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Fans are heading to Q by Peter Chang for intriguing Szechuan-style cooking.
Fans are heading to Q by Peter Chang for intriguing Szechuan-style cooking.
R. Lopez

Bethesda Rising: New Arrivals Spice Up the Local Dining Scene

Find everything from funky doughnuts to fiery Chinese cooking

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Fans are heading to Q by Peter Chang for intriguing Szechuan-style cooking.
| R. Lopez

Despite some naysayers at the Washington Post and New York Times, Bethesda is seeing a boom in new restaurants, swank apartments, and millennials pushing their UppaBaby Vista strollers down Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda Bagels coffee cup firmly in hand.

And while some Bethesda institutions have faded away (could Tastee Diner be next?) a slew of new hot spots have opened up, most within walking distance of the Metro station.

Know of another Bethesda restaurant worth visiting right now? Share in the comments or sound off via email (dc@eater.com).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Henry's Sweet Retreat

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4823 Saint Elmo Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 957-0622
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Eater has previously extolled the virtues of the small batch ice cream that Henry’s Sweet Retreat trucks in from Cincinnati, Ohio. The gourmet pop tarts and wall of candy jars make this spot a true dessert haven. The one gripe? For most of the year, Henry’s closes at 8 p.m. on weekdays. Luckily, the shop closes at 9 p.m. on weekdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Henry's Sweet Retreat MD counter Warren Rojas

2. Barrel + Crow

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4867 Cordell Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
(240) 800-3253
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Never mind the “regional cuisine” splashed across the menu. What makes Barrel and Crow date night-worthy is its artisan ice cream — boasting creative flavors such as chocolate milk stout made with Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout, pistachio, ginger-kaffir, and blackberry-basil sorbet. For those in search of some daytime boozing, Barrel and Crow is now offering brunch featuring sweet beignets and bottomless mimosas. (Because if there is anything Bethesda needs more of, it’s daytime drinking spots.)

3. House of Milae

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4932 Saint Elmo Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 654-1997

The classic Korean dish, bibimbap, is served up at House of Milae five different ways: beef, chicken, spicy pork, tofu or kimchi. It’s worth the extra two dollars to eat out of the dolsat bibimbap, a hot stone bowl. Or slide into a comfortable booth and delve into spinach jeon, a flaky, crispy pancake, while drinking glasses of green tea. Though it would be nice if House of Milae opted to serve the green tea in something other than water glasses.

4. Q By Peter Chang

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4500 East West Hwy
Bethesda, MD 20814
(240) 800-3722
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Curious about how cult Chinese chef turned restaurateur Peter Chang handles Peking duck, dim sum, or pepper beef? Head to his new flagship restaurant to experience modern Szechuan cooking from a master.

5. Modern Market

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4930 Elm St
Bethesda, MD

Featuring fresh salads, brick-oven pizzas, assorted breakfast fare, and entrees ranging from “humanely-raised steak” to sesame tofu, Modern Market also caters to all manner of drinkers, serving up beverages from DC Brau Brewing Company, Compass Coffee, Atlas Brew Works, and Craft Kombucha. Parents, take note: the fast-casual restaurant offers a stroller discount of 10 percent all day, every day. So bring the Bugaboo and grab a seat.

6. Fresh Baguette

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4919 Bethesda Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 656-0000
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This place might be Bethesda’s best kept secret, even as it expands to Rockville and Georgetown. Vincent Mathieu makes all the baguettes in house, which serve as the foundation for sandwiches including the Parisian (think: ham, butter, and Swiss cheese). There’s also quiche lorraine, apple tarts, eclairs, and other fresh baked treats.

7. Paul

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4760 Bethesda Ave
Bethesda, MD 20815

Need a meeting space with ample table room and not-noise-deafening Sirius radio in the background? Paul may be the best bet. Coffee comes filled to the brim of porcelain mugs, and any meeting can be made more pleasant with pastries such as the chocolate almond croissant or pain au chocolate. Counting calories? The croissant, pain au chocolate, and raisin danish come in miniature sizes, too.

8. PassionFish Bethesda

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7187 Woodmont Ave
Bethesda, MD 20815
(301) 358-6116
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The white tablecloths may give PassionFish the “business lunch” vibe, but the hidden secret is the multiple happy hours. There’s the regular weekday happy hour ($5 snacks including fried oysters and crab cake sliders, as well as mixed drinks, draft beers, and house wines; available from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m, Monday through Friday), weekend happy hour (same $5 deals; available from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays), and late-night happy hour ($1 oysters (half dozen minimum) and $8 house martinis; available from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday at the bar and on the patio).

