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Broth poured tableside into a bowl of ramen
Wagyu ramen at Capitol Hill’s new Kaiju Ramen.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The 18 Hottest New Restaurants Around D.C., January 2022

Where to try Italian croissants, lomo saltado, samosas, and more

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Wagyu ramen at Capitol Hill’s new Kaiju Ramen.
| Rey Lopez/Eater DC

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. For our map of the D.C. area’s 38 essential restaurants, go here.

New to the map this month:

Inca Social, an energetic Peruvian place in Rosslyn; Puro Gusto, downtown’s all-day Italian cafe out of Milan; Suga and Spice, a Southern-meets-Caribbean restaurant in Hyattsville; Himalayan Wild Yak, a yak-filled addition to Ashburn; Duck Duck Goose, an established French eatery for Dupont; Destino, an ambitious Mexican rebrand in La Cosecha; Noosh, a Persian and Mediterranean newcomer in Georgetown; and Era Wine Bar, a Mount Rainier destination for unique pours and small plates.

Leaving the list: Shabu Plus, Quattro Osteria, Leila, Ilili, Wren Tysons, Maïz64, Immigrant Food+, Daru, Santé, and Z&Z – Manoushe Bakery

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. Melina

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909 Rose Ave
North Bethesda, MD 20852

Melina makes a big splash in Bethesda with its gorgeous Greek dishes, which come as no surprise from a Greek chef with loads of experience cooking in Greece’s upscale restaurants. Chef Aris Tsekouras puts veggies first in many of the dishes, like heirloom carrots roasted to a deep golden color before joining a tightly composed plate of smoked Manouri cheese, spiced granola, and pickled raisins. There are plenty of meat and seafood options as well, like a tender, slow-roasted lamb neck with salty, nutty Kefalograviera cheese, plus sweet roasted peppers, grapes, tomatoes, parsley, and pickled onions; and a stunning plate of beef tartare with lemony avgolemono foam, cabbage, wild fennel, and egg yolk. Tsekouras also bakes breads in-house. The restaurant comes from the folks behind the fast-expanding Cava empire.

six orange, roasted carrots with soft boiled egg, hazelnuts, and cream
The roasted carrots at Melina steal the spotlight on the plate.
Melina/official photo

2. Himalayan Wild Yak

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22885 Brambleton Plaza
Ashburn, VA 20148
(703) 760-3710
Visit Website

Just after Christmas, Himalayan Wild Yak restaurant moved into the 5,000-square-foot space in Brambleton that was previously home to the Lost Rhino Retreat. With a a menu abounding with yak dishes: marinated and grilled yak appetizer; yak sausage; yak biryani; and yak fried rice; plus tea polished with whipped yak butter, milk, pink salt, and sugar. (Yak is an exceptionally lean meat with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.) Goat, bison, pork, chicken, and lamb make the menu as well, plus Indian dishes like butter chicken and chana masala. The interior is anchored by none other than a taxidermy yak named Rocky.

momo dumplings surrounding a burnt orange/red sauce
Momo dumplings, a common Tibetan dish, are served at Himalayan Wild Yak
Photo courtesy of Himalayan Wild Yak

3. Suga & Spice

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5557 Baltimore Ave
Hyattsville, MD 20781

Chef Jeffeary Miskiri’s Southern-meets-Caribbean restaurant charms with deep-fried jerk catfish and sautéed crab over white cheddar grits, deviled eggs with jerk honey shrimp, jerk crab cakes, and fried or grilled chicken wings in homemade sweet and sour sauce. From the group behind Po Boy Jim and Creole on 14th, this new restaurant highlights the Caribbean contributions to Southern cuisine while playfully combining ingredients in ways that just dare you to look the other way.

4. Era Wine Bar

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3300 Rhode Island Ave
Mt Rainier, MD 20712
(301) 235-3788
Visit Website

First-time restaurateurs Michelle and Ka-ton Grant brought Mount Rainier a refreshing destination to sample grapes from underdog regions, with 45 wines by the glass in 3-, 6-, and 9-ounce pours. A strong small plates list taps into the couple’s heritage and extensive world travels. Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema recently raved over its samosas brought in from Swahili Village in Beltsville, unique cheese and charcuterie options, and a Moroccan chicken tagine.

