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Whole roasted branzino at Hazel.
Whole roasted fish at Hazel in Shaw
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

The 38 Essential Restaurants in D.C., Summer 2019

From a Turkish-style tavern to a place for a multicultural tasting menu, here’s where to eat in D.C. right now

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Whole roasted fish at Hazel in Shaw
| Photo by Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

The Eater 38 is an elite list that defines what it means to dine in D.C. right now, incorporating a handful of classics and modern darlings that represent a kaleidoscopic range of cuisines in the District and its many suburbs.

The list is fine-tuned every few months to accommodate outstanding new additions or former favorites worth revisiting. Restaurants must be open at least six months to be eligible, but the monthly Eater heatmap has the lowdown on fresh places that have made strong first impressions. Rather than pitch a fit over the exclusion of a favorite restaurant, eating aficionados can send us their nominations.

Added in July 2019: For the summer, the 38 is switching out three restaurants. Wholesale changes at Hazel that brought a Turkish touch to its farmhouse style merit a spot for the Shaw restaurant. New 14th Street sensation Rooster & Owl comes aboard for its unique tasting menus that pull from Asian, Italian, and American traditions. Peking Gourmet Inn joins the lineup as a Falls Church institution that’s still supplying superb duck and superlative service.

Equinox, Ivy City Smokehouse, and Sfoglina — while all still worth visiting — are leaving the list for now.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana

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12207 Darnestown Rd
Darnestown, MD 20878
(301) 963-0115
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D.C. is experiencing a gilded age of Neapolitan pizza, so trekking out to the far reaches of the Maryland suburbs may not be the most judicious use of time for casual visitors. But for folks who dream of puffy, wood-torched crusts, the trip to Tony Conte’s strip mall gem is undoubtedly worth the effort. Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and velvety soft serve make dessert equally impressive.

2. Himitsu

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828 Upshur St NW
Washington, DC 20011

This adventurous spot in Petworth reflects the passions shared by co-owners Kevin Tien and Carlie Steiner. Steiner leads a bar program that carefully selects wines — there’s everything from luscious rosés to wonderfully nutty sherries. Tien, a Louisiana native, crafts complex dishes that draw from his Vietnamese and Southern background. Hamachi crudo in fish sauce vinaigrette is a staple on a menu that frequently changes to feature dishes like a Sichuan pepper crusted, Nashville hot catfish sando.

Himitsu crudo
A raw fish dish accented by coconut milk, red onion, and cured squash at Himitsu.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

3. Taqueria Habanero

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3710 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 722-7700
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The city’s finest traditional Mexican cuisine can be found on a single stretch of 14th Street NW, where chef Dio Montero’s Taqueria Habanero holds a slight edge against Mezcalero, which is just two doors down. Inspired by the streets of Puebla, Mexico, this D.C. taqueria delivers bold flavors with freshly made tortillas, fiery salsas, and eye-pleasing plates that keep the line of hungry customers flowing out the door.

4. Thip Khao

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3462 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 387-5426
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D.C.'s leading Lao restaurant serves as a stage for the bold cooking chef Seng Luangrath and her son, Bobby Pradachith. Powered by fermented fish sauce and a heavy does of chiles, the “jungle menu” from this family-run restaurant integrates offal and cured proteins. That includes tender alligator bolstered by fresh mint and green apple, goat swimming in cilantro-laced curry, and cured pork belly accompanied by fried shallots. The owners are getting ready to debut another Laotian restaurant called Hanumanh in Shaw this winter.

5. Ellē

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3221 Mt Pleasant St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 652-0040
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Nowhere else nails the mash-up of comfort food and high-brow sensibilities quite like the tenants of the Heller’s Bakery building in Mount Pleasant. Blue Duck Tavern alum Brad DeBoy helms the kitchen at this all-day cafe, overseeing experiments with fermentation that include a signature kimchi and labneh toast. Althogh Ellē serves a mean pastrami breakfast sandwich, it’s also a welcoming spot for vegans and vegetarians, with plenty of meat-free options on the menu.

