clock menu more-arrow no yes
Roasted chicken at Chloe gets brined in a pho broth and air-dried overnight before being served with chile-lime dipping sauce and Vietnamese greens.
Scott Suchman/For Chloe

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

A subversive steakhouse, a “Jew-ish” deli, and a place powerfully puffy pizzas join the list

View as Map
Roasted chicken at Chloe gets brined in a pho broth and air-dried overnight before being served with chile-lime dipping sauce and Vietnamese greens.
| Photo by Scott Suchman/For Chloe

The Eater 38 covers D.C. and its many suburbs, spanning myriad cuisines and budgets while collectively satisfying a vast array of restaurant needs. The list is fine-tuned every few months to accommodate outstanding new additions or former favorites that have made major improvements. 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.

This spring, additions include Call Your Mother, Chloe, Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, and St. Anselm.

To make room, Bourbon Steak, the Oval Room, Momo Yakitori, and Timber Pizza Co. are leaving the list.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana

Copy Link
12207 Darnestown Rd
Darnestown, MD 20878
(301) 963-0115
Visit Website

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 to the city. But for folks who dream of puffy, wood-torched crusts, the trip to Tony Conte’s strip mall gem is undoubtedly worth the effort. People who don’t secure an early spot in line could face an hours-long wait, so be prepared to settle for takeout or — for more fun — dip into the eclectic wine list. Don’t skip dessert: Peanut butter chocolate cookies and velvety soft serve are edible exclamation points at the end of any meal.

2. Sfoglina (Multiple locations)

Copy Link
4445 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 450-1312
Visit Website

Sfoglina excels in hand-crafted, understated pasta dishes with prices befitting a neighborhood restaurant. Season specialities such as lamb pappardelle all cost $26, and entrees including veal cutlets and 72-hour short short ribs are grouped at $28. A second location opened downtown last year, and another is headed to Arlington in 2019.

3. Himitsu

Copy Link
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 Asian and Southern heritages. So raw tuna gets ignited by orange-chile oil, and fried chicken takes a trip around the globe with fermented chile paste, sesame seeds, and creamy kewpie mayo. It's easy to grasp why this place is packed nearly every night.

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

4. Taqueria Habanero

Copy Link
3710 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 722-7700
Visit Website

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.

5. Thip Khao

Copy Link
3462 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 387-5426
Visit Website

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.

6. Ellē

Copy Link
3221 Mt Pleasant St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 652-0040
Visit Website

Nowhere else nails the mash-up of comfort food and high-brow sensibilities quite like the new tenants of the Heller’s Bakery building in Mount Pleasant. Blue Duck Tavern alum Brad DeBoy helms the kitchen at this all-day cafe, serving everything from supremely butter guava turnovers at the coffee bar up front to Cape May scallop ceviche with umami-packed Katsuobushi potato chips and kimchi toast in the dining room.

Kimchi toast
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

7. Call Your Mother Deli

Copy Link
3301 Georgia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20010

Hordes of carbohydrate-cravers continue to descend upon the “Jew-ish” deli in Park View because it 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, and a babka muffin.

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

8. Bad Saint

Copy Link
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.

9. Federalist Pig

Copy Link
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

10. Tail Up Goat

Copy Link
1827 Adams Mill Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 986-9600
Visit Website

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 eatery 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.

11. Brothers And Sisters

Copy Link
1770 Euclid St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 588-0525
Visit Website

The all-day eatery that restaurateur Erik Bruner-Yang planted inside the immaculate lobby of Adams Morgan’s Line hotel has been a total game changer. The menu plays with dishes native to Asia — hello, takoyaki hushpuppies — Europe, and the Americas. It reads backwards, with items arranged to read from right to left. That initial culture shock is deliberate — as is every other detail, ingredient, and culinary technique Bruner-Yang and his growing hospitality team have woven into the sophisticated and transportive venue.

A top seller at Brothers and Sisters this year was an octopus hot dog.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

12. Zenebech Restaurant

Copy Link
2004, 2420 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 667-4700
Visit Website

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

Copy Link
1346 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 370-3696
Visit Website

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.

Assorted dipping sauces and spreads at Maydan.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

14. Red Hen

Copy Link
1822 1st St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 525-3021
Visit Website

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.

15. Ivy City Smokehouse

Copy Link
1356 Okie St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 529-3300
Visit Website

In addition to wooing patrons with its signature smoked salmon “candy,” this casual rooftop retreat also applies its smoke-em-if-you-got-em philosophy to chicken wings, ribs, tacos, and bagel platters. Rather chill? Raw bar selections and daily specials showcase the best the sea has to offer. An adjoining live music venue makes for a full night out.

16. Le Diplomate

Copy Link
1601 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 332-3333
Visit Website

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

Copy Link
1520 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 319-1404
Visit Website

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

Copy Link
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

Copy Link
1503 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 462-8999
Visit Website

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

Copy Link
1340 4th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 608-1330
Visit Website

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

Copy Link
801 O St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 525-2870
Visit Website

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

Copy Link
1250 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 864-2199
Visit Website

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.

