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A jerk chicken dish at Sunrise Caribbean.
Sunrise Caribbean/Facebook

Every Restaurant Featured on Season 1 of ‘Check, Please! DC’

And intel on what to order at each one

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A jerk chicken dish at Sunrise Caribbean.
| Sunrise Caribbean/Facebook

Check, Please! DC, hosted by restaurateur Rose Previte (Compass Rose, Maydan) wrapped its first season on WETA TV on May 20. Each week the show dispatched a trio of guest reviewers to restaurants throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia to critique the dishes and cuisine recommended by fellow panelists.

The featured restaurants were as diverse as the armchair critics, leading viewers from Afghani bistros in Adams Morgan to regional crab houses overlooking the Potomac River. Recommendations from the guest reviewers are included in every entry.

Don’t see a personal favorite? Sign up to be a guest reviewer on Season 2 of Check, Please! DC (stay tuned). Catch up on the first season starting Monday, June 18, when the show runs through every episode all over again.

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Refreshing cocktails and shareable plates are the name of the game at this Latin American restaurant in Rockville. After sampling the mushroom mussels, beet salad, and Brussel sprouts, the guest reviewer dubbed the restaurant the “Cheers of my neighborhood,” lauding it for its “fresh, really inventive small plates, a wonderful wine and beer list as well as a master mixologist making some awesome drinks.”

Botanero’s “La Flama” cocktail features mezcal mixed with pineapple, agave nectar, and pink peppercorns.

A Taste of Burma

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Loudoun County’s go-to spot for Burmese cuisine since 2006 allows customers to at their way through the Southeast Asian nation now known as Myanmar. One guest critic dined on tea leaf salad, split yellow pea fritters, and mango chicken and said it “felt like I was at my favorite aunt’s home eating dinner.”

A chicken and mango dish with curry, pickled mango, red pepper, and scallion at a Taste of Burma.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]


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This Sterling gem has been offering its modern take on American, Cajun and Korean cuisine ever since it opened in 2010. That confluence of flavors prompted the guest critic to praise the casual restaurant for its “unique combination” after eating its foie gras dumplings, octopus, and pork-belly skewers.

Foie gras dumplings at Mokomandy.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo}

Mark's Kitchen

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A Takoma Park mainstay since 1990, Mark’s Kitchen serves American and Asian-inspired dishes — including many vegetarian options — that are just as varied as the neighborhood. “I’ve been going here for 24 years, since before I could sit in a high chair,” a guest critic said after eating the jap chae noodles, and kimchi fried rice with bulgogi. “They make fresh vegetable broth every day.”

A bowl of shrimp, noodles, and vegetables at Mark’s Kitchen.
Mark’s Kitchen/Facebook

Vin 909 Winecafé

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Annapolis is home to this neighborhood café specializing in American cuisine with influences from coastal California, New England and the Mediterranean. The guest critic’s picks? Stuffed zucchini, pizza, and sweet corn risotto. “The food is as fresh as fresh can be,” the reviewer said. “The vibe in the restaurant is just a happy, relaxed good time.”

The stuffed zucchini at Vin 909 Winecafé
Check, Please! DC

Shagga Coffee & Restaurant

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The recipes used at this Ethiopian restaurant in Hyattsville have been passed down for generations and use traditional ingredients — so don’t expect to find any fusion dishes here. A guest critic dining on sambusas, kitfo, and the vegetarian combination platter dubbed the restaurant “A really chill place.”

A mixed plate at Shagga.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]

Sunrise Caribbean

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This casual, family restaurant owned by entrepreneurs from Trinidad has been offering vegan entrees and traditional Caribbean favorites in Brightwood since 2008. A guest critic said the cuisine — especially the curried chicken and roti, chana and potatoes, and goat dinner — “Tastes like home, only better.”

A curry goat dish at Sunrise Caribbean.
Sunrise Caribbean/Facebook


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The mussels and crab dip are a “forever must” for a guest critic at this Hyattsville restaurant and brewery that caters to families and beer lovers alike. “My neighborhood staple for 20 years, the food is on point and (co-owner) Mike Franklin is a big supporter of Hyattsville — we even have our PTA meetings there,” said the reviewer, who ordered the pork shank.

A pork shank at Franklin’s.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]

Ruta del Vino

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This Petworth restaurant recently brought on new executive chef Wille Harner and introduced a revamped menu featuring more Latin American fare. A guest critic ate the smoked octopus and ceviche del dia, but said the restaurant is, at its heart, a wine bar. It features around 20 Latin American wines by the glass and roughly 10 wines by the bottle.

A mixed grill at Ruta del Vino.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Thip Khao

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D.C.’s leading Laotian restaurant is drawing crowds in Columbia Heights with its spicy (jungle menu) and unusual fare (including ant eggs). Surprisingly, it was salad that attracted a guest critic to the critically acclaimed eatery. “Every single dish on the menu has a story told by Lao people,” the reviewer said.