Elle kimchi toast
Kimchi toast
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

6. Call Your Mother Deli

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3301 Georgia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20010

One of Eater’s 16 best new restaurants in America this year, the “Jew-ish” deli in Park View answers a previously unanswerable question: Where in D.C. can one find a great bagel? These wood-fired rounds come from the dough experts at Timber Pizza Co. in Petworth, Andrew Dana and 2017 Eater Young Gun Daniela Moreira. Try the Amar’e — a za’atar bagel stuffed with candied salmon cream cheese, cucumber, crispy shallots, and seasonal greens — or novelties such as a pizza bagel, a smoked brisket and pastrami sub on a challah roll, or a babka muffin.

Call Your Mother pizza bagel
A pizza bagel from Call Your Mother.
Hillary Dixler Canavan/Eater

7. Bad Saint

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3226 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20010

The star example of D.C’s burgeoning Filipino food scene has been drawing hours-long lines with its no-reservations policy since late 2015. The ambitious cooking of James Beard Foundation Award finalist Tom Cunanan made Bad Saint the only local venue to earn a spot on Eater’s list of the 38 essential restaurants in America last year. Featured dishes range from grilled pork to curry-soaked vegetables to noodles cooked with crab fat.

8. Federalist Pig

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1654 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009

Since planting his homegrown smokehouse in Adams Morgan, critically acclaimed pitmaster Rob Sonderman has continued to churn out some of the city’s finest barbecue. Without adhering to a specific regional style, Sonderman has drawn notice for spice-crusted brisket, hearty smoked turkey, chicken wings, and jalapeno sausage links as well as crispy fried Brussels sprouts.

Assorted meats and banana pudding at Federalist Pig.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

9. Tail Up Goat

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1827 Adams Mill Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 986-9600
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This restaurant from the team of Jon Sybert, Jill Tyler, and Bill Jensen brings the same hospitality the partners learned from working at Komi and Little Serow. The Mediterranean-leaning restaurant has become known for its pastas, toasts, wines, and attentive service. Lamb ribs are a sure bet, but a rotating menu highlighting locally sourced ingredients won’t always include them. After nearly three years of business, the restaurant began serving brunch last year.

Grilled pork with Taleggio cheese polenta, grilled escarole, and salsa verde
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

10. Brothers And Sisters

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1770 Euclid St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 588-0525
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The all-day eatery that chef Erik Bruner-Yang planted inside the immaculate lobby of Adams Morgan’s Line hotel has been a total game changer. A recent reboot scrapped a backwards-reading menu and overturned lunch and dinner options to include toasts topped with uni or trout roe and pastas like blue cheese wontons in mushroom broth and coffee butter. Definitely try Pichet Ong’s theatrical cakes, and don’t miss breakfast — the savory oatmeal with wild mushrooms, grana padano, and a poached egg will perk up any morning.

Udon noodles join XO sauce, mentaiko, and crème fraîche.
Foreign National [Brothers and Sisters]

11. Rooster & Owl

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2436 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 813-3976
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With a mandatory four-course tasting menu and a propensity to mix Asian, Italian, and Middle Eastern ingredients, Rooster & Owl navigates through traps that would trip up lesser restaurants. Chef Yuan Tang’s cuisine-hopping meals have instead marveled critics, and at $65 per person, they offer a reasonable option for a special night out. A dish that speaks to Tang’s style is a tagliatelle that uses mushroom broth to fortify a creamy pasta full of shiitakes, fava beans, walnut, and anchovy.

Rooster & Owl carrots
Carolina-style barbecue carrots and corn bread ice cream from Rooster & Owl
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

12. Zenebech Restaurant

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2004, 2420 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 667-4700
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In a city renowned for Ethiopian cuisine, Zenebech has survived as an annual favorite thanks to the sharp, fresh flavors overseen seen by its namesake matriarch, Zenebech Dessu. The restaurant re-located from Shaw to Adams Morgan in 2017 before closing its new venue due to a devastating fire. It re-opened in August, hosting diners in comfortable green booths while reclaiming its place as the city’s gold standard for vegetarian platters and tibs.

