clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
La Bonne Vache debuted this week in Georgetown.
Kimberly Kong

The Hottest New Restaurants Around D.C., February 2024

Where to find elegant French fare, mouthwatering brisket, Filipino tasting menus, and much more

View as Map
La Bonne Vache debuted this week in Georgetown.
| Kimberly Kong

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 list: La Bonne Vache, for a dreamy corner bistro serving cheffed-up burgers in Georgetown; Moon Rabbit, for a rebooted Vietnamese favorite in Penn Quarter; Pesce, for crowd-pleasing calamari in an artsy Dupont dining room; Aventino and AP Pizza Shop, for a two-part Italian project in Bethesda, Pastis, for NYC’s blockbuster brasserie now in Union Market; Hiraya Restaurant, for a fancy Filipino dinner on H Street; 2Fifty Texas BBQ, for fabulous barbecue in Mt. Vernon Triangle; La’ Caj Seafood, for a mashup of Latin and Cajun flavors in Maryland.

Leaving the list: Medina, Ceibo, La Boheme, Casa Teresa, Amparo Fondita, Omakase @ Barracks Row, Root & Vine, the Grove, Almeda, Ometeo

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

Read More
Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Hiraya Restaurant & Bar

Copy Link

Nearly four months after bringing H Street a leafy, all-day destination for vibrant rainbow lattes, Filipino pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and duck adobo, Hiraya unveiled its polished prix fixe counterpart up top in January. Hiraya Restaurant & Bar builds upon the success of Filipino chef Paolo Dungca’s tasting pad that got its start in downtown’s Block food hall. The luxe meal kicks off with foie gras-filled dumplings and cassava cake topped with smoked trout roe and crab fat. Opt for either a 5-course menu ($95 per person) or 7-course option ($145). The latter, which promises some added surprises, is exclusively served at an 8-seat chef’s counter. For Hiraya 2.0, Dungca partners with Juan and Jeremy Canlas (Supreme Barbeque and Auntea Boba) and former co-workers from Wharf’s Southeast Asian hotspot Kaliwa.

The 58-seat restaurant plays up lots of wood elements and rattan tones that remind chef Paolo Dungca of home.
Lair Collective

La Bonne Vache

Copy Link

Treasured Georgetown deli Booeymonger flipped into a burger-driven brasserie in late January. La Bonne Vache, which translates to “the good cow” in French, is a team effort between a pair of local culinary couples: vet chef Rob Aikens and his restaurant designer wife, Rachel, and Ari and Claire Wilder (Chaplin’s, Zeppelin’s, Kappo). The headlining list of French-influenced handhelds includes a “bourguignonne” burger with red wine-braised short rib, caramelized onions, and smoked bacon, while another loops in truffle brie. Other menu highlights executed by chef Scheyla Acosta include airy gougères, marinated olives, gorgeous beet and endive salads, a section of crispy baguette sandwiches, and mousse au chocolat. The 42-seat neighborhood newcomer, with a liquor license on the way, plans to pair French fare with beers, wines, vermouth-fueled cocktails, and Champagnes at the chic bar.

La Bonne Vache’s foie gras parfait comes with grape chutney, cornichons, remoulade, grape chutney, and brioche toast.
Kimberly Kong

2Fifty Texas BBQ

Copy Link

2Fifty CEO Debby Portillo and award-winning pitmaster Fernando González, the Salvadoran couple behind the essential Riverdale Park, Maryland destination for Central Texas-style barbecue since 2020, expanded to Mt. Vernon Triangle in mid-January. 2Fifty does things differently in D.C. by not taking online or phone orders and sticking to a first-come, first-served model. Wood-smoked sensations include prime-grade and American wagyu brisket, tender beef ribs, buttery turkey, pulled lamb with purple corn, and juicy sausage links made in-house. Whole hogs delivered daily help build pulled pork sandwiches and nachos. For sides, opt for mac ‘n cheese, cornbread, fried plantains, or red kidney beans simmered with brisket trimmings.

