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Photograph: Scott Suchman Convivial

The best new restaurants in DC

Own the local restaurant scene with our guide to the best new bars and new restaurants DC has to offer

By Holley Simmons

So you’re a bona fide member of the city’s foodie elite: you’ve fine-dined your way through the best restaurants in DC, and you can often be found chasing the city’s top food trucks like a kid desperately lunging at a departing ice cream tuck. The District’s best Italian restaurants? You’ve done them all—and you have the red-stained shirts to prove it. What to do now when you’re hangry? Try something new. The ever-evolving DC food scene is constantly throwing up new and exciting eating opportunities as movements, trends and ingredients fall in and out of favor and new chefs step up to the hotplates. Where to park your butt? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. These are the hottest new restaurants DC is offering—go forth, get eating.

Best new restaurants in DC

The Dabney
Photograph: Andrew Cebulka

1. The Dabney

Restaurants Contemporary American Shaw

Chef Jeremiah Langhorne (formerly the chef de cuisine at the much-lauded McCrady’s in Charleston, S.C.) takes a near-obsessive approach to local sourcing at his long-awaited mid-Atlantic restaurant in Blagden Alley. His dishes come steeped in history and are made primarily using produce grown (and foraged) nearby, including the rooftop garden. The interior feels almost barn-ish—albeit much more chic—with dark wood floors and tables and rafted ceilings. The open kitchen is anchored by a wood-burning oven that churns out new dishes on a daily basis.

Photograph: Scott Suchman

2. Convivial

Restaurants Contemporary American Shaw

From the same chef behind Adams Morgan haunt Mintwood Place comes Convivial, an American-French restaurant at City Market at O. Like Mintwood, Convivial has a French accent, though it’s a bit thicker. Dishes are hard to pronounce, like the squash vadouvan and boudin noire raviole. (The fried chicken coq au vin is not to be missed and a little easier to say.) If you get tripped up, your friendly server will help you decipher. The restaurant is, after all, called Convivial.

The Little Beet
Photograph: Courtesy The Little Beet

3. The Little Beet

Restaurants Sandwich shops Dupont Circle

This new fast-casual, veggie-centric restaurant (the third in the chain and the first location in DC) follows the same formula you’re used to: pick your protein and sides, or opt for a pre-made signature dish. Highlights include the banh mi beet roll, made with shredded chicken and chipotle aioli wrapped in nori and brown rice with cucumbers, radish and guacamole. Catering to the health conscious, the Little Beet also serves cold-press juices, breakfast with organic eggs and salads. And did we mention everything on the menu is entirely gluten-free?

Momofuku CCDC
Gabriele Stabile

4. Momofuku CCDC

Restaurants Pan-Asian Downtown

David Chang returns to his old stomping grounds (he was brought up in northern Virginia) to open a local concept that borrows heavily from his New York-born noodle bar. The menu reads like a greatest hits list of Chang’s Asian fare, including dishes like pork buns and pork belly ramen. Also available in the starkly decorated restaurant, save for a few splashes of art on the wall: Old Bay pork rinds and kimchi stew made with pork shoulder. (We’re sensing he has a thing for pork.) Reservations are available for the fried chicken and bo ssam meals intended to feed groups of up to eight.

Wicked Bloom
Photograph: Courtesy Wicked Bloom

5. Wicked Bloom DC Social Club

Restaurants Barbecue Northeast

Rob Sonderman made a name for himself as the pitmaster of DCity Barbecue, a sliver of a restaurant in Bloomingdale and arguably the best BBQ in town. So smoke fanatics were thrilled to hear about his new, much larger spot just a few steps away. With enough seating for 49 plus an extensive cocktail list, it’s shaping up to be the ultimate neighborhood spot. The menu is smaller than DCIty Smokehouse’s, but guests are welcome to eat their carry-out at Wicked Bloom.

Milk Bar DC
Photograph: Courtesy Milk Bar

6. Milk Bar

Restaurants Bakeries Downtown

In case you’ve managed to avoid the maelstrom of press surrounding this opening, allow us to break the news: The DC location of Milk Bar (the sister bakery to Momofuku owned by Christina Tosi) has officially opened. The menu hits all of the high notes it's come to be known for, including Crack Pie, compost cookies and cereal milk ice cream. For a limited time through November, Milk Bar is offering a Thanksgiving croissant, stuffed with turkey, cranberry sauce and gravy. Be prepared to wait in line.

Tuna tartare at Silver
Photograph: Courtesy Silver

7. Silver

Restaurants Contemporary American Bethesda

This new upscale diner is more sterling silver spoon than greasy spoon. At the latest project from the beloved Silver Diner group, you’ll still find stand-bys like French toast and eggs, albeit with a grown up twist (think a salted caramel drizzle and a Western omelette made with prosciutto instead of ham.) The interior blends tufted leather booths with Art Decco touches, including pendant lights and mosaic tile floors.

Duffy's Irish Pub
Photograph: Courtesy Duffy's

8. Duffy’s Irish Pub

Bars Pubs U Street Corridor

In what’s shaping up to be the redemption story of the year, Duffy’s is back in operation. The beloved pub gave us all a scare when it closed its doors at the end of last year. But thanks to a magnanimous benefactor and fundraising efforts, the pub will reopen on September 24. Ownership has changed hands, though founder Andy Duffy will stay on as manager. Otherwise, not much else has changed: A Nat’s bar through and through, it will still be your go-to spot to root for the home team, and the beloved wings will remain on the menu.

The Prospect
Photograph: Courtesy The Prospect

9. The Prospect

Restaurants Contemporary American U Street Corridor

With soccer matches and football games going on all around, you half expect to be doused with a bucket of Gatorade at any second. This two-story restaurant and sports bar, which opened in early September, houses more than 40 large-screen TVs and game-ready food such as hog wings (fried pork shanks on a bone) and goat nachos. Drinks include clever plays on classics, like frozen cider with gin or a caramelized Old Fashioned. Need some fresh air after that fumble? Step outside on the 30-seat patio for a breather.


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