Assorted offerings at Thip Khao.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]

Los Hermanos

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This homegrown restaurant started out in Columbia Heights in 1995 as a bodega and morphed into a family-run eatery focused on Dominican food. “I found this place when I was missing the flavors of the Dominican Republic — tastes like the food I had in the DR,” said a guest critic who ate mofungo (fried green plantains mashed together) with oxtail and a side of rice and beans. “Everything they make, they make with love.”

Assorted offerings at Los Hermanos.
Los Hermanos/Facebook

Et Voila

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Neighborhood restaurant Et Voila is known for its traditional French-Belgian fare, leading a guest critic to indulge in the grilled mussels and duck confit. “Walking into the restaurant made me feel like I was back in Brussels,” the reviewer said.

Grilled mussels at Et Voila.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]

Adams Morgan’s Bul serves traditional Korean barbecue dishes including galbi, spicy squid, pork belly, and spicy chicken. For the show, a guest critic ate short ribs, bulgogi tacos,  and a seafood pancake. “I go there with my wife and kids and we are treated like family,” the reviewer said.

Korean short ribs at Bul.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]

This Michelin Bib Gourmand honoree provides D.C. diners with a taste of Afghan cuisine. A guest reviewer couldn’t say enough about the okra. “I grew up on okra and this is some of the best okra I’ve ever had,” said the reviewer, who also had the chicken korma and sambusa trio.

Assorted offerings at Lapis.


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This homegrown restaurant and fish market serves seafood from all over the world. “Go for lunch or happy hour for the best value on the best seafood in town,” said a guest reviewer who had the oysters, seafood stew, and coconut cream pie.

Assorted offerings at Blacksalt.

Tico DC

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This neighborhood cantina from restaurateur Michael Schlow serves Latin American-style food along the bustling 14th Street corridor. “You just feel at home when you go there,” a citizen reviewer said after dining on mac and cheese with serrano ham, and beef tacos.

Beef tacos at Tico.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]

Right Proper Brewing Company (Multiple locations)

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Shaw’s resident brewpub is up for two Rammy Awards in 2018 — one for “Regional Food and Beverage Producer of the Year” and “Favorite Gathering Place of the Year.” The local brewery serves beer and cider, but alcohol wasn’t on a guest reviewer’s mind when eating watermelon salad, baby back ribs, and fries. “I was surprised that my favorite dish at a brewpub was a salad,” the reviewer said.

The Right Proper brewpub in Shaw.
Amit M. / Yelp

Lauriol Plaza

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There’s something for everyone at this loud and lively Dupont Circle standby featuring Latin American cuisine. A guest reviewer gave the thumbs up to surf-and-turf fajitas, the seafood soup, and the tiramisu.

Steak and shrimp fajitas at Lauriol Plaza..
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]

Crust Pizzeria

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This local pizzeria uses a wood-fired brick oven to cook its Neapolitan-style pies, sandwiches, appetizers, and other offerings. A guest reviewer couldn’t get enough of the “Capricciosa” pizza topped with salami, artichokes and olives. “I was stationed in Northern Italy when I was in the Army, and Crust is as good as the pizza I had in Naples, the best I’ve had this side of the pond,” said the reviewer, who also ate Crust’s arancini and tiramisu.

Staff tending to a brick-oven pie at Crust Pizzeria.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]

Pearl Dive

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This 14th Street standby keeps regulars happy with fresh seafood, fried snacks, and cold drinks. A guest reviewer feasted on cornmeal crusted Chesapeake oysters, duck and butternut squash salad, all of the featured raw oysters, and the wood grilled fish of the day. “Pearl Dive Oyster Palace is the complete package,” the reviewer said. “It’s everything from the ambiance to the amazing staff.”

Freshly shucked oysters at Pearl Dive.
Pearl Dive/Facebook

Logan Tavern

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The guest reviewer of this neighborhood watering hole has actually been involved in the hospitality world for a decade. The reviewer’s picks are buffalo shrimp, grilled salmon with greens, and meatloaf with curry sauce.

Assorted offerings at Logan Tavern.
Logan Tavern/Facebook

Baan Thai

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Don’t bother looking for pad Thai at this popular D.C. restaurant. Instead count on finding northern Thai cuisine offered at reasonable prices in a relaxed, atmosphere. “The textures are remarkable ... keeps the food playful, imaginative and sort of wakes you up,” a citizen reviewer shared about the restaurant’s tapioca chicken balls and spicy deep fried tilapia.

A specialty dish at Baan Thai.
Baan Thai/Facebook

Espita Mezcaleria

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This two-year-old Shaw restaurant has quickly become some locals’ go-to for Mexican food and mezcal drinks. A guest reviewer recommends the lamb belly mole negro and salsa pistachio. “The key thing about the way they put sauces on the dish, is they don’t drown the food,” the reviewer said. “They try to enhance the food, and they do that perfectly.”

Lamb belly molé negro at Espita.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]

All-Purpose (Multiple locations)

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A recent arrival in Navy Yard, this homegrown Italian restaurant serves gourmet pizzas and pastas with a side of sweeping waterfront views. The citizen reviewer’s picks? North End pizza, and butternut squash with tagliata.