A hefty silver platter of 2Fifty’s luscious meats and sides.
 Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Moon Rabbit by Kevin Tien

Copy Link

After closing at the Wharf last spring, James Beard-nominated chef Kevin Tien’s fine-dining Vietnamese gem made a triumphant comeback to D.C. in mid-January. With fresh Penn Quarter digs comes all-new dishes filled with his familiar contemporary touches. Opening highlights include koji-marinated cumin lamb with beets and charred chicories and a savory Out Of Dipping Sauce cocktail that makes creative use of Tien’s fish sauce. Following an extended Restaurant Week run, the 3,500-square-foot newcomer with room for 100 unleashes its full dinner menu on Friday, February 2.

Bò Lá Lốt (waygu beef, betel leaves, labne, fermented honey, pickled shallots). 
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The iconic NYC bistro from hospitality magnates Keith McNally and Stephen Starr pulled up to Union Market in January with dinner service to start. French favorites making their way down from the Meatpacking District include beef Bourguignon, duck a l’orange, and creamy croque-monsieur, which join just-for-D.C. dishes like poached beef tongue and wiener schnitzel. Rotating specials scribbled on vintage mirrors include fish-and-chips Fridays and prime rib Saturdays. The brasserie’s buzzy bar centers around aperitifs, Parisian-style classics, and spritzes like the San Tropez (St-Germain, Cap Corse Blanc, and sparkling wine).

Escargots is served with special silver spoons to crack into the delicacy. 
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Aventino and AP Pizza Shop

Copy Link

The team behind D.C. mainstays the Red Hen, All-Purpose, and Boundary Stone brought Bethesda a pair of next-door Italian eateries this week. Chef Mike Friedman’s sit-down Aventino Cucina, a sprawling space with room for 135, specializes in Roman cuisine like antipasti, pasta, and homemade gelato, plus spritzes and Negronis stirred at its emerald and marble-clad bar. AP Pizza Shop, an ode to the New York and New Jersey pizzerias of Friedman’s youth, offers lunchtime slices, salads, and sandwiches. Dinner showcases All-Purpose’s popular lineup of pizzas and Italian-American starters like roasted garlic knots.

A collection of aperitivi and antipasti at Aventino. 
Scott Suchman

The treasured D.C. fish house founded over 30 years ago by famed French chef Jean Louis Palladin and Roberto Donna made a triumphant return to Dupont Circle on Thursday, February 1. Pesce resurfaces a few blocks north from the original, taking over the prime corner most recently home to short-lived raw bar Brine. Judita Doliveira, Brine’s former general manager and a longtime Pesce employee, steps in as Pesce 2.0’s sole new operator. Fellow Pesce and Brine alum Jose Benitez pays homage to the storied classic with grilled sardines and calamari, plus a chef’s tasting table and daily happy hour (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Doliveira, a lifelong artist, installs a series of fish-eyed murals around the 47-seat space.

Brine’s old home got an artistic refresh for its new life as Pesce. 
Pesce

La’ Caj Seafood

Copy Link

Nestled in a growing Prince George’s County complex, month-old La’ Caj Seafood marries bold Cajun and Latin flavors in nearly every dish and drink. Atlanta-based restaurateur Monique Rose Sneed — who recently received praise from mega-TikTok food critic Keith Lee — teams up with Mexican-Salvadoran chef (and longtime friend) Jorge Montoya at La’ Caj to unite the two cuisines, as seen in Cajun shrimp quesadillas and crawfish-stuffed enchiladas. Other highlights include spicy collard greens flavored with jalapeno-beef sausage, smoked turkey, and cayenne pepper and a hot sauce-tinged frozen margarita topped with a spiced rum floater and Tajin chili-lime rim.