13. Maydan

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1346 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 370-3696
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This portal into Middle Eastern dining is all about the show-stopping hearth at the center of the dining room. From flatbread cooked in adjacent clay ovens to whole roasted chickens and lamb shoulders, the food is as impressive as the visual spectacle. Splurge on condiments ($1 each) such as the potent garlic toum to take the meal to another level at one of Eater’s 18 best new restaurants in America last year.

Lamb shoulder at Maydan
Lamb shoulder at Maydan
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

14. Hazel

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808 V St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 847-4980
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When he installed his first menu at this hip, farm-sourcing restaurant in Shaw late in 2018, chef Robert Curtis wanted to recreate the communal feel he found while sampling meze at neighborhood taverns in Turkey. Since then, Curtis’s execution of that vision has only gotten sharper, with laffa bread arriving to the table puffier than before, and a crispier crust appearing on the grains of a duck confit dirty rice with pickled peppers. Start with dips — Curtis’s muhammara concentrates red peppers into a preposterously rich paste — and move along to vegetable plates, grain salads, and meat dishes all buoyed by an avalanche of herbs and a deluge of lemon juice.

Roasted carrots with whipped tahini, harissa oil, and herbs at Hazel
Roasted carrots with whipped tahini, harissa oil, and herbs at Hazel
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

15. Red Hen

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1822 1st St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 525-3021
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Maybe it’s the mood lighting, or the thoughtful wine list, or the homey Italian dishes studded with touches of refinement. This Bloomingdale fixture makes first-time visitors feel at home quickly. The menu is seasonal, but the chicken liver mousse on grilled toast and the rigatoni with sausage ragu never go out of style. Those in the know order off-menu cacio e pepe.

16. Le Diplomate

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1601 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 332-3333
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An instant classic since opening in 2013, Le Diplomate is a loud, bustling ode to the French brasserie. The kitchen churns out classics like steak frites, roasted chicken, and skate, as well as some interesting twists like foie gras mousse and its go-to cheeseburger. Pristine seafood platters validate their exorbitant prices, but the complimentary bread baked in-house may be just as impressive.

17. Estadio

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1520 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 319-1404
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Estadio has been a major player in D.C.'s Spanish food scene since it opened, not to mention a major pioneer in the 14th Street NW boom. The contemporary small-plates menu boasts a strong selection of cheese and charcuterie, as well as pintxos, bocadillos, and classic tapas dishes.

Customers dining at Estadio.
Marissa Bialecki/Estadio

18. Little Serow

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1511 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

Getting into Little Serow can be a challenge — lines for the no-reservations restaurant start forming at least an hour before opening — but the payoff is worth the wait. Northern Thai plates in all their fiery glory push diners to pluck fingerfuls of sticky rice, pick at side plates of herbs and radishes, and order glasses of milk. At $54 per person for an ever-changing tasting menu, the basement restaurant provides a more affordable alternative to its fine-dining sibling upstairs, Komi.

19. Sushi Taro

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1503 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 462-8999
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New Japanese restaurants come and go, but this Michelin-starred standby continues to wow diners no matter what the price point. Exorbitant omakase menus guide customers through courses of high-end ingredients such as sea urchin, lobster, and wagyu beef. Cost-conscious customers can indulge with a half-price happy hour at the bar, a la carte sushi and sashimi orders, or artfully arranged bento boxes.

20. Masseria

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1340 4th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 608-1330
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The sleek Italian getaway stands out in contrast to the wholesale purveyors surrounding it on the outskirts of the Union Market district. Inspired by the coastal cooking found in the Puglia region in the heel of Italy, the Michelin-starred restaurant is one of D.C.’s top tables for special occasion dinners. The prix fixe menu comes with a four-course minimum ($98). The linguine with spicy XO sauce, peperoncino, and bread crumb is not to be missed.

