Spring has officially sprung, and new restaurants have been popping up way faster than those late-to-the-party cherry blossoms. Washington has recently welcomed spots for chowing down on homey fried chicken, relaxing with a date on an outdoor patio with raw oysters and Chablis, or getting rowdy with friends over beers and the big game. Check out these dozen new spots, and stay tuned for more—so many more—coming soon.
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
The newest face of the fried chicken and doughnuts game just opened its doors on Monday, and is soft-opening this week by doling out comfort eats from 8 AM until the shelves are empty (which so far has been just after the lunch rush). Stop by the storefront early for coffee and a vanilla-glazed round, or get creative at lunch with double-fried Korean-style chicken.
The gastro-bar above Daikaya’s Penn Quarter ramen shop is equally suited to eating and drinking, with Japanese small plates and beer, cocktails, and sake galore. Nibble on grilled avocado with ponzu or crispy crab croquettes paired with a spherified sake bomb. You can always teeter downstairs to slurp noodles if you work up a hefty appetite.
With highs in the 70s, you could start that summer tan while dining at Clarendon’s newest spot for mussels, sausages, and cold brews. The cozy outdoor patio features picnic tables, so get a few friends together over giant steins of citrusy Erdinger wheat beer and brats—or, for the more adventurous, rattlesnake dogs.
GBD (Golden, Brown, Delicious)
Fried chicken, doughnuts, and booze—the newest joint from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group just launched full service on Wednesday. In addition to daily counter-order breakfast and lunch, there’s also now a full bar and evening sit-down dinner. Bad news for the arteries: You’ll find freshly fried dough and buttermillk-brined birds at all hours, as well as beer, wine, and punch.
The Nats are in town for their first string of weekend home games, and while Red Bull-vodka slushies at the Bullpen are always delicious, you can now expand your pre- and post-game drinking horizons. The national brewpub and restaurant chain just opened a large Navy Yard location, complete with a spacious beer garden. Nearby, Park Tavern just started serving flatbreads, burgers, and Chimay on tap.
The Grill Room and Rye Bar
If sitting on an outdoor patio next to the Georgetown canal sipping a mojito with perfectly crushed ice sounds pretty good right now, luckily, you can do just that at the Capella Hotel’s newly opened Rye Bar. Next door, the equally swanky Grill Room dishes up modern American fare, steaks, and Champagne from a trolley (at a price, naturally).
The NCAA tournament may have wrapped, but you should still pay a visit to Dupont’s newest sports bar. Think of it as an “athletic lounge”—it’s a little swankier than your average sports-friendly watering hole (a deejay spins on weekend nights), but you still have 31 televisions and beer-friendly eats such as Korean short-rib tacos and crispy alligator.
You’re going to dinner with a hungry vegetarian, a pescatarian, and a foie gras fan. A good bet: the third US branch of La Tagliatella. The newly opened Clarendon spot boasts 400 noodle-sauce combinations that range from pesto to mushroom-foie, plus a variety of antipasti and Neopolitan-style pies. An added perk is a daily happy hour that throws $4 beers and $5 cocktails and wine into the mix.
One of the biggest spring openings hit 14th Street this week with the arrival of Stephen Starr’s French brasserie. The airy restaurant is in soft-opening through Sunday, April 14, meaning you can relax on the outdoor patio with steak frites or a shellfish plateau and get a 10 percent discount on your food.
If your K Street lunch hour needs more colorful lighting, or happy hour, or both, then “look” no further (sorry, we had to). The team from Cities just opened this high-tech spot in the former Teatro Goldoni space; you’ll find sandwiches, small plates, and one of the longest-running drink deals around.
Craving a sit-down meal that won’t break the bank? Check out Stephan Boillon’s eclectic eatery in Park View, where you and your date can order, say, a gin mule cocktail and a bowl of wild boar bucatini and still have funds for a nightcap. Even better news: The outdoor patio opens this weekend with cocktail service and sandwiches from sister food truck, El Floridano.