A section of homemade flatbreads balance Mexican cheeses, chicken, and deconstructed jambalaya. 
Sam Johnson 3 Photography

Chefs Miguel Guerra and Tatiana Mora, formerly at Michelin-starred El Cielo, brought Shaw a wonderland of Latin flavors with tasting menus that put vegetables on a pedestal. Mita got its start as a pop-up in Union Market’s La Cosecha food hall, and the month-old space gives the Venezuelan chefs a palette to expand their creativity across 14-course dinners packed with soft arepas, sauces, and polished elements ($150 per person). The restaurant will soon introduce a la carte options at the bar, which specializes in biodynamic wines and cocktails filled with Latin spirits.

Mita’s mainstay dish — asado negro terrine — evolves from its pop-up roots into a more grown-up, refined presentation. 
Jenn Chase

The Maple Room

Copy Link

The Mac St Hospitality team behind fast-casual SouvlakiBar broke into contemporary American cuisine in late 2023 with the arrival of Vienna’s polished new Maple Room. Start off with chef Cam Cousin’s beef carpaccio, tuna poke, duck leg confit, seafood towers, or charcuterie boards, followed by mains like garlic prawns over squid ink pasta, Lancaster Farms roasted chicken with velvety potatoes, and a selection of prime steaks and chops alongside sharable sides like lobster mac and cheese. Try the gorgeous creme brulee trio for dessert. A stylish lounge and bar component showcases flatbreads and creative cocktails like a brown sugar Old Fashioned and apple Sidecar presented under a cloud of smoke.

The Maple Room’s enchanting interior.
The Maple Room/Facebook

Balos Estiatorio

Copy Link

Named after the gorgeous Greek lagoon that attracts celebrity visitors, Dupont’s weeks-old Balos honors its watery muse with a plentiful seafood selection. See: a raw bar sending out oysters, shrimp, and tuna tartare, cooked seafood (king salmon, scallops, and a sea bass “plaki” in a tomato fish broth); whole fish flown in daily from Greece like lavraki and dorado; and sashimi, which reflects its surge in popularity across the Mediterranean. Friends and industry vets Stefanos Vouvoudakis, Tom Tsiplakos, and Joe Ragonese — all grandchildren of Greek immigrants — bring their idyllic country’s vacay vibe to D.C. across the 6,500-square-foot upscale “estiatorio” filled with lighting, pottery, and stone elements from Greece. ForFive Coffee, the NY-born roaster run by Vouvoudakis and Tsiplakos, helps construct an array of espresso martinis.

The dreamy dining room at Balos. 
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Equinox on 19th

Copy Link

White House-adjacent mainstay Equinox left its longtime address to rebrand and reopen a few blocks away in late 2023. The bigger downtown location offers a blank slate for a place known for its mid-Atlantic fare since 1999. Chef Todd Gray continues to put forward familiar, veggie-heavy menus like its crowd-pleasing weekend brunch and seasonal delicacies like winter truffles imported from France. An expanded bar area carves out room for a new a la carte lineup featuring more happy hour bites and sips. “Fritter Fridays” connects Equinox with the Federal, its seafood-heavy sibling in Rehoboth Beach.

Fritters and cocktails at Equinox on 19th.
Equinox/Facebook

Grazie Mille

Copy Link

The team behind Midtown Center’s essential American-Italian hotspot Grazie Nonna (Grazie Grazie’s Casey Patten and chef Gerald Addison) unveiled a stylish destination in the back in December serving elegant cocktails, cicchetti (small snacks), and shared plates, with late-night service and a DJ spinning vinyls. The 68-seat spot, adorned in chandeliers, gilded frames, and jewel-toned banquettes, gives Addison more room to implement creative ideas like New Orleans-style charbroiled oysters dressed with pecorino, breadcrumbs, and Calabrian chili. Gorgeous cocktails like the Milano (brandy, rye, cochi rosa, orange bitters) join a list of wines and bubbles by the glass or bottle.