Linguine with spicy XO sauce, peperoncino, and bread crumb.
Masseria/Facebook

21. Convivial

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801 O St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 525-2870
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Fans of the familiar can take comfort in culinary standards such as quiche Lorraine or seafood-packed bouillabaisse at this lively Shaw cafe from Michel Richard protege Cedric Maupillier. Indulgent diners can opt for the gourmet bacon cheeseburgers and fried chicken prepared in the style of coq au vin.

22. St. Anselm

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1250 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 864-2199
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Marjorie Meek-Bradley, Eater D.C.’s 2018 Chef of the Year, is smashing the city’s stuffy steakhouse conventions to pieces with a menu that gives vegetables equal time and attention. At the Brooklyn brand’s D.C. sibling, for example, creamed spinach comes from washing, shredding, and steaming fresh greens. Her butter-packed biscuits with pimento cheese have become the stuff of legend, and a salmon collar practically melting under a butter-lemon bath has its own cult following. Ax-handle ribeyes and pork porterhouses provide more of a splurge.

Marjorie Meek-Bradley
St. Anselm chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

23. Iron Gate

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1734 N St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 524-5202
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One of the most romantic restaurants in the city, Neighborhood Restaurant Group's Mediterranean stalwart mixes Greek and Italian traditions with Mid-Atlantic ingredients. The historic venue offers tasting menus, family-style meals, and a la carte options inside a Dupont location that used to house a horse stable.

24. The Dabney

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122 Blagden Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 450-1015
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A wood-fired hearth and a commitment to local ingredients drive the exploration into traditions of Mid-Atlantic cuisine — like sweet potato rolls with fried Chesapeake catfish or winter squash cooked over embers — at this decorated kitchen in Blagden Alley. Chef Jeremiah Langhorne, last year’s James Beard Foundation Award winner for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic, has also added the Dabney Cellar, an underground wine bar that serves country ham and local oysters.

25. El Rinconcito Cafe

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1129 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 789-4110
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The Salvadoran and Mexican restaurant is unfailingly packed and charmingly cramped. Pupusas, or griddled masa patties stuffed with beans, cheese, and/or pork, are a D.C. staple. Better ones might arguably be found in suburban Maryland, but the bustling atmosphere here — where the bar fills up for soccer games and the line for tables spills outside — is unbeatable.

26. Kinship

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1015 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 737-7700
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Although Kinship has a fine-dining pedigree and an adjoining $200 tasting menu restaurant in Métier, it offers a la carte menu that gives everyday guests enough wiggle room to make their own fun. Menu sections are arranged by culinary themes (Craft; History; Ingredients; Indulgence) but do share a few things in common: gorgeous presentations and complementary flavors.

27. Poca Madre

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777 I St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 838-5300
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Sourcing heirloom corn from Mexico and processing it in-house sets a serious tone for many dishes at the fine dining restaurant from Victor Albisu. But the chef is having too much fun for the meal to ever feel stuffy. See the shrimp and cuttlefish ceviche in which the seafood is transformed into noodles and thrown into a coconut and citrus broth that tastes both Mexican and Thai. A 12-course taco omakase menu reveals the distinction between different masa but also ends with a choco-taco that arrives on a toy dinosaur.

Hamachi ceviche from Poca Madre.
Poca Madre/Facebook

28. Momofuku CCDC

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1090 I St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 602-1832
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D.C. area native Tae Strain has breathed new life into empire builder David Chang’s flagship D.C. restaurant, replacing initial dishes such as ramen and bao buns with daring new dishes — fluffy bing breads with assorted spreads and gourmet toast smothered in savory clams. The alum of San Francisco’s Michelin-starred the Progress is also working to add more regional accents to the popular CityCenter destination, including more local seafood.