Two types of pies at the new All-Purpose in Navy Yard.

Chef Ris Lacoste’s eponymous West End restaurant focuses on seasonal American fare. A guest reviewer who dined on the chicken milanese, and Portuguese seafood stew said, “Ris was a pioneer in the farm to table movement. Her dishes change seasonally, so she makes whatever is fresh at the market on that day.”

Assorted offerings at Ris.

The lines to reach the front counter are often long, and the patio teems with people in the summer. But the flavorful Indian food at this 5-year-old, family-run restaurant in NoMa is well worth braving the crowds. “When I go, I miss my mother’s cooking,” a guest reviewer said after eating the gobi paratha, pumpkin curry, and goat curry.

Customers dining on the patio at Indigo.
Indigo/Eater DC

Toki Underground

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D.C. diners already know this 7-year-old Atlas District noodle house is hard to get into. But it remains one of the best places in the city to eat ramen. “The ramen at Toki is like heaven in a bowl,” said a citizen reviewer who had the Toki classic ramen with fried chicken, as well as the fried chicken tan tan mein.

A bowl of ramen at Toki Underground.

Smith Commons

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The Atlas District restaurant serves modern American fare with global flourishes. A guest reviewer sampled the butter chicken, and sous vide duck breast with arancini. The latter was described as “spot on” by the former resident of Italy.

Duck breast and arancini at Smith Commons.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]


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Restaurateur Erik Bruner-Yang’s combination restaurant, coffee shop and retail space has struck a chord with its Taiwanese fried chicken. It was the Maketto fried chicken, wok fried rice noodle, and pork steam bar that drew a guest reviewer to the Atlas District eatery’s Cambodian and Taiwanese cooking.

Assorted offerings at Maketto.
Rey Lopez/Under a Bushel Photography

Old Stein Inn

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This family-owned German restaurant and outdoor beer garden in Edgewater, Maryland has been a local mainstay for over 30 years. A guest reviewer dined on the chicken schnitzel with red cabbage, Bavarian bratwurst, and German chocolate brownie in an atmosphere that felt like “A quick trip to Germany.”

Schnitzel with red cabbage and spätzle at Old Stein Inn.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]

Rasika (Multiple locations)

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James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Vikram Sunderam helms this renowned destination for upscale Indian cuisine. “It’s so light, you don’t feel like you’ve eaten anything, but you just had all these crisp, flavorful, nutritious vegetables,” said a guest reviewer who ate the palak chaat and chicken tikka.

Assorted offerings at Rasika.
Hazel C./Yelp

Bistro Cacao

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This Capitol Hill restaurant is a mere eight-minute walk from Union Station and an oasis from the District’s fast pace, said a guest reviewer who had its steamed mussels and rainbow trout. “You step inside and from the atmosphere and the décor, you feel like you’re having a delicious meal in the heart of France,” the reviewer said.

Steamed mussels at Bistro Cacao.
Bistro Cacao/Facebook

Plaka Grill (Multiple locations)

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This chain of homegrown Greek restaurants started in Vienna, Virginia and has since spread to Falls Church, where a guest reviewer ate the Plaka-style gyro. “They hand cut their own fries, it’s fast and fresh and you can hold your whole meal in one hand,” the reviewer said.

Two gyros with fries in the background.
Gyros and French fries at Plaka Grill.
Plaka Grill/Facebook

Queen Amannisa

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One of the D.C. area’s leading Uyghur restaurants, Queen Ammanisa serves dishes including lamb kebabs, hearty, vegetable-laced rice platters, and meat-topped noodles (laghman). After sampling the laghman, blinchki, and lamb kebabs, one of the show’s guest reviewers said Queen Amannisa is a very special restaurant — the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else.

A noodle dish at Queen Amannisa.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]

Hula Girl Bar and Grill

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A guest reviewer has been tracking this Hawaiian-style eatery in Shirlington, Virginia ever since chef and owner Mikala Brennan rolled out her local food truck. “It’s still unique and great Hawaiian food, only better because you can have drinks,” said the reviewer, who had loco moco as well as the pork and cabbage plate lunch.

Assorted offerings at Hula Girl.
Hula Girl/Facebook

Captain Billy's Crab House

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Just in time for crab season, Captain Billy’s offers beautiful sunsets over the Potomac, tons of steamed crabs seasoned with Old Bay, and, as a guest reviewer noted, fried rockfish and hush puppies. “The Maryland blue crab is basically an icon — it’s emblematic of the Chesapeake region,” the reviewer said.

Steamed crabs at Captain Billy’s Crab House.
Check, Please! DC [Official photo]


Refreshing cocktails and shareable plates are the name of the game at this Latin American restaurant in Rockville. After sampling the mushroom mussels, beet salad, and Brussel sprouts, the guest reviewer dubbed the restaurant the “Cheers of my neighborhood,” lauding it for its “fresh, really inventive small plates, a wonderful wine and beer list as well as a master mixologist making some awesome drinks.”