Family-style saffron risotto topped with short rib and gremolata.
Rey Lopez for Grazie Mille

Surreal

Copy Link

This avant-garde bistro from Seven Reasons Group (Michelin-starred Venezuelan chef Enrique Limardo, Ezequiel Vázquez-Ger) gives the Amazon HQ2 neighborhood an edge. The group’s first-ever restaurant in Virginia joins a growing hospitality empire that started with Seven Reasons, which moved to a bigger location at CityCenter DC in December. At Surreal, find queso fundido shakshuka for breakfast and swordfish carpaccio for lunch and dinner, plus playful dishes like cheffed-up hot dogs and Flaming Hot totopos. The garden-like dining oasis carves out room for a dreamy bar sending out foamy negronis and a grab-and-go section for daytime sandwiches, pastas, and fresh baked breads.

Toppings on Surreal’s pizzas include pepperoni with spicy garlic-honey chili, wild mushrooms and prosciutto and the “Mortadella Lovers” including anchovies, mortadella, and porchetta. 
Jenn Chase

Hiraya Restaurant & Bar

Nearly four months after bringing H Street a leafy, all-day destination for vibrant rainbow lattes, Filipino pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and duck adobo, Hiraya unveiled its polished prix fixe counterpart up top in January. Hiraya Restaurant & Bar builds upon the success of Filipino chef Paolo Dungca’s tasting pad that got its start in downtown’s Block food hall. The luxe meal kicks off with foie gras-filled dumplings and cassava cake topped with smoked trout roe and crab fat. Opt for either a 5-course menu ($95 per person) or 7-course option ($145). The latter, which promises some added surprises, is exclusively served at an 8-seat chef’s counter. For Hiraya 2.0, Dungca partners with Juan and Jeremy Canlas (Supreme Barbeque and Auntea Boba) and former co-workers from Wharf’s Southeast Asian hotspot Kaliwa.

The 58-seat restaurant plays up lots of wood elements and rattan tones that remind chef Paolo Dungca of home.
Lair Collective

La Bonne Vache

Treasured Georgetown deli Booeymonger flipped into a burger-driven brasserie in late January. La Bonne Vache, which translates to “the good cow” in French, is a team effort between a pair of local culinary couples: vet chef Rob Aikens and his restaurant designer wife, Rachel, and Ari and Claire Wilder (Chaplin’s, Zeppelin’s, Kappo). The headlining list of French-influenced handhelds includes a “bourguignonne” burger with red wine-braised short rib, caramelized onions, and smoked bacon, while another loops in truffle brie. Other menu highlights executed by chef Scheyla Acosta include airy gougères, marinated olives, gorgeous beet and endive salads, a section of crispy baguette sandwiches, and mousse au chocolat. The 42-seat neighborhood newcomer, with a liquor license on the way, plans to pair French fare with beers, wines, vermouth-fueled cocktails, and Champagnes at the chic bar.

La Bonne Vache’s foie gras parfait comes with grape chutney, cornichons, remoulade, grape chutney, and brioche toast.
Kimberly Kong

2Fifty Texas BBQ

2Fifty CEO Debby Portillo and award-winning pitmaster Fernando González, the Salvadoran couple behind the essential Riverdale Park, Maryland destination for Central Texas-style barbecue since 2020, expanded to Mt. Vernon Triangle in mid-January. 2Fifty does things differently in D.C. by not taking online or phone orders and sticking to a first-come, first-served model. Wood-smoked sensations include prime-grade and American wagyu brisket, tender beef ribs, buttery turkey, pulled lamb with purple corn, and juicy sausage links made in-house. Whole hogs delivered daily help build pulled pork sandwiches and nachos. For sides, opt for mac ‘n cheese, cornbread, fried plantains, or red kidney beans simmered with brisket trimmings.

A hefty silver platter of 2Fifty’s luscious meats and sides.
 Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Moon Rabbit by Kevin Tien

After closing at the Wharf last spring, James Beard-nominated chef Kevin Tien’s fine-dining Vietnamese gem made a triumphant comeback to D.C. in mid-January. With fresh Penn Quarter digs comes all-new dishes filled with his familiar contemporary touches. Opening highlights include koji-marinated cumin lamb with beets and charred chicories and a savory Out Of Dipping Sauce cocktail that makes creative use of Tien’s fish sauce. Following an extended Restaurant Week run, the 3,500-square-foot newcomer with room for 100 unleashes its full dinner menu on Friday, February 2.