29. Centrolina

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974 Palmer Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 898-2426
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Three-time James Beard Award finalist Amy Brandwein has proven she’s a force to be reckoned with at this CityCenter osteria. Centrolina is known for enticing drinks, comforting pastas, wood-fired mains, and artful desserts. The gourmet market inside will soon be moving to a sibling cafe across the street, Piccolina.

30. Daikaya

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705 6th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 589-1600
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Led by chef Katsuya Fukushima, Daikaya is two restaurants in one. On the ground floor, a Sapporo-style ramen shop ladles out bowls of signature Chintan broth made with chicken, pork, and beef. Upstairs, there’s an izakaya specializing in Japanese-inspired bar food, including grilled avocado; hambagu salisbury steak served with foie gras and black truffle demi-glace; and rice balls stuffed with pork belly and red miso.

A flame grilled scallop at Daikaya.
Daikaya [Official photo]

31. China Chilcano

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418 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 783-0941
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The Peruvian gem in tastemaker José Andrés’ collection of globe-spanning restaurants offers a window into the fusion of the country’s Spanish and West African roots with influential Chinese and Japanese cuisines. Patrons can find citrus-splashed ceviches, meaty dumplings, elaborate stir-frys, and, of course, boozy pisco drinks.

32. Rasika

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633 D St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 637-1222
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Rasika is not just one of the most popular Indian restaurants in D.C. — it's one of the most popular restaurants in D.C., period. Chef Vikram Sunderam (formerly of London's Bombay Brasserie) mans the kitchen at the Penn Quarter restaurant, where he takes a modern look at traditional Indian fare with favorites like the crispy palak chaat, flavorful curries, and more.

33. Chiko (Multiple locations)

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423 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 558-9934
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At this humble counter in Capitol Hill, the mix of Korean and Chinese cooking continues to wow locals with specialities such as orange-ish chicken made with candied mandarins and chilled, marinated little neck clams. The Fried Rice Collective has opened a second Chiko in San Diego and welcomed another local storefront in Dupont Circle. Their bulgogi hoagies and Korean chicken wings can now be found at Capital One Arena and Nationals Park.

Wagshals brisket over rice.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

34. Rose's Luxury

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717 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 580-8889
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Rose’s Luxury has commanded long lines — and mad respect — since it opened in 2013, helping redefine the city’s reputation with national critics as a hip dining destination. The experimental restaurant continues to play with dishes like a pork lychee salad and Vietnamese pate as well as family-style plates like schnitzel and brisket. The menu changes frequently, and specials are worth seeking out, from uni scrambled eggs to a buttery Carolina rice. Vegetarians eat well here, too.

35. Kith/Kin

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801 Wharf St SW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 878-8566
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Top Chef alum Kwame Onwuachi has honed his Afro-Caribbean cuisine since opening Kith/Kin in the ground floor of the Intercontinental hotel late in 2017. West African jollof rice topped with dry-aged ribeye and Maryland crab stew impressed Eater’s national critic last year. Braised oxtails often sell out before the end of service.

Beef and crab jollof rice.
Bill Addison/Eater

36. Chloe

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1331 4th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 313-7007
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Chef Haidar Karoum, a long-time fixture on the D.C. dining scene, struck out on his own and delivered a restaurant full of Easter eggs from previous stops cooking Mediterranean food and Southeast Asian. Thai and Vietnamese dishes — notably a nuoc cham spiked cobia crudo and a pho broth-brined, air-dried chicken — are particularly strong.

Chloe chicken Scott Suchman/For Chloe

37. The Salt Line

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79 Potomac Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 506-2368
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This pioneering Navy Yard restaurant keeps firing on all cylinders. Whether its serving spicy oyster shooters, Nashville-style hot crab creations, extra cheesy smash burgers, or seafood snatched from nearby waters, the Salt Line team shows it reveres the D.C. area and is delighted to share its spoils.

