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From a tiki-lounge-like spot for pho to a downtown gelato stop, we’ve got the goods on the restaurants people are talking about.

Photograph by Chris Leaman

Downtown DC gets a branch of the chocolate chain Schakolad, which serves gelato, filled chocolates, and fudge.


DC Noodles (1412 U St., NW; 202-232-8424). The owners of Logan Circle’s Rice have transformed what was the Simply Home restaurant/shop into a 52-seater whose menu has as many permutations of noodles as Bubba Gump’s company does of shrimp.

Kitchen (2404 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-3877). Once an Austin Grill, then a Peruvian lounge, it’s now part Southern comfort—chicken-fried steak—and part pub grub: There are 25-cent wings during Monday’s happy hour.

Pho 14 Vietnamese Restaurant (1436 Park Rd., NW; 202-986-2326). With a tiki-lounge-like bar, this mom-and-pop joint bids to give DC its first authentic taste of the famed Vietnamese noodle soup, pho.

Qualia (3917 Georgia Ave., NW; 202-248-6423). Joel Finkelstein has been roasting coffee beans out of his house for two years. Now he has converted his hobby into a coffeehouse serving, among other things, pitchers of coffee—enough for four.

Schakolad (1107 19th St., NW; 202-457-8888). Six flavors of gelato accompany a sweeping selection of chocolates, all made in-store using recipes that cofounder Baruch Schaked learned in the 1960s.


The Big Greek Cafe (8417 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring; 301-495-2912). Simos Marmaras, whose father owns Silver Spring’s Golden Flame Restaurant, a steakhouse and seafood restaurant dating back to the Nixon administration, has a place to call his own. His plan: Greek classics served cheap—few dishes top $10.

Nest Cafe (4921 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda; 301-718-6378). Recent Culinary Institute of America graduate Alex Schulte and former wine importer Jeremy Hummer run this kitchen, which turns out a European-cafe-style menu: pizza, pasta, and salads.

Peacock Restaurant and Lounge at the Inn at 202 Dover (202 E. Dover St., Easton; 866-450-7600). Jorge Alvarez, a former executive chef at the Williamsburg Inn, oversees this novel interpretation of American food: Each menu item is categorized by state or region; the Maryland entrée says: “Farm fresh vegetarian selection or challenge our chef with your own favorite.”

Silver Spring Thai Flavor (8650 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring; 301-495-1234). This tiny ten-seater emphasizes “healthier” options—some produce comes from the Silver Spring and Takoma Park farmers markets.


The Butcher’s Block, a Market by RW (1600 King St., Alexandria; 703-894-5253). Robert Wiedmaier, chef/owner of DC’s Marcel’s and Brasserie Beck, complements his two new Old Town restaurants, Brabo and Brabo Tasting Room, with this wine-and-cheese, sandwich, and butcher shop.

Flippin’ Pizza (6544 Little River Tpk., Alexandria, 703-752-9912; 11130 S. Lakes Dr., Reston, 571-323-7820). Although this chain was born in California, it was started by a Queens native, and the pies recall Broadway: You have to fold the crust to make a slice manageable.

Red Apron (products for sale at Planet Wine, 2004 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-549-3444). Nathan Anda, former chef at Arlington’s Tallula and EatBar, runs this small-batch charcuterie business, which supplies restaurants with French-style petit saucisson sec, Italian salsiccia, and more.

Velocity Five (2300 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington; 703-243-4900). The third Northern Virginia outpost of this steakhouse-meets-sports-bar will have 50 televisions by June, including ten outside.

This article appeared in the May, 2009 issue of the Washingtonian. 

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