Bò Lá Lốt (waygu beef, betel leaves, labne, fermented honey, pickled shallots). 
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Pastis

The iconic NYC bistro from hospitality magnates Keith McNally and Stephen Starr pulled up to Union Market in January with dinner service to start. French favorites making their way down from the Meatpacking District include beef Bourguignon, duck a l’orange, and creamy croque-monsieur, which join just-for-D.C. dishes like poached beef tongue and wiener schnitzel. Rotating specials scribbled on vintage mirrors include fish-and-chips Fridays and prime rib Saturdays. The brasserie’s buzzy bar centers around aperitifs, Parisian-style classics, and spritzes like the San Tropez (St-Germain, Cap Corse Blanc, and sparkling wine).

Escargots is served with special silver spoons to crack into the delicacy. 
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Aventino and AP Pizza Shop

The team behind D.C. mainstays the Red Hen, All-Purpose, and Boundary Stone brought Bethesda a pair of next-door Italian eateries this week. Chef Mike Friedman’s sit-down Aventino Cucina, a sprawling space with room for 135, specializes in Roman cuisine like antipasti, pasta, and homemade gelato, plus spritzes and Negronis stirred at its emerald and marble-clad bar. AP Pizza Shop, an ode to the New York and New Jersey pizzerias of Friedman’s youth, offers lunchtime slices, salads, and sandwiches. Dinner showcases All-Purpose’s popular lineup of pizzas and Italian-American starters like roasted garlic knots.

A collection of aperitivi and antipasti at Aventino. 
Scott Suchman

Pesce

The treasured D.C. fish house founded over 30 years ago by famed French chef Jean Louis Palladin and Roberto Donna made a triumphant return to Dupont Circle on Thursday, February 1. Pesce resurfaces a few blocks north from the original, taking over the prime corner most recently home to short-lived raw bar Brine. Judita Doliveira, Brine’s former general manager and a longtime Pesce employee, steps in as Pesce 2.0’s sole new operator. Fellow Pesce and Brine alum Jose Benitez pays homage to the storied classic with grilled sardines and calamari, plus a chef’s tasting table and daily happy hour (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Doliveira, a lifelong artist, installs a series of fish-eyed murals around the 47-seat space.

Brine’s old home got an artistic refresh for its new life as Pesce. 
Pesce

La’ Caj Seafood

Nestled in a growing Prince George’s County complex, month-old La’ Caj Seafood marries bold Cajun and Latin flavors in nearly every dish and drink. Atlanta-based restaurateur Monique Rose Sneed — who recently received praise from mega-TikTok food critic Keith Lee — teams up with Mexican-Salvadoran chef (and longtime friend) Jorge Montoya at La’ Caj to unite the two cuisines, as seen in Cajun shrimp quesadillas and crawfish-stuffed enchiladas. Other highlights include spicy collard greens flavored with jalapeno-beef sausage, smoked turkey, and cayenne pepper and a hot sauce-tinged frozen margarita topped with a spiced rum floater and Tajin chili-lime rim.

A section of homemade flatbreads balance Mexican cheeses, chicken, and deconstructed jambalaya. 
Sam Johnson 3 Photography

Mita

Chefs Miguel Guerra and Tatiana Mora, formerly at Michelin-starred El Cielo, brought Shaw a wonderland of Latin flavors with tasting menus that put vegetables on a pedestal. Mita got its start as a pop-up in Union Market’s La Cosecha food hall, and the month-old space gives the Venezuelan chefs a palette to expand their creativity across 14-course dinners packed with soft arepas, sauces, and polished elements ($150 per person). The restaurant will soon introduce a la carte options at the bar, which specializes in biodynamic wines and cocktails filled with Latin spirits.