38. Peking Gourmet Inn

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6029 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041
(703) 671-8088
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It’s a rite of passage in D.C. to travel to Falls Church for Peking duck that skilled, bowtie-wearing servers carve and serve tableside. Eddie Tsui founded the place in 1978. Since then, it’s undergone multiple expansions and collected more photos of A-listers from pop culture and politics. Served with house hoi sin, pancakes, and spring onions sourced from the restaurant’s farm in Purcellville, Virginia, the duck is a must. Other smart orders include stir-fried garlic sprouts, crusted and seared lamb chops, and black pepper beef.

1. Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana

12207 Darnestown Rd, Darnestown, MD 20878

D.C. is experiencing a gilded age of Neapolitan pizza, so trekking out to the far reaches of the Maryland suburbs may not be the most judicious use of time for casual visitors. But for folks who dream of puffy, wood-torched crusts, the trip to Tony Conte’s strip mall gem is undoubtedly worth the effort. Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and velvety soft serve make dessert equally impressive.

12207 Darnestown Rd
Darnestown, MD 20878

2. Himitsu

828 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011
Himitsu crudo
A raw fish dish accented by coconut milk, red onion, and cured squash at Himitsu.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

This adventurous spot in Petworth reflects the passions shared by co-owners Kevin Tien and Carlie Steiner. Steiner leads a bar program that carefully selects wines — there’s everything from luscious rosés to wonderfully nutty sherries. Tien, a Louisiana native, crafts complex dishes that draw from his Vietnamese and Southern background. Hamachi crudo in fish sauce vinaigrette is a staple on a menu that frequently changes to feature dishes like a Sichuan pepper crusted, Nashville hot catfish sando.

828 Upshur St NW
Washington, DC 20011

3. Taqueria Habanero

3710 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010

The city’s finest traditional Mexican cuisine can be found on a single stretch of 14th Street NW, where chef Dio Montero’s Taqueria Habanero holds a slight edge against Mezcalero, which is just two doors down. Inspired by the streets of Puebla, Mexico, this D.C. taqueria delivers bold flavors with freshly made tortillas, fiery salsas, and eye-pleasing plates that keep the line of hungry customers flowing out the door.

3710 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20010

4. Thip Khao

3462 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010

D.C.'s leading Lao restaurant serves as a stage for the bold cooking chef Seng Luangrath and her son, Bobby Pradachith. Powered by fermented fish sauce and a heavy does of chiles, the “jungle menu” from this family-run restaurant integrates offal and cured proteins. That includes tender alligator bolstered by fresh mint and green apple, goat swimming in cilantro-laced curry, and cured pork belly accompanied by fried shallots. The owners are getting ready to debut another Laotian restaurant called Hanumanh in Shaw this winter.

3462 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20010

5. Ellē

3221 Mt Pleasant St NW, Washington, DC 20010
Elle kimchi toast
Kimchi toast
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Nowhere else nails the mash-up of comfort food and high-brow sensibilities quite like the tenants of the Heller’s Bakery building in Mount Pleasant. Blue Duck Tavern alum Brad DeBoy helms the kitchen at this all-day cafe, overseeing experiments with fermentation that include a signature kimchi and labneh toast. Althogh Ellē serves a mean pastrami breakfast sandwich, it’s also a welcoming spot for vegans and vegetarians, with plenty of meat-free options on the menu.

3221 Mt Pleasant St NW
Washington, DC 20010

6. Call Your Mother Deli

3301 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20010
Call Your Mother pizza bagel
A pizza bagel from Call Your Mother.
Hillary Dixler Canavan/Eater

One of Eater’s 16 best new restaurants in America this year, the “Jew-ish” deli in Park View answers a previously unanswerable question: Where in D.C. can one find a great bagel? These wood-fired rounds come from the dough experts at Timber Pizza Co. in Petworth, Andrew Dana and 2017 Eater Young Gun Daniela Moreira. Try the Amar’e — a za’atar bagel stuffed with candied salmon cream cheese, cucumber, crispy shallots, and seasonal greens — or novelties such as a pizza bagel, a smoked brisket and pastrami sub on a challah roll, or a babka muffin.