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

23. Iron Gate

Copy Link
1734 N St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 524-5202
Visit Website

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

Copy Link
122 Blagden Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 450-1015
Visit Website

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

Copy Link
1129 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 789-4110
Visit Website

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

Copy Link
1015 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 737-7700
Visit Website

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

Copy Link
777 I St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 838-5300
Visit Website

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. Equinox

Copy Link
818 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 331-8118
Visit Website

The iconic establishment from award-winning chef Todd Gray has adapted over the years, playing up more vegetable-focused dishes, local seafood, and specialty drinks featuring inventive fruit juices. While Equinox celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, Gray will continue to experiment with vegan products such as egg substitutes he can use to make pasta dough. Equinox is also working to be certified as a zero waste restaurant.

29. Momofuku CCDC

Copy Link
1090 I St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 602-1832
Visit Website

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.

30. Centrolina

Copy Link
974 Palmer Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 898-2426
Visit Website

With her all-in-one outpost in City Center DC, 2019 James Beard Award finalist Amy Brandwein has proven she’s a force to be reckoned with. The fine-dining establishment that houses a gourmet market is known for enticing drinks, comforting pastas, and artful desserts. Don’t miss the burrata with tiny house potato chips.

31. Daikaya

Copy Link
705 6th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 589-1600
Visit Website

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]

32. China Chilcano

Copy Link
418 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 783-0941
Visit Website

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.

33. Rasika

Copy Link
633 D St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 637-1222
Visit Website

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.

The interior of the original Rasika in Penn Quarter.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

34. Chiko (Multiple locations)

Copy Link
423 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 558-9934
Visit Website

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.

35. Rose's Luxury

Copy Link
717 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 580-8889
Visit Website

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.

Part of the main dining room at Michelin-starred Rose’s Luxury.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

36. Kith and Kin

Copy Link
801 Wharf St SW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 878-8566
Visit Website

Top Chef alum Kwame Onwuachi has honed his Afro-Caribbean cuisine since opening Kith and 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

37. Chloe

Copy Link
1331 4th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 313-7007
Visit Website

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.

Scott Suchman/For Chloe

38. The Salt Line

Copy Link
79 Potomac Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 506-2368
Visit Website

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.

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 to the city. But for folks who dream of puffy, wood-torched crusts, the trip to Tony Conte’s strip mall gem is undoubtedly worth the effort. People who don’t secure an early spot in line could face an hours-long wait, so be prepared to settle for takeout or — for more fun — dip into the eclectic wine list. Don’t skip dessert: Peanut butter chocolate cookies and velvety soft serve are edible exclamation points at the end of any meal.

12207 Darnestown Rd
Darnestown, MD 20878

2. Sfoglina (Multiple locations)

4445 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

Sfoglina excels in hand-crafted, understated pasta dishes with prices befitting a neighborhood restaurant. Season specialities such as lamb pappardelle all cost $26, and entrees including veal cutlets and 72-hour short short ribs are grouped at $28. A second location opened downtown last year, and another is headed to Arlington in 2019.

4445 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

3. Himitsu

828 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011
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 Asian and Southern heritages. So raw tuna gets ignited by orange-chile oil, and fried chicken takes a trip around the globe with fermented chile paste, sesame seeds, and creamy kewpie mayo. It's easy to grasp why this place is packed nearly every night.

828 Upshur St NW
Washington, DC 20011

4. 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

5. 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

6. Ellē

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

Nowhere else nails the mash-up of comfort food and high-brow sensibilities quite like the new tenants of the Heller’s Bakery building in Mount Pleasant. Blue Duck Tavern alum Brad DeBoy helms the kitchen at this all-day cafe, serving everything from supremely butter guava turnovers at the coffee bar up front to Cape May scallop ceviche with umami-packed Katsuobushi potato chips and kimchi toast in the dining room.

3221 Mt Pleasant St NW
Washington, DC 20010

7. Call Your Mother Deli

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

Hordes of carbohydrate-cravers continue to descend upon the “Jew-ish” deli in Park View because it 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, and a babka muffin.

3301 Georgia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20010

8. 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

9. 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

10. 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 eatery 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

11. Brothers And Sisters

1770 Euclid St NW, Washington, DC 20009
A top seller at Brothers and Sisters this year was an octopus hot dog.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The all-day eatery that restaurateur Erik Bruner-Yang planted inside the immaculate lobby of Adams Morgan’s Line hotel has been a total game changer. The menu plays with dishes native to Asia — hello, takoyaki hushpuppies — Europe, and the Americas. It reads backwards, with items arranged to read from right to left. That initial culture shock is deliberate — as is every other detail, ingredient, and culinary technique Bruner-Yang and his growing hospitality team have woven into the sophisticated and transportive venue.

1770 Euclid 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
Assorted dipping sauces and spreads 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. Red Hen

1822 1st St NW, Washington, DC 20001

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.

1822 1st St NW
Washington, DC 20001

15. Ivy City Smokehouse

1356 Okie St NE, Washington, DC 20002