Mita’s mainstay dish — asado negro terrine — evolves from its pop-up roots into a more grown-up, refined presentation. 
Jenn Chase

The Maple Room

The Mac St Hospitality team behind fast-casual SouvlakiBar broke into contemporary American cuisine in late 2023 with the arrival of Vienna’s polished new Maple Room. Start off with chef Cam Cousin’s beef carpaccio, tuna poke, duck leg confit, seafood towers, or charcuterie boards, followed by mains like garlic prawns over squid ink pasta, Lancaster Farms roasted chicken with velvety potatoes, and a selection of prime steaks and chops alongside sharable sides like lobster mac and cheese. Try the gorgeous creme brulee trio for dessert. A stylish lounge and bar component showcases flatbreads and creative cocktails like a brown sugar Old Fashioned and apple Sidecar presented under a cloud of smoke.

The Maple Room’s enchanting interior.
The Maple Room/Facebook

Balos Estiatorio

Named after the gorgeous Greek lagoon that attracts celebrity visitors, Dupont’s weeks-old Balos honors its watery muse with a plentiful seafood selection. See: a raw bar sending out oysters, shrimp, and tuna tartare, cooked seafood (king salmon, scallops, and a sea bass “plaki” in a tomato fish broth); whole fish flown in daily from Greece like lavraki and dorado; and sashimi, which reflects its surge in popularity across the Mediterranean. Friends and industry vets Stefanos Vouvoudakis, Tom Tsiplakos, and Joe Ragonese — all grandchildren of Greek immigrants — bring their idyllic country’s vacay vibe to D.C. across the 6,500-square-foot upscale “estiatorio” filled with lighting, pottery, and stone elements from Greece. ForFive Coffee, the NY-born roaster run by Vouvoudakis and Tsiplakos, helps construct an array of espresso martinis.

The dreamy dining room at Balos. 
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Equinox on 19th

White House-adjacent mainstay Equinox left its longtime address to rebrand and reopen a few blocks away in late 2023. The bigger downtown location offers a blank slate for a place known for its mid-Atlantic fare since 1999. Chef Todd Gray continues to put forward familiar, veggie-heavy menus like its crowd-pleasing weekend brunch and seasonal delicacies like winter truffles imported from France. An expanded bar area carves out room for a new a la carte lineup featuring more happy hour bites and sips. “Fritter Fridays” connects Equinox with the Federal, its seafood-heavy sibling in Rehoboth Beach.

Fritters and cocktails at Equinox on 19th.
Equinox/Facebook

Grazie Mille

The team behind Midtown Center’s essential American-Italian hotspot Grazie Nonna (Grazie Grazie’s Casey Patten and chef Gerald Addison) unveiled a stylish destination in the back in December serving elegant cocktails, cicchetti (small snacks), and shared plates, with late-night service and a DJ spinning vinyls. The 68-seat spot, adorned in chandeliers, gilded frames, and jewel-toned banquettes, gives Addison more room to implement creative ideas like New Orleans-style charbroiled oysters dressed with pecorino, breadcrumbs, and Calabrian chili. Gorgeous cocktails like the Milano (brandy, rye, cochi rosa, orange bitters) join a list of wines and bubbles by the glass or bottle.

Family-style saffron risotto topped with short rib and gremolata.
Rey Lopez for Grazie Mille

Surreal

This avant-garde bistro from Seven Reasons Group (Michelin-starred Venezuelan chef Enrique Limardo, Ezequiel Vázquez-Ger) gives the Amazon HQ2 neighborhood an edge. The group’s first-ever restaurant in Virginia joins a growing hospitality empire that started with Seven Reasons, which moved to a bigger location at CityCenter DC in December. At Surreal, find queso fundido shakshuka for breakfast and swordfish carpaccio for lunch and dinner, plus playful dishes like cheffed-up hot dogs and Flaming Hot totopos. The garden-like dining oasis carves out room for a dreamy bar sending out foamy negronis and a grab-and-go section for daytime sandwiches, pastas, and fresh baked breads.

Toppings on Surreal’s pizzas include pepperoni with spicy garlic-honey chili, wild mushrooms and prosciutto and the “Mortadella Lovers” including anchovies, mortadella, and porchetta. 
Jenn Chase

Related Maps