The 16 Hottest Restaurants in D.C., March 2018
Where to eat right now around the DMV
More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends and family of Eater have one question: “Where should I eat right now?” Restaurant obsessives want to know what’s new, what’s hot, which favorite chef just launched a new project, where to sip the cocktail of the moment. And while the Eater 38 is a crucial resource covering trusted standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the ‘it’ places of the moment. Enter the Eater Heatmap, which will change often to continually highlight where discerning diners are flocking to right now.
D.C. welcomed a bunch of new bakeries/all-day eateries in February, including the debut restaurant from married pastry chefs Tom Wellings and Camila Arango, ambitious Mount Pleasant newcomer Elle, and two new outposts from international empire builder Eric Kayser. Down at the Wharf, Mexican chef and NYC restaurateur Roberto Santibañez unveiled his first D.C. restaurant, Mi Vida. Across the river, first-time restaurateur Jinson Chan is now pairing Taiwanese street food with local brews at High Side in Fairfax, Virginia. So, bid farewell to Addie’s, Chiko, as well as Kith and Kith, and head over to Adams Morgan’s bustling Line hotel or Woodley Park to see what all the excitement is about.
Find an archive of previous Heatmap restaurants here.
Note: The featured bars and restaurants are not ranked. The map is arranged geographically from north to south.
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1 Isabella Eatery
Brand builder Mike Isabella’s eponymous food hall is now complete. Home to 10 dining options — including modified versions of existing local restaurants Graffiato, Arroz, Yona, Requin, and others, as well as new additions Retro Creamery and Nonfiction Coffee — Isabella Eatery serves everything from all-day mimosas and egg sandwiches to raw oysters and a farmhouse ale brewed exclusively for the Top Chefalum.
1749 International Dr
Tysons, VA 22102(571) 489-8505
Woodley Park’s newest restaurant boasts local ties — sibling establishment District Kitchen is right around the corner — and eye-catching, Day of the Dead-like decor that includes grinning skulls and colorful Mexican death masks. Expect specialty margaritas, assorted tacos (including beef tongue), and hearty entrees such as grilled steak with zesty chili-cilantro salsa.
2609 24th St NW
Washington, DC 20008(202) 864-6891
3 A Rake’s Progress
Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama got a sneak preview of what James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde had in store for D.C. diners days before the highly anticipated A Rake’s Progress officially opened its doors. The rest of the city has quickly followed suit, filing into the artfully designed, second story dining room to get their fill of Mid-Atlantic cuisine ranging from local oysters and cured hams to dry-brined roast chickens and chili-spiked fried rabbit sandwiches.
1770 Euclid St. NW
Washington, DC 20009(202) 588-0525
4 Brothers and Sisters
Restaurateur Erik Bruner-Yang’s new restaurant and bar boasts a who’s who of talented professionals, including Brabo alum Harper McClure, Maketto pastry chef Pichet Ong, and drinks guru/aspiring rum distillery founder Todd Thrasher. Their combined efforts have produced adventurous dishes ranging from fancy arrangements of sea urchin to roast octopus “hot dogs.”
1770 Euclid St NW
Washington, DC 20009(202) 588-0525
It’s obvious why everyone is fired up about eating at Middle Eastern-inspired Maydan. The sparks-spewing grill that stares customers right in the face as soon as they walk in the front door is not just functional, it’s delightful. Watching the kitchen crew char citrus-spritzed sardines, tamarind-spiked whole chickens, and smoky eggplant is dinner and a show, all wrapped into one.
1346 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009(202) 370-3696
6 Gaslight Tavern
The latest restaurant from nightlife gurus Eric and Ian Hilton is a little more grown up than the sibling taqueria and diner that surround Gaslight. The menu leans French — think: tartine-like mushroom toast with sherry-splashed and goat cheese, as well as short rib stew stocked with bacon, carrots, and onions — and the bar features select beers (including local pours), classic cocktails, and a growing selection of wines.
2012 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001(202) 864-6272
7 Lucky Buns
Chef Alex McCoy is living his dream of sharing globally inspired burgers and pub grub with the masses at come-as-you-are eatery Lucky Buns. The Duke’s Grocery alum now spins out handheld feasts with international flair, producing burgers sporting fried eggs, bacon-XO jam, and pickled beetroot, while chicken offerings arrive bathed in yogurt slaw, tonkatsu sauce, or Chinese mustard.