3301 Georgia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20010

7. Bad Saint

3226 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20010

The star example of D.C’s burgeoning Filipino food scene has been drawing hours-long lines with its no-reservations policy since late 2015. The ambitious cooking of James Beard Foundation Award finalist Tom Cunanan made Bad Saint the only local venue to earn a spot on Eater’s list of the 38 essential restaurants in America last year. Featured dishes range from grilled pork to curry-soaked vegetables to noodles cooked with crab fat.

3226 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20010

8. Federalist Pig

1654 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009
Assorted meats and banana pudding at Federalist Pig.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Since planting his homegrown smokehouse in Adams Morgan, critically acclaimed pitmaster Rob Sonderman has continued to churn out some of the city’s finest barbecue. Without adhering to a specific regional style, Sonderman has drawn notice for spice-crusted brisket, hearty smoked turkey, chicken wings, and jalapeno sausage links as well as crispy fried Brussels sprouts.

1654 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009

9. Tail Up Goat

1827 Adams Mill Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009
Grilled pork with Taleggio cheese polenta, grilled escarole, and salsa verde
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

This restaurant from the team of Jon Sybert, Jill Tyler, and Bill Jensen brings the same hospitality the partners learned from working at Komi and Little Serow. The Mediterranean-leaning restaurant has become known for its pastas, toasts, wines, and attentive service. Lamb ribs are a sure bet, but a rotating menu highlighting locally sourced ingredients won’t always include them. After nearly three years of business, the restaurant began serving brunch last year.

1827 Adams Mill Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009

10. Brothers And Sisters

1770 Euclid St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Udon noodles join XO sauce, mentaiko, and crème fraîche.
Foreign National [Brothers and Sisters]

The all-day eatery that chef Erik Bruner-Yang planted inside the immaculate lobby of Adams Morgan’s Line hotel has been a total game changer. A recent reboot scrapped a backwards-reading menu and overturned lunch and dinner options to include toasts topped with uni or trout roe and pastas like blue cheese wontons in mushroom broth and coffee butter. Definitely try Pichet Ong’s theatrical cakes, and don’t miss breakfast — the savory oatmeal with wild mushrooms, grana padano, and a poached egg will perk up any morning.

1770 Euclid St NW
Washington, DC 20009

11. Rooster & Owl

2436 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Rooster & Owl carrots
Carolina-style barbecue carrots and corn bread ice cream from Rooster & Owl
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

With a mandatory four-course tasting menu and a propensity to mix Asian, Italian, and Middle Eastern ingredients, Rooster & Owl navigates through traps that would trip up lesser restaurants. Chef Yuan Tang’s cuisine-hopping meals have instead marveled critics, and at $65 per person, they offer a reasonable option for a special night out. A dish that speaks to Tang’s style is a tagliatelle that uses mushroom broth to fortify a creamy pasta full of shiitakes, fava beans, walnut, and anchovy.

2436 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

12. Zenebech Restaurant

2004, 2420 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

In a city renowned for Ethiopian cuisine, Zenebech has survived as an annual favorite thanks to the sharp, fresh flavors overseen seen by its namesake matriarch, Zenebech Dessu. The restaurant re-located from Shaw to Adams Morgan in 2017 before closing its new venue due to a devastating fire. It re-opened in August, hosting diners in comfortable green booths while reclaiming its place as the city’s gold standard for vegetarian platters and tibs.

2004, 2420 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

13. Maydan

1346 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009
Lamb shoulder at Maydan
Lamb shoulder at Maydan
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

This portal into Middle Eastern dining is all about the show-stopping hearth at the center of the dining room. From flatbread cooked in adjacent clay ovens to whole roasted chickens and lamb shoulders, the food is as impressive as the visual spectacle. Splurge on condiments ($1 each) such as the potent garlic toum to take the meal to another level at one of Eater’s 18 best new restaurants in America last year.

1346 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009

14. Hazel

808 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001