An aerial shot of a cheese and charcuterie board.
Era Wine Bar’s cheese and charcuterie boards “celebrate the best of France, Italy, and the U.S.,” Michelle Grant tells Eater. 
Michelle Grant/Era Wine Bar

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 in late 2020. 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. Jack's Ranch

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1755 Tysons Central St
Tysons, VA 22182
(703) 663-4755
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This massive Italian restaurant gallops into Tyson’s Corner with Hell’s Kitchen alum Declan Hogan helming the kitchen. From the group behind barbecue spot Texas Jack’s, this new restaurant adds a good dose of house-smoked meats to Italian cuisine. Diners can find smoked Berkshire porchetta, pizzas, a beer burger served with house fries cooked in beef tallow, as well as classic Italian dishes. Look for lasagna layered with braised beef shank, ricotta, Parmigiano, and pecorino; as well as a gorgonzola-stuffed gnocchi dressed in wild mushroom cream sauce.

A pair of hands holds a whole pizza topped with thin ribbons of prosciutto and fresh arugula
Jack’s Ranch opened with Italian food, like this Neopolitan pizza with arugula and prosciutto.
Jack’s Ranch/Facebook

7. Noosh

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1721 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 342-7100
Visit Website

In November, Georgetown welcomed a sleek new spot to sample Persian and Mediterranean favorites. Noosh chef Tarek Diab showcases his Persian background with a long list of marinated meat and seafood kabobs served over saffron basmati rice. A section of stews includes Iran’s beloved fesenjoon (chunks slow-cooked chicken in pomegranate walnut sauce) and ghormeh sabzi, a tangy and citrusy herb and sirloin stew simmered with red beans, with Persian ice cream for dessert. On the Mediterranean front, chicken tagine, falafel, lamb and curry are the stars. For appetizers, there’s spanakopita, hummus, Greek lentil soup, and tabbouleh.

8. Dolce Vita Coastal Mediterranean Cuisine

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1610 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

Restaurateur Med Lahlou boosts his 14th Street NW portfolio (Lupo Verde, Lupo Pizzeria) with a stylish new sanctuary for meze and wood-fired favorites from Spain, Morocco, Italy, and Greece. Highlights include luxe iberico sliced tableside; whole branzino flanked with Morocco’s pungent herb chermoula; Greek moussaka; and octopus gnocchi dressed with spicy ‘nduja. A Moroccan Spritzer is the ultimate fusion cocktail, built with Tanqueray, Aperol, Massaya arak, mandarin, prosecco, club soda, and mint syrup it makes on-site. Ghibellina’s former two-story home got a full Euro-chic makeover, complete with images of Italian celebrities and idyllic coastal towns splashed across brick and regal blue chairs visible from the street.

A look at Dolce Vita’s dining room, dotted with blue chairs and Italian vistas.
Lahlou Restaurant Group corporate executive chef Juan Olivera oversees a dining room dotted with blue chairs.
Laura Chase de Formigny/Dolce Vita

9. Duck Duck Goose

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2100 P St NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 450-1591
Visit Website

Duck Duck Goose, chef Ashish Alfred’s glamorous French brasserie in Bethesda and Baltimore, made its anticipated D.C. debut in December. Its new Dupont address imports best sellers like steak tartare, chicken liver pate, escargot, duck leg confit, and an eponymous burger dressed with seared foie gras. Big-ticket orders include a 36-ounce bone-in ribeye main with bordelaise sauce ($125) and a foie tasting for two ($96). The 80-seat restaurant with a huge year-round patio plays up French grapes on its wine list o go along with an extensive zero-proof cocktail list. Weekend brunch joins the mix on Saturday, January 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Slices of duck on a white plate with a napkin to the left
Duck Duck Goose’s menu highlights various preparations of duck. 
Duck Duck Goose/official photo

10. Destino

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1280 4th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 866-0933
Visit Website

The team behind Shaw’s Espita opened Las Gemelas Cocina Mexicana last spring as a casual coastal cafe at Latin marketplace La Cosecha. In December, the airy eatery flipped into a modern Mexican eatery, complete with a new name and menu. Its ambitious makeover into Destino includes inventive riffs on classics like Brussels sprout quesadillas, mole verde with crispy pork belly and handmade egg noodles, and seasonal butternut enchiladas. Neighboring Mexican sibling Taqueria Las Gemelas remains the same, and tortillas from Guerrero native Yesenia Neri-Diaz are still served at Destino. A quick lunch deal includes two courses, served simultaneously, for $24. Weekend brunch features sweet-and-savory creations like a torrejas main built with brioche, Mexican chocolate, hazelnut, and salted caramel.