9. Villain & Saint

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7141 Wisconsin Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
(240) 800-4700

Restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier's barbecue-friendly gastropub features live music from across the spectrum, including blues, indie, folk, and metal. The menu features a Villain/Saint split: ‘villain’ includes heavier, meatier options like the Black Angus grilled cheeseburger, and barbecue pork ribs; ‘saint’ features lighter bites with a Bohemian, veg-heavy approach, such as zucchini pancakes with creme fraiche.

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1. Henry's Sweet Retreat

4823 Saint Elmo Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814
Henry's Sweet Retreat MD counter Warren Rojas

Eater has previously extolled the virtues of the small batch ice cream that Henry’s Sweet Retreat trucks in from Cincinnati, Ohio. The gourmet pop tarts and wall of candy jars make this spot a true dessert haven. The one gripe? For most of the year, Henry’s closes at 8 p.m. on weekdays. Luckily, the shop closes at 9 p.m. on weekdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

4823 Saint Elmo Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814

2. Barrel + Crow

4867 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

Never mind the “regional cuisine” splashed across the menu. What makes Barrel and Crow date night-worthy is its artisan ice cream — boasting creative flavors such as chocolate milk stout made with Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout, pistachio, ginger-kaffir, and blackberry-basil sorbet. For those in search of some daytime boozing, Barrel and Crow is now offering brunch featuring sweet beignets and bottomless mimosas. (Because if there is anything Bethesda needs more of, it’s daytime drinking spots.)

4867 Cordell Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814

3. House of Milae

4932 Saint Elmo Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

The classic Korean dish, bibimbap, is served up at House of Milae five different ways: beef, chicken, spicy pork, tofu or kimchi. It’s worth the extra two dollars to eat out of the dolsat bibimbap, a hot stone bowl. Or slide into a comfortable booth and delve into spinach jeon, a flaky, crispy pancake, while drinking glasses of green tea. Though it would be nice if House of Milae opted to serve the green tea in something other than water glasses.

4932 Saint Elmo Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814

4. Q By Peter Chang

4500 East West Hwy, Bethesda, MD 20814

Curious about how cult Chinese chef turned restaurateur Peter Chang handles Peking duck, dim sum, or pepper beef? Head to his new flagship restaurant to experience modern Szechuan cooking from a master.

4500 East West Hwy
Bethesda, MD 20814

5. Modern Market

4930 Elm St, Bethesda, MD

Featuring fresh salads, brick-oven pizzas, assorted breakfast fare, and entrees ranging from “humanely-raised steak” to sesame tofu, Modern Market also caters to all manner of drinkers, serving up beverages from DC Brau Brewing Company, Compass Coffee, Atlas Brew Works, and Craft Kombucha. Parents, take note: the fast-casual restaurant offers a stroller discount of 10 percent all day, every day. So bring the Bugaboo and grab a seat.

4930 Elm St
Bethesda, MD

6. Fresh Baguette

4919 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

This place might be Bethesda’s best kept secret, even as it expands to Rockville and Georgetown. Vincent Mathieu makes all the baguettes in house, which serve as the foundation for sandwiches including the Parisian (think: ham, butter, and Swiss cheese). There’s also quiche lorraine, apple tarts, eclairs, and other fresh baked treats.

4919 Bethesda Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814

7. Paul

4760 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD 20815

Need a meeting space with ample table room and not-noise-deafening Sirius radio in the background? Paul may be the best bet. Coffee comes filled to the brim of porcelain mugs, and any meeting can be made more pleasant with pastries such as the chocolate almond croissant or pain au chocolate. Counting calories? The croissant, pain au chocolate, and raisin danish come in miniature sizes, too.

4760 Bethesda Ave
Bethesda, MD 20815

8. PassionFish Bethesda

7187 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD 20815

The white tablecloths may give PassionFish the “business lunch” vibe, but the hidden secret is the multiple happy hours. There’s the regular weekday happy hour ($5 snacks including fried oysters and crab cake sliders, as well as mixed drinks, draft beers, and house wines; available from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m, Monday through Friday), weekend happy hour (same $5 deals; available from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays), and late-night happy hour ($1 oysters (half dozen minimum) and $8 house martinis; available from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday at the bar and on the patio).

7187 Woodmont Ave
Bethesda, MD 20815

9. Villain & Saint

7141 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

Restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier's barbecue-friendly gastropub features live music from across the spectrum, including blues, indie, folk, and metal. The menu features a Villain/Saint split: ‘villain’ includes heavier, meatier options like the Black Angus grilled cheeseburger, and barbecue pork ribs; ‘saint’ features lighter bites with a Bohemian, veg-heavy approach, such as zucchini pancakes with creme fraiche.

7141 Wisconsin Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814

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