters with citrus and harissa butter, and a pan-seared shrimp saganaki with black garlic and tomato fondue. Middle Eastern influences show up in a lamb kofta appetizer, a fattoush salad, and cf charred Atlantic salmon with dukkah vinaigrette.

1250 S Hayes St
Arlington, VA 22202

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