11. Takara 14

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1326 14 Street NW 2 nd Floor
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 507-8973
Visit Website

A color-soaked spot for lychee sake and superb sushi quietly opened above Ammathar Thai Cuisine last fall. A set of pastel stairs lead diners to a cherry blossom-filled dining room, where Nakazawa alum John Yi prepares gorgeous house rolls like the “Opal” (blue fin tuna, salmon, yellowtail, pickled radish, wrapped in sesame soy), mixed mushrooms sauteed in sake butter, and omakase options for nigiri and sashimi. A splurge-worthy A5 wagyu roll with sesame truffle salt ($30) joins raw fish boxes at lunch and happy hour cocktail combos with bonito flake-filled Brussels sprouts ($11). A surprisingly spacious two-level bar in the back resembles a Bangkok party pad, packed with string lights, glittering chandeliers, and rainbow-hued chairs.

Takara 14’s Diamond sushi roll wrapped in cucumber.
Takara 14’s cucumber-wrapped “Diamond” roll with fresh crab, salmon, tuna, and wasabi tobiko.
Takara 14/official photo

12. Michele’s at Eaton DC

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1201 K St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 289-7600
Visit Website

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

13. 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

14. Puro Gusto Cafe

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1345 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 347-6752
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Puro Gusto’s first stateside location opened December 15, bringing the Italian way of life to D.C.. The casual, Milan-born all-day cafe seamlessly transitions from coffee bar to lunch hub (with dine-in, counter service, and a market with Italian treats) to a cheerful bar with aperitifs like bellinis and negronis lighting the path from workday into the night. In a color-splashed interior with furniture made from plastic bottles and even coffee grounds, guests gather over dishes of springy sourdough Pan Gusto pizza; cornetto (a traditional Italian croissant served in a variety of sweet and savory options, filled with items like egg and cheese, Nutella, or pistachio ice cream); Italian pastries; smoked salmon-topped PanGusto, yogurt; overnight oats; fruit parfaits; cups of coffee; and cocktails.

a speckled table with a charcuterie tray and aperitifs
Puro Gusto’s tables are made from discarded plastic bottles from its other locations.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

15. Inca Social

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1776 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209
(571) 431-9888
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Like the original Inca Social that opened in Merrifield in 2019, the Rosslyn Inca Social is “a colorful getaway for Peruvian comfort foods.” This second location is also a top-notch spot to sip pisco (with varieties ranging from passion fruit to chicha morada) at the indoor/outdoor bar or on one of the swings. Meanwhile, the kitchen dishes out empanadas, chicharrón, ceviche, lomo saltado, and aji gallina. With 7,600 square feet, the space also allows for additions like a sushi/ceviche bar and a marketplace selling local and Peruvian artisan goods.

Interior of Inca Social Arlington
The Arlington Inca Social is splashed with green neon lights.
Inca Social Arlington/Facebook

16. KAIJU RAMEN 怪獸拉面

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525 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 481-2269
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The owner of Maryland’s Akira Ramen & Izakaya livened up Barracks Row in December with a Godzilla-themed ramen shop that lures big spenders with an $80 wagyu option. Most bowls hover around $15, filled with tonkotsu, miso, shoyu, or veggie broths simmered for 10 hours and noodles made daily. Eye-popping apps like an octopus corn dog draw inspiration from its name, which means “giant monster” in Japanese. Chef Junzo Miyajima hails from Saitama, Japan, and formerly worked at NYC’s lauded En Japanese Brasserie.

Kaiju Ramen’s neon-lit interior.
Kaiju Ramen’s neon-lit interior.
Kaiju Ramen/official photo

17. Bistro du Jour

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

18. Kismet Modern Indian

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111 N Pitt St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 567-4507
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The team behind Karma Modern Indian, the sleek Chinatown restaurant on Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list, expanded to Old Town with a casual, industrial-styled offshoot. Karma chef and New Delhi native Ajay Kumar sends out a grilled snapper with peri-peri sauce; saffron-infused vegetable korma; and jhaal muri, Calcutta’s beloved street snack packs filled with puffed rice, date chutney, and green chili. Karma’s best-selling chicken tikka, made with a blend of tandoori spices the kitchen grinds on-site, also makes its way across the river.