2000 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009(202) 506-1713
Award-winning chef Ryan Ratino is showing everyone just what he can do at 14th Street newcomer Bresca, and it’s quite a show. The menu caroms from haute interpretations of childhood sensations (think: foie gras decorated with preserved cherries and crushed nuts for a pb-and-j effect) to seasonally inspired pasta dishes accented with tender rabbit, pickled mustard seeds, and pureed chestnuts. Bright colors are splashed throughout, staff are wonderfully attentive, and the bar team serves intoxicating works of art in one-of-a-kind containers.
1906 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009(202) 518-7926
9 Bar Elena
Budding restaurateur Adam Stein returns to his beloved H Street NE, this time not just as a chef, but as a scene-setter with fun-filled Bar Elena. The neighborhood restaurant has already won over Boundary Road (RIP) regulars with its locally inspired drinks, fancy bar food (clam chowder poutine, anyone?) and old-school games.
414 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002(202) 450-3265
10 Little Pearl
He’s already running two Michelin-starred restaurants in D.C. Why not add a coffee shop/wine bar into mix? Renowned tastemaker Aaron Silverman has done just that with dual-natured Little Pearl, the Pineapple and Pearls spin-off now serving next-level sweets and gourmet java by day, along with boutique wines and okonomiyaki spring rolls once the sun goes down.
921 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003(202) 618-1868
The fancy French restaurant empire builder Mike Isabella always dreamed of is finally here. Whereas he’s switched the original Requin in Northern Virginia into a brasserie, the new waterfront outpost celebrates all things Gallic via bubbling Comte-capped onion soups, confit duck accompanied by lentils, and meaty steak flanked by crispy frites. Based on all the bubbly floating around, bargoers appear to be enjoying the abundance of sparkling wines gathered together by general manager Jennifer Knowles.
100 District Square SW
Washington, DC 20024(202) 827-8380
12 Del Mar
Award-winning restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi has pivoted from the native Italian cooking featured at his other local restaurants to Spanish cuisine at his new Wharf spot without missing a beat. Seafood lovers can indulge in raw oysters, imported caviar, and shellfish-studded rice dishes, while meat eaters are rewarded with velvety foie gras, savory Iberian pork, and spice-crusted rack of lamb.
791 Wharf Street SW
Washington, DC 20024(202) 525-1402
13 Hank’s Oyster Bar (Multiple locations)
Hank’s fans are flooding into the local chain’s first waterfront location to take advantage of glistening seafood platters stocked with briny oysters, zesty mussels, and succulent lobster, as well as boozy fish bowls (the more, the merrier), shareable flasks filled with classic cocktails, and seasonally inspired beertails.
701 Wharf St SW
Washington, DC 20024(202) 817-3055
First-time restaurateurs Rahul Vinod and Sahil Rahman are putting their stamp on Indian cuisine with Rasa, the self-styled Navy Yard eatery focused on quick-service with some flair. The now-ubiquitous, build-your-own-meal format gets a shot in the arm via alluring decorations and eye-catching beverages (think: fresh young coconuts).
1247 First St SE
Washington, DC 20003(202) 804-5678
Haidar Karoum, the chef who helped put homegrown restaurants Proof, Estadio, and Doi Moi on local diners’ to-do lists, is now cooking food that reflects his life story at self-styled Chloe. The new addition to Navy Yard serves dishes weaving together classic French techniques, regional ingredients, and culinary inspiration from around the world.
1331 4th St SE
Washington, DC 20003(202) 313-7007
16 District Winery
Ana, the modern American restaurant tucked inside D.C.’s inaugural winery, is a welcome addition to the Navy Yard dining scene. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide striking views of the Southeast waterfront, while a fire pit-studded patio ensures that drink-toting revelers won’t have to hibernate during winter. The dinner crowd tends to gravitate towards wine-friendly dishes including savory tartines (try the duck sausage) and seafood dishes (crab beignets, spiced monkfish). Early risers can now do the same at weekend brunch (think: bacon-laced scones, and pancakes coupled with salmon mousse and crisp potatoes).
385 Water St SE
Washington, DC 20003(202) 484-9210