A photo of a Kismet chicken starter on a black plate.
Tandoor-grilled chicken with yogurt and cream at Kismet.
Kismet/official photo

1. Melina

909 Rose Ave, North Bethesda, MD 20852
six orange, roasted carrots with soft boiled egg, hazelnuts, and cream
The roasted carrots at Melina steal the spotlight on the plate.
Melina/official photo

Melina makes a big splash in Bethesda with its gorgeous Greek dishes, which come as no surprise from a Greek chef with loads of experience cooking in Greece’s upscale restaurants. Chef Aris Tsekouras puts veggies first in many of the dishes, like heirloom carrots roasted to a deep golden color before joining a tightly composed plate of smoked Manouri cheese, spiced granola, and pickled raisins. There are plenty of meat and seafood options as well, like a tender, slow-roasted lamb neck with salty, nutty Kefalograviera cheese, plus sweet roasted peppers, grapes, tomatoes, parsley, and pickled onions; and a stunning plate of beef tartare with lemony avgolemono foam, cabbage, wild fennel, and egg yolk. Tsekouras also bakes breads in-house. The restaurant comes from the folks behind the fast-expanding Cava empire.

909 Rose Ave
North Bethesda, MD 20852

2. Himalayan Wild Yak

22885 Brambleton Plaza, Ashburn, VA 20148
momo dumplings surrounding a burnt orange/red sauce
Momo dumplings, a common Tibetan dish, are served at Himalayan Wild Yak
Photo courtesy of Himalayan Wild Yak

Just after Christmas, Himalayan Wild Yak restaurant moved into the 5,000-square-foot space in Brambleton that was previously home to the Lost Rhino Retreat. With a a menu abounding with yak dishes: marinated and grilled yak appetizer; yak sausage; yak biryani; and yak fried rice; plus tea polished with whipped yak butter, milk, pink salt, and sugar. (Yak is an exceptionally lean meat with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.) Goat, bison, pork, chicken, and lamb make the menu as well, plus Indian dishes like butter chicken and chana masala. The interior is anchored by none other than a taxidermy yak named Rocky.

22885 Brambleton Plaza
Ashburn, VA 20148

3. Suga & Spice

5557 Baltimore Ave, Hyattsville, MD 20781

Chef Jeffeary Miskiri’s Southern-meets-Caribbean restaurant charms with deep-fried jerk catfish and sautéed crab over white cheddar grits, deviled eggs with jerk honey shrimp, jerk crab cakes, and fried or grilled chicken wings in homemade sweet and sour sauce. From the group behind Po Boy Jim and Creole on 14th, this new restaurant highlights the Caribbean contributions to Southern cuisine while playfully combining ingredients in ways that just dare you to look the other way.

5557 Baltimore Ave
Hyattsville, MD 20781

4. Era Wine Bar

3300 Rhode Island Ave, Mt Rainier, MD 20712
An aerial shot of a cheese and charcuterie board.
Era Wine Bar’s cheese and charcuterie boards “celebrate the best of France, Italy, and the U.S.,” Michelle Grant tells Eater. 
Michelle Grant/Era Wine Bar

First-time restaurateurs Michelle and Ka-ton Grant brought Mount Rainier a refreshing destination to sample grapes from underdog regions, with 45 wines by the glass in 3-, 6-, and 9-ounce pours. A strong small plates list taps into the couple’s heritage and extensive world travels. Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema recently raved over its samosas brought in from Swahili Village in Beltsville, unique cheese and charcuterie options, and a Moroccan chicken tagine.

3300 Rhode Island Ave
Mt Rainier, MD 20712

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 in late 2020. 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. Jack's Ranch

1755 Tysons Central St, Tysons, VA 22182
A pair of hands holds a whole pizza topped with thin ribbons of prosciutto and fresh arugula
Jack’s Ranch opened with Italian food, like this Neopolitan pizza with arugula and prosciutto.
Jack’s Ranch/Facebook

This massive Italian restaurant gallops into Tyson’s Corner with Hell’s Kitchen alum Declan Hogan helming the kitchen. From the group behind barbecue spot Texas Jack’s, this new restaurant adds a good dose of house-smoked meats to Italian cuisine. Diners can find smoked Berkshire porchetta, pizzas, a beer burger served with house fries cooked in beef tallow, as well as classic Italian dishes. Look for lasagna layered with braised beef shank, ricotta, Parmigiano, and pecorino; as well as a gorgonzola-stuffed gnocchi dressed in wild mushroom cream sauce.

1755 Tysons Central St
Tysons, VA 22182

7. Noosh

1721 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007

In November, Georgetown welcomed a sleek new spot to sample Persian and Mediterranean favorites. Noosh chef Tarek Diab showcases his Persian background with a long list of marinated meat and seafood kabobs served over saffron basmati rice. A section of stews includes Iran’s beloved fesenjoon (chunks slow-cooked chicken in pomegranate walnut sauce) and ghormeh sabzi, a tangy and citrusy herb and sirloin stew simmered with red beans, with Persian ice cream for dessert. On the Mediterranean front, chicken tagine, falafel, lamb and curry are the stars. For appetizers, there’s spanakopita, hummus, Greek lentil soup, and tabbouleh.

1721 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007

8. Dolce Vita Coastal Mediterranean Cuisine

1610 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
A look at Dolce Vita’s dining room, dotted with blue chairs and Italian vistas.
Lahlou Restaurant Group corporate executive chef Juan Olivera oversees a dining room dotted with blue chairs.
Laura Chase de Formigny/Dolce Vita

Restaurateur Med Lahlou boosts his 14th Street NW portfolio (Lupo Verde, Lupo Pizzeria) with a stylish new sanctuary for meze and wood-fired favorites from Spain, Morocco, Italy, and Greece. Highlights include luxe iberico sliced tableside; whole branzino flanked with Morocco’s pungent herb chermoula; Greek moussaka; and octopus gnocchi dressed with spicy ‘nduja. A Moroccan Spritzer is the ultimate fusion cocktail, built with Tanqueray, Aperol, Massaya arak, mandarin, prosecco, club soda, and mint syrup it makes on-site. Ghibellina’s former two-story home got a full Euro-chic makeover, complete with images of Italian celebrities and idyllic coastal towns splashed across brick and regal blue chairs visible from the street.

1610 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

9. Duck Duck Goose

2100 P St NW, Washington, DC 20037
Slices of duck on a white plate with a napkin to the left
Duck Duck Goose’s menu highlights various preparations of duck. 
Duck Duck Goose/official photo

Duck Duck Goose, chef Ashish Alfred’s glamorous French brasserie in Bethesda and Baltimore, made its anticipated D.C. debut in December. Its new Dupont address imports best sellers like steak tartare, chicken liver pate, escargot, duck leg confit, and an eponymous burger dressed with seared foie gras. Big-ticket orders include a 36-ounce bone-in ribeye main with bordelaise sauce ($125) and a foie tasting for two ($96). The 80-seat restaurant with a huge year-round patio plays up French grapes on its wine list o go along with an extensive zero-proof cocktail list. Weekend brunch joins the mix on Saturday, January 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

2100 P St NW
Washington, DC 20037

10. Destino

1280 4th St NE, Washington, DC 20002

The team behind Shaw’s Espita opened Las Gemelas Cocina Mexicana last spring as a casual coastal cafe at Latin marketplace La Cosecha. In December, the airy eatery flipped into a modern Mexican eatery, complete with a new name and menu. Its ambitious makeover into Destino includes inventive riffs on classics like Brussels sprout quesadillas, mole verde with crispy pork belly and handmade egg noodles, and seasonal butternut enchiladas. Neighboring Mexican sibling Taqueria Las Gemelas remains the same, and tortillas from Guerrero native Yesenia Neri-Diaz are still served at Destino. A quick lunch deal includes two courses, served simultaneously, for $24. Weekend brunch features sweet-and-savory creations like a torrejas main built with brioche, Mexican chocolate, hazelnut, and salted caramel.

1280 4th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

11. Takara 14

1326 14 Street NW 2 nd Floor, Washington, DC 20005
Takara 14’s Diamond sushi roll wrapped in cucumber.
Takara 14’s cucumber-wrapped “Diamond” roll with fresh crab, salmon, tuna, and wasabi tobiko.
Takara 14/official photo

A color-soaked spot for lychee sake and superb sushi quietly opened above Ammathar Thai Cuisine last fall. A set of pastel stairs lead diners to a cherry blossom-filled dining room, where Nakazawa alum John Yi prepares gorgeous house rolls like the “Opal” (blue fin tuna, salmon, yellowtail, pickled radish, wrapped in sesame soy), mixed mushrooms sauteed in sake butter, and omakase options for nigiri and sashimi. A splurge-worthy A5 wagyu roll with sesame truffle salt ($30) joins raw fish boxes at lunch and happy hour cocktail combos with bonito flake-filled Brussels sprouts ($11). A surprisingly spacious two-level bar in the back resembles a Bangkok party pad, packed with string lights, glittering chandeliers, and rainbow-hued chairs.

1326 14 Street NW 2 nd Floor
Washington, DC 20005

12. 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

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. Puro Gusto Cafe

1345 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004
a speckled table with a charcuterie tray and aperitifs
Puro Gusto’s tables are made from discarded plastic bottles from its other locations.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Puro Gusto’s first stateside location opened December 15, bringing the Italian way of life to D.C.. The casual, Milan-born all-day cafe seamlessly transitions from coffee bar to lunch hub (with dine-in, counter service, and a market with Italian treats) to a cheerful bar with aperitifs like bellinis and negronis lighting the path from workday into the night. In a color-splashed interior with furniture made from plastic bottles and even coffee grounds, guests gather over dishes of springy sourdough Pan Gusto pizza; cornetto (a traditional Italian croissant served in a variety of sweet and savory options, filled with items like egg and cheese, Nutella, or pistachio ice cream); Italian pastries; smoked salmon-topped PanGusto, yogurt; overnight oats; fruit parfaits; cups of coffee; and cocktails.

1345 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004

15. Inca Social

1776 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209
Interior of Inca Social Arlington
The Arlington Inca Social is splashed with green neon lights.
Inca Social Arlington/Facebook

Like the original Inca Social that opened in Merrifield in 2019, the Rosslyn Inca Social is “a colorful getaway for Peruvian comfort foods.” This second location is also a top-notch spot to sip pisco (with varieties ranging from passion fruit to chicha morada) at the indoor/outdoor bar or on one of the swings. Meanwhile, the kitchen dishes out empanadas, chicharrón, ceviche, lomo saltado, and aji gallina. With 7,600 square feet, the space also allows for additions like a sushi/ceviche bar and a marketplace selling local and Peruvian artisan goods.

1776 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209

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16. KAIJU RAMEN 怪獸拉面

525 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
Kaiju Ramen’s neon-lit interior.
Kaiju Ramen’s neon-lit interior.
Kaiju Ramen/official photo

The owner of Maryland’s Akira Ramen & Izakaya livened up Barracks Row in December with a Godzilla-themed ramen shop that lures big spenders with an $80 wagyu option. Most bowls hover around $15, filled with tonkotsu, miso, shoyu, or veggie broths simmered for 10 hours and noodles made daily. Eye-popping apps like an octopus corn dog draw inspiration from its name, which means “giant monster” in Japanese. Chef Junzo Miyajima hails from Saitama, Japan, and formerly worked at NYC’s lauded En Japanese Brasserie.

525 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

17. 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

18. Kismet Modern Indian

111 N Pitt St, Alexandria, VA 22314
A photo of a Kismet chicken starter on a black plate.
Tandoor-grilled chicken with yogurt and cream at Kismet.
Kismet/official photo

The team behind Karma Modern Indian, the sleek Chinatown restaurant on Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list, expanded to Old Town with a casual, industrial-styled offshoot. Karma chef and New Delhi native Ajay Kumar sends out a grilled snapper with peri-peri sauce; saffron-infused vegetable korma; and jhaal muri, Calcutta’s beloved street snack packs filled with puffed rice, date chutney, and green chili. Karma’s best-selling chicken tikka, made with a blend of tandoori spices the kitchen grinds on-site, also makes its way across the river.

111 N Pitt St
Alexandria